Pennsylvania voters have until Wednesday to make comments on the proposed plan to redistrict state House, Senate and Congressional districts across the Commonwealth.
The changes planned for Bethlehem and the surrounding communities of Fountain Hill, Freemansburg and Bethlehem Township involve the shifting of district boundaries.
If the plan is approved, Bethlehem Township would be represented by two instead of three House seats.
The city would continue to be represented by the same two House seats, but some Bethlehem residents may find they changed state House districts without moving.
Bethlehem Township is currently represented by three House seats: the 135th (township Ward 2), held by Democrat ; the 136th (Wards 3 and 4-1), held by Democrat Bob Freeman, and the 138th (Wards 1 and 4-2), held by Republican Marcia Hahn.
Under the plan, the township would be represented by only the 135th and 138th. The 135th would represent Wards 2, 3-1, 3-2 and 3-3, and the 138th would represent Wards 1, 3-4 and 4.
The city of Bethlehem, which sits in Lehigh and Northampton counties, will continue to be represented by the 133rd seat, held by Democrat , and Samuelson’s 135th seat.
What would change is the wards the seats represent.
Under the plan, Samuelson will have a greater portion of South Bethlehem, including the and the campus.
The new dividing line between the 133rd and the 135th in South Bethlehem would be Polk Street, with Brennan keeping everything west of there. Brennan would get a few of Samuelson’s current voting districts in West Bethlehem.
In Lehigh County, the 133rd now represents Wards 10, 11, 12-1 and 13-2. And in Northampton County, it represents Wards 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Under the plan, the Lehigh County wards would be 10, 12, 13-1, 13-2, 13-4 and 13-6. In Northampton County, it would be Wards 1, 2 and 3.
In Lehigh County, the 135th now represents Wards 12-2, 13-1, 13-3, 13-4, 13-5, 13-6, 13-7 and 13-8. And in Northampton County, it represents Wards 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16 and 17. Under the plan, the Lehigh County wards would be 11, 13-3, 13-5, 13-7 and 13-8. The Northampton County wards would be 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16 and 17.
State House representation in Fountain Hill and Freemansburg would not change. Fountain Hill still would be in the 133rd (Brennan) and Freemansburg still would be in the 136th (Freeman).
State Senate representation would stay the same in all the Bethlehem area communities listed here. They would stay in the 18th District currently represented by Democrat .
To enter official comments or complaints about the proposed plan, visit http://www.redistricting.state.pa.us/index.cfm.
This website also allows visitors to view detailed maps of the proposed changes and to witness video recordings of redistricting hearings.