HARRISBURG, July 9, 2018 – In an effort to salvage Pennsylvania’s last opportunity until the 2030 U.S. Census for redistricting reform, today Sen. Lisa Boscola is calling on Governor Tom Wolf to use his authority to convene a special session of the General Assembly on the important measure.
As the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 22 and long-time advocate for an independent role in the redistricting process, Boscola feels this opportunity will be the last chance lawmakers have to pass a concurrent resolution to amend the state constitution and place the issue on a ballot referendum before new maps would be drawn following the 2020 U.S. Census. The bill is currently awaiting consideration by the House of Representatives and has over six-hundred amendments proposed to the legislation.
Due to state constitutional constraints, if the legislature fails to finalize a reform bill in the weeks ahead, the current system — where lawmakers exclusively control the redistricting process — will be in place for at least another decade.
“Last month the State Senate adopted an amended version of my bill that takes the process of redrawing legislative and Congressional districts, and places it into the hands of independently-appointed citizens and out of the hands of lawmakers,” Boscola said. “While the final product which left the State Senate may not have been what everybody hoped for, it remains a testament to the strength of citizens and advocacy groups that have been working along with me for many years on getting this initiative forward and on the ballot for voters to ultimately decide.”
The push for a Special Session, Boscola noted, is instrumental in getting a bill passed from both chambers in order to meet the requirement of a proposed amendment being adopted in two-consecutive legislative sessions before it can be placed on the ballot for referendum.
“What we achieved in passing this bill last month was an incredible feat, and we need to get something agreed to and adopted in both chambers,” Boscola remarked. “We are incredibly close to getting through the first benchmark in this long and arduous process, and the urgency attached to the fact that we have moved a bill through one chamber speaks volume on the need to have a special session and get this passed. I call on all lawmakers, advocacy groups and citizens of the Commonwealth to rally behind the cause and let’s get this finished so we can achieve the goal of independent redistricting in Pennsylvania.”
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