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Reapportionment Commission Approves Final Plan To Split Haverford

Commission voted 4-1 to approve plan.

In a press release issued to the media, the commonwealth’s Legislative Reapportionment Commission earlier this month voted 4-1 to approve a final proposed plan that will alter 28 Senate districts and 43 House districts.

That would mean that Haverford Township’ wards 1 and 9 could move from the 166th district to the 163rd if the plan is approved.

“As a result of further consideration by the Commission of the testimony and suggestions provided at the public hearings that followed adoption of a Preliminary Plan on April 12, 2012, the Final Plan altered twenty-eight (28) Senate districts and forty-three (43) House districts,” the commission stated in a press release.

In an interview with the Haverford-Havertown Patch, State Rep. Greg Vitali (D-166) said the change is a political move.

“They want to make sure the person who succeeds Micozzie is a Republican,” Vitali said.

However, commission member and State Rep. Nick Micozzie (R-163) maintained that he would do the job that he is set out to do: Represent whoever is in his district.

“I don’t get involved in this. Whatever the commission decides is fine,” he told Patch in April when the commission voted to approve a preliminary plan to move portions of the 2nd ward, along with wards 1 and 9, into his district.

The commission stated that the plan has been filed with the secretary of the commonwealth for review and that any person who does not agree with the plan can appeal directly to the State Supreme Court by July 7, 2012.

But in his own press release on the matter and what he also explained to Patch, Vitali promised that he would challenge the proposal with lawyer Eric Ring, who has agreed to file an appeal on behalf of Haverford Township residents.

The commission passed a similar proposal, but in January, ruling that it was not “contrary to law.”

However commission member and Majority Leader Sen. Dominic Pileggi’s (R-9) Communications and Policy Director Erik Arneson wrote to Patch in an email last week about the court’s ruling on the original proposal.

“The court did not remand the original final plan due to any specific split wards, municipalities or counties. Rather, they remanded the plan because they believed that the overall number of splits was too great and because some districts were not compact enough,” Arneson wrote.

In a January story about the court’s ruling, through Arneson Pileggi stated in an email that, “The commission’s plan was approved with a bipartisan vote—both the Democratic House Leader and the Republican House Leader voted yes.”

However Vitali still maintains that the newly approved proposed plan, like its predecessors, violates Article 2, Section 16 of the commonwealth’s Constitution.

“Unless absolute necessary no county, city, incorporated town, borough, township or war shall be divided in forming either a senatorial or representative district,” the Constitution reads.

“Splitting Haverford Township would harm its identity, make communication more difficult between local elected officials and their state representatives, make it difficult for residents to know their state representative and make it more difficult for the state representative to focus on the problems of the township,” Vitali stated in his press release.

The commission voted 4-1, with Arneson stating that State Sen. Jay Costa (D-43) voted against it. Patch reached out to Costa’s public relations officer Hugh Baird for comment. Once he does Patch will publish it.

Read Costa's statement of .

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