THE LEGISLATURE

      1.  Legislative power.
      2.  Election of members; vacancies.
      3.  Terms of members.
      4.  Sessions.
      5.  Qualifications of members.
      6.  Disqualification to hold other office.
      7.  Ineligibility by criminal convictions.
      8.  Compensation.
      9.  Election of officers; judge of election and qualifications
          of members.
     10.  Quorum.
     11.  Powers of each house; expulsion.
     12.  Journals; yeas and nays.
     13.  Open sessions.
     14.  Adjournments.
     15.  Privileges of members.
     16.  Legislative districts.
     17.  Legislative Reapportionment Commission.

        Adoption.  Unless otherwise noted, the provisions of Article
     II were adopted December 16, 1873, 1874 P.L.3, effective January
     1, 1874.
     § 1.  Legislative power.
        The legislative power of this Commonwealth shall be vested in
     a General Assembly, which shall consist of a Senate and a House
     of Representatives.
     § 2.  Election of members; vacancies.
        Members of the General Assembly shall be chosen at the
     general election every second year. Their term of service shall
     begin on the first day of December next after their election.
     Whenever a vacancy shall occur in either House, the presiding
     officer thereof shall issue a writ of election to fill such
     vacancy for the remainder of the term.
     § 3.  Terms of members.
        Senators shall be elected for the term of four years and
     Representatives for the term of two years.
     § 4.  Sessions.
        The General Assembly shall be a continuing body during the
     term for which its Representatives are elected. It shall meet at
     12 o'clock noon on the first Tuesday of January each year.
     Special sessions shall be called by the Governor on petition of
     a majority of the members elected to each House or may be called
     by the Governor whenever in his opinion the public interest
     (Nov. 3, 1959, P.L.2158, J.R.1; May 16, 1967, P.L.1036, J.R.2)
     § 5.  Qualifications of members.
        Senators shall be at least 25 years of age and
     Representatives 21 years of age. They shall have been citizens
     and inhabitants of the State four years, and inhabitants of
     their respective districts one year next before their election
     (unless absent on the public business of the United States or of
     this State), and shall reside in their respective districts
     during their terms of service.
     § 6.  Disqualification to hold other office.
        No Senator or Representative shall, during the time for which
     he was elected, be appointed to any civil office under this
     Commonwealth to which a salary, fee or perquisite is attached.
     No member of Congress or other person holding any office (except
     of attorney-at-law or in the National Guard or in a reserve
     component of the armed forces of the United States) under the
     United States or this Commonwealth to which a salary, fee or
     perquisite is attached shall be a member of either House during
     his continuance in office.
     (May 16, 1967, P.L.1036, J.R.2)
     § 7.  Ineligibility by criminal convictions.
        No person hereafter convicted of embezzlement of public
     moneys, bribery, perjury or other infamous crime, shall be
     eligible to the General Assembly, or capable of holding any
     office of trust or profit in this Commonwealth.
     § 8.  Compensation.
        The members of the General Assembly shall receive such salary
     and mileage for regular and special sessions as shall be fixed
     by law, and no other compensation whatever, whether for service
     upon committee or otherwise. No member of either House shall
     during the term for which he may have been elected, receive any
     increase of salary, or mileage, under any law passed during such
     § 9.  Election of officers; judge of election and qualifications
           of members.
        The Senate shall, at the beginning and close of each regular
     session and at such other times as may be necessary, elect one
     of its members President pro tempore, who shall perform the
     duties of the Lieutenant Governor, in any case of absence or
     disability of that officer, and whenever the said office of
     Lieutenant Governor shall be vacant. The House of
     Representatives shall elect one of its members as Speaker. Each
     House shall choose its other officers, and shall judge of the
     election and qualifications of its members.
     § 10.  Quorum.
        A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum, but a
     smaller number may adjourn from day to day and compel the
     attendance of absent members.
     § 11.  Powers of each house; expulsion.
        Each House shall have power to determine the rules of its
     proceedings and punish its members or other persons for contempt
     or disorderly behavior in its presence, to enforce obedience to
     its process, to protect its members against violence or offers
     of bribes or private solicitation, and, with the concurrence of
     two-thirds, to expel a member, but not a second time for the
     same cause, and shall have all other powers necessary for the
     Legislature of a free State. A member expelled for corruption
     shall not thereafter be eligible to either House, and punishment
     for contempt or disorderly behavior shall not bar an indictment
     for the same offense.
     § 12.  Journals; yeas and nays.
        Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings and from
     time to time publish the same, except such parts as require
     secrecy, and the yeas and nays of the members on any question
     shall, at the desire of any two of them, be entered on the
     § 13.  Open sessions.
        The sessions of each House and of committees of the whole
     shall be open, unless when the business is such as ought to be
     kept secret.
     § 14.  Adjournments.
        Neither House shall, without the consent of the other,
     adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than
     that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.
     § 15.  Privileges of members.
        The members of the General Assembly shall in all cases,
     except treason, felony, violation of their oath of office, and
     breach or surety of the peace, be privileged from arrest during
     their attendance at the sessions of their respective Houses and
     in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or
     debate in either House they shall not be questioned in any other
     § 16.  Legislative districts.
        The Commonwealth shall be divided into 50 senatorial and 203
     representative districts, which shall be composed of compact and
     contiguous territory as nearly equal in population as
     practicable. Each senatorial district shall elect one Senator,
     and each representative district one Representative. Unless
     absolutely necessary no county, city, incorporated town,
     borough, township or ward shall be divided in forming either a
     senatorial or representative district.
     (Apr. 23, 1968, P.L.App.3, Prop. No.1)

