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As Deadlines Loom, Lawmakers Exchange Words On Congressional Redistricting

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- When the state legislature failed to pass a redistricting bill by last Friday's Supreme Court deadline, two Republican leaders -- House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Joe Scarnati -- drew up their own plan and sent it on to the governor.

"I didn't get the map until late Friday," said Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday morning in Pittsburgh.

That plan has more compact districts than the one Republicans enacted seven years ago, and it meets the court's requirements, says Turzai.

"Our map is contiguous, compact and constitutional," he said.

But Democratic leaders like Senate leader Jay Costa say the GOP plan is partisan because it keeps 12 of the 18 districts Republican.

And it removes Democrat Conor Lamb's hometown of Mt. Lebanon from the district he's now running in and puts him in Congressman Mike Doyle's city district.

"At the end of the day, Rick Saccone should not be given a free pass to become our congressman in the 18th district," says Costa, referring to Lamb's Republican opponent in the March 13 special congressional election.

Costa says the Democratic leaders won't let the Republican leaders dictate the map.

"We are currently working with the governor to be able to create a fair map that represents the interests of Pennsylvanians," says Costa.

Turzai said Republican leaders are also prepared to meet with the governor.

"We are willing to meet, but the governor needs to respond publicly," he said.

Wolf says he has a panel of experts reviewing various maps.

"I'm hoping it's as fair as can possibly be given all that I have done. If this is it, great. If not, I will come up with something that this fair, and I will pass it on to the Supreme Court for their consideration,' says Wolf.

Wolf has until Thursday to send a map to the Supreme Court.

If the legislature and governor fail to adopt a bi-partisan congressional redistricting plan, the Court has said it will adopt one of its own.

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