The Senate State Government Committee advanced two bills today that would reduce the size of the General Assembly, eliminate the office of Lieutenant Governor, and reduce the size of the Pennsylvania Supreme and Superior courts, according to The PLS Reporter.
House Bill 1234, introduced by House Speaker Sam Smith (R-Jefferson), would reduce the size of the House of Representatives from 203 to 155 members. The bill cleared the committee unanimously and without amendment.
According to House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny), the bill’s passage this session is a major priority of the House and they requested the Senate take up the matter.
“That’s one of our top priorities in terms of needed reforms,” he told The PLS Reporter. “We asked the Senate to give those constitutional amendments serious consideration and we’d like to see them passed.”
Chairman Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster) noted the change to the size of the House puts Pennsylvania closer to the median size of Houses of Representatives in states across the country, which he pointed out sits at around 100 members.
Minority Chairman Matt Smith (D-Allegheny) added the proposal has broad bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate and could save $10 million to $15 million.
Not all members were so sure this was the best reform plan, but they voted in favor of the reduction legislation to move the process along, and later give Pennsylvanians a voice in amending the constitution.