        1968 Amendment.  Proposal No.1 amended and consolidated
     former sections 16 and 17 into present section 16. The schedule
     to Proposal No.1 provided that section 16, if approved by the
     electorate voting on April 23, 1968, shall become effective the
     year following that in which the next Federal decennial census
     is officially reported as required by Federal law.
     § 17.  Legislative Reapportionment Commission.
        (a)  In each year following the year of the Federal decennial
     census, a Legislative Reapportionment Commission shall be
     constituted for the purpose of reapportioning the Commonwealth.
     The commission shall act by a majority of its entire membership.
        (b)  The commission shall consist of five members: four of
     whom shall be the majority and minority leaders of both the
     Senate and the House of Representatives, or deputies appointed
     by each of them, and a chairman selected as hereinafter
     provided. No later than 60 days following the official reporting
     of the Federal decennial census as required by Federal law, the
     four members shall be certified by the President pro tempore of
     the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to
     the elections officer of the Commonwealth who under law shall
     have supervision over elections.
        The four members within 45 days after their certification
     shall select the fifth member, who shall serve as chairman of
     the commission, and shall immediately certify his name to such
     elections officer. The chairman shall be a citizen of the
     Commonwealth other than a local, State or Federal official
     holding an office to which compensation is attached.
        If the four members fail to select the fifth member within
     the time prescribed, a majority of the entire membership of the
     Supreme Court within 30 days thereafter shall appoint the
     chairman as aforesaid and certify his appointment to such
     elections officer.
        Any vacancy in the commission shall be filled within 15 days
     in the same manner in which such position was originally filled.
        (c)  No later than 90 days after either the commission has
     been duly certified or the population data for the Commonwealth
     as determined by the Federal decennial census are available,
     whichever is later in time, the commission shall file a
     preliminary reapportionment plan with such elections officer.
        The commission shall have 30 days after filing the
     preliminary plan to make corrections in the plan.
        Any person aggrieved by the preliminary plan shall have the
     same 30-day period to file exceptions with the commission in
     which case the commission shall have 30 days after the date the
     exceptions were filed to prepare and file with such elections
     officer a revised reapportionment plan. If no exceptions are
     filed within 30 days, or if filed and acted upon, the
     commissions's plan shall be final and have the force of law.
        (d)  Any aggrieved person may file an appeal from the final
     plan directly to the Supreme Court within 30 days after the
     filing thereof. If the appellant establishes that the final plan
     is contrary to law, the Supreme Court shall issue an order
     remanding the plan to the commission and directing the
     commission to reapportion the Commonwealth in a manner not
     inconsistent with such order.
        (e)  When the Supreme Court has finally decided an appeal or
     when the last day for filing an appeal has passed with no appeal
     taken, the reapportionment plan shall have the force of law and
     the districts therein provided shall be used thereafter in
     elections to the General Assembly until the next reapportionment
     as required under this section 17.
        (f)  Any district which does not include the residence from
     which a member of the Senate was elected whether or not
     scheduled for election at the next general election shall elect
     a Senator at such election.
        (g)  The General Assembly shall appropriate sufficient funds
     for the compensation and expenses of members and staff appointed
     by the commission, and other necessary expenses. The members of
     the commission shall be entitled to such compensation for their
     services as the General Assembly from time to time shall
     determine, but no part thereof shall be paid until a preliminary
     plan is filed. If a preliminary plan is filed but the commission
     fails to file a revised or final plan within the time
     prescribed, the commission members shall forfeit all right to
     compensation not paid.
        (h)  If a preliminary, revised or final reapportionment plan
     is not filed by the commission within the time prescribed by
     this section, unless the time be extended by the Supreme Court
     for cause shown, the Supreme Court shall immediately proceed on
     its own motion to reapportion the Commonwealth.
        (i)  Any reapportionment plan filed by the commission, or
     ordered or prepared by the Supreme Court upon the failure of the
     commission to act, shall be published by the elections officer
     once in at least one newspaper of general circulation in each
     senatorial and representative district. The publication shall
     contain a map of the Commonwealth showing the complete
     reapportionment of the General Assembly by districts, and a map
     showing the reapportionment districts in the area normally
     served by the newspaper in which the publication is made. The
     publication shall also state the population of the senatorial
     and representative districts having the smallest and largest
     population and the percentage variation of such districts from
     the average population for senatorial and representative
     (Apr. 23, 1968, P.L.App.3, Prop. No.2; Nov. 3, 1981, P.L.601,
     J.R.1; May 15, 2001, 2000 P.L.1057, J.R.1)

        2001 Amendment.  Joint Resolution No.1 of 2000 relettered
     subsec. (f) to subsec. (g), subsec. (g) to subsec. (h) and
     subsec. (h) to subsec. (i) and added a new subsec. (f).
        1981 Amendment.  Joint Resolution No.1 amended subsecs. (a)
     and (b).
        1968 Amendment.  Proposal No.2 amended and renumbered former
     section 18 to present section 17. The schedule to Proposal No.2
     provided that section 17, if approved by the electorate voting
     on April 23, 1968, shall become effective the year following
     that in which the next Federal decennial census is officially
     reported as required by Federal law.
        Prior Provisions.  Former section 17 was amended and
     consolidated with present section 16 by amendment of April 23,
     1968, P.L.App.3, Prop. No.1.