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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 29, 2021 11:21 AM
From: Senator Katie J. Muth and Sen. Lindsey M. Williams
To: All Senate members
Subject: Rules Reform: Ensuring Bipartisan Representation on Special Committees
In the near future, we will be introducing a Senate Resolution amending the Senate Operating Rules to redesign how special committees are formed in the Senate. 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.

Specifically, this legislation would allow any Senator to file a petition with the Secretary-Parliamentarian requesting a special committee. The petition will be required to include the need, scope, and responsibilities of the special committee. Once a petition has been filed, the Senate will be required to take a roll call vote to determine whether to form the special committee. If a majority of both the Majority and Minority caucus vote to approve the special committee, the committee will take effect. Each caucus will be provided equitable representation on the committee and each caucus will be responsible for appointing its special committee members. 

This proposed change would ensure that the Senate can address intersectional and timely issues with a balanced approach that facilitates bipartisan collaboration and representation, and decreases the possibility for abuse of power by using a formed Special Committee to advance partisan, ideological agendas.

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

Introduced as SR79