Call for Fewer Legislators

Call for Fewer Legislators

Proposal passes in PA House
ALTOONA -  An effort to reduce the size of the general assembly in Pennsylvania was approved in the House of Representatives.  But any change to the number of legislators is still a long way off.

Pennsylvania currently has one of the largest and most expensive state legislatures in the nation.  That's part of the reason there is plenty of support from reducing both the number of house and senate members by about twenty five percent.
The sponsor of the bills that passed the house yesterday, Speaker Sam Smith, says the move would also make the legislatures more efficient and organized.  That's the why he is calling for the change.  Both bills passed the house by a margin of almost three to one.

Representative John McGinnis,  says  while he still has questions about how people in the sate would be affected by the change, he  supports this  legislation because it calls for a referendum  that  would  put  voters in charge of  the effort to reduce  the size of the Legislature.

"So I support the bills because they will create a campaign of education   for what size, what are the   benefits, what are the   costs of downsizing government versus where it is now.   And I think that would be a very healthy thing for the Commonwealth." 

Because it would take a State constitutional amendment to reduce the would reduce the size of  the General Assembly,  the bill currently under consideration is just the start of a long process. To be enacted, the change would have to be approved by two consecutive sessions of the legislature and by voter in a state wide referendum.  But it is a move that could take place after the 2020 census and redistricting.

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