Plan to shrink Pa. Legislature resurfaces

    Proposals to shrink the size of Pennsylvania’s Legislature are back before lawmakers.

    Speaker of the House Re. Sam Smith is reintroducing his plan from last year to cut the 203-member House by 50 seats. Last year, his plan passed the House, but only after language to also reduce the size of the 50-member Senate. The Senate didn’t advance the proposal.

    Separating the bids to downsize into two chamber-specific proposals may increase the likelihood that one will go all the way to the governor’s desk, according to Drew Crompton, spokesman for the Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati.

    “Some of the reason why we did not act upon the bill is because I think in light of the shrinking of the size of the — not just the House, but also the Senate,” he said.

    The Senate Majority Leader supports a separate proposal to shrink the size of the Legislature, though the numbers differ from the House proposals.

    Proponents of downsizing say it would make the General Assembly more efficient.

    But opponents are apprehensive that a smaller body would mean more concentrated power in the hands of leadership, and say fewer lawmakers will mean diminished representation for constituents.

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