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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: May 2, 2018 11:57 AM
From: Representative Dave Reed
To: All House members
Subject: Proposed Legislation - Government Reform Package

Reforming and reinventing how Harrisburg operates has been one of the focal points this legislative session.

Already, the House passed a package of bills to bring integrity, transparency, and spending limits to the state budget and budget process. We enacted legislation to create the independent Office of Inspector General. We strengthened the law regulating lobbyists by increasing penalties for non-compliance and increasing transparency as well. And we voted to reduce the size of the Legislature.

There is still more which needs to be done, from improving government operations to bringing back faith in our system.

Please join me in co-sponsoring a series of reforms I believe would improve the operations of the House of Representatives, the primary election process in Pennsylvania, and how we draw Legislative and Congressional districts.

Document #1

Introduced as HR946

Description: Committee Chair Term Limits - The first proposal is an amendment to the General Operating Rules of the House of Representatives that would alter how members are selected as committee chairs. This proposal would limit a member’s service as committee chair of a particular committee to three legislative sessions for committees now subject to selection based upon seniority. There would be no change to which members are eligible to be committee chairs.  While the use of seniority has its place in the House of Representatives, it should not be used to restrict the flow of new ideas for decades.

Document #2

Introduced as HB2448

Description: Independent Primary Voters – The second proposal would remove the exclusion of independent or non-affiliated voters from Pennsylvania’s primary process. All such voters would have the opportunity to choose which primary ballot they wish to record on Primary Election Day. With nearly 750,000 of our state’s voters now registered as independent or non-affiliated, the time has come stop excluding them from a significant portion of our electoral process. Too many races, especially local races, find finality in the spring election, and these voters should not be left out.

Document #3

Introduced as HB2449

Description: Redistricting Reform - The third proposal would replace the current process for determining the districts for the General Assembly and Pennsylvania’s congressional districts. Thus far, the debate about the proper method of drawing electoral boundaries has been about choosing between elected officials or a potentially biased “independent” commission.

This proposal would establish a truly independent commission for the purpose of the decennial drawing of boundaries. The commission would be selected in a similar fashion as a jury is selected: randomly from all eligible voters. The members of the commission would be seated in a way that preserves party and geographic balance.

The boundaries adopted under this new process would be required to meet neutral criteria to provide protection for an individual against dilution of his or her vote in the creation of the districts. Those criteria would be compactness, contiguity, minimization of the division of political subdivisions, maintenance of population equality among districts and keeping intact communities of interest.