A new legislative map under review by the Legislative Reapportionment Committee could mean big changes for the Pine-Richland area—including redefining the 40th senatorial district now represented by Jane Orie.
Under the redistricting plan given preliminary approval last week by a majority of the reapportionment committee members, the 40th district would encompass Monroe and Northampton counties on the eastern part of the state to reflect population growth near the New Jersey border.
Orie’s current territory encompasses parts of Allegheny County—including Pine, Richland and Ross townships—and Butler County, including Cranberry and Adams townships and Zelienople, Harmony, Seven Fields borough.
No matter how her district is configured, it seems unlikely Orie will remain senator of it.
In March, Orie was convicted of using state-paid staff to do political work. If she does not resign, she will lose her seat when she is sentenced May 21. A replacement would be chosen by special election.
If the proposed redistricting plan is approved, three senators would split Orie’s former territory.
47th District: Cranberry and Seven Fields would join most of Beaver and Lawrence counties in the 47th district represented by Sen. Elder Vogel, Jr., R-New Sewickley Township.
21st District: Sen. Mary Jo White, R-Franklin, would take over Adams, Harmony and Zelienople in the 21st senatorial district, which also would represent parts of Clarion, Forest, Venango and Warren counties under the proposed plan.
37th District: Pine, Richland, Ross and McCandless townships would be folded into the 37th district currently represented by Sen. John Pippy, R-Moon, who is not seeking re-election in 2012.
No Democrats have entered the race for the 37th district seat. Republican candidates D. Raja, a Mt. Lebanon business owner who in November lost his bid to become Allegheny County executive, Bethel Park resident Sue Means and state Rep. Mark Mustio, R-Moon, have all filed to succeed Pippy.
The proposed redrawn map, however, would remove most of the South Hills, including Bethel Park, and Mt. Lebanon from the 37th District. Means has since cried foul at the redistricting proposal, claiming the boundaries were gerrymandered for political purposes.
The committee will vote on final approval for the proposed plan following a 30-day public review. In the meantime, an open hearing where the public can give comments on the plan will be held May 2 in Harrisburg.
Tomorrow: Story on how redistricting affects the House seat that represents Pine and Richland townships.