|Posted:||January 29, 2021 11:28 AM|
|From:||Senator Lindsey M. Williams and Sen. Katie J. Muth, Sen. James R. Brewster|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Rules Reform: Ensuring Equitable Representation on Standing Committees|
|In the near future, we will be introducing a resolution amending the Senate Operating Rules to require Senate standing committees have equal caucus representation. 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 resolution would restore the balance of committee power by requiring that both the Majority and Minority caucus have equal committee representation on Senate standing committees.
In our Chamber, the caucus in power can stack standing committees with a majority of their members, giving them the ability to control a quorum and the committee agenda. Allowing this to continue only works to further exasperate the partisan divide and effectively silences hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians who elected members of the Minority Party.
Standing committees should be a place where the two caucuses can come together to workshop policy ideas, thoroughly vet legislation, take testimony from experts and collaborate on necessary amendments. Standing committees in their current form do nothing to serve this purpose. Ensuring that both caucuses have equal representation on Senate standing committees will force the caucuses to work together for the betterment of all Pennsylvanians and not just the privileged few.
Please join us in cosponsoring this important change to the Senate Operating Rules.