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Federal judge blocks AZ law that 'disenfranchised' Native voters; government shutdown could cost U.S. travel economy about $1 Billion per week; WA group brings 'Alternatives to Violence' to secondary students.

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Senator Robert Menendez offers explanations on the money found in his home, non-partisan groups urge Congress to avert a government shutdown and a Nevada organization works to build Latino political engagement.

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An Indigenous project in South Dakota seeks to protect tribal data sovereignty, advocates in North Carolina are pushing back against attacks on public schools, and Arkansas wants the hungriest to have access to more fruits and veggies.

PA Judge Recommends Adopting GOP-Supported Congressional Map

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Thursday, February 10, 2022   

A Pennsylvania judge is recommending the state Supreme Court adopt a congressional redistricting map vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf after passage by the General Assembly.

Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough was appointed by the state's highest court as "special master" to recommend a congressional map. In a 228-page report, she said the General Assembly's map, which slightly favors Republicans, "constitutes a profound depiction of what the voters in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania desire" because it was passed by the state Legislature.

Carol Kuniholm, chair of Fair Districts PA, countered giving one party an advantage is not fair mapmaking criteria.

"It's sad to see one party say that we need a tilted playing field, and we demand it, and we have it by right," Kuniholm asserted. "That's just inappropriate. We need a level playing field so that the voice of the people wins when the elections take place."

Petitioners in a January case asking the top court to intervene in congressional redistricting have until next Monday to respond to McCullough's decision before a Feb. 18 hearing.

Rep. Seth Grove, R-York, introduced the General Assembly-approved map and said he applauds McCullough "for recognizing the nonpartisanship of the map and the fact it adheres to all requirements to make a fair map."

The Legislative Reapportionment Commission (LRC) approved state House and Senate maps last week.

Kuniholm pointed out because of map changes, 2022 will be one of the most important midterms in decades.

"It's a really interesting opportunity for folks who feel shut out to look for candidates that would reflect them well," Kuniholm contended. "To really engage in seeing new candidates and working to have a Legislature that reflects us better, that listens, and accomplishes what the people of Pennsylvania want."

Under the new map, there are so far 25 House districts and 1 Senate district with no incumbents, with some of them explicitly drawn to give minority communities a chance to elect a representative of their choice. Residents have 30 days from Friday's vote to submit legal challenges to the LRC-approved map.

Disclosure: Fair Districts PA contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Civic Engagement, and Community Issues and Volunteering. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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