Pennsbury considers Fair District’s request

Pennsbury Township supervisors are considering a request from Fair Districts PA to support that group's efforts to end gerrymandering in Pennsylvania. But, they want to re-word a proposed resolution.

Carol Catanese, a Pennsbury resident and member of Fair Districts presented the supervisors with a proposed resolution during the board's May 17 meeting. The resolution says the township supports a change the way legislative and congressional districts are drawn.

As previously reported here, proposed bills —  HB 722 and SB 22 — would amend the state Constitution to require an independent, 11-member commission that would redraw district lines when the results of the official census call for redistricting.

Supervisors are willing to consider supporting a change but are not in favor of the specifics.

Catanese explained that the state Constitution says municipalities are not to be split by district lines unless it's absolutely necessary. Pennsbury is one of the municipalities currently split. Part of the township is in the 7th Congressional District, she said, while another part is in the 16th District.

Catanese said Kennett Square, Kennett, Pocopson and East Pikeland townships, along with Malvern and Downingtown have already signed onto the resolution and reminded the supervisors that their oath of office explicitly states that they will support both the U.S. Constitution and that of Pennsylvania.

Supervisor Aaron McIntyre said he takes his oath to support both constitutions seriously. "The Constitution's goal is not being met. The implementation of the Constitution is not being met, but I don't know if the independent commission is the best way to support the Constitution," he said.

Fellow Supervisor Scotty Scottoline echoed McIntyre's concern about the proposed commission.

McIntyre then suggested that he edit the proposed resolution to eliminate any single method of ending gerrymandering. Catanese and the other supervisors agreed. He will work on the edited version and review it again during the June Board of Supervisors' meeting.

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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