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Friday, May 10, 2013

Judicial Reform on House Agenda Next Week

Judicial Reform on House Agenda Next Week

The House returns to session on Monday, May 13. Live web streams of House session and the majority of committee meetings are available at Important information and events may also be viewed by visiting

Mandatory Retirement and Traffic Court to be Taken up by Judiciary Committee

Amending the Pennsylvania Constitution to raise the mandatory retirement age for judges in the Commonwealth from 70 to 75 is the point of House Bill 79 (Rep. Kate Harper, R-Montgomery County). Currently, several judges are challenging Pennsylvania’s constitutional provision that mandates members of the judiciary retire at the end of the year in which they turn 70. One of the cases is in front of the Supreme Court and was argued on Wednesday. It should be noted the life expectancy of the average person in 1968, when the Pennsylvania Constitution was most recently revised, was approximately 70 years. By contrast, the current life expectancy is approximately 78 years because of medical advancements and healthier lifestyles. To become law, the amendment must receive a majority vote of two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly and an affirmative vote by the electorate.

A federal investigation and numerous indictments indicate that change is needed in the Philadelphia Traffic Court. Enough said. The House Judiciary Committee will vote on Senate Bill 333 and Senate Bill 334 (Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware County) to eliminate the Philadelphia Traffic Court and transfer its duties to Philadelphia Municipal Court.

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