Wolf opposes move to trim Pa. Legislature

    The 203 seats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives sit empty. Along with 50 Senate seats, the Keystone State has the largest full-time legislature in the nation. (AP file photo)

    The 203 seats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives sit empty. Along with 50 Senate seats, the Keystone State has the largest full-time legislature in the nation. (AP file photo)

    Next year isn’t shaping up as a banner year for those who have been pushing for a leaner Pennsylvania Legislature.

    With 253 seats, Pennsylvania has the largest full-time legislature in the country.

    A few lawmakers have offered proposals to drop some of the Senate’s 50 seats, and the House’s 203.

    But such bills face long odds.

    And the state’s soon-to-be chief executive is not a fan of the push to eliminate lawmakers.

    “If you want to make them work more efficiently, more effectively, there are other things we can do to strengthen … our democracy and our democratic tradition, and I would be for those things,” said Gov.-elect Tom Wolf. “But, cutting the size of the legislature, I don’t see how that actually improves our democracy.”

    Proposed constitutional amendments to shrink the General Assembly stalled last session, even with the support of Gov. Tom Corbett.

    The most senior supporter of such efforts has retired – former House Speaker Sam Smith.

    Opponents said it would make lawmakers less accessible to constituents, and do little to cut costs in a heavily staffed Legislature.

    Still, Republican state Sen. Scott Wagner of York County remains adamant about making reductions.

    “You know, we have 2,600 staffers here in Harrisburg between the House and the Senate. We don’t need 2,600 staffers,” he said. “We’re going to have to look at some downsizing within the staff structure – what can we do more efficiently?”

    Lawmakers in the House and Senate have reintroduced bills aiming to trim some seats.

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