By State Senator Daylin Leach
As many already know, we as a state are required to redraw the lines of our legislative districts every 10 years to ensure that all of the districts have about the same population.
In today’s newspaper there were big headlines about the Pennsylvania Supreme Court throwing out the new district plan recently drawn by the Pennsylvania Redistricting Commission. The court issued an order that the new districts were unconstitutional and that an opinion stating why would be forthcoming soon. I don’t know what that opinion will say, but I can guess – since in my view, the lines drawn by the commission were a blatantly partisan gerrymander designed to ensure that the powers that be stay in control.
That said, the court did issue a preliminary order while we await the opinion. That order did a few things that residents of the 17th District should be aware of:
1. It declared the new districts unconstitutional;
2. It remanded the case back to the Redistricting Commission to draw new lines;
3. It said that since drawing and hearing challenges to the new lines will take time, the old districts, drawn in 2001, will remain in effect for the 2012 election; and
4. It extended the time for legislative candidates to circulate nominating petitions by two days.
This order means there are some changes to my district, at least temporarily. Under the plan that the court struck down, I lost East Norriton and Conshohocken. Those communities were reallocated to other Senate districts. East Norriton was given to Senator John Rafferty and Conshohocken was given to Senator Vincent Hughes.
Also under that plan, I received two new communities, specifically Whitpain Township and Ambler. I had already begun the process of reaching out to those communities to introduce myself so that they would know who now represented them.
However, under the Supreme Court order issued yesterday, the map will revert to what it used to be. So as of this morning, I will no longer represent Whitpain and Ambler, and will instead regain East Norriton and Conshohocken. Of course, that could change if there is further court action such as an intervention by a federal court.
I will continue to keep constituents informed as developments occur. In the meantime, my office is happy to provide service to any of the municipalities I have represented under either the old or the more recent, now void, plan.
I know this is confusing. But I will do all that I can to make sure people know what is happening and to make any necessary transition as smooth as possible. In the meantime, my King of Prussia office can handle any questions or concerns. Residents needing assistance should visit 601 S. Henderson Rd., Suite 208, or call 610-768-4200.
Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17