The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

Schwank's proposed Bill would shrink size of PA Legislature


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sen. Judy Schwank on Aug. 12 urged state lawmakers and the governor to finally consider her legislation to reduce the size of the Pennsylvania General Assembly by more than a third.
“For too long, taxpayers have had to pay for an institution that, by nearly every standard, is too big,” Schwank said. “My bill would make the legislature a modern governing body by shrinking the size of its membership by more than a third.”
If approved, Schwank’s Senate Bill 336 would drop the size of the Senate from 50 to 40 while the House of Representatives would go from 203 members to 121.
“Our legislature worked well in the mid-19th century when a larger number of representatives and senators were needed to make sure their constituents’ voices were heard in Harrisburg,” Schwank said. “But we no longer communicate today the way we did then, and we’re wasting millions of tax dollars every year by continuing this antiquated way of daily legislating.
“Also, being the size we are ties the legislature’s hands in responding to evolving economic and social conditions. This isn’t good for anyone,” she said.
Schwank’s measure calls for a constitutional amendment to reduce the size of the legislature. A similar bill she proposed last year died as the 2011-’12 session expired, but it had garnered strong bipartisan support in the meantime.
Similar proposals from other lawmakers are also making the rounds in Harrisburg.
“What’s clear is Pennsylvania taxpayers want a leaner, faster and more effective governing body that’s much less expensive. I’m listening and willing to work in a bipartisan manner to make sure this finally happens,” Schwank said.
Provided by Sen. Schwank’s office.