Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Smith bills to reduce government size advance

by The Indiana Gazette on September 25, 2013 11:00 AM

Two bills that would reduce the size of Pennsylvania’s General Assembly were voted out of a House committee Tuesday and will head to the floor for debate.

The bills, sponsored by House Speaker Sam Smith, R-Punxsutawney, would reduce the Senate from 50 to 38 members and the House from 203 to 153 members. Each was approved by the House state government committee on 18-7 votes.

If adopted, the resulting district changes would be put in place during the 2020 reapportionment.

“Reducing the number of members would make the General Assembly, and the House in particular, more efficient in its ability to debate and deliberate legislation by allowing members to have a better understanding of how issues are viewed differently in different areas,” Smith said in a statement announcing the committee vote.

“It has become pretty evident reaching a consensus with 203 people on major and controversial issues has proven more difficult in recent times.”

Changing the size of the Legislature will require an amendment to the state constitution, which means the same bill must be debated and passed in two consecutive sessions, and be subsequently approved by a referendum vote.

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