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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 29, 2021 11:15 AM
From: Senator Katie J. Muth and Sen. Lindsey M. Williams
To: All Senate members
Subject: Rules Reform: Every Resolution Gets a Vote
In the near future, we will be introducing a resolution amending the Senate Operating Rules to ensure that every senate resolution introduced would get a vote in committee and, if reported out of committee, on the Senate floor. This proposed resolution is among a package of Senate Rules Reform Resolutions, many of which are included in SR4, that are intended to empower members of both sides of the aisle to effectively advocate for their constituents. This package of Rules Reforms will ensure transparency in the legislative process, encourage public participation, and hold members accountable to the public. 

Last session, we utilized a unanimous consent resolution process by which members could recognize significant events, uplift marginalized populations and issues, and celebrate Pennsylvania. However, in February of 2020, the majority party refused to run two such unanimous consent resolutions, one Recognizing February 15, 2020, as “Love is Love Day” in Pennsylvania and the other designating the week of November 18th through the 22nd of 2019 as a Time to Acknowledge Sexual Assault Surivovors in the Military, which was already two months overdue. We cannot allow homophobic individuals and those who refuse to acknowledge the lived realities of members of our armed forces to block important resolutions honoring these communities. 

Furthermore, the Senate introduced 410 resolutions during the last session, but only adopted 259 of them. It is neither fair nor representative of the entire Commonwealth when the majority party single handedly decides which resolutions are considered for adoption and which are not. While the chamber does not necessarily need to use the unanimous consent process, the rules still provide for the ability for Senators to vote on resolutions. Even those without legislative impact, resolutions are an important legislative tool that brings value and awareness to issues our constituents are facing. 

This resolution would amend the Senate Rules to mandate that all resolutions would be given consideration in committee as well as on the floor if they are voted out of committee. That would include resolutions to amend the rules, such as the legislation being proposed here, and concurrent resolutions. 

Please join us in cosponsoring this important change to the Senate Operating Rules.

Introduced as SR80