HARRISBURG—Senator John DiSanto (Dauphin/Perry) announced today the Senate State Government Committee, which he chairs, approved two important government reform initiatives regarding redistricting standards and congressional term limits.
Senate Bill 1242 would introduce greater transparency into the redistricting processes for state legislative and congressional districts and establish additional map-drawing criteria designed to prevent extreme partisan gerrymandering and promote accountability to voters.
While acknowledging SB 1242 is not perfect, DiSanto said, “As a long-time advocate for government reform and as someone who wants voters to choose their representatives and not the other way around, I hope, as this bill advances today, it will serve as a catalyst for key stakeholders – Republican, Democrat, Independent and Non-Partisan alike – to come to the table, compromise, and finally get this issue to a point where all agree, regardless of who gets elected, the districts are in fact fair.” Passed in an 8-3 bipartisan vote, SB 1242 is the first redistricting reform bill to advance in the Senate or House since Senate Bill 22, a constitutional amendment co-sponsored by DiSanto to establish an independent redistricting committee, was approved by the Senate State Government Committee in April 2019.
Senate Resolution 377, sponsored by DiSanto, calls for a Convention of States under Article V of the United States Constitution to enact term limits for members of Congress. It complements existing legislative proposals that would establish term limits for members of the state General Assembly.
In advocating for passage, DiSanto said, “As someone who has personally limited himself to two terms, I believe elected office is a calling to serve our fellow citizens, not a career predicated upon individual advancement or reelection. Despite many answering the call with good intentions, we have seen how careerism and self-preservation in the insular halls of power in our nation’s Capitol leads to the service of entrenched special interests rather than one’s constituents.” SR 377 passed in a 7-4 vote, with all committee Democrats opposing.
DiSanto has championed other government reforms during his first term in office. “I have always sought to lead by example–I donate the automatic-cost-of-living increase to charitable causes, have turned down the taxpayer-funded pension, and support legislation to ban cash gifts and per diems for lawmakers,” DiSanto said. DiSanto also authored Act 1 of 2019 to forfeit the pensions of elected officials and public employees that abuse their positions of power to commit felonies.
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