HARRISBURG – A legislative proposal to reduce the size of Pennsylvania's General Assembly has been referred to the Senate State Government Committee for its review, according to State Senator David G. Argall (R-29).
Senate Bill 1160 will eliminate 50 House seats and five Senate seats.
In a letter to Senator Charles McIlhinney, Chairman of the Senate State Government Committee, Argall requested a public hearing on the issue further stating, "Because of the difficulty of moving this issue forward, I believe that we need to take a new approach in this effort. By giving members the option of a gradual reduction in legislative seats, we have an opportunity to gain increased support from members in both Chambers. If your members and staff can amend my bill to speed up this process in such a manner which can be approved on the floor of the House and Senate, I will join you in strongly supporting those efforts."
Legislative proposals to reduce the size of the General Assembly have been around for decades, and have never come close to final approval, according to Argall, with the last recorded floor vote in the Senate being held in 1977. This session, 24 senators are co-sponsors to various bills reducing the General Assembly; 26 affirmative votes are needed for final passage of any bill.
"Now is the time, in the midst of this terrible recession, to have the House and Senate lead by example and begin the process to reduce the size of the Legislature," Argall said.
"I have been very honest with people in my district that this is not the solution to all of our problemsin reality, it is only a small part of the overall problem," Argall said. "I strongly believe, however, that it is not appropriate for a legislator to demand cuts in the Governor's office or in the Department of Environmental Protection or in the Department of Public Welfare or in any other state agency without a similar willingness to reduce our own costs," Argall added.
Senate Bill 1160 is cosponsored by Senators Richard Alloway (R-Franklin), Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne), Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster), Ted Erickson (R-Delaware), Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny), Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery), John Pippy (R-Allegheny), John Rafferty (R-Chester), Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks), Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland), Pat Browne (R-Lehigh), Don White (R-Indiana), Jane Earll (R-Erie) and Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia).