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No maps today; primary looms

Published by Tim McNulty on .

The state's Legislative Reapportionment Commission met for only a few minutes this afternoon, and reported no progress on new state House and Senate maps -- it adjourned until Tuesday.

That means it's becoming clearer than ever that the April 24 primary will go on as scheduled in two months.

That means good things (possibly) for Democrats, who are trying to press their advantage further by forcing Republican House Speaker Sam Smith to schedule special elections in six vacant House districts under the old, placekeeping 2001 lines.

Smith is supposed to respond to a special election suit before the state Supreme Court this afternoon.

UPDATE, 2:15 p.m. - Backing up the view that April 24 will go forward as planned, Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi today revised his previous view that the primary date was "in jeopardy."

"I do not think at this point it is going to be practical to move legislation to extend the primary date," Mr. Pileggi told reporters, after the meeting adjourned.

His House colleagues are still singing from the old hymnal, however. House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin said leaders in that caucus still see options for potentially adjusting that election date after the new maps are complete. 

As for the status of those maps, most of the departing lawmakers offered variations on vague. House Majority Leader Mike Turzai wouldn't say anything except that they'll be back next week; Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa said they're "working to move the ball forward."

"The commissioners have been intensely, some would say fiercely, but certainly intensely, trying to arrive at a plan," said Senior Judge Stephen McEwen, the commission chairman. "It has come close, but we're not there yet."

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