Senate Bill 22 should be passed

A recent poll found that 70 percent of Pennsylvanians are in favor of creating an independent citizens redistricting commission as a means of preventing partisan gerrymandering in the state.

In response to this overwhelming support for redistricting reform from citizens across Pennsylvania, the State Senate is making a concerted effort to pass reform legislation before the end of this term.

The current version of their bill, Senate Bill 22, amends the state’s constitution to create an independent commission comprised of citizens that would handle redistricting. This amendment would eliminate the possibility of partisan gerrymandering in Penn­sylvania.

In order to have it enacted in time for the next redistricting cycle, after the 2020 census, it must be passed in this legislative session and the next one and then approved by a statewide vote. It is absolutely essential that our legislators act with urgency to pass this constitutional amendment during the current session.

These are the critical final weeks that will decide whether an independent redistricting commission can be in place in time for the 2021 redistricting cycle.

A number of months ago, our three area legislators (Judy Ward, John H. Eichelberger Jr. and John McGinnis) held a workshop encouraging a similar change in our state government — a constitutional convention which would be an opportunity for citizens who are frustrated with our broken state government to take a very direct role in historic government change.

If they truly believed in this idea, then it makes no sense to me that two of them still have yet to co-sponsor these current gerrymandering bills.

Citizens should ask their senators to act quickly and pass SB22 so it can move to the House for approval before the end of this legislative session.

Also ask your representatives to support and co-sponsor HB 2402, which is the House’s version of the bill.

Contact them today and politely ask them to support these bills if they truly believe that citizens –whom they represent — should take a direct role in government change.

George Dempsie