For Congressional redistricting, the dirty deed will be done by the state statute, with the blessing of the Guv. But for state house and senate seats, a five member redistricting commission, led by former Superior Court President Judge Stephen McEwen, will redraw legislative district boundaries for the next 10 years.
According to the Pa. Constitution, state legislative seats “shall be composed of compact and contiguous territory as nearly equal in population as practicable.” Moreover,“ unless absolutely necessary no county, city, incorporated town, borough, township or ward shall be divided in forming either a senatorial or representative district.”
Of course, the danger is that the real work of this commission is incumbent protection. But in an effort to be more transparent, commission members are thinking about holding hearings throughout the state. That pleases the Pocono Record. Its subscription area includes Monroe County, which is divided among five state senators.
Interestingly, the census data reveal that population has declined in western Pennsylvania. You can see it by legislative district in the spreadsheet below. While population has dipped in the West, it has skyrocketed here in the east. So if redistricting is done in a way that insures "one man, one vote," it's likely that western Pa. will lose several legislative seats.
Three of the five redistricting commission members are from Western Pa., so this is by no means a sure thing. But the new census data reveals that here in the Lehigh Valley, we might gain an additional member of the state house. Every district has experienced an increase in population. Reichley's district is up over 25%.
No wonder he wants to be a judge.
Here's the breakdown.
131: Simmons, Justin J. (R)- up 9.57%
132: Mann, Jennifer L. (D) - up 13.78%
133: Brennan, Joseph F. (D) - up 0.70%
134: Reichley, Douglas G. (R)- up 25.85%
135: Samuelson, Steve (D)- up 4.50%
136: Freeman, Robert (D) - up 6.93%
137: Emrick, Joe (R) - up 23.14%
138: Hahn, Marcia M. (R) - up 6.93%
183: Harhart, Julie (R) - up 8.44%
187: Day, Gary (R) - up 11.63%
The 24th legislative district, represented by Joe Preston and located in Allegheny County, lost the most people. It dropped a whopping 17.42% over the last ten years.
People must really hate that drink tax.
Pennsylvania Legislative Districts - Population Change