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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 29, 2021 11:26 AM
From: Senator Lindsey M. Williams and Sen. Katie J. Muth
To: All Senate members
Subject: Rules Reform: Requiring Majority and Minority Party Participation to Conduct Official Business
In the near future, we will be introducing a Senate Resolution that will amend the Senate Operating Rules to require that at least one member of both parties be present in order for standing committees to conduct official business. This proposed resolution is among a package of Senate Rules Reform Resolutions, many of which are included in SR4 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 resolution will amend the Senate Operating Rules to require that at least one committee member who is affiliated with the Minority Party be present in order to constitute a quorum. 
Historically, the majority of standing committee membership consists of the Majority Party. By simply defining a committee quorum as “a majority of members present in person”, the Majority party currently can unilaterally conduct confirmation hearings, amend and report bills out of committee, or conduct any other committee business without any members of the Minority Party being present. This rule effectively shuts the door on Minority Party participation and silences the voices of the voters that these elected members represent. 

In order for this Chamber to foster an environment of effective bipartisan collaboration, we must amend the Senate Operating Rules to ensure all committee members, regardless of party affiliation, have a true seat at the table to ensure the voices of their constituents are heard. 
Please join us in cosponsoring this important change to the Senate Operating Rules.

Introduced as SR78