DeLissio says H.B. 722 gut-and-replace move is why we need an independent redistricting commission

PHILADELPHIA, April 13 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., said she voted Wednesday against a move that removed language from H.B. 722, the redistricting reform bill set to establish an Independent Redistricting Commission. 

“I voted against gutting and replacing House Bill 722, which would send us back to an even more partisan process that would do nothing to curtail gerrymandering,” DeLissio said. “The original House Bill 722 was the result of effort by legislators in the House and Senate from both sides of the aisle and stakeholders; it is unknown who crafted the gut-and-replace amendment.

“The additional horror on Wednesday was the fact that the voting meeting was called at the end of session on Tuesday and the agenda of the meeting was not announced. It was not until arriving at the meeting that we were presented with the amendment.”

The original version of H.B. 722 would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution by establishing an Independent Redistricting Commission to provide a nonpartisan process for redistricting in the commonwealth for state Senate, state House and Congressional districts. The bill was drafted to ensure that the commission would draw boundary lines without consideration of politics or political influence.

The House State Government Committee voted 15-11, along party lines, for returning redistricting to a politically driven process, keeping the majority party in charge of drawing the lines.

“We need real reform in our process of map-drawing and an independent commission that will not be beholden to political parties,” DeLissio said.

The companion bill to the original H.B. 722, which is S.B. 22, is scheduled for a second hearing by the Senate State Government Committee on April 24.  No hearings were held in the House State Government Committee on either the original version of the bill or the gut-and-replace amendment.