Today, before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania releases its maps, I want to announce that I will be co-sponsoring House Bill 722, bipartisan legislation that would establish an independent citizens’ redistricting commission to develop election districts across the state.

As a representative, I have refused to play partisan political games and always worked to find common ground. It was my hope that all the parties involved in the current process would be able to cooperate and address this important issue. Unfortunately, the events of the past month have shown that the only way to fix this system is to make it truly of the people.

I now join 100 Republicans and Democrats in sponsoring House Bill 722.  The legislation would replace the current redistricting system with an independent commission made up of four members who are registered with one of the two largest political parties; four members who are registered with the other of the two largest political parties; and, three members who are unaffiliated or registered with a minority party.

This commission would be responsible for developing all district maps; approval would require at least seven votes with at least one vote from each of the three groups. Citizens could appeal the final maps directly to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

While this legislation has some issues that must be addressed, and we must ensure this independent commission is able to remain independent from the influence of interest groups that would try to corrupt the process for their own gains, I believe that on the whole this is right direction. I am happy to join with the many residents I serve who have asked me to support this effort.