One-Page Summaries of the Legislative and Congressional Redistricting Act (LACRA)

In July 2020, the Pennsylvania General Assembly went on recess without voting on bills to create an independent citizen redistricting commission in the Commonwealth, effectively preventing any change in who draws the lines before the 2021 redistricting cycle. This type of change was supported by 67% of Pennsylvanians, according to a 2019 poll by Franklin & Marshall College, and the House versions of these bills had the most co-sponsors in the current session.

As a result, the Legislative and Congressional Redistricting Act (HB22/SB222), or “LACRA,” has been introduced to codify fairness criteria, ensure that the process is transparent and open to the public, and to reduce conflicts of interest for the Chair of the Legislative Reapportionment Commission (LRC). Below are one-page summaries of key provisions of this bill:

  • Communities of Interest;
  • Minority Protections;
  • Partisan Fairness;
  • Public Input & Transparency; and
  • Responsiveness.

The first of these discusses how LACRA defines a community of interest, how it limits partisan sabotage of that term, and which communities can be split without such a provision. The second describes how LACRA would protect minority communities and ensure that they are fairly represented and how it expands upon the federal law by allowing coalition districts. The third one-pager provides a definition of partisan gerrymandering and quick explanations of partisan fairness metrics. The public input and transparency one-pager explains what the requirements are, why data transparency is important, and how LACRA would reduce conflicts for the LRC Chair. Finally, the responsiveness one-pager lays out what that criterion is, how it is measured, and why it is a good ideal in redistricting.

Pennsylvania has been home to its share of redistricting problems, but these can be remedied by LACRA. Although an independent commission would be ideal, the criteria will ensure that line-drawers follow a specific set of rules, which will limit their ability to gerrymander. Furthermore, the public input/transparency provisions will allow citizens to be actively involved in the process, using their voices to stand up for their communities and to call out any potential issues.

Page last updated:Feb 10th 2021