Gerrymandering

Courtesy of ReelAbilities Pittsburgh

On today's program: Gov. Tom Wolf hopes his recent executive orders lead to chamber-debated legislation; a reform commission suggests creating a new team to redraw PA's congressional map in 2020; Pittsburgh's Shakespeare in the Park presents a brand new take on the story of Caesar; and a film festival spotlights the work and stories of people with different abilities. 

Courtesty of P3R

On today’s program: A new look, leader and vision for the group behind Pittsburgh's marathon; Kitchen of Grace provides a place for teens to gain tools for future employment; landowners go up against energy companies in Ohio; questions in Harrisburg over a tax break for those who give scholarships to private schools; and the Supreme Court wraps up its term with a series of tight rulings.

Creating A Fairer Map: Redistricting Reform Panel Kicks Off Public Input Tour

Apr 5, 2019
Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania will redraw its congressional and legislative districts after the 2020 census - and there's a renewed push to change the rules before that happens.

Courtesy of Sojourner House

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court made a controversial decision in December, ruling that women who use drugs during pregnancy are not guilty of child abuse. The case involved a woman who gave birth to a child with neo-natal abstinence syndrome, which occurs when a baby is withdrawing from drugs they were exposed to in the womb.

PA Citizens 'Slay The Gerrymander' In Congressional Mapping Competition

Feb 18, 2019
Photo courtesy of Draw the Lines PA

Jacob Kaminski, a 21-year-old senior at Penn State University, knew little about gerrymandering before this fall.

But when he learned about the partisan manipulation that shaped Pennsylvania’s old congressional map — with counties and boroughs split to serve political interests — it made him feel that something had to be done.

Analysis: PA Dems May Have Made Gains Under Old Congressional Map

Feb 4, 2019
Keith Srakocic / AP

A PA Post/Keystone Crossroads analysis of 2018 midterm election results calls into question the idea that Pennsylvania's previous congressional map was a "voter proof" gerrymander in favor of Republicans.

Matt Rourke / AP

The 2018 elections brought historic wins for Democrats nationally, as they seized control of the House of Representatives. But in Pennsylvania, Democrats saw more modest gains at the state legislative level, where their challenge is a tale summed up by two Senate districts.

NASA/JPL-Caltech / NASA.gov

Mars, Pennsylvania wasn't named after the Red Planet, but it's fully embracing those celestial connections. 

Election Shows How Gerrymandering Is Difficult To Overcome

Nov 18, 2018
Keith Srakocic / AP

With an election looming, courts earlier this year declared congressional districts in two states to be unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. One map was redrawn. The other was not.

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Another GOP Appeal Over Changes To Congressional Map

Oct 30, 2018
Pennsylvania Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to consider another appeal by Republican state lawmakers over this year’s changes to Pennsylvania’s congressional district map.

With the way the old districts were drawn in 2011, Republicans had such a substantial advantage that they captured nearly three-quarters of the state’s congressional delegation with a far smaller share of statewide votes – in some years, fewer than half.

These lopsided results ultimately prompted lawsuits in 2017.

Richard Drew / AP

 

National attention surrounding the President Trump's involvement in the Russia investigation often overshadows important work the FBI does every day, says Robert Jones, the newest head of Pittsburgh’s FBI office.

Redistricting Battles Already Playing Out In 2018 Midterms

Sep 5, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

The task of drawing new boundaries for thousands of federal and state legislative districts is still about three years away, yet the political battle over redistricting already is playing out in this year's midterm elections.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

After a year of campaigning and months of legislative debate, it’s likely too late for state lawmakers to pass a constitutional amendment overhauling Pennsylvania’s redistricting process before the next map-redrawing gets underway in 2021.

So now, reform advocates are exploring alternative options.

Critics of the map-drawing methods for congressional and state legislative districts have spent months insisting state lawmakers have too much power over the process—and saying that leads to political gerrymandering and incumbent protection.  

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Earlier this week, Peoples Natural Gas announced that it would partner with the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to provide clean water to Pittsburgh, and unveiled a model for a state-of-the-art water treatment facility to be situated on riverfront property in O'Hara Township.

Katie Meyer / WESA/WITF

A group of frustrated activists spent Tuesday afternoon holding a sit-in at the reception room outside Governor Tom Wolf's office, trying to convince him to call a special legislative session to overhaul Pennsylvania's redistricting process.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

An anti-gerrymandering advocacy group wants Gov. Tom Wolf to call a special session urging lawmakers to pass a resolution to amend the state constitution and create a citizens' redistricting commission.

