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Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejects bid to use old legislative districts until '24

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that it will not await a lower court decision about the future of the state's congressional map and will instead take over the case.
Kent M. Wilhelm
Spotlight PA
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court building.

Pennsylvania's highest court on Friday rejected a bid by a top state Republican lawmaker to use the existing boundaries of legislative districts in this year's election, instead of new boundaries redrawn as part of a once-a-decade adjustment for demographic shifts.

The state Supreme Court denied the request by House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre, in a one-sentence unsigned order.

The next legislative election after this year is in 2024.

Still, a 30-day timeline remains ongoing for the court to receive challenges to new district boundaries approved for this year's election by the five-member Legislative Reapportionment Commission.

Those objecting to the commission’s approved boundaries have until March 7 to file an appeal and briefs. So far Benninghoff and a group of Butler County residents have filed such appeals.

Officials in Gov. Tom Wolf's administration had argued that it is premature for the court to order the use of the old boundaries in this year's elections, in part because the court has not even ruled on challenges to the boundaries approved by the Legislative Reapportionment Commission.

Wolf administration officials argued that new district boundaries can still be approved by the court in time to avoid delaying the May 17 primary election.

Benninghoff was the lone “no” vote in the commission's 4-1 vote on Feb. 4 to adopt new district boundaries for both the state House and Senate.

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