Government
7:28 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Latino Group Critical of Plan to Redraw Senate Districts.

A Latino advocacy group critical of redistricting plans is also making its voice heard on the second round of maps. Latino Lines doesn't have a problem with the preliminary plan for state House districts, as approved by the redistricting panel. The group said it's happy to see the new map includes four majority-Latino districts.

But, the group said the panel's rough plan for Senate districts dilutes the Latino vote by dividing it into two districts.

"What we want is our community to stay intact. We don't want our community to be split in two, in half. We want our growing numbers to be represented in the district. So that's what we're asking for. We're asking for fair lines," said Jose Oyola, spokesman for Latino Lines.

Oyola said, specifically, the group has problems with the way a state Senate district was drawn on the preliminary map.

"Basically they took the Latino population in Philadelphia and, for the second senatorial district, and they've cut that in half, basically, and reduced the numbers so now they've made it a fractured community," he said.

The group plans to register its complaints at the May 2nd public hearing on the latest set of legislative district maps.

Latino Lines protested when the first set of redrawn state House and Senate district maps were rejected by Pennsylvania's Supreme Court. Those maps would have increased the number of majority-Latino House districts. The group says it wants special elections based on those House district boundaries to be held in 2013, instead of regularly scheduled elections in 20-14.

Right now, elections are being held based on districts drawn after the 2000 Census. Latino Lines said, as a result, election results won't reflect the growth of the Latino population.