HARRISBURG – As policymakers prepare to undertake redrawing U.S. Congressional districts, Pennsylvania House Republican Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin), State Government Committee Chairman Seth Grove (R-York) and Rep. Wendi Thomas (R-Bucks) announced a series of hearings will be held, and a website has been launched, to garner public feedback.
“Engaging in redistricting is one of the most important processes the legislature will undertake. From the beginning, at both the state and federal levels, the House Republican Caucus has said we are committed to a fair, open and legal process to draw new district lines to preserve our ideal of ‘one person, one vote’,” Benninghoff said. “The coming slate of hearings, the publicly accessible website and the ability for Pennsylvanians to submit their own maps and communities of interest clearly makes this effort the most transparent Congressional redistricting in Pennsylvania history. The work that will be put into this by the House State Government Committee shows our caucus’ commitment to a process-oriented approach that is reflective of the people’s voice.”
To give Pennsylvanians the opportunity to deliver their input on the reapportionment process, www.PaRedistricting.com has been launched. In addition to receiving public comments, the site will also be a source for information on the upcoming hearings and archives on hearings once they are held. In the near future, the site will allow the public to submit proposed Congressional district maps.
“Government should be transparent and that starts with how district maps are drawn,” Grove said. “At a time when public trust in government is low, it is vital that the voices of the people are heard. In that vein, the Congressional Reapportionment process being undertaken by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives will be the most transparent in Pennsylvania history.”
The hearings will begin on Thursday, July 22, at the Capitol in Harrisburg with an overview of reapportionment from 9-11 a.m., followed by a hearing to receive stakeholder input from 1-3 p.m. Further hearings will be held in August, September and October in all regions of the Commonwealth. Additional details will be released closer to the dates of the hearings.
“The people of the Commonwealth, for the first time, will be able to give their input on how the seats are drawn,” Thomas said. “They will be able to make their suggestions in person at a series of hearings or online. In these divisive political times when many people have lost faith in their political systems, it’s critical that we open the system as much as possible.”
Every ten years, information collected through the U.S. Census determines the number of U.S. Representatives each state is entitled based on population. Once in receipt of that data, states are responsible for redrawing the geographic area of their congressional districts to ensure equal and fair representation, and the physical manifestation of the constitutional principle, “one person, one vote.” This process is commonly referred to as redistricting.