Difference between revisions of "Pennsylvania State Senate"

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
(added Open States' transparency report)
(One intermediate revision by one user not shown)
Line 56: Line 56:
In 2010, the Senate convened its [[Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions| legislative session]] on January 5, and it remained in session throughout the year.<ref>[http://www.ncsl.org/?tabid=18630 2010 session dates for Pennsylvania legislature]</ref>
In 2010, the Senate convened its [[Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions| legislative session]] on January 5, and it remained in session throughout the year.<ref>[http://www.ncsl.org/?tabid=18630 2010 session dates for Pennsylvania legislature]</ref>
==Ethics and transparency==
===Open States Transparency===
{{Transparency card|State=Pennsylvania|Grade=C}}
{{Transparency card|State=Pennsylvania|Grade=C}}

Revision as of 11:58, 9 July 2013

Pennsylvania State Senate

Seal of Pennsylvania.svg.png
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   None
2015 session start:   January 2, 2013
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Jim Cawley, (R)
Majority Leader:   Dominic Pileggi, (R)
Minority Leader:   Jay Costa, (D)
Members:  50
   Democratic Party (19)
Republican Party (30)
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:   Art II, Sec 3, Pennsylvania Constitution
Salary:   $82,026/year + per diem
Last Election:  November 6, 2012 (25 seats)
Next election:  November 4, 2014 (25 seats)
Redistricting:  Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission
The Pennsylvania State Senate is the upper house in the Pennsylvania Legislature. It consists of 50 members who serve four-year terms without term limits.[1][2]

Each state senator represents an average of 254,048 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[3] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 245,621 residents.[4]

The Pennsylvania senate is a continuing body during the term for which its senators are elected. It meets at noon on the first Tuesday of January and then regularly throughout the year. When the Pennsylvania Constitution stipulates that the General Assembly must meet in regular session annually, that means the session of one year must adjourn by noon of the first Tuesday of the following year. Two regular sessions cannot meet at the same time.

The General Assembly must also adjourn by midnight, November 30, in even-numbered years due to the expiration of the terms of office of all House members and half the Senate. The Lieutenant Governor, as President of the Senate, can cast a tie-breaking vote on any question except the final passage of a bill or joint resolution, the adoption of a conference report, or the concurrence in amendments made by the House of Representatives[5].

As of May 2015, Pennsylvania is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.


Article II of the Pennsylvania Constitution establishes when the Pennsylvania General Assembly, of which the Senate is a part, is to meet. Section 4 of Article II states that the General Assembly is to convene its regular session on the first Tuesday of January each year.

Section 4 gives the Governor of Pennsylvania the authority to convene special sessions of the General Assembly either when he judges a special session to be in the public interest, or when a majority of each legislative House requests a special session.


See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the General Assembly will be in session from January 2 to a date to be determined.

Major issues

Like many other states, Pennsylvania lawmakers will have to work on a budget deficit. Other issues include economic development, public pension reform, liquor privatization, and child abuse.[6]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate began its legislative session on January 3.


See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Senate will be in session from January 4 through a date to be determined by the General Assembly. [7]


See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Senate convened its legislative session on January 5, and it remained in session throughout the year.[8]

Ethics and transparency

Open States Transparency

See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Pennsylvania was given a grade of C in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data was to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.[9]



See also: Pennsylvania State Senate elections, 2012

Elections for the office of Pennsylvania State Senate will be held in Pennsylvania on November 6, 2012. A total of 25 seats were up for election.

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.


See also: Pennsylvania State Senate elections, 2010

Elections for the office of Pennsylvania's State Senate were held in Pennsylvania on November 2, 2010. State senate seats in all even numbered districts were on the ballot in 2010.

The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was March 9, 2010. The primary election day was May 18, 2010.

In 2010, the candidates for state senate raised a total of $11,102,031 in campaign contributions. The top 10 donors were: [10]


Under Article II of the Pennsylvania Constitution, Senators shall be at least twenty-five years of age and Representatives twenty-one years of age. They shall have been citizens and inhabitants of their respective districts one year next before their election (unless absent on the public business of the United States or of this State) and shall reside in their respective districts during their terms of service.


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
NevadaMassachusettsColoradoNew MexicoWyomingArizonaMontanaCaliforniaOregonWashingtonIdahoTexasOklahomaKansasNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisWisconsinTennesseeNorth CarolinaIndianaOhioKentuckyPennsylvaniaNew JerseyNew YorkVermontVermontNew HampshireMaineWest VirginiaVirginiaMarylandMarylandConnecticutConnecticutDelawareDelawareRhode IslandRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireMichiganMichiganAlaskaVacancy fulfillment map.png

If there is a vacancy in the Senate, a special election must be held to fill the vacant seat. The Senate President must call for a special election. There are no deadlines set in the state constitution on when a special election can be held[11].


See also: Redistricting in Pennsylvania

As far as legislative redistricting, the Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission is responsible. This commission is normally made up of the majority and minority leaders of each legislative chamber, plus a fifth member selected by the other four to serve as chair. If the four cannot agree on a fifth, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decides. The commission has until the October of the redistricting year to submit a plan.

