Fair Districts PA - Philadelphia

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Fair Districts PA - Philadelphia Fair Districts PA is a nonpartisan statewide campaign to end gerrymandering through legislation to r
(3)

Here's some interesting research on the effects of  . It supports what we've been saying for years: by creating safe sea...
26/12/2023

Here's some interesting research on the effects of . It supports what we've been saying for years: by creating safe seats for politicians (safe, warm seats, often lined with $$$$), gerrymandering reduces the need for our elected representatives to pay any attention to us.
No wonder they won't pass bills supported by a huge majority of the public. Our representatives don't actually represent us. They represent a small faction composed largely of extremists and big donors.

Harvard researchers found tactic, widely used in 2020, made little difference in partisan numbers but yielded safe seats, less-responsive representatives.

PA continues to lose population. Does the dysfunction in our state government contribute to that?
23/12/2023

PA continues to lose population. Does the dysfunction in our state government contribute to that?

Population decline points to third straight loss of Congressional seat

Here's a roundup of   lawsuits across the USA.The bitter arguments continue. In PA we hope to eliminate some of them by ...
21/12/2023

Here's a roundup of lawsuits across the USA.

The bitter arguments continue. In PA we hope to eliminate some of them by establishing a truly independent commission.

Several lawsuits remain pending as state courts consider partisan gerrymandering challenges to voting maps.

As litigation continues in key states, it's worth reviewing the 2023 Common Cause   report card. States with low grades ...
20/12/2023

As litigation continues in key states, it's worth reviewing the 2023 Common Cause report card. States with low grades are most likely to suffer continuing lawsuits. Do citizens enjoy this? Not likely.

Let's pay attention, then, to this important finding: Not all redistricting commissions are created equal. Some state commissions include elected officials or give them a say in selecting commissioners or approving final maps. Not surprisingly, these commissions are far more likely to suffer from partisan deadlock or produce maps that ignore public input. It's pretty simple: Allow partisan participation and you get a partisan outcome.

That's why FDPA is working toward a genuinely INDEPENDENT PA redistricting commission. Not fake independence, but real.

https://www.commoncause.org/resource/charge-report-community-redistricting-report-card/

Have you signed and shared our petition? It's here:
https://tinyurl.com/FairDistrictsPAPetition

CHARGE, the Coalition Hub for Advancing Redistricting & Grassroots Engagement, is a space for groups that organize people in the states and in local communities. CHARGE is composed of organizations that have presence in different states and that deploy different organizing strategies while uniting a...

"Dominated by deadlock," the article says. Yep, that characterized the PA legislature for almost all of 2023. It was a r...
19/12/2023

"Dominated by deadlock," the article says. Yep, that characterized the PA legislature for almost all of 2023. It was a result of hyperpartisanship as well as holdover effects of past gerrymandering.

At the end of the year, there was a terrific flurry of activity to get the very late budget finalized. Should we see this as a glass half-full (they finally got something done) or half-empty (they took far too long, caused financial hardships, and ultimately left some important work undone)?

Whichever way you see it, it's clear that reform is still needed.

In 2023, the PA General Assembly got off to a slow start, weathered a long budget impasse, and saw deep partisan divides. They say 2024 may improve.

For those trying to understand the PA budget process: the budget bill signed into law by Governor Shapiro on August 3 ap...
15/12/2023

For those trying to understand the PA budget process: the budget bill signed into law by Governor Shapiro on August 3 apparently has no force of law.

The $100 million in Level Up funds for PA's 100 most underfunded school districts, included in that budget bill, vanished completely from education code bills.

If there's a more erratic, secretive, convoluted state budget process anywhere else in the country, we'd be interested to hear about it.

For the sake of school districts, counties and municipalities, PA universities and community colleges and all the other entities dependent on state funding, there has to be a better way to get a timely budget done.

On Wednesday night, Governor Shapiro finallysigned the last pieces of the 2023 state budget.

On the Whole-Home Repairs Program, bipartisan and extremely popular:"David Thomas, president and CEO of the Philadelphia...
11/12/2023

On the Whole-Home Repairs Program, bipartisan and extremely popular:

"David Thomas, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Housing Development Corp., said he was 'totally enthusiastic' about the state funding, but 'totally blindsided' by some of the accompanying regulations."

The program's funding also hasn't been renewed.

Why aren't we surprised?

An additional $50 million for the program is held up by Pennsylvania's budget impasse.

Wonder why politics is so crazy?Join the HYVE minds (PA voters 35 or under) when they meet online on December 13, 7 p.m....
10/12/2023

Wonder why politics is so crazy?

Join the HYVE minds (PA voters 35 or under) when they meet online on December 13, 7 p.m., with Representative Alec Ryncavage. He'll share his experiences as a very young legislator in Harrisburg.

