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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: September 6, 2019 02:38 PM
From: Representative Valerie S. Gaydos
To: All House members
Subject: Reducing the Size of the General Assembly

Our constituents often express that they want state government to scale back in an efficient, effective, and responsible way.

With 253 members, Pennsylvania is ranked as the second largest state legislature in the nation according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Based on the 2010 U.S. Census, Pennsylvania is ranked sixth in population – following California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois. If you examine the legislatures of the top eight states on the population list, you’ll notice that each of those eight states, even those with a smaller population than Pennsylvania, have fewer legislators and larger districts. For example, Michigan’s population is 9,883,640 and each of their 110 house members represent 89,851 constituents, compared to Pennsylvania’s population of 12,702,379 with 203 districts of 62,573 constituents.

With the constant improvement and evolution of technology, legislators can respond to constituents more quickly and efficiently than ever, and as such saving taxpayer’s money. Utilizing existing technology would make it possible to reduce the size of the legislature without sacrificing efficiency, communication with our constituents, or increasing expenses. Furthermore, a smaller, more efficient legislature would allow for a more robust discussion and clearer debates, providing more time to each member to have his or her voice heard.

With that in mind, I will be introducing legislation to reduce the size of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to 151 members. This would increase the size of the House districts by approximately a third, bringing the ratio of lawmakers in Pennsylvania more in line with other states. Legislation identical to my proposal has received bipartisan support in recent years, having previously passed both chambers in 2015-16 and the Senate last session with a vote of 42-7.

In an effort to produce savings, increase efficiency, and to promote public confidence in our institution, please join me in sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB2151