Now that the Primary Election is over, the weekly message to you in the Bucks County Herald from the League of Women Voters of Bucks County will focus on other issues of relevance to defending our Democracy in Pennsylvania in general and Bucks County in particular. This week, we introduce you to Fix Harrisburg.
Fix Harrisburg, launched on March 30, is a new project of Fair Districts PA. Fair Districts PA was founded in 2016 by representatives from a combination of organizations concerned about accountable government in Pennsylvania, including the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, Common Cause Pennsylvania and other organizations concerned about preserving our democracy.
The original goal of Fair Districts Pa was to end gerrymandering in Harrisburg. (Gerrymandering is the practice of manipulating voting districts to benefit one political party or another, rather than citizens. Both parties do it and the losers are always the voters.)
In their five years of lobbying to amend the constitution to prevent legislative gerrymandering, Fair Districts PA learned that the rules in Harrisburg, amazingly, prevent many bills from being introduced, debated and brought to a vote. This occurs even when a clear majority of the voters want a bill to succeed and even when a majority of legislators on both the Democratic and Republican side of the aisle support it.
How is this possible? If the party leaders don’t want it brought up, it dies in committee. Year after year, bills with broad bipartisan support are blocked by committee chairs and legislative leaders. And the situation is getting worse with time, not better.