Legislative Reapportionment Plan Sent Back to Commission
PA Supreme Court justices ruled, 4-3, on Wednesday to send the plan back to the Legislative Reapportionment Commission.
It's back to the drawing board for Pennsylvania's five-member Legislative Reapportionment Commission.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices, in a close vote on Wednesday, unexpectedly determined that the new boundary lines for Pennsylvania's 203 state House seats and 50 Senate districts are "contrary to law" and need to be redrawn.
The argument to redraw the maps that the reapportionment commission approved in December was successfully made by several lawyers' appeals on Monday. The justices then voted, 4-3, to send the plan back to the commission, a move that former state Rep. Chelsa Wagner—now the Allegheny County Controller—has applauded.
Wagner, who, for more than five years, represented Pennsylvania's 22nd House District—which includes Castle Shannon Borough, Baldwin Township, parts of the City of Pittsburgh (including Brookline), and Whitehall Borough under the old and now-still-applicable maps—has been an outspoken opponent of the redrawn maps.
The 22nd District was slated to move to the Allentown area—approximately 300 miles east—according to the final reapportionment plan, but that move has been scrapped, at least temporarily.
Wagner felt strongly enough that the maps were being drawn unfairly that she has kept her constituent offices on Brookline Boulevard and in Whitehall (Caste Village) open during the reapportionment process. She also served concurrently as both the county controller and as a state representative for the first two weeks of 2012 before resigning on Jan. 16.
You can view all of the still-applicable and rejected state House and Senate maps here.
"I'm pleased that a plan that was unfair to many communities—and, most especially, some of those I represented for five years—will not take effect," Wagner said. "Tactics such as splitting single neighborhoods into three districts would disenfranchise these communities.
"The commission was wrong to approve this plan and must now come up with one that won't harm our communities."
Wagner's Democratic House colleagues will continue to monitor her old 22nd District while it remains vacant and in the Pittsburgh area.
District reapportionment occurs once every 10 years to adjust for population shifts.