The group, March On Harrisburg, said Tuesday that it's delivering a letter to the Democratic governor. Wolf's office had no immediate comment. Lawmakers left the Capitol on Monday, with no plans to return this summer.

Left undone is a resolution to create a citizens' commission that's designed to draw legislative and congressional boundaries free of political interference.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Efforts to overhaul the state’s redistricting process are faltering.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Republican lawmakers from Pennsylvania are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to again consider the legality of new congressional district boundaries imposed earlier this year by the state's highest court in a gerrymandering case.

Republicans Move To Remake Court After Gerrymandering Case

Jun 18, 2018
Keith Srakocic / AP

After the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's Democratic majority threw out the Republican-drawn map of congressional districts as an unconstitutional gerrymander, Republicans raised talk of impeaching Democratic justices.

Matt Rourke / AP

When Senators passed a proposal this week aimed at creating a citizen’s commission to draw Pennsylvania’s congressional maps, they tacked on an amendment that would fundamentally change the state’s appellate courts by electing judges based on regional district, instead of statewide.

It’s not a unique concept for state courts to be arranged that way.

However, Pennsylvania’s specific form of judicial election-by-district is significantly less common than supporters have indicated.

Katie Meyer / WITF

When Senators passed a proposal  this week aimed at creating a citizen's commission to draw Pennsylvania's congressional maps, they tacked on an amendment  that would fundamentally change the state's appellate courts by electing judges based on regional district, instead of statewide.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Several advocacy groups are pulling their support for a redistricting bill making its way through the state legislature. On Tuesday, Republicans in the state Senate added an amendment to Senate Bill 22 that would transform the way state judges are elected in Pennsylvania.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Few concrete details are leaking out of Senate lawmakers’ feverish negotiations on a sweeping bill to overhaul the commonwealth’s redistricting process.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

After more than a year of on-and-off negotiation, the state Senate has moved a congressional redistricting overhaul to the floor of the full chamber.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

On Tuesday, a state House bill that would overhaul congressional map-drawing was assigned to an unusual committee—circumventing a different panel where such proposals have repeatedly been struck down.

It’s the latest in a series of spasms toward changing Pennsylvania’s oft-disparaged redistricting process.

But lawmakers are quickly running out of time to close the deal.

The new bill is the brainchild of Dave Reed—the GOP majority leader who is departing the House at the end of this year.

June Is Final Frontier For Pennsylvania Redistricting Bill

Jun 4, 2018
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

An issue that, for years, had little oxygen keeping it alive could become the talk of Pennsylvania's Capitol during June's long, humid days of budget-making.

Some top Republican lawmakers have joined an effort to overhaul how Pennsylvania draws its legislative and U.S. House district boundaries, now that the state's highest court dealt those same Republican lawmakers a stinging loss in a congressional gerrymandering case that made national headlines.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Activists in other states are looking to Pennsylvania’s redistricting case as they attempt to get their own congressional districts overturned.

In particular, lawyers involved in an Ohio case say their situation has a lot in common with the one in the commonwealth.

The Ohio lawsuit differs from Pennsylvania’s in that it’s a federal matter, not a state one.

But attorney Freda Levenson, with the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, said a lot of the principles underlying the situations are the same—and that means the successful PA suit is a learning opportunity.

PA Lawmakers Advance Redistricting Reforms As June Deadline Looms

May 23, 2018
Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania lawmakers have advanced a bill that would change the state’s constitution to put its congressional district map in the hands of a citizen commission, one whose 11 members would be chosen by elected officials.

Mary Wilson / WITF

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati is throwing his weight behind a few measures that have, of late, been more commonly championed by Democrats.

The top Republican official, of Cameron County, said in a wide-ranging speech Monday that he wants to see the redistricting process overhauled, and also switch the commonwealth to open primaries.

Scarnati made it clear, his anger over the state Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate and redraw Pennsylvania’s congressional map hasn’t abated.

Joseph Kaczmarek / AP

Days before Pennsylvania’s primary election, about 25 Democrats gathered for a meeting a few blocks away from the border of two recently reshaped congressional districts in North Philadelphia.

On a table with campaign literature, flyers that said, “re-elect Congressman Dwight Evans” were neatly tucked away and replaced with others that support Congressman Brendan Boyle.

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