House Republicans have proposed House Bill 1234, a bill to amend the Constitution of Pennsylvania to retain the current size of the Senate but to reduce the number of State Representatives from 203 to 153.
The Constitution of Pennsylvania calls for the following
process for an Amendment: Upon passage of the amendment by the General
Assembly, the Amendment is transmitted to two newspapers in every county for
publication by the Secretary of State.
The General Assembly must then pass the amendment again in the following
session and the Secretary of State has to publish the Amendment again. After the second passage and publication, the
question is placed to the voters on the first Primary, General, or Municipal
election to follow.If the electorate supports the Amendment, it will then go
into effect in the next session of the General Assembly following the 2020
Currently, there are approximately 62,900 people in each
legislative district. Assuming the
population remains the same in 2020, each member would represent about 20,000
more people than they current do.
Considering that members of Congress represent over 700,000 people per
district, this is entirely manageable and would produce a serious savings for
the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.
On the downside, it would make rural districts far more
Trying to pickup 20,000
people per district is relatively easy in a heavily populated area. In rural Pennsylvania, it could mean having
to add an entire county to a district to meet the population requirements.
Constituent service will be harder to achieve
in these areas.
This amendment should be passed, but rural
Pennsylvanians will need to apply serious pressure on House and Senate leaders
that comprise the reapportionment commission to ensure that their districts are
not drawn to be ridiculously expansive.
Republicans deserve credit for taking the lead on government reform in
the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.