Register for the zoom link here: https://ow.ly/pG8S50Qgvtc

Are you a young(ish) voter in PA?Looking for a way to get involved without the nastiness of partisan politics?Check out ...
08/12/2023

Are you a young(ish) voter in PA?

Looking for a way to get involved without the nastiness of partisan politics?

Check out HYVE, an online series of conversations with voters 35 and under. The 12/13 meet-up features the youngest state rep in PA.

To sign up, go to https://actionnetwork.org/forms/hyve-hey-young-voters-engage

This article by ABC News provides updates on states still embroiled in redistricting litigation.Why is this important? I...
06/12/2023

This article by ABC News provides updates on states still embroiled in redistricting litigation.

Why is this important? In multiple states, legislative leaders are ignoring court orders and constitutional requirements in an effort to keep their own party in power.

Done well, redistricting creates maps that encourage voter engagement and ensure real representation.

Done in a biased way, to consolidate one party's power or safeguard incumbents, redistricting produces maps that stifle electoral participation and subvert the will of the people. Over time, too, biased district maps increase the hyperpartisanship that keeps our legislature from addressing crucial matters.

We are committed to . The more you know, the more you realize this is essential for our democracy.

APPLENEWS - STORY ADDWhich states could get new congressional maps in 2024? An updating tracker of developments in midcycle redistricting.ByGeoffrey SkelleyandNathaniel RakichLast Updated: November 27, 2023, 6:38 PM ETLinkShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleABC News Photo Illustration...

"The approaching end of 2023 will close a remarkably unproductive chapter in the history of the Pennsylvania Legislature...
04/12/2023

"The approaching end of 2023 will close a remarkably unproductive chapter in the history of the Pennsylvania Legislature."

"Unproductive" is a euphemism for costing a lot of taxpayer money and accomplishing zilch.

The main culprit? "Raw partisanship, the likes of which I've not seen in Harrisburg for a long time."



Relatively few bills have made it through both chambers and to the new governor's desk in 2023.

Check out our upcoming HYVE gathering for young voters:https://www.facebook.com/events/1407272053467468/Alec Ryncavage i...
02/12/2023

Check out our upcoming HYVE gathering for young voters:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1407272053467468/

Alec Ryncavage is the youngest state rep in the PA legislature. What can he tell us about ways for young people to get involved?

The Penn Capital Star reports that "PA Lawmakers in Both Chambers Lament Lack of Consensus."No kidding! Citizens are wel...
01/12/2023

The Penn Capital Star reports that "PA Lawmakers in Both Chambers Lament Lack of Consensus."

No kidding! Citizens are well aware that issues we care about have been stalled for years because too many legislators are more interested in partisan arguments than in doing their jobs.

In fact, PA ranks at the bottom of US legislatures for productiveness. We don't accept silly, obstinate behavior from children -- why do we put up with it from elected officials?

https://www.penncapital-star.com/government-politics/stranded-legislation-pa-lawmakers-in-both-chambers-lament-lack-of-consensus/

In the majority for the first time in 12 years, House Democrats passed longtime priorities, only to see them languish in the Senate.

This article from Spotlight PA details some consequences of PA's continued budget impasse. Preschools, libraries, and co...
30/11/2023

This article from Spotlight PA details some consequences of PA's continued budget impasse. Preschools, libraries, and community colleges are all suffering.

From a library director: “In your home, say your parents are fighting with each other. That doesn't mean that they can stop paying the bills. They still need to make it happen.”

Conclusion: The PA legislature is less reasonable than warring spouses. Unfortunately, no divorce can be granted. It's up to PA voters to MAKE these partisan belligerents do their job.

https://www.spotlightpa.org/news/2023/11/pennsylvania-budget-2023-impasse-library-community-college-funding/

PA lawmakers have struggled to finish the code bills that direct some state spending. Amid this budget impasse, key nonprofits are missing funding.

Key points in the Redistricting Report Card from Common Cause:- Yes, independent commissions WORK!- But they must live u...
27/11/2023

Key points in the Redistricting Report Card from Common Cause:

- Yes, independent commissions WORK!
- But they must live up to the name. They must be "completely independent of legislators."

Our problem is convincing our legislature to give up control. Not surprisingly, the PA legislature has lots of people who like power. We have to keep pressing them to surrender this particular bit of authority.

Luckily, there are many legislators who realize the vicious cycle at work:
legislative control -> partisan control -> inevitable gerrymandering -> more partisanship & less responsiveness to the people

Common Cause worked with the CHARGE coalition to provide a comprehensivereview of the 2020 redistricting cycle and a letter grade for each of the 50 states. Each grade is based on how community interests fared during the process. Here’s what you need to know.

