HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Time is running out for lawmakers to come up with new maps for our congressional and state legislative districts. Instead of getting closer to a consensus, more potential maps seem to be springing up every day.
The courts want congressional maps by Monday, Jan. 24. The State House passed the map last week and the Senate is expected to move that out of committee on Tuesday, Jan. 18. But it is not that clean and easy as the Senate could tweak that map prior to passing it.
Senate President Pro Temp Jake Corman shared with abc27 that they will also negotiate with Governor Tom Wolf, who just released maps he would find acceptable this past weekend.
“It was nice of the government to finally engage it’s late January and he finally showed he’s actually interested in this process,” Corman said.
Maps need to pass both chambers and be signed by the governor. Corman insists that can still happen, but when asked how likely it is that they just end up being drawn in the court, he said it is very likely.
“The fact he sent us a map that’s a start and we will spend the week hopefully negotiating with the governor and hope to get to some middle ground,” Corman added.
But, the governor has said it is not his role to negotiate a map. It is lawmakers job to produce a fair one that passes muster.
“I’m here 24 years. It’s one of the most egregious things I’ve seen for the governor to simply say I’m not going to take part in the process,” said Senator John Yudichak (I), Carbon/Luzerne County.
Senator Republicans are said to be collaborating with Senate Democrats on a map, but is that actually happening?
“This is again the age old question are we actually talking,” said Senator Maria Collett (D). Bucks/Montgomery counties.
Collett says Governor Wolf is right to demand a map that fairly represents the state’s diversity. “That we’re supporting equity in our congressional caucus and so that’s gonna be some of the push and pull when you look at the different maps available to us for voting,” Collett added.
Could the May primary be delayed if the maps don’t make the deadline? Corman says it is more likely there would push the filing date for the primary into April but will do everything they can to keep the primary on May 17.
But Republican, Democrat and Independent do all agree on one thing — despite 11th hour talks, the map is likely to be decided in the courts.
“We’re up against the clock and trying to beat that deadline. I suspect like the last time around we’re gonna see this go to the courts and Democrats have an advantage an partisan politics will play out,” Yudichak said.
Redistricting does not sneak up on anybody. It comes every ten years, but like budgets in the Capitol, it does not seem to get done until last minute.
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