Democrats in the General Assembly say that a preliminary plan to re-align the state’s legislative seats is overly partisan even though the lines are re-drawn by a five-member bipartisan commission.

"For the first time in recent memory the chairman rather than being a neutral arbiter appeared to take sides," said Bill Patton, spokesman for the House Democratic Caucus. "Not only that we didn’t even see the plan until it was approved Monday (October 31)."

Stephen J. McEwen is the chairman of the Legislative Reapportionment Commission. McEwen was President Judge of Superior Court from 1996-2001. The leaders of the four House and Senate caucuses make up the other members.  

The Republicans defended the new lines. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, and House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny said districts had to be moved from the west to the east and central to reflect the state’s population movement over the last two decades.  

The preliminary plan now faces a 30 day comment period. After that, the Commission has another 30 days to approve a final plan.

"The plan should be approved by the end of the calendar year, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it challenged in court," Patton said.