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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: March 24, 2021 02:44 PM
From: Senator Doug Mastriano and Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, Sen. Mike Regan
To: All Senate members
Subject: Constitutional Amendment: Allowing for December Session Dates
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation along with Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill and Senator Mike Regan to amend the PA Constitution to reform when members of the General Assembly are officially seated. This legislation was previously championed by the late Senator David Arnold in December.

This legislation was previously co-sponsored by Senators Kim Ward, Judy Ward, Martin, Langerholc, Aument, Argall, Pittman, and Dush.
Currently, the PA Constitution mandates that members of the General Assembly begin their term of service on the first day of December. Those same members are not sworn-in until the first Tuesday in January. 
Our effort would modify the PA Constitution to mandate that members of the General Assembly begin their term of service on the first day of January instead of December. Subsequently, those members would still be sworn-in on the first Tuesday in January. 
This would allow the General Assembly the option to meet through December, at the end of a two-year session, with members who are still serving out the last month of their term. 
The Constitution prohibits the General Assembly from convening in the month of December unless a special session is called by the Governor. This restricts the ability of members to take legislative action for an entire month. As we saw in 2020, this can be detrimental for efforts to tackle important issues should they arise in the month of December. 
The PA General Assembly is a full-time legislature. As members, we should have the flexibility to conduct business in December at the end of a two-year session.

Please consider co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as SB519