FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Babette Josephs
Josephs introduces redistricting legislation
HARRISBURG, Feb. 3 – A bill that would reform the way legislative districts in Pennsylvania are drawn every 10 years has been introduced by state Rep. Babette Josephs, D-Phila.
Josephs said she introduced the bill to make the redistricting process more open and accountable.
"Pennsylvania's legislative districts should be drawn in an open and nonpartisan process," Josephs said. "This bill would give the public more of a vested interest in how legislative districts are drawn."
Redistricting or reapportionment is the method by which Pennsylvania legislative and congressional districts are redrawn every 10 years, based on the state's population figures obtained from the U.S. Census. The next reapportionment is slated for 2011. Redistricting at the state level involves a five-member Legislative Reapportionment Commission. The commission's membership consists of the leaders of each of the four caucuses and a fifth member of their choice.
Josephs, chairwoman of the House State Government Committee, said her bill (H.B. 134) would make the state reapportionment process more open and transparent by strengthening the public comment process and requiring more statewide hearings at all stages of development of the redistricting map. It also would require data and information to be made available online.
"Computers are so widely available these days, that it makes sense to take advantage of the technology with regard to publicizing the redistricting process. I believe that making data available online, having more public hearings and encouraging public comment will help keep the public more informed about the process and encourage their participation," she said.
"Senator Pileggi has said that he also would like to see more openness in the process, including posting the plans online. I couldn't agree more. I hope that he acts on his beliefs and gives this bill favorable consideration when it reaches the Senate."