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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=21805
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: January 5, 2017 02:30 PM
From: Representative Mark Longietti
To: All House members
Subject: Reintroduction of House Bill 955 - Magisterial District Judge Elections Legislation
 
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce House Bill 955, which will require an incumbent Magisterial District Judge to file a declaration of candidacy and candidate affidavit in lieu of a nomination petition.

As I am sure you are aware, Magisterial District Judges (MDJs) routinely issue decisions that directly impact constituents within their districts. By virtue of their elected office, Magisterial District Judges are statutorily required to circulate and file nomination petitions like any other candidate seeking public office in the Commonwealth. By contrast, Article V, Section 15(b) of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requires Justices and Judges to file a declaration of candidacy for retention election if they choose to serve another term in office. If a justice or judge files a declaration, his or her name is submitted to the electors without party designation. Unfortunately, MDJs are put in a difficult position as they must go door-to-door to collect signatures from constituents to whom they sometimes render unfavorable decisions. As such, MDJs are put at risk as they may be exposed to backlash from an aggrieved party during the petition process.

My legislation will change the election process for incumbent Magisterial District Judges to bring them in line with the rest of Pennsylvania’s judiciary. Under my proposal, incumbent MDJs will be required to submit a declaration of candidacy and a candidate affidavit no later than January 15th of the year in which their term of office expires. Accordingly, Magisterial District Judges will be able to avoid the petitioning process that would potentially put them in contact with an irate past litigant.

Please join me in supporting this important legislation.

Previous co-sponsors: Boback, McNeill, Rozzi, Mullery, Cohen, D. Costa, Gergely, Kortz and Davis

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Introduced as HB736