Pennsylvania Republicans seem terrified of the impending November midterms, considering how hard they’re supporting a measure that would give the majority party in the legislature (presently held by Republicans) more power over drawing redistricting. In other words, in light of their recently-drawn maps, they miss their heavily gerrymandered districts.
Republican lawmakers on the House State Government Committee voted today for a proposal that would amend the state constitution and create a commission to redraw congressional and legislative districts every 10 years, per a report by the Associated Press.
The move is an obvious retaliation to the state Supreme Court’s decision made in January which found that the current congressional districts were unfairly drawn to ensure Republican majorities. The ruling forced Pennsylvania to redraw the map once it was deemed unconstitutional.
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Under the new measure, Republican and Democratic caucuses in the House and Senate would each pick one representative to join a redistricting committee. The move seems bipartisan, but there’s a catch: the remaining four members to make up the six-member panel would be selected by the full House and Senate.
Basically, the reigning majority would have the power to control present and all future redistricting, giving whichever party with a majority the power to draw lines to maintain, or even grow, the majority.
New maps would have to be approved by a 5-1 majority, but that won’t be difficult if five of the six members are Republican – as they are in Pennsylvania.
The vote didn’t move the amendment out of the committee, and Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R) did not indicate plans to bring the committee to vote to send the plan to the House floor.
In a show of some sensibility, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf blasted the proposal as “an affront to our democracy” and “partisan politics at its worst.” He further elaborated, “After the last few months, it should be clear that the solution to our broken redistricting system is not putting more power in the hands of partisan politicians.”
As per usual, Republicans only care about “rule of law” when it benefits them and their ability to push their heinous agenda.