There are often proposals in the Pennsylvania legislature to reduce the number of members of the House and Senate (currently 203 and 50 respectively), but now there is a suggestion to drop one of the chambers completely.
The House Majority Policy Committee will take a look at the feasibility of eliminating the entire state Senate during a hearing this afternoon in Philadelphia.
Representative Mike Sturla, a Lancaster County Democrat, points out there’s been a lot of recent talk about shrinking the General Assembly.
Sturla argues trimming the bodies by ten or twenty percent won’t save any money.
"They simply make the districts for those legislators who are left larger. And make it harder to serve those constituents. But because of that, they probably hire more staff, they probably have more district offices. They probably have – so I don’t know if it really saves anything in the long run.
The General Assembly has a combined 253 seats and eliminating the 50 seat Senate would equal a 20% cut in the number of lawmakers in Pennsylvania.
Nebraska is the only state with a one-chamber legislature. Sturla says in addition to saving money, the move would make legislation more efficient.
He argues right now, the House and Senate waste a lot of time passing bills the other chamber simply ignores. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi dismisses the bill.
Erik Arneson says the House should focus on “crafting a responsible state budget.”