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Pennsylvania State Senate
|Pennsylvania State Senate|
|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)|
| 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|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Ethics and transparency
- 3 Elections
- 4 Redistricting
- 5 Senators
- 6 Senate Committees
- 7 History
- 8 External links
- 9 References
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.
As of March 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.
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.
- 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. 
- See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions
Ethics and transparency
Open States Transparency
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 is 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.
|2012 Donors, Pennsylvania State Senate|
|Pennsylvania Republican Party||$1,794,822|
|Friends of Dominic Pileggi||$866,715|
|Senate Republican Campaign Cmte of Pennsylvania||$771,990|
|Pennsylvania Association for Justice||$570,800|
|Northwest Good Government Pac||$508,977|
|Friends of Joe Scarnati||$461,100|
|Pennsylvania Democratic Party||$417,045|
|Gehret, John K||$382,045|
|Pennsylvania State Education Association||$351,205|
The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.
|2012 Margin of Victory, Pennsylvania State Senate|
|District||Winner||Margin of Victory||Total Votes||Top Opponent|
|District 35||John Wozniak||2%||91,481||Timothy Houser|
|District 15||Rob Teplitz||3.1%||118,643||John McNally|
|District 37||Matthew Smith||5.2%||134,737||D. Raja|
|District 9||Dominic Pileggi||10.8%||131,772||Patricia Worrell|
|District 13||Lloyd Smucker||11.4%||115,134||Tom O'Brien|
|District 29||David Argall||12.3%||101,202||Tim Seip|
|District 47||Elder Vogel||14.1%||100,961||Kimberly Villella|
|District 19||Andy Dinniman||14.9%||145,503||Christopher Amentas|
|District 49||Sean Wiley||20%||101,513||Janet Anderson|
|District 17||Daylin Leach||26.4%||124,215||Charles Gehret|
The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was March 9, 2010. The primary election day was May 18, 2010.
|2010 Donors, Pennsylvania State Senate|
|Pennsylvania Republican Party||$1,232,940|
|Volpe Jr., Charles J||$690,659|
|Metropolitan Regional Council of Carpenters & Joiners||$342,650|
|Pennsylvania Association for Justice||$296,200|
|Senate Republican Campaign Cmte of Pennsylvania||$293,903|
|Friends of Dominic Pileggi||$282,650|
|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.
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
When sworn in
Pennsylvania legislators assume office in January.
- See also: Partisan composition of state senates
|Party||As of March 2015|
List of current members
The Pennsylvania Senate has 22 standing committees:
- Aging & Youth Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
- Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
- Appropriations Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
- Banking & Insurance Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
- Communications & Technology Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
- Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
- Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
- Education Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
- Environmental Resources & Energy Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
- Finance Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
- Game & Fisheries Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
- Intergovernmental Operations Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
- Judiciary Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
- Labor & Industry Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
- Law & Justice Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
- Local Government Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
- Public Health & Welfare Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
- Rules & Executive Nominations Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
- State Government Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
- Transportation Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
- Urban Affairs & Housing Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
- Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee, Pennsylvania State Senate
Partisan balance 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.
- Pennsylvania State Senate official website
- Official list of members of the Pennsylvania State Senate
- Pennsylvania State Senate on Wikipedia
- Pennsylvania Constitution, Article 2, Section 3
- List of state legislative term limits
- Population in 2010 of the American states
- Population in 2000 of the American states
- "Pennsylvania General Assembly" About the Pennsylvania Senate, March 3, 2009
- Post-Gazette, "Pennsylvania lawmakers start settling in," January 2, 2013
- 2011 Legislative Sessions Calendar, NCSL
- 2010 session dates for Pennsylvania legislature
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- Follow the Money "Pennsylvania State Senate 2012 Campaign Contributions"
- Follow the Money "Pennsylvania State Senate 2010 Campaign Contributions"
- State of Pennsylvania "Pennsylvania Constitution"(Referenced Section, Article II, Section 2)
- U.S. Census Bureau, "U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Pennsylvania's 2010 Census Population Totals, Including First Look at Race and Hispanic Origin Data for Legislative Redistricting," March 9, 2011. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
- USA Today, "State lawmakers pump up pensions in ways you can't," September 23, 2011
- Pennsylvania General Assembly FAQ
- Officers of the Pennsylvania Senate
State of Pennsylvania
|State executive offices||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | Auditor General | Secretary of Education | Commissioner of Insurance | Secretary of Agriculture | Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources | Secretary of Labor & Industry | Chairman of Public Utilities |