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PRIOR PASSAGE - NONE
A01140
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
196
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY DIAMOND, BERNSTINE, CAUSER, DUSH, EMRICK, EVERETT,
IRVIN, JAMES, KAUFFMAN, KEEFER, MACKENZIE, MILLARD,
B. MILLER, PICKETT, RADER, RAPP, ROAE, ROTHMAN, RYAN, SAYLOR,
WARNER AND ZIMMERMAN, JANUARY 28, 2019
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY, JANUARY 28, 2019
A JOINT RESOLUTION
Proposing integrated and distinct amendments to the Constitution
of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, organizing the Judiciary
into representative districts and further providing for
residency requirements; and authorizing a graduated income
tax.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby resolves as follows:
Section 1. The following integrated amendments to the
Constitution of Pennsylvania are proposed in accordance with
Article XI:
(1) That section 2 of Article V be amended to read:
§ 2. Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court (a) shall be the highest court of the
Commonwealth and in this court shall be reposed the supreme
judicial power of the Commonwealth;
(b) shall consist of seven justices, to be elected from
seven judicial districts which shall be established by law, one
of whom shall be the Chief Justice; and
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(c) shall have such jurisdiction as shall be provided by
law.
(2) That section 3 of Article V be amended to read:
§ 3. Superior Court.
The Superior Court shall be a statewide court, and shall
consist of the number of judges, which shall be not less than
seven judges, to be elected from judicial districts which shall
be established by law, and have such jurisdiction as shall be
provided by this Constitution or by the General Assembly. One of
its judges shall be the president judge.
(3) That section 4 of Article V be amended to read:
§ 4. Commonwealth Court.
The Commonwealth Court shall be a statewide court, and shall
consist of the number of judges, to be elected from judicial
districts which shall be established by law, and have such
jurisdiction as shall be provided by law. One of its judges
shall be the president judge.
(4) That section 11 of Article V be amended to read:
§ 11. Judicial districts; boundaries.
[The number and boundaries of judicial districts shall be
changed by the General Assembly only with the advice and consent
of the Supreme Court.]
(a) The number of judges and justices of the Supreme Court,
the Superior Court and the Commonwealth Court elected from each
judicial district shall provide every resident of the
Commonwealth with approximately equal representation on a court.
Each judicial district shall be composed of compact and
contiguous territory as nearly equal in population as
practicable. Each judicial district shall elect one judge or
justice. Unless absolutely necessary, no county, city,
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incorporated town, borough, township or ward may be divided in
forming a judicial district.
(b) The General Assembly shall, by law, establish:
(1) The judicial districts from which justices of the
Supreme Court and the judges of the Superior Court and the
Commonwealth Court are elected.
(2) A transition to an appellate court judiciary elected
from judicial districts.
(3) The effect of set judicial districts upon eligibility to
seek retention election.
(4) The order in which judicial districts shall elect
justices of the Supreme Court and judges of the Superior Court
and the Commonwealth Court.
(5) The decennial realignment of the appellate judicial
districts based on the Federal decennial census, beginning in
2021 and occurring each ten years thereafter.
(c) Except as provided under subsection (b) and section
7(b), the number and boundaries of all other judicial districts
shall be established by the General Assembly by law, with the
advice and consent of the Supreme Court.
(5) That section 12 of Article V be amended to read:
§ 12. Qualifications of justices, judges and justices of the
peace.
(a) Justices, judges and justices of the peace shall be
citizens of the Commonwealth. Justices and judges, except the
judges of the traffic court in the City of Philadelphia, shall
be members of the bar of the Supreme Court. Justices [and judges
of statewide courts, for a period of one year preceding their
election or appointment and during their continuance in office,
shall reside within the Commonwealth. Other], judges and
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justices of the peace, for a period of one year preceding their
election or appointment and during their continuance in office,
shall reside within their respective districts, except as
provided in this article for temporary assignments.
