Karen Langley has more on the new legislative maps approved yesterday that send Jane Orie's North Hills Senate seat to the Poconos and preserve the Mon Valley seat of Democrat Jim Brewster:
The plan differs from the one presented by the Senate Republicans in that it would move the district occupied by Ms. Orie rather than Mr. Brewster's district.
"I believe this is the kind of decision that should be driven as much as possible by Census Bureau population data," said Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware.
Mr. Pileggi said he understood that Mr. McEwen proposed the change to avoid moving a district whose occupant is running for re-election or in the middle of a term. Mr. Brewster is running unopposed for another four-year term, while Ms. Orie no longer will be eligible to serve in the Senate after she is sentenced May 21.
Despite his objection, Mr. Pileggi said he would support the preliminary plan so that redistricting could move forward. His counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, did not, saying the plan would split more communities than the plans of the Senate and House. Mr. Costa did say, however, that he was glad Mr. Brewster's district would be preserved.
"We're pleased that they saw that there was a value in maintaining the 45th District in Allegheny County, specifically the Mon Valley," he said afterward. "However, there are a number of other parts of the plan that we think we need to continue to talk about."
The commission approved the preliminary plan 4-1, with Mr. Costa opposed. House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D-Oakmont, said he would support the plan as a preliminary measure so that redistricting could proceed.
Pitt's Chris Briem did the maps above and below showing how the boundaries of Orie's 40th District would change. Pittsburgh's north suburbs look to be gobbled up by the 37th District currently held by the retiring John Pippy (and which Republicans Mark Mustio, D. Raja and Sue Means are fighting over April 24.) The full breakdowns of the proposed districts are here.