Are there too many Senators and State Representatives in Harrisburg? Two State Representatives from the Pittsburgh area apparently believe there are. Representative Mark Mustio and Representative Matthew Smith have drafted a bill which seeks to reduce the number of Senators from 50 to 40 and reduce the number of State Representatives from 203 to 161. A similar bill was also recently introduced in the Senate by Senator John Pippy.
Currently, Pennsylvania’s Senators and State Representative represent fewer constituents per legislator than legislators New York, Michigan and California. Each House member now represents about 60,000 Pennsylvania residents and each Senator about 248,000. If the bills pass, the numbers would increase to 310,000 per each Senator and 77,000 for each House member.
Assuming the bills pass in the current legislative session (2007-2008), they would need to pass again in the following legislative session (2009-10). If the bills pass twice in the legislature, the issue would then need to be put on the ballot for approval directly by Pennsylvania voters. Thus, no reduction in the number of Senators or State Representatives can occur for at least two more years.
John P. Finnerty, Esquire