Northeast Times

NE loses 169th House District in court decision on legislative districts

The 169th Dis­trict moves to York County. The North­east will be rep­res­en­ted in the state Sen­ate by the 2nd and 5th dis­tricts.

The Pennsylvania Su­preme Court last week voted un­an­im­ously to ap­prove new state le­gis­lat­ive maps that re­con­fig­ure many state Sen­ate and House dis­tricts.

Un­der the new plan, the North­east will be rep­res­en­ted in the Sen­ate by the 2nd and 5th dis­tricts.

The 3rd Sen­at­ori­al Dis­trict, rep­res­en­ted by Demo­crat Shir­ley Kit­chen, loses all of its di­vi­sions in the North­east. The cur­rent dis­trict in­cludes Sum­mer­dale, Lawndale, Fox Chase and Bustleton.

The 5th Sen­at­ori­al Dis­trict, rep­res­en­ted by Demo­crat Mike Stack, who is ex­pec­ted to run for gov­ernor next year, will gen­er­ally in­clude the river­front, the Far North­east, Castor Gar­dens, Rhawn­hurst, Bustleton and Somer­ton.

The 2nd Sen­at­ori­al Dis­trict, rep­res­en­ted by Demo­crat Tina Tartagli­one, will largely con­sist of Kens­ing­ton, Ju­ni­ata, Frank­ford, North­wood, Sum­mer­dale, Ox­ford Circle, Wissi­nom­ing, Lawndale, Burholme, West May­fair, Fox Chase and Holmes­burg.

Tartagli­one is ex­pec­ted to face a very dif­fi­cult primary chal­lenge in 2014.

In the House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives, there will be nine dis­tricts based in part or whole in the North­east.

The Su­preme Court’s de­cision came 11 months after the Le­gis­lat­ive Re­ap­por­tion­ment Com­mis­sion passed a plan for state Sen­ate and House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives dis­tricts.

Every 10 years, fol­low­ing the re­lease of census data, a com­mis­sion draws maps for all 50 Sen­ate and 203 House dis­tricts. The com­mis­sion tries to make each dis­trict have an equal num­ber of people. Due to pop­u­la­tion shifts, some dis­tricts are moved to oth­er parts of the state.

The drama star­ted in late 2011, when the com­mis­sion re­leased pre­lim­in­ary and fi­nal plans. In late Janu­ary 2012, the Su­preme Court re­jec­ted the fi­nal plan on con­sti­tu­tion­al grounds, rul­ing that it un­fairly split cit­ies, town­ships and bor­oughs.

The com­mis­sion un­veiled new maps in April 2012 and then con­sidered sug­ges­tions from the pub­lic. Changes were made to that map, and com­mis­sion mem­bers voted 4-1 in fa­vor of the plan.

Those vot­ing in fa­vor were chair­man Steph­en J. McEwen Jr., former pres­id­ent judge of Su­per­i­or Court; Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Domin­ic Pi­leggi, a Re­pub­lic­an; House Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Mike Turzai, a Re­pub­lic­an; and House Minor­ity Lead­er Frank Dermody, a Demo­crat.

Only Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Jay Costa, a Demo­crat, voted against it.

Leg­al chal­lenges were made, but the Su­preme Court ruled last week that the plan was con­sti­tu­tion­al.

In the House, the 152nd dis­trict, rep­res­en­ted by Re­pub­lic­an Tom Murt, will in­clude sev­en di­vi­sions in the Bustleton por­tion of the 63rd Ward.

The 154th dis­trict, rep­res­en­ted by fresh­man Demo­crat Steve Mc­Carter, will no longer have one di­vi­sion in Burholme.

The 169th dis­trict, rep­res­en­ted by Demo­crat Ed Neilson, will be moved to a fast-grow­ing area of York County.

Neilson’s home is now loc­ated in the 174th dis­trict, and he could square off with fel­low Demo­crat­ic Rep. John Sabat­ina Jr. in a primary next spring.

The 170th dis­trict, rep­res­en­ted by Demo­crat Brendan Boyle, will con­sist of the Far North­east neigh­bor­hoods in the 58th and 66th wards. Boyle will be run­ning for Con­gress next year. As­sum­ing he does not sim­ul­tan­eously run for re-elec­tion, Re­pub­lic­ans might have a shot at win­ning the seat.

The 172nd dis­trict, rep­res­en­ted by Demo­crat Kev­in Boyle, will move out to Rockledge and also in­clude new areas of Castor Gar­dens, Burholme, Rhawn­hurst and Bustleton.

The 173rd dis­trict, rep­res­en­ted by Demo­crat Mike McGee­han and based in Ta­cony and Holmes­burg, moves north to in­clude 15 di­vi­sions in the Far North­east-based 66th Ward.

The 174th dis­trict, rep­res­en­ted by Demo­crat John Sabat­ina Jr., loses the en­tire Castor Gar­dens-based 54th Ward and gains areas of Pennypack Woods, Academy Gar­dens, Tor­res­dale and the Far North­east.

The 177th dis­trict, rep­res­en­ted by Re­pub­lic­an John Taylor, moves north. It loses Ju­ni­ata Park and gains GOP-friendly ter­rit­ory in West May­fair, Holmes­burg and Lex­ing­ton Park.

The 179th dis­trict, rep­res­en­ted by Demo­crat James Clay, moves north to in­clude Sum­mer­dale and more of Wissi­nom­ing and Ox­ford Circle.

The 202nd dis­trict, rep­res­en­ted since 1974 by Demo­crat Mark Co­hen, loses its areas of Ol­ney, Lo­gan and West Oak Lane. It is now more com­pact, con­sist­ing largely of areas west of Roosevelt Boulevard and south of Cottman Av­en­ue, but also tak­ing in a dozen di­vi­sions in the 62nd Ward in Wissi­nom­ing, Lower May­fair and Frank­ford.

The 203rd dis­trict, rep­res­en­ted by Demo­crat Dwight Evans, will in­clude areas of Cres­centville, Lawndale and Ox­ford Circle. ••

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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