Politics

Another Push Begins to Shrink Pennsylvania Legislature

Take the 203 seats in the House of Representatives and add the 50 in the Senate, and Pennsylvania has one of the largest legislatures in the country.
August 20, 2013
 

From his vantage on the rostrum of the Pennsylvania House, Speaker Sam Smith knows what he sees: too many representatives.

Take the 203 seats in the House of Representatives and add the 50 in the Senate, and Pennsylvania has one of the largest legislatures in the country. (New Hampshire has 400 seats in its House, but rank-and-file lawmakers earn $100 a year there, compared with $83,801 in Pennsylvania.)

Efforts to condense the Pennsylvania House date at least to the late 1960s, when delegates to a constitutional convention rejected such plans.

Now, Mr. Smith, who was elected speaker in January 2011, says he believes the size of the chamber has exacerbated difficulties finding common ground.

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