Advocates for redistricting reform won the first battle: They got people talking about it. Now comes the hard part. The 2020 census is right around the corner, and with it, the redrawing of the boundaries of Pennsylvania’s legislative and congressional districts. There are a number of bills already under consideration that take these processes out of the hands of politicians and put them into the hands of average citizens. State Sen. Lisa Boscola has introduced legislation that would create an 11-person panel to draw both sets of boundaries, a proposal that has bipartisan support. The bill also has the backing of Fair Districts PA, a nonpartisan project of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania that supports giving redistricting power to an independent commission.
But that legislation would require a constitutional amendment, and state Sen. Jay Costa knows the clock is ticking. The Allegheny County Democrat isn’t sure the legislature will advance Boscola’s bill, which is why he plans to introduce his own legislation to create an independent commission to draw congressional districts.
“I believe that most folks object to the manner that congressional districts are drawn,” he told The Incline, adding that this is the type of gerrymandering where you see boundaries that “snake across three different counties.”
He said “people would like to see us put together an independent commission,” and, with limited time to amend the state constitution, a group devoted to redrawing congressional boundaries is the “next best alternative.”