By Peter Becker
REGION - Starting in 2015, following next year's elections, you might find yourself in an entirely different legislative district and have a new state representative.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday, May 8, upheld the new legislative maps in time for the 2014 election. They would take effect after the November election in 2014.
Locally, significant boundary changes will affect the district now held by State Representative Michael Peifer (R-139th), which is losing Honesdale Borough to the district now held by State Representative Sandra Major (R-111th), although gaining elsewhere.
State Representative Frank Farina (D-113th) is losing his territory in Wayne as well as Lackawanna Counties altogether, while the 115th shifts to part of Monroe County. The Midvalley, between Scranton and Carbondale where Farina has his home, would become part of the 112th District now held by another freshman Democrat, Kevin Haggerty. Potentially, should Farina seek re-election, he could be competing with Haggerty for votes.
Boundaries also adjust for the district now held by State Representative Rosemary Brown (R-189th), who would still have southern Pike as well as part of Monroe.
The Supreme Court voted unanimously 6-0 to approve the final map drawn in 2012 by the Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission. The final map was redrawn after the court rejected the original plan in January 2012. Citizens had challenged the plan, asserting that political considerations had unduly influenced the map and created oddly shaped districts. The Supreme Court decreed that the Commission met its constitutional and statutory obligations in its updated plan.
Legislative Districts for U.S. Congress, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and PA Senate are reexamined every 10 years once the Census is completed, to adjust for population shifts. The purpose is to maintain a proportionate constituency among the districts.
Of the state's 2,567 municipalities, only 68 or 2.37 percent were split by the plan.
139th DISTRICT - The 139th, now held by Rep. Peifer, has gained the far southern townships in Wayne County (Lehigh, Dreher, Sterling and Salem) as well as all of Dingman Township in Pike County (Which had been split). In the northern area, he also gains Oregon Township in Wayne County.
His losses, however, include the county seat of Wayne, Honesdale Borough; Texas Township; South Canaan Township; Dyberry Township; Bethany Borough and part of Clinton Township.
Peifer joined the PA House of Representatives in 2007. His district office is currently in Honesdale, in the Wayne County Visitor's Center.
111th DISTRICT - The 111th, now held by Rep. Major, continues to cover a large section of northern Wayne; there were no losses in Wayne but the 111th gained considerable area. Gains include all of the municipalities lost by the 139th District, as well as Canaan Township and Waymart Borough, that were included in the 115th.
Rep. Major became a member of the PA House of Representatives in 1995. Her main district office is in Montrose.
115th DISTRICT - Rep. Farina, who is now serving in his first term in the 115th, now serves much of western Wayne and northeastern Lackawanna County. In Wayne, the 115th includes Lehigh, Dreher, Sterling, Salem, Lake and Canaan Townships, and Waymart Borough.
Most dramatically, the entire 115th District is shifting south to Monroe County, including Coolbaugh, Paradise, Price and Stroud Townships.
Rep. Farina won the election in 2012, succeeding Rep. Edward Staback who retired after 28 years in office. His district office is in Eynon.
189TH DISTRICT - The 189th, now held by Rep. Brown, gained Barrett Township in Monroe County. Losses to the 189th include one of the precincts in Dingman Township, and two sections of Stroud Township in Monroe County. The 189th will continue to cover Lehman, Porter and Delaware Townships in Pike County.
Rep. Brown was first elected in 2010, and re-elected in 2012. Her district office is in East Stroudsburg.
SENATE - Pennsylvania Senate districts are also affected. The 20th District, currently held by Senator Lisa Baker (R), will continue to include all of Wayne and Pike Counties. The 20th does lose sections in Monroe County and Luzerne County, but gains area in Susquehanna County.
U.S. CONGRESS - Legislative reapportionment will affect the 10th Congressional District, now held by Rep. Thomas Marino (R). The 10th District will continue representation in all of Wayne and Pike Counties, and is gaining all of Monroe County and in other areas of the sprawling district.