HARRISBURG – Rep. Robert Godshall (R-Montgomery) is sponsoring legislation that would cut the General Assembly by 40 percent and would reduce legislative expenses by a corresponding amount.
House Bill 183 is one of at least three proposals before the House that cuts the size of the state Legislature, and it is the most comprehensive and aggressive. Godshall’s legislation would amend the state Constitution to reduce the House from the present 203 members to 121 and the Senate from 50 to 30 members. Godshall’s bill also trims the annual operating budget of the General Assembly by about $110 million.
“Pennsylvania has the second largest legislature in the nation behind New Hampshire, which has a part-time legislature,” said Godshall. “Pennsylvania’s legislative expenses are also the second highest among states, behind California. I believe the General Assembly can be a more efficient and productive body if we trim our numbers.”
Based on the 2009 statistics from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Godshall’s bill would reduce Pennsylvania’s ranking in legislative spending per capita from second highest to 25th. The reductions outlined in the constitutional amendment proposed by Godshall would be required to pass in two consecutive legislative sessions before the measure could be placed before voters in a referendum.
“This change will provide relief to Pennsylvania taxpayers who foot the bill for our legislative costs. Thanks to modern technology, a smaller legislature should have little impact on our ability to serve our constituents,” said Godshall. “Email, virtual town hall meetings, Twitter, Facebook and other social media will enable us to more easily transition to a smaller legislature. Using these tools and others, lawmakers can easily reach out to constituents and be more responsive and accessible to the public.”
The House State Government Committee held a public hearing today on Godshall’s legislation
This would be a Great benefit to us all. Our State Legislature is way out of line with other States.