(b) Justices of the peace shall be members of the bar of the
Supreme Court or shall complete a course of training and
instruction in the duties of their respective offices and pass
an examination prior to assuming office. Such courses and
examinations shall be as provided by law.
Section 3. (a) Upon the first passage by the General
Assembly of these proposed constitutional amendments, the
Secretary of the Commonwealth shall proceed immediately to
comply with the advertising requirements of section 1 of Article
XI of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and shall transmit the
required advertisements to two newspapers in every county in
which such newspapers are published in sufficient time after
passage of these proposed constitutional amendments.
(b) Upon the second passage by the General Assembly of these
proposed constitutional amendments, the Secretary of the
Commonwealth shall proceed immediately to comply with the
advertising requirements of section 1 of Article XI of the
Constitution of Pennsylvania and shall transmit the required
advertisements to two newspapers in every county in which such
newspapers are published in sufficient time after passage of
these proposed constitutional amendments. The Secretary of the
Commonwealth shall submit the proposed constitutional amendments
under section 1 of this resolution to the qualified electors of
this Commonwealth as a single ballot question as provided under
subsection (c) at the first primary, general or municipal
election which meets the requirements of and is in conformance
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with section 1 of Article XI of the Constitution of Pennsylvania
and which occurs at least three months after the proposed
constitutional amendments are passed by the General Assembly.
Section 2. The following distinct amendment to the
Constitution of Pennsylvania is proposed in accordance with
Article XI:
That section 1 of Article VIII be amended to read:
§ 1. Uniformity of taxation.
[All] (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), all taxes
shall be uniform, upon the same class of subjects, within the
territorial limits of the authority levying the tax, and shall
be levied and collected under general laws.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), the General Assembly may
by law provide for a graduated Commonwealth income tax employing
non-uniform tax bases and rates and a political subdivision
income tax employing non-uniform tax bases and rates, which
shall include establishing the following income tiers, with each
successively higher tier being subject to a higher rate of tax:
(1) A person with an annual income of less than
$250,000.
(2) A person with an annual income greater than $250,000
but less than $1,000,000.
(3) A person with an annual income greater than
$1,000,000.
Section 3. (a) Upon the first passage by the General
Assembly of these proposed constitutional amendments, the
Secretary of the Commonwealth shall proceed immediately to
comply with the advertising requirements of section 1 of Article
XI of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and shall transmit the
required advertisements to two newspapers in every county in
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which such newspapers are published in sufficient time after
passage of these proposed constitutional amendments.
(b) Upon the second passage by the General Assembly of these
proposed constitutional amendments, the Secretary of the
Commonwealth shall proceed immediately to comply with the
advertising requirements of section 1 of Article XI of the
Constitution of Pennsylvania and shall transmit the required
advertisements to two newspapers in every county in which such
newspapers are published in sufficient time after passage of
these proposed constitutional amendments. The Secretary of the
Commonwealth shall:
(1) Submit the proposed constitutional amendments under
section 1 of this resolution to the qualified electors of
this Commonwealth as a single ballot question at the first
primary, general or municipal election which meets the
requirements of and is in conformance with section 1 of
Article XI of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and which
occurs at least three months after the proposed
constitutional amendments are passed by the General Assembly.
(2) Submit the proposed constitutional amendments under
section 2 of this resolution to the qualified electors of
this Commonwealth as separate ballot questions at the first
primary, general or municipal election which meets the
requirements of and is in conformance with section 1 of
Article XI of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and which
occurs at least three months after the proposed
constitutional amendments are passed by the General Assembly.
(c) The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall place these the
proposed constitutional amendments under section 1 on the ballot
as a single ballot question in the following form:
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Shall sections 2, 3, 4, 11 and 12 of Article V of the
Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to require that
judges and justices of the Supreme Court, the Superior
Court and the Commonwealth Court be elected from judicial
districts established by the General Assembly which must
be compact, contiguous and nearly equal in population as
practicable and to require that all justices, judges and
justices of the peace to be residents of their judicial
districts for one year preceding election or appointment
and during service?
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