For Immediate Release
Senate Bill 22 Only a Half Measure to Fix Gerrymandering
Statement of Micah Sims, Common Cause Pennsylvania Executive Director
WASHINGTON - On Tuesday, May 22nd the Senate State Government Committee took a small step in the right direction toward fixing our broken redistricting process, but there is much more work to be done. Committee Chairs Mike Folmer, Anthony Williams and their colleagues responded to the outcry of Senator Lisa Boscola, concerned citizens, and reformers to fix the dysfunctional way Pennsylvania handles the drawing of congressional and legislative districts.
While it was refreshing to see elected officials responding to concerns instead of ignoring them, their measure needs to go further. The amended bill brings transparency, citizen involvement, public testimony, and safeguards to ensure a fair process. However, there are also significant shortcomings. For example, the bill allows a wide range of political insiders to serve on the commission and lacks language requiring that the commission is representative of Pennsylvania’s diversity. This constitutional amendment could be the law of the land for decades, so the time to make these essential improvements is now.
Common Cause Pennsylvania will continue to work, as we have for the past thirty years, for a constitutional amendment that will reform redistricting and eliminate partisan gerrymandering. We believe the best answer is the formation of an independent citizens redistricting commission, not an appointed commission in which legislators handpick members. As this bill proceeds, Common Cause will monitor and alert citizens if this legislation fails to meet the standards of fairness and transparency that the public demands. We must continue to dialogue and work for the right solution. It’s not time to celebrate or take a victory lap, but time to work even harder.
Lastly, Common Cause Pennsylvania is asking our governor, state elected officials, reform organizations and grassroots movements to continue to work together to develop an historical redistricting amendment.
To view this statement online, click here.
This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.
Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.