Happy Turkey Day! Hope everyone is enjoying a good meal!Trouble is, in politics, we citizens are too often the turkeys, ...
23/11/2023

Happy Turkey Day! Hope everyone is enjoying a good meal!

Trouble is, in politics, we citizens are too often the turkeys, sacrificed to feed hyper-partisan goals -- especially in Pennsylvania.

Instead of being roasted and sliced by our state legislative leaders, can we decide at last to and ?

See the petition at https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/enact-sb22-and-hb722

When's the last time you had a raise?Our PA lawmakers get a cost-of-living raise every year, automatically, keeping them...
21/11/2023

When's the last time you had a raise?

Our PA lawmakers get a cost-of-living raise every year, automatically, keeping them among the highest paid (and least productive) legislators in the nation.

Meanwhile, state and school employees who retired before 2001 haven't seen a rise in pension benefits since 2002. The House has passed a bill to give them an increase. Will the Senate even consider it?



Even with the increase, Pennsylvania legislators' pay won't surpass those of their counterparts in New York and California.

Annals of  , NY version:"In 2014, New York voters supported a ballot proposal that created an independent redistricting ...
20/11/2023

Annals of , NY version:

"In 2014, New York voters supported a ballot proposal that created an independent redistricting commission, which was tasked with drawing fair maps for the State Legislature and for New York’s congressional delegation. But the partisan panel predictably failed to reach an agreement on the state’s maps following the 2020 Census."

What has ensued in NY since then? Endless rounds of mapping, remapping, bickering, and court cases.

What can we learn from this? To function well, an "independent commission" must be truly independent, not subject to party politics or legislative interference.

Fair Districts will soon be backing a bill for an independent redistricting commission in PA. Unlike NY, we're gonna try to get it RIGHT.

Yes, we’re doing this all again.

"I'm proud of the work," says a PA Senate leader after about one inch of budget progress.Public schools are still held h...
17/11/2023

"I'm proud of the work," says a PA Senate leader after about one inch of budget progress.

Public schools are still held hostage to partisan squabbles, despite a Supreme Court order to fix them.

To fix our schools, we need to .

Pennsylvania’s Legislature is approving aid for universities after a fight that has dragged on five months into the fiscal year.

Dept. of Research Proving What We Already Know:“In today’s closely divided and highly polarized political climate, parti...
16/11/2023

Dept. of Research Proving What We Already Know:

“In today’s closely divided and highly polarized political climate, partisan all-or-nothing policy proposals cannot solve the nation’s pressing policy problems.” Or Pennsylvania's, for that matter.

To get past this ridiculous situation, at least in PA, we need to:
(1)
(2) by changing the legislative rules

Despite perceptions that Congress is dominated by partisan interests, a new study from the Center for Effective Lawmaking -- co-directed by Batten professor Craig Volden -- finds that legislators who draw in cosponsors from both sides of the aisle are more effective.

HYVE minds, get ready! Next Zoom meetup is this Wednesday.This time, we'll hear from a young, involved Chaldean and Leba...
13/11/2023

HYVE minds, get ready! Next Zoom meetup is this Wednesday.

This time, we'll hear from a young, involved Chaldean and Lebanese American who served on Michigan's Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. (The kind of commission we'd love to have in PA.)

Anyone who's young(ish) and looking to learn more about civic engagement is welcome to join HYVE.

Go here to register for the Zoom link:
https://tinyurl.com/FDPA-HYVE

PA House and Senate have just 6 scheduled session days left for 2023. Almost a full year gone for this session, and 2/3 ...
13/11/2023

PA House and Senate have just 6 scheduled session days left for 2023. Almost a full year gone for this session, and 2/3 of the bills passed with bipartisan support in each chamber have not yet been looked at in the other.

Is this sheer inefficiency? Well, if you think it has something to do with rabid partisanship, you're probably right.

For years the PA legislature has been among the most expensive and least effective in the nation. This session may set a new low.

Read our reports at https://fixharrisburg.com

An interview with Ruth Yeiser of Fair Districts, explaining the need for an independent commission to handle   and  .
10/11/2023

An interview with Ruth Yeiser of Fair Districts, explaining the need for an independent commission to handle and .

Politicians should not be drawing voting maps in Pennsylvania. Ruth Yeiser, of Fair Districts PA, talks about how we can create maps that authentically represent voters’ ballot choices in the Keystone State. Listen to the interview with Ruth above and read my blog post about the injustice done t

Happy Election Day!We're out in force all over the state, collecting signatures on our petition to   in PA. More than 10...
07/11/2023

Happy Election Day!

We're out in force all over the state, collecting signatures on our petition to in PA. More than 104,000 have signed already!