2010 census

Pennsylvania received its local census data on March 9, 2011. The state had a low 3.4 percent growth rate from 2000-2010. The five most populous cities showed mostly stagnation: Philadelphia grew by 0.6 percent, Pittsburgh decreased by 8.6 percent, Allentown grew by 10.7 percent, Erie decreased by 1.9 percent, and Reading grew by 8.5 percent. By county, the major standout was Forest County with a 56 percent rate of growth.[12]

On August 17, 2011, the Commission approved the census data and went to work on a preliminary map, which it passed on October 31, 2011 by a vote of 3-2. Democrats were not happy with the plan or the negotiation process. Final maps were approved on December 12, 2011 by a 4-1 vote, moving a Senate district and five House districts from west to east. There was a 30-day window to file appeals, of which 11 were filed. The state Supreme Court threw out the maps on January 25, 2012 after appeals were heard.

The commission met on April 12, 2012 to vote in favor of a compromise map, which contained two Senate district splits and 68 House splits. On June 8, the commission approved the final plan, which went to the state Supreme Court for final approval.



See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2013, members of the Pennsylvania Legislature are paid $82,026/year during legislative sessions. Legislators receive $159/day (vouchered) tied to the federal rate, which they can receive actual expenses or per diem.[13]


Legislators in Pennsylvania are able to retire at age 50, while other state workers cannot retire until they turn 60. In 2011, the average legislative pension was $35,221 annually, while the average state employee pension was $23,491. According to former legislator David Mayernik, who began collecting a pension of $29,583 a year when he retired at age 50, the lowered retirement age was intended as compensation for small legislative salaries as well as the uncertainty of serving in office.[14]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Pennsylvania legislators assume office in January.

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates
Party As of May 2015
     Democratic Party 19
     Republican Party 30
     Vacancy 1
Total 50

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Pennsylvania State Senate from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the Pennsylvania State Senate.PNG


The Lieutenant Governor serves as president of the Senate, but has no vote except in the case of a tie. The President Pro Tempore is elected by the Senate from its members.[15][16]

Current leadership

Current Leadership, Pennsylvania State Senate
Office Representative Party
President of the Senate Jim Cawley Ends.png Republican
President Pro Tempore of the Senate Joe Scarnati Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Floor Leader Dominic Pileggi Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Whip Pat Browne Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Caucus Leader Mike Waugh Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Floor Leader Jay Costa Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Whip Anthony Williams Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Caucus Leader Rich Kasunic Electiondot.png Democratic

List of current members

Current members, Pennsylvania State Senate
District Senator Party Assumed office
1 Larry Farnese Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
2 Christine Tartaglione Electiondot.png Democratic 1995
3 Shirley Kitchen Electiondot.png Democratic 1997
4 LeAnna Washington Electiondot.png Democratic 2005
5 Mike Stack Electiondot.png Democratic 2001
6 Tommy Tomlinson Ends.png Republican 1995
7 Vincent Hughes Electiondot.png Democratic 1995
8 Anthony Williams Electiondot.png Democratic 1999
9 Dominic Pileggi Ends.png Republican 2003
10 Charles McIlhinney Ends.png Republican 2007
11 Judy Schwank Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
12 Stewart Greenleaf Ends.png Republican 1979
13 Lloyd Smucker Ends.png Republican 2009
14 John Yudichak Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
15 Rob Teplitz Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
16 Pat Browne Ends.png Republican 2005
17 Daylin Leach Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
18 Lisa Boscola Electiondot.png Democratic 1999
19 Andy Dinniman Electiondot.png Democratic 2006
20 Lisa Baker Ends.png Republican 2007
21 Scott Hutchinson Ends.png Republican 2012
22 John Blake Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
23 Gene Yaw Ends.png Republican 2009
24 Bob Mensch Ends.png Republican 2009
25 Joe Scarnati Ends.png Republican 2001
26 Ted Erickson Ends.png Republican 2001
27 John Gordner Ends.png Republican 2003
28 Mike Waugh Ends.png Republican 1999
29 David Argall Ends.png Republican 2009
30 John Eichelberger Ends.png Republican 2007
31 Pat Vance Ends.png Republican 2005
32 Rich Kasunic Electiondot.png Democratic 1995
33 Richard Alloway Ends.png Republican 2009
34 Jake Corman Ends.png Republican 1999
35 John Wozniak Electiondot.png Democratic 1997
36 Michael Brubaker Ends.png Republican 2007
37 Matthew Smith Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
38 Jim Ferlo Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
39 Kim Ward Ends.png Republican 2009
40 Randy Vulakovich Ends.png Republican 2012
41 Don White Ends.png Republican 2001
42 Wayne Fontana Electiondot.png Democratic 2005
43 Jay Costa Electiondot.png Democratic 1997
44 John Rafferty Ends.png Republican 2003
45 James Brewster Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
46 Timothy Solobay Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
47 Elder Vogel Ends.png Republican 2009
48 Mike Folmer Ends.png Republican 2007
49 Sean Wiley Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
50 Bob Robbins Ends.png Republican 1991

Senate Committees

The Pennsylvania Senate has 22 standing committees:


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Pennsylvania’’
Partisan breakdown of the Pennsylvania legislature from 1992-2013

From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Pennsylvania State Senate for one year while the Republicans were the majority for 21 years. The Pennsylvania State Senate is one of 13 state senates that was Republican for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. Pennsylvania was under Republican trifectas for the final three years of the study.

Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania State Senate and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Pennsylvania state government(1992-2013).PNG

External links