MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PA — Horsham is now together again, but Montgomery Township has been divided under revised legislative maps approved last week by a state redistricting body.
Pennsylvania’s Legislative Redistribution Commission late last week approved a new State House District map that reversed an initial plan that would have split Horsham Township into two separate districts.
On February 4, the commission approved a plan that would reverse course and keep Horsham together.
“Fortunately, the LRC has listened to the hundreds of Montgomery County residents who have overwhelmingly called on the commission to reject its plan to divide Horsham between two House districts,” said state Rep. Todd Stephens, R. -151, in a statement reacting to the plan. “The decision to keep Horsham whole is a win for everyone in [sic] who argued that the preliminary plan would have unconstitutionally diluted Horsham’s power.”
Meanwhile, however, Stephens chastised the commission for failing to do the same with Montgomery Township, which is also part of his current House district.
“Unfortunately, Montgomery Township is unnecessarily divided on this map and we have never had the opportunity to present a similar case,” Stephens said. “The residents of Montgomery Township deserved the opportunity to be heard.”
Stephens said the commission could have improved the current 151st Legislative District, which is now made up of two whole municipalities and two divided municipalities and parts of four different school districts.
He said that during the proposal phase, a representative from Fair Districts PA proposed a 151st map that included two entire municipalities, separated only one, and included only two school districts.
“It would have been a dramatic improvement,” Stephens said in his statement. “Instead, the map adopted by the commission continues to divide our community in unfortunate ways.”
The state undergoes a legislative redistricting once a decade.
The Legislative Redistribution Commission – the panel is made up of top General Assembly leaders and an independent chair – had voted 4-1 to approve the final version of the proposed new legislative maps, according to media reports.
The commission has filed its final plan with the Commonwealth Secretary, but many believe the maps will be challenged in court.
For more on the recut, check out this Spotlight PA article, which gives a decent breakdown of the process and possible next steps.