If you didn't come across one of our extremely handsome folks, you can sign the petition online at:
https://tinyurl.com/FairDistrictsPAPetition

   : As you prepare for voting, don't forget Committee of Seventy's great resource for (a) finding out who's on your bal...
04/11/2023

: As you prepare for voting, don't forget Committee of Seventy's great resource for (a) finding out who's on your ballot and (b) planning your vote. You can create a mock ballot ahead of time & take it with you to the polls.

Vote smart, vote fast. Refer friends & family to your saved ballot when voting by mail or bring it to the polls, and if you'd like, share your saved ballot with friends.

   : Judicial retention elections usually fly under the radar. You find yourself asking, "Who are these people anyway? H...
03/11/2023

: Judicial retention elections usually fly under the radar. You find yourself asking, "Who are these people anyway? How am I supposed to know?"

This time, has important info on Common Pleas & Superior Court retentions:

Pennsylvania voters will be asked to consider giving two Superior Court judges new 10-year terms. These little-noticed ballot questions can have huge ramifications.

Looking for more info on Philadelphia candidates? Check Committee of Seventy's 2023 Voter Guide. Office job descriptions...
28/10/2023

Looking for more info on Philadelphia candidates?
Check Committee of Seventy's 2023 Voter Guide.
Office job descriptions, candidate bio and links, plus answers to some key questions.
Make a plan to vote & share the info with your friends.
https://seventy.org/2023-voter-guide

$$$ rule in court!PA is one of just 8 states that allow partisan election of state supreme court judges.And one of just ...
27/10/2023

$$$ rule in court!

PA is one of just 8 states that allow partisan election of state supreme court judges.
And one of just 10 that allow unlimited PAC contributions to the races.

Justice for sale is no longer justice.

Bills to provide limits have been introduced in the PA legislature for years. Leaders have blocked them every time. Isn't it time to change that?

Spending by the Commonwealth Leaders Fund on behalf of Republican state Supreme Court candidate Carolyn Carluccio topped $4 million.

Trying to figure out the sometimes obscure   local elections?Check BallotReady. You can research the races and even prev...
24/10/2023

Trying to figure out the sometimes obscure local elections?

Check BallotReady. You can research the races and even preview your own ballot, specific to your address.

Then please share and encourage your friends to vote. Every election matters! These folks want to govern us, so we should choose them carefully.

https://www.ballotready.org/pa-philadelphia-county

See your ballot, research candidates and referendums, and vote informed

Wonder why we keep saying the PA legislature is dysfunctional? Check this comparison chart from our latest report, "Off ...
14/10/2023

Wonder why we keep saying the PA legislature is dysfunctional? Check this comparison chart from our latest report, "Off to a Slow Start."

The numbers tell the sad story.

For the full report, see https://www.fixharrisburg.com/

On the national   front: Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Alexander v. South Carolina State Confe...
12/10/2023

On the national front: Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Alexander v. South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, a case about a clear instance of gerrymandering.

The Court decided in 2019 that "partisan" gerrymandering by states is not a federal matter. But "racial" gerrymandering still can be. So, in this case, was South Carolina's legislature using “race as a proxy to predict partisan behavior”?

We think it's time to of all kinds.

These are our takeaways from oral argument in Alexander v. South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP.

Common Cause's report on   gives PA a C+ grade. "Redistricting process must be improved: Advocates noted that more struc...
11/10/2023

Common Cause's report on gives PA a C+ grade. "Redistricting process must be improved: Advocates noted that more structural reforms are required."

Congressional redistricting is conducted by the state legislature as a regular statute and subject to a gubernatorial veto. The Pennsylvania General Assembly is redistricted by the Legislative Reapportionment Commission, which is a politician commission. The 2021 commission consisted of five members...

HYVE (Hey Young Voters, Engage!) is a Fair Districts initiative for PA voters under 35.Join HYVE for a conversation with...
10/10/2023

HYVE (Hey Young Voters, Engage!) is a Fair Districts initiative for PA voters under 35.

Join HYVE for a conversation with PA Senator Nick Miller on Zoom.
At 28, Senator Miller (Senate District 14, Lehigh and Northampton) is the youngest PA state senator in a century! He'll share his perspectives as a freshman legislator.

Register for HYVE and the October 18 event here:
https://actionnetwork.org/events/hyve-zoom-conversation-with-sen-nick-miller

The PA legislature has been so messed up by years of partisan politics that it's not possible to pass even a basic appro...
06/10/2023

The PA legislature has been so messed up by years of partisan politics that it's not possible to pass even a basic appropriations bill without an "end-run."

Appropriations for the new fiscal year are now more than 3 months late.

This situation is worse than frustrating; it's destructive to democracy. That's why we've been campaigning to .

The bills passed by House Democrats with a smattering of Republican support are not guaranteed to survive in the GOP-controlled Senate, as the commonwealth's budget enters its fourth month of not being fully implemented.

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