Would Pennsylvanians Be Better Served by
20, 2013 - Tom Joseph
HARRISBURG- The Pennsylvania Legislature could be
three-quarters the size it is now in 10 years, if two bills passed in
Harrisburg by the House this week become law. House Bill 1234 would reduce the
House from 203 members to 153. And House Bill 1716 proposes to cut 12 positions
from the current 50 in the state Senate.
Rick Saccone (R-Dist. 39) said the change would allow those elected to office
to have greater impact on behalf of their constituents.
smaller the number, the more effective we could be as a legislature - more
accountable. There'll be more people that we represent, slightly more, but
we'll have more influence in here, as opposed to just being one in a large
number of legislators," Saccone explained.
Judy Schwank (D-Dist. 11) said fewer politicians in Harrisburg could translate
to better opportunities for working across the aisle.
think sometimes when we have so many people, we get divided into factions, and
some of those factions can be formidable in trying to find compromise,"
been mentioned as one factor in this debate. It's estimated that reducing the
size of the Legislature could result in annual savings to the state of more
than $20 million.
has the largest full-time legislature in the country. Opponents call the change
unnecessary and fear it may make it harder for people who live in rural parts
of the state to have access to their lawmakers. Ultimately, a reduction would
take close to a decade to implement. It would require both legislative and
voter approval, followed by districts being redrawn. The bill now moves to the
Senate for consideration when it reconvenes next month.