A controversial redistricting bill has been changed to take a proposed citizens commission and the governor out of the process of approving new political districts in Pennsylvania.
The amendment was approved along a party-line vote, 15-11.
It changes House Bill 722, which originally established an independent citizens commission which would be appointed to redraw districts apart from the Legislature.
States are required to draw new legislative districts after every Census.
Committee Chairman Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-12th, raised concerns that such a citizens commission would be unaccountable to the voters and lead to abuse.
"There is no greater citizens commission than the General Assembly of this state," he said. "I think the best way to make sure we have citizens actually being the ones redrawing, citizens who are held accountable to their fellow citizens who elect them to office and that are not just going to go away once the work is done, that they can be accountable in the future for their decisions, is to totally gut and replace this bill with the amendment that is now before us."
The amended bill creates a six-member commission, with three members from each chamber of the state Legislature. Each chamber picks one from each caucus and then votes on the third. To pass a proposed redistricting map, at least five members must vote in favor of it....