The Pennsylvania Republican-controlled legislature is working hard to comply with the state Supreme Court’s ruling in the gerrymandering case. The legislature is planning to submit a new congressional map to Gov. Tom Wolf later Friday, according to Drew Compton, the chief of staff of Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati.
On January 22, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the current congressional map citing the reason that it violated the state Constitution. The state high court ordered the GOP-controlled legislature to redraw the congressional map and submit it to Gov. Wolf by February 8. The governor has until February 15 to approve the map and submit it to the court.
Pennsylvania legislature trying to meet requirements for new congressional map
Compton told the Wall Street Journal that the legislature is almost finished redrawing the state’s 18 congressional districts. He is confident that the new congressional map complies with the requirements under the state Constitution.
According to him, the new congressional districts will be more compact. The legislature is refraining from dividing cities, counties, and towns. He noted that those responsible for drafting the maps are taking into accounts the areas where incumbents reside. “Incumbency can matter to a reasonable degree,” said Compton.
Separately, Compton told Post-Gazette, “We’re blazing new ground here, and we’re trying to meet as many markers as we possibly can. I don’t sit here and say this is the perfect solution, but we’re trying to do the best we can.”
Gov. Wolf hired mathematician to determine fairness in redistricting process
On the other hand, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issued a statement regarding the ongoing redistricting process.
According to him, he created a team and knowledge base to make sure that the new congressional map is fair. He also hired a mathematician to provide non-partisan analysis of maps and determine their fairness.
Gov. Wolf said, “The consensus is clear that Pennsylvanians are fed up with gerrymandering – and the gridlock and lack of reform that it breeds.”
Additionally, the governor stated that an ideal scenario would be a consensus map that meets standards of fairness and can obtain support from both chambers of the General Assembly. However, he is uncertain at this time if the entire General Assembly will engage in a bipartisan process.
“If not, I will evaluate what options are at my disposal to ensure Pennsylvanians get the fair map they deserve under our Constitution,” said Gov. Wolf