Pennsylvania State Capitol. Photo credit: Zack Frank/

A state representative says he plans to propose an amendment to the Pennsylvania Election Code that would create a committee to adhere to redistricting principles established by state and federal law and court precedents.

Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, said the Congressional Redistricting Commission would be established each year following the 10-year census. He stated the process of drawing congressional maps should be placed in Pennsylvanians’ hands. According to his memo, the bill is intended to ensure that “congressional districts are drawn by considering the fair and equal representation of the citizens of Pennsylvania rather than the political parties currently drawing maps.”

On Jan. 10, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in a 2-1 decision found the state’s congressional district map constitutional. Plaintiffs claimed the map was configured to favor Republicans over Democrats. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is also set to hear, after fast-tracking the case from the Commonwealth Court, a suit challenging the state’s district mapping technique on Wednesday.

On Feb. 13, candidates can begin sending out petitions to get on the primary ballot by a March 6 deadline. The primary election day is May 15, with a special election set for March 13 over the 8th District congressional seat vacated by former U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy.

— V.H. •