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Pennsylvania Size of Legislature Reduction Amendment (2015)

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The Pennsylvania Size of Legislature Reduction Amendment may appear on the November 3, 2015 ballot in Pennsylvania as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure, upon voter approval, would reduce the size of the Pennsylvania Legislature.

Two similar amendments have been proposed by legislators:

  • Senate Bill 324, introduced by Sen. Elder Vogel (R-47), would reduce the Pennsylvania Senate to 45 members and would not change the Pennsylvania House. The measure would also reduce the size of state courts and the executive branch.[1]
  • House Bill 1234, sponsored by Rep. Sam Smith (R-66), would reduce the state house of representatives to 153 members and would not change the senate.[2]

Support

Arguments

  • Rep. Sam Smith (R-66) said, "With technology constantly evolving, legislators can respond to constituents quickly and efficiently, while keeping more money in taxpayers' pockets. Reducing the size, and ultimately the cost, of the legislature is at the top of the list of things we can do to show constituents that we are serious about reform."[3]

Media editorial positions

Support

  • Penn Live said, "If the 62 positions were eliminated this year, state spending would be cut by $6 million with savings on salaries. That does not include benefits and other costs associated with those offices. With the state facing as much as a $1.2 billion deficit, that's an encouraging, if small, step in the right direction... In the name of savings, efficiency and public confidence, lawmakers should approve one of the downsizing proposals in this session."[4]

Other opinions

  • The Express-Times said, "Downsizing the Legislature without a fairer, more independent way of redistricting is like going on a diet to squeeze into a cheap pair of shoes. If they still rub you the wrong way, what good is the savings?"[5]

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the Pennsylvania Constitution

In Pennsylvania, an amendment can go on the ballot after just one session, but only if the legislature declares an emergency. In the absence of an emergency, the amendment must be considered in two separate legislative sessions.

See also

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References


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