CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE GIVES PRELIMINARY APPROVAL TO DISTRICT BOUNDARY BOUNDARY PLAN
PHILADELPHIA, PA — The City Council’s Committee of the Whole today approved legislation that revises the boundaries of the council’s 10 districts, adhering to the requirement that the council must redistrict once a decade following the results of the US census.
The redistricting legislation, Bill 220003 as amended, received unanimous approval from the Committee of the Whole, following a public hearing with testimony from more than 10 members of the public. This followed an initial public hearing last week on the redistricting plan, at which more than two dozen people testified.
The redistricting legislation now goes to the full Council, which is required to give the bill two readings before taking final votes, likely on February 10.
So far in the hearings, Council Chairman Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) has made it clear to members of the public who testified that they want to see more public processes involved in redistricting: “We hear”. During the two hearings, Clarke also addressed two issues of concern that were raised: one question relates to where and how to count inmates for redistricting purposes, and another raises the question of whether maps of wards and divisions of the city are outdated and may need to be revised.
Clarke said Council staff are in contact with vendors who have the ability to add data regarding prisoners at state correctional facilities in appropriate council districts, based on prisoners’ last known addresses. . Clarke has let its members and the public know that the Council has the ability and authority to revise its district boundaries to add data on prisoners by district, once it is ready. Clarke said between inmates in state facilities and prisoners in local jails, that number could be around 10,000. The population of the city, after the census, is just over 1.6 million.
Clarke also indicated at today’s hearing that issues surrounding ward and division boundaries may need to be resolved, working in conjunction with City Commissioners, who need ward/division maps. to organize elections. These ward and division maps haven’t been revised in decades, Clarke said, and changes are needed.
“We take seriously our responsibilities to review our boundaries in accordance with the US Census once every 10 years, and we believe this legislation as amended in committee today accomplishes that,” Clarke said.
Look at today’s hearing;