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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 1, 2022 01:27 PM
From: Representative Perry A. Stambaugh
To: All House members
Subject: Limited State Constitutional Convention (HB 794, 2021-2022)
Calls for reforming state government are growing. Citizens are increasingly concerned about the size, cost, and inefficiency of their government – issues brought to the fore by criminal scandals, serial credit downgrades, spiraling pension debts, insider dealing, and rampant cronyism. Special interests continue to push unrestrained government spending, unaffordable taxes, and job-killing over-regulation. Loopholes in budgetary oversight have fostered a troubling climate of fiscal mismanagement and weak accountability.

Unfortunately, major reform has always been difficult to accomplish in Pennsylvania. Therefore, I plan to reintroduce legislation (HB 794 from last session) giving voters the chance to decide if there should be a state constitutional convention to look at Pennsylvania’s government structures and practices, as last occurred in 1967-68.

This legislation would call for a limited constitutional convention. Under the bill, the ballot for the next municipal election would contain a referendum question that gives voters of the Commonwealth the opportunity to decide whether there should be a limited constitutional convention. If a majority votes in favor of holding a constitutional convention, a preparatory committee would immediately make logistical arrangements for the event.

The convention would consist of 163 members – three voting delegates chosen by election from each state senatorial district and 13 other members of the General Assembly selected by legislative caucuses as voting, ex-officio members. All recommendations would require a majority vote of the 163 delegates. Citizens interested in becoming delegates to the convention would file petitions and run for the positions.

The charge of the constitutional convention would be constrained to certain articles and subjects. The convention cannot propose any changes to Article I, Declaration of Rights, or any Article or Section not referenced in the legislation. Specifically, the convention may make recommendations on the following:
  • Sections 3, 4, 8, 16 of Article II, which pertain to terms, size, status, or compensation of the General Assembly;
  • Article III, Sections 13, 22, 24 and Sub article A relating to amendments of legislation, no-bid contracts, and spending without an enacted budget;
  • Article IV as it pertains to the office of Lt. Governor; and
  • Sections 10, 17, and 18 of Article V pertaining to the judiciary.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this vital legislation to reinvigorate Pennsylvania government.

Introduced as HB458