This press statement, released on June 11, 2018, reflects PBPC director Marc Stier’s position on the state of Senate Bill 22, Pennsylvania’s redistricting reform bill.
HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center released the following statement from director Marc Stier on the current state of SB22, the redistricting reform bill:
“The current version of SB22 is a deeply flawed bill. As modified by Senator Folmer, it fails to provide Pennsylvanians with the redistricting reform we deserve. Supporters claim it creates an independent redistricting commission that operates under rules that prohibit partisan gerrymandering, but we know that the omnibus amendment proposed by Senator Folmer falls short of fixing its profound structural weaknesses in three basic ways:
- It does not create an independent redistricting commission. It creates a redistricting commission that is chosen by the General Assembly and most likely by the majority party in the General Assembly.
- By giving the General Assembly so much control over the members of the redistricting the Folmer plan makes it likely that commission will, at best, create district maps that protect incumbents, and, at worst, that benefits the majority and a few members of the minority party.
- The redistricting commission created by the Folmer plan can be deadlocked by the majority party members acting alone. This would allow them to forward a gerrymandered map to the General Assembly that, in turn, can be enacted with the votes of the majority party and a few members of the minority party.
“Because of this, we’re calling on all members of the legislature to try to first fix SB22 by returning it to its original version and, if that isn’t possible, vote against it.
“In that case, the best elements of the current version of SB22 and the omnibus amendment could be passed as independent legislation to regulate the existing redistricting process.”