Last week, the Pittsburgh City Council passed a resolution calling on the Pennsylvania General Assembly to end the manipulation of congressional districts and state legislative districts for political advantage. The Council called on legislators to end gerrymandering by passing SB 484, a General Assembly bill that would create an 11-person commission of Pennsylvanians with no personal stake in the redistricting process and task them with drawing congressional and General Assembly districts based on objective criteria. The commission would be prohibited from drawing districts to benefit one political candidate or party and must conduct all of its business in public.
Pennsylvania is considered to have some of the most unfairly drawn districts in the country. This would end the conflict of interest allowing legislators to work behind closed doors to draw their own districts or districts in which they may soon hope to run.
After stating in its resolution that “only a truly independent commission composed of a politically diverse group of qualified members of the voting public, chosen to assure the fairness of the redistricting process, should be able to define congressional and legislative districts,” the Pittsburgh City Council declared the following:
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh believes that our current system of districting has the potential to diminish meaningful choice during elections, diminish the accountability of elected officials to the voters, and jeopardize the democratic process as it leaves districting to partisan legislators instead of a diverse and representative sample of the people of The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh calls upon the Members of the Pennsylvania Senate and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to vote for passage of Senate Bill 484 to amend the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and to do so in a timely manner so as to enable the amendment to be in full force for the 2021 redistricting of the Commonwealth’s congressional and legislative districts.