Pa. lawmakers set out on long road to downsizing

    A plan to shrink the ranks of lawmakers in the Pennsylvania House has advanced.

    Several lawmakers say shrinking the Legislature from 203 to 153 for the sake of cost-cutting and efficiency sets a good example to the rest of state government.

    Some have expressed concern the reduction would mean larger districts that make lawmakers rely less on shoe leather and more on big donors to win elections. Others say it’s a debate they’re ready to have.

    House Majority Leader Mike Turzai says he wants to advance the bill this spring.

    “It’s certainly one of the agenda items that we hope to move,” Turzai said.

    The measure passed in a committee meeting and the House has passed it on a first consideration vote — meaning it needs two more House votes after that, and then goes to the state Senate.

    But after those hoops, there’s more jumping.

    Shrinking the number of House districts would require tinkering with the state Constitution.

    That can only happen if the downsizing measure is approved in two back-to-back legislative sessions and then passes a voter referendum.

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