Open Seat 48th E-Newsletter

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Week of February 19, 2018

On February 9, 2018, Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati and Speaker of the House Mike Turzai submitted a new PA Congressional District Map to Governor Tom Wolf that attempted to comply with the PA Supreme Court majority opinion, which itself was only received two days prior.  The revised map seeks to:

  • Minimize split counties and county segments and the number of split political subdivisions.
  • Provide compact contiguous districts.
  • Include only 15 split counties (13 less than the 2011 Plan).
  • Include only 17 split municipalities (49 less than the 2011 Plan).
  • Limit population equality splits to only one precinct per municipality for a total of 17 (a reduction from the 27 precincts split in the 2002 map and the 26 precincts split in the 2011 Plan).
  • Comply with federal law with respect to population deviations so no district is over or underpopulated by more than one person.
  • Comply with the Voting Rights Act.
  • Avoid pairing any incumbent member of Congress seeking re-election in 2018 with any other incumbent member of Congress (an admittedly minor principle as outlined in the Court’s order).
  • Avoid confusion among the general public by retaining 68.8% of people in existing districts so as to reduce voter confusion.

On February 13, 2018, Governor Wolf informed the PA Supreme Court he would not accept this proposed map.  In a response to Governor Wolf the same day he rejected the proposed map, Speaker of the House Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Scarnati questioned the reasoning behind the Governor’s decision.

“You have had an expert engaged for over a month.  You did a listening tour.  It’s time that you produced a map for the public to review in a transparent fashion.  Produce your map and we will put it up for a vote.  We will assess how logical it is, how compact it is, and whether it unduly splits counties, municipalities and communities of interest.”

Speaker of the House Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati

An agreement on a map between the Legislature and Governor was not reached by the February 15, 2018 deadline.  If the Court redraws the map, it is likely to be challenged in Federal Court as Article I, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution states, “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of choosing Senators.”

Art of the State Call for Entries

Art of the State: Pennsylvania, open to PA artists and craftspeople, is an annual juried exhibition held at The State Museum of PA.  With an established tradition of exhibiting highly creative art chosen by a distinguished panel of jurors, Art of the State provides an opportunity for both established and emerging PA artists to exhibit their work and receive statewide recognition.

Co-presented by Jump Street and The State Museum of PA, the 51st annual Art of the State: Pennsylvania will award cash prizes for selected entries in the categories of:  painting, work on paper, photography, and digital arts, sculpture and craft.  The entry fee is $30 for up to three pieces of art.  Additional entries are $10 each, plus the $30 entry fee.  Final date to submit entries is February 28, 2018.

SARAA to Receive PennDOT Multimodal Transportation Grant

The Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority (SARAA) is set to receive $482,548 in grant funding through PennDOT’s Multimodal Transportation Fund to be used for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Airport Drive, the exclusive connector road between Route 3032 (Airport Connector) and the Ann Street Bridge at Route 230.

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