Pennsylvania State Senate

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Pennsylvania State Senate

Seal of Pennsylvania.svg.png
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   None
2015 session start:   January 3, 2012
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Joe Scarnati, (R)
Majority Leader:   Dominic Pileggi, (R)
Minority Leader:   Jay Costa, (D)
Members:  50
   Democratic Party (19)
Republican Party (30)
Vacant (1)
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:   Art II, Sec 3, Pennsylvania Constitution
Salary:   $21,612/year + per diem
Last Election:  November 2, 2010 (25 seats)
Next election:  November 6, 2012 (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].


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 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly will be in session from January 3 through a date to be determined by the General Assembly.

Major issues

Fiscal issues will headline the agenda, including a $750 million budget shortfall. Other issues include fees for natural gas drilling and regulations for small games of chance.[6]


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]



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 will be up for 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: [9]

Donor Amount
Volpe Jr., Charles J $690,659
Students First $365,000
Republican Party of Pennsylvania $353,324
Metropolitan Regional Council of Carpenters & Joiners $341,650
Pennsylvania Republican Party $324,378
Friends of Dominic Pileggi $282,650
Pennsylvania Association for Justice $273,200
Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association $270,000
Electrical Workers Local 98 $248,000
Templeton Jr., John M $154,500


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
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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[10].



See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2011, members of the Pennsylvania Legislature are paid $79,613/year during legislative sessions. Per diem is tied to the federal rate.[11]

The $79,613/year that Pennsylvania legislators are paid as of 2011 is an increase over the $78,314.66/year they were paid during legislative sessions in 2010 and $73,613/year in 2007. Per diem has increased from $129/day in 2007 to $154 GSA method and $163 High/Low Method in 2010, but is tied to the federal rate in 2011.[12][13]

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 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.[14][15]

Current leadership

Position 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

District Representative Party Residence Counties in District
1 Larry Farnese Electiondot.png Democratic Philadelphia Philadelphia
2 Christine Tartaglione Electiondot.png Democratic Philadelphia Philadelphia
3 Shirley Kitchen Electiondot.png Democratic Philadelphia Philadelphia
4 LeAnna Washington Electiondot.png Democratic Philadelphia Montgomery, Philadelphia
5 Mike Stack Electiondot.png Democratic Philadelphia Philadelphia
6 Tommy Tomlinson Ends.png Republican Bensalem Bucks
7 Vincent Hughes Electiondot.png Democratic Philadelphia Montgomery, Philadelphia
8 Anthony Williams Electiondot.png Democratic Philadelphia Delaware, Philadelphia
9 Dominic Pileggi Ends.png Republican Chester Chester, Delaware
10 Charles McIlhinney Ends.png Republican Doylestown Bucks, Montgomery
11 Judy Schwank Electiondot.png Democratic - Berks
12 Stewart Greenleaf Ends.png Republican Willow Grove Bucks, Montgomery
13 Lloyd Smucker Ends.png Republican West Lampeter Township Lancaster, York
14 John Yudichak Electiondot.png Democratic Pittston Carbon, Luzerne
15 Jeffrey Piccola Ends.png Republican Susquehanna Township Dauphin, York
16 Pat Browne Ends.png Republican Allentown Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton
17 Daylin Leach Electiondot.png Democratic Upper Merion Delaware, Montgomery
18 Lisa Boscola Electiondot.png Democratic Bethlehem Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton
19 Andy Dinniman Electiondot.png Democratic West Chester Chester, Montgomery
20 Lisa Baker Ends.png Republican Dallas Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne, Wyoming
21 Mary Jo White Ends.png Republican Franklin Butler, Clarion, Erie, Forest, Venango, Warren
22 John Blake Electiondot.png Democratic Blakely Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe
23 Gene Yaw Ends.png Republican Montoursville Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Union
24 Bob Mensch Ends.png Republican Harleysville Bucks, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton
25 Joe Scarnati Ends.png Republican Brockway Cameron, Clearfield, Elk, Jefferson, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Warren
26 Ted Erickson Ends.png Republican Newton Square Chester, Delaware
27 John Gordner Ends.png Republican Berwick Columbia, Dauphin, Luzerne, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder
28 Mike Waugh Ends.png Republican York York
29 David Argall Ends.png Republican Rush Township Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, Schuylkill
30 John Eichelberger Ends.png Republican Duncansville Bedford, Blair, Franklin, Huntingdon, Mifflin
31 Pat Vance Ends.png Republican Silver Spring Township Cumberland, York
32 Rich Kasunic Electiondot.png Democratic Dunbar Fayette, Somerset, Washington, Westmoreland
33 Richard Alloway Ends.png Republican Chambersburg Adams, Franklin, York
34 Jake Corman Ends.png Republican Benner Township Centre, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, Union
35 John Wozniak Electiondot.png Democratic Johnstown Cambria, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Somerset
36 Michael Brubaker Ends.png Republican Ephrata Chester, Lancaster
37 John Pippy Ends.png Republican Moon Township Allegheny, Washington
38 Jim Ferlo Electiondot.png Democratic Pittsburgh Allegheny, Armstrong, Westmoreland
39 Kim Ward Ends.png Republican Hempfield Township Westmoreland
40 Vacant Ends.png Republican McCandless Allegheny, Butler
41 Don White Ends.png Republican Indiana Armstrong, Clearfield, Indiana, Westmoreland
42 Wayne Fontana Electiondot.png Democratic Pittsburgh Allegheny
43 Jay Costa Electiondot.png Democratic Forest Hills Allegheny
44 John Rafferty Ends.png Republican Collegeville Berks, Chester, Montgomery
45 James Brewster Electiondot.png Democratic McKeesport Allegheny, Westmoreland
46 Timothy Solobay Electiondot.png Democratic Bentleyville Allegheny, Beaver, Greene, Washington, Westmoreland
47 Elder Vogel Ends.png Republican Rochester Allegheny, Beaver, Lawrence
48 Mike Folmer Ends.png Republican Lebanon Berks, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon
49 Jane Earll Ends.png Republican Erie Erie
50 Bob Robbins Ends.png Republican Greenville Butler, Crawford, Lawrence, Mercer

Senate Committees

The Pennsylvania Senate has 22 standing committees:

External links