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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 18, 2014 03:23 PM
From: Representative Kate Harper
To: All House members
Subject: Raising the Mandatory Reitrement Age for Judges
In the near future, I will be reintroducing former HB 79. This piece of legislation will amend the Pennsylvania Constitution that would raise the mandatory retirement age for judges in the Commonwealth.

Specifically, the measure would amend Section 16 (b) of Article V of the Constitution to increase the mandatory retirement age for justices, judges and justices of the peace from 70 to 75 years old. To become law, the amendment must receive a majority vote of two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly and an affirmative vote by the electorate. Former HB 79 had passed in the House last session by a vote of 157-44, and in the Senate by a vote of 44-6 and has been advertised as required by the Pennsylvania Constitution.

By giving judges more time on the bench, the Commonwealth and its citizens will benefit from the knowledge, experience, and temperament of seasoned jurists. The extended retirement age will also serve to attract qualified legal practitioners to run for the bench.

Finally, I note that the life expectancy of the average person in 1968, when the Pennsylvania Constitution was most recently revised, was approximately 70 years. By contrast, the current life expectancy is approximately 78 years because of medical advancement and healthier lifestyles. Accordingly, it seems appropriate to update our Constitution to reflect this new reality by changing the mandatory retirement age for our judges to 75 years old.

Please join me in cosponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as HB90