Richland Excluded from Turzai's District in Preliminary Redistricting Plan

Richland Township would be included in District 30, currently represented by Rep. Randy Vulakovich.

Rep. Mike Turzai might be saying goodbye to Richland Township under a preliminary redistricting plan that changes the borders of the 28th District that he represents.

The Legislative Reapportionment Committee gave preliminary approval last week to a map that defines the 28th Legislative District as Pine, McCandless, Marshall, Bradford Woods and Franklin Park.

Currently, Richland is included in the district, but only a part of Franklin Park is.

Every 10 years, following the federal decennial census, Pennsylvania redistricts to ensure its senatorial and representative districts are as equal in population as possible.

Under the preliminary redistricting proposal, Richland moves to the 30th Legislative District, which is represented by Republican Randy Vulakovich. That newly drawn district also includes Hampton, parts of O'Hara and Shaler, and the Borough of Fox Chapel.

"Under the new redistricting, we are trying to reduce municipal splits," said Turzai in a phone interview. 

The revised proposal has 67 splits in 2,574 municipalities, which amounts to 2 percent, he said. Franklin Park would no longer be split between legislative districts under the new configuration for the 28th District.

Asked about the redistricting, Richland Board of Supervisors Chairman Herbert Dankmyer had little to say, but noted the township has had a good relationship with Turzai for years.

"I love Richland Township," Turzai said. "It's an upstanding community."

Adoption of a redistricting plan usually is finished by this point after a census, but the plan drawn up by the five-member Legislative Reapportionment Commission, of which Turzai is a member, was challenged in 2011.

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania found the plan "contrary to law" and sent it back to the LRC, which adopted a revised plan on April 12.

The Commonwealth is divided into 50 senatorial and 203 representative districts that are supposed to be "composed of compact and contiguous territory as nearly equal in population as practicable," the court said.

"Unless absolutely necessary no county, city, incorporated town, borough, township or ward shall be divided in forming either a senatorial or representative district," according to the court

The LRC will hold a public hearing on the latest plan at 2 p.m. on May 2 in Hearing Room One of the North Office Building in Harrisburg.

The LRC is composed of four members specifically identified by the Constitution based upon their partisan leadership roles in the General Assembly—Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R), Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D), House Majority Leader Turzai (R), and House Minority Leader Frank Dermody (D).

The members could not agree on an LRC chairman, so the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania appointed Stephen J. McEwen Jr., president judge emeritus of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. 



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