A second proposed redistricting plan for Pennsylvania again pushes Summit Hill out of the 122nd voting district.
During the Carbon County commissioners' meeting on Thursday, Commissioner William O'Gurek explained, in response to a question by Paul McArdle, a teacher at Palmerton Area High School and a native of Summit Hill, that the new revised redistricting plan in Pennsylvania, which was released on April 12 by the Legislative Reapportionment Commission, does not keep Summit Hill in its current district. Rather, it again moves it into the 124th district with Schuylkill and Berks counties.
"The redistricting commission released its new boundary lines," O'Gurek said to McArdle. "If you remember the commission released the boundaries prior to the primary election and appealed to the Supreme Court. The court ruled that their method of redistricting was unconstitutional and sent it back to the commission to redraw those lines.
"I can tell you when they announced this the second time, the redistricting commission has again put Summit Hill out of the 122nd district and placed it in the 124th district," he continued. "Whether that withstands the court's approval remains to be seen, but the second submission of the redrawn lines does exactly what the first submission did."
According to a press release from the 2011 Legislative Reapportionment Commission on April 25, a public hearing regarding the new plans is scheduled for 2 p.m., on May 2, in Hearing Room 1 of the North Office Building, Harrisburg.
The hearing will gather public comment on the preliminary plan for redrawing Pennsylvania's districts. Residents can file a request to provide public comment until April 30.
The press release states, "Any citizen or organization interested in providing comments at the public hearing must submit a written request to do so. This request must include a summary of the proposed comments, the address of the individual commentator or group spokesperson, as well as a telephone number where that individual or group spokesperson can be reached during normal business hours.
"Also, if possible, there should be a telephone number where that individual or group spokesperson can be reached at other times. Individuals who have filed written exceptions to the preliminary plan, and who wish to present their exceptions at the public hearing, are asked to submit a separate written request to appear at the public hearing.
"Additionally, individuals who wish to submit an alternative plan are requested to submit a paper copy, and, if that plan is prepared using computer software, a copy of the 'shapefile' of that plan on CD or DVD," the release continues. "The request, along with the aforementioned information, must be sent to Commission Executive Director Charles E. O'Connor, Jr., Esquire, Room 104, North Office Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120, and should be received by the executive director on or before Monday, April 30."
In a press release from the commission on April 12, the date the new redistricting plan was announced, O'Connor stated that residents who have a grievance against the plan have until 5 p.m., May 14, to file exceptions in writing to O'Connor using the aforementioned details.
After the 30-day period closes, the commission will take a final vote. The plan will then be resubmitted to the Supreme Court, who will either make final approval or rejection of the plan.
The redistricting of Pennsylvania occurs every 10 years, after the census is completed in the nation.
Results from the census are used to determine how many congressional seats should be held by each state; as well as adjust the state House and Senate districts to balance the number of residents represented in each district.
In January, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court invalidated the plan redrawing the state House and Senate district lines, calling the redistricting approach "contrary to law."
The court voted 4-3 to reject the plan and send it back to the commission for more work.
For more information on the new proposed redistricting plan, visit http://www.redistricting.state.pa.us.