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PA redistricting stalled by court

Richard D. L. Fulton
Emmitsburg News-Journal

(2/15) Pennsylvania state government is struggling to create a court-approvable redistricting plan that would redraw a number of state House of Representatives district boundaries within the commonwealth.

But the effort stalled on February 3 when the state Supreme Court effectively rejected the current proposed plan, sending it back to the legislative drawing board.

The net result is, it could take months, even longer, to produce a court-approved plan, and with the general election scheduled for November 5, this means victorious candidates could find their overall constituency changing during their tenures, rather than at the beginning of them.

Charles E. O'Connor, Jr., executive director of the state 2011 Legislative Reapportionment Commission (LRC), charged with producing a redistricting plan, said the process of getting an approved "redistricting could take months now."

In accordance with the state Supreme Court opinions, he said, "We have to develop another preliminary (redistricting) plan" which will then have to wind its way through the hearing process once again.

Until there is a plan the court can approve, current districts will remain in effect.

The current redistricting proposal would have a direct effect on two districts representing Adams County.

For example, incumbent Representative Dan Moulís current district (District 91) includes south and central Adams County and eastern Franklin County to Fayetteville.

If the proposed redistricting went through as submitted, he would lose all of his Franklin County jurisdiction except South Mountain, and he would lose Arendstville in Adams County. However, he would gain a portion of Cumberland County.

In the case of Will F. Tallman, House of Representatives District 193, his district presently includes northern Adams County and southwestern York county.

Under the pending redistricting proposal, Tallman would lose all of his district in York County, would make some gains in Adams County, and, Like Moul, would gain new territory in Cumberland County.

Incumbent candidates running for House seats applicable to Adams County include: Dan Moul (Republican, House of Representatives District 91); Will F. Tallman, (House of Representatives District 193); and Richard Alloway, II (Senate District 33), incumbent.

Of these, Moul and Alloway are presently running unopposed. Tallman is being challenged by Jason McNew, a Republican, and Mike Strausbaugh, a Democrat.

Redistricting is the process by which the boundaries of elective districts (in Pennsylvania) are periodically redrawn to maintain "equal representation on the basis of population," according to the LRC. The current redistricting effort was initiated in response to the federal 2010 census.

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