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Friday, December 13, 2013

Bill to Reduce the Size of Legislature on the House Agenda Next Week

Bill to Reduce the Size of Legislature on the House Agenda Next Week

Continuing efforts to decrease the size and cost of state government, legislation to reduce the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to 153 members, from the current 203 members, is scheduled to be voted next week.

At 203 members, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is the second largest, and second most expensive, legislature in the country.

House Bill 1234 (Rep. Sam Smith, R-Jefferson County) would create 153 House districts as part of the 2021 redistricting process (following the 2020 federal census). With a current population of 12.7 million (according to the 2010 federal census), the 153 districts would represent approximately 83,022 people per district, which is not considered a significant change from the current 62,573 with 203 districts.

Some concerns regarding to the representation of rural areas have been raised, but in reality, the gradual loss of rural representation has been caused by two factors:

· The U.S. Supreme Court decision of “one man, one vote,” which requires equal population in all legislative districts. Prior to this ruling, each Pennsylvania county had at least one representative, and larger counties received additional seats based on population. Thanks to the Supreme Court, larger geographic districts were created to equal the population of smaller geographic districts.

· The growth of suburban communities which were once rich farmland – Butler County, Harrisburg/Lancaster and along the Pennsylvania Turnpike for example. As the areas grew, gains in representation occurred.

While the overall number of legislators would be reduced under House Bill 1234, the ratio of representation between the urban and rural areas would remain equivalent. All areas would lose representatives, but not representation.

Changing the size of the legislature requires an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution, which means the same bill must be debated and passed in two consecutive sessions, and subsequently be approved by referendum vote of the people of Pennsylvania.

A live web stream of House session and the majority of committee meetings is available at PAHouseGOP.com. Important information and events may also be viewed by visiting Facebook.com/PAHouseGOP.

The Weekly Schedule

Identified by bill number, the sponsors and summaries for bills scheduled to be considered in committee or on the House floor are posted below. More information regarding these bills can be found at PAHouseGOP.com by clicking on the “Research Bills” tab. click here for schedule

2 comments :

Anonymous said...

No way these self-serving hacks will pass a law that makes so much sense when it will cost some of them their jobs. I think New Hampshire's model is perfect. Serving in Congress or a State Legislature was supposed to be a "calling" and not a "career."

Anonymous said...

According to the http://www.legis.state.pa.us website, this bill has been tabled for the second time this year by the house as of Dec 11. The bill was not voted on. There are 63 co-sponsors, Causer is not one of them.
I'm all for reducing the size of the legislature.