Big changes for Birmingham, Pennsbury from first plan; Pocopson to stay in 160th
By Mike McGann, Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com
HARRISBURG — Maybe the second time is the charm.
The state Legislative Redistricting Commission announced its second plan for redistricting state House and state Senate Thursday afternoon — and the new proposed districts would shift a number of area towns into new districts.
The first version of the LRC’s map was thrown out earlier this year by the state Supreme Court, which ruled too many municipalities had been split and a more equitable map could have easily been created (one of the parties to the suit challenging the district plan, Amanda Holt, had created her own plan that did not split any municipalities).
While the state Senate plan is fairly similar to the plan presented earlier this year, the state house district plan is greatly different from both the current house districts as well as the first proposed plans.
The big changes: Birmingham would join the 156th District which serves the greater West Chester area currently represented by Dan Truitt, while Pennsbury, Kennett Township and Kennett Square move into the 160th District currently represented by Steve Barrar. Pocopson, which had been slated to move back to the 158th District, now stays in the 160th. East Marlborough, Newlin and West Marlborough would remain in the 158th District currently represented by Chris Ross.
The senate plan offers few changes. The southern portion of Chester County remains split between the 9th and 19th Senate Districts, as they were in plan presented earlier this year. Among local towns, only Newlin, which moves from Andy Dinniman’s 19th to Dominic Pileggi’s 9th and New Garden, which makes the opposite swap are new in the immediate area.
County wide, Chester County would now have nine seats, including the new 74th District in the greater Coatesville area. West Chester is no longer split between districts — in fact there are just two municipalities with a split in the house plan Phoenixville, which would be split between the 155th and 167th districts and West Goshen, split between the 158th and 156th.
In terms of state Senate seats, Chester County would continue to have four: in addition to the 9th and 19th, the 44th, currently held by John Rafferty would continue to represent much of the northwest portion of the county, while the 26th, currently held by Ted Erickson, would cover a small portion of the northeast part of the county.
The new districts will not take effect until the 2014 legislative elections and will likely face another round of legal challenges.