Pennsylvania Legislature Should Go Part-Time

This article was originally posted in the York Daily Record, 2018.

Pennsylvania has the largest full-time legislature of all 50 states. There is absolutely no evidence that we are governed better because of it.

Even members of the state House of Representatives have acknowledged that fact. As a result, they passed HB 153, which would reduce their size to 151 from the current 203 seats. That’s still large but a step in the right direction. That bill, however, had included a provision to decrease the state’s Senate as well. It would have reduced that body from 50 to 38. I said “would have” because the Senate stripped the section pertaining to themselves from the bill.

Now the bill goes back to the House where they can agree to the Senate’s change or reject the bill completely. Some Representatives will undoubtedly argue that if the Senate won’t reduce, we shouldn’t either. That is a self-centered and childish perspective.

An alternative to decreasing the size of the General Assembly is to make it a part-time legislature. Only 9 other states have full-time legislatures. The rest get necessary work done in less time and at less expense. As a Democrat, I can support Republican Representative Seth Grove’s bill to return Pennsylvania’s legislature to a part-time body as it was prior to 1967.

I urge my election opponent, Stan Saylor, and the rest of the York County delegation to address this “largest full-time legislature” status when they come back from their excessive summer recess. Our teachers and students are back in the classroom. Our legislators need to get back to work, too.

Steve Snell

Democratic candidate

Pa. House of Representatives, 94th District