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Legislative Leaders Seek Applicants Interested in Chairing Redistricting Commission

HARRISBURG – The four caucus floor leaders – Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-9), House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-28), Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-43), and House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody (D-33) – today announced that they are seeking applications from individuals interested in serving as the chair of the 2011 Legislative Reapportionment Commission (LRC).

The LRC is a five-member panel responsible for redrawing the boundaries for state Senate and state House districts. Article II, Section 17, of the state constitution names the four caucus floor leaders as members of the Commission. They are to choose a fifth member, who serves as chair of the LRC.

The constitution requires that the chair of the LRC be a citizen of Pennsylvania who does not hold a local, state or federal office to which compensation is attached.

“Redistricting is a once-a-decade exercise, and among the most important issues we will address in 2011. One of my goals is for this to be the most open and transparent redistricting process in the history of Pennsylvania,” said Sen. Pileggi. “A public search for someone to chair the Commission is the best first step in making that happen.”

“To ensure each Pennsylvanian is fairly represented in the Legislature, we will have a very public process,” said Rep. Turzai. “In fact, fairness, efficiency and openness will be our guiding principles. I certainly hope people follow our progress and participate through the public hearings, our forthcoming website or writing us personally.”

“Reapportionment is a painstaking and incredibly important process in which all Pennsylvanians need to be included,” said Sen. Costa. “Balance and transparency need to be the over-riding principles which guide that process, and I look forward to getting started by opening that process to qualified applicants who want to participate as a member of the commission.”

“The determination of fair districts of equal population will take months, but it begins with the selection of a fifth member to chair the LRC,” said Rep. Dermody. “It is a huge responsibility and I hope that many interested people will ask for consideration.”

The floor leaders, who will be officially certified as members of the LRC in February, said they expect to hold one or more public hearings to interview applicants.

State legislative districts must be redrawn to reflect population changes over the past decade as measured by the federal census. Each Senate district and each House district must conform to the one person, one vote standard established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1964 (Reynolds v. Sims).

Interested individuals must be willing to serve, uninterrupted, for the entire timeframe required for the Commission to complete its work, approximately early April through November. Although serving as chair of the LRC is not necessarily a full-time commitment, it does require a significant investment of time. Historically, the chair of the LRC has been provided with a small staff for the duration of the Commission’s work.

Previous LRC chairs include retired Supreme Court Justice Frank J. Montemuro, Jr., in 2001, attorney Robert J. Cindrich in 1991, James O. Freedman, Dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1981, and Professor A. Leo Levin of the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1971.

Applicants should send a resumé or curriculum vitae, along with a letter explaining their qualifications to serve as chair of the Commission and their reasons for being interested in the position, to:

Legislative Reapportionment Commission
c/o Kathy Sullivan, Executive Director
Legislative Data Processing Center
G-27 North Office Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120

Submissions can also be sent via email to redistricting@palegislature.us. Applications must be received no later than February 18.

The leaders indicated that, in addition to those who apply via this process, other qualified individuals may also be considered to chair the Commission. If the floor leaders do not reach agreement on an individual to serve as chair of the LRC, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will make the appointment.

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CONTACT (Sen. Pileggi): Erik Arneson, earneson@pasen.gov, (717) 787-4712CONTACT (Rep. Turzai): Steve Miskin, smiskin@pahousegop.com, (717) 705-1852
CONTACT (Sen. Costa): Lisa Scullin, lscullin@pasenate.com, (717) 787-7683
CONTACT (Rep. Dermody): Bill Patton, bpatton@pahouse.net, (717) 787-3566

January 20th, 2011 | Posted in Front Page Stories | No Comments