Northeast Times

House to voters: Cut us down to size

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Pennsylvania voters could de­cide as soon as May 2013 on wheth­er to shrink the size of the state le­gis­lature.

The House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives has over­whelm­ingly passed a bill that would cut the num­ber of House seats from 203 to 153 and Sen­ate seats from 50 to 38.

The vote was 140-49.

Loc­al law­makers who voted in fa­vor of the le­gis­la­tion were Reps. Larry Curry (D-154th dist.), Brendan Boyle (D-170th dist.), Kev­in Boyle (D-172nd dist.), John Sabat­ina Jr. (D-174th dist.) and John Taylor (R-177th dist.).

Area le­gis­lat­ors who voted against the meas­ure were Reps. Tony Payton (D-179th dist.), Mark Co­hen (D-202nd dist.) and Dwight Evans (D-203rd dist.).

Reps. Tom Murt and Mike McGee­han did not vote.

The Sen­ate will con­sider the bill, which would amend the state Con­sti­tu­tion.

To be­come law, the bill must be passed in two con­sec­ut­ive ses­sions and then ap­proved by voters. The next ses­sion be­gins in Janu­ary 2013.

If and when the le­gis­lature passes the bill in the next ses­sion, new Sen­ate and House bound­ary lines will prob­ably be in place. Thus, even if voters ap­prove the ques­tion, the changes won’t take place un­til 2022, fol­low­ing re­ap­por­tion­ment after the 2020 census.

Pennsylvania has the second-biggest le­gis­lature in the coun­try, be­hind New Hamp­shire’s part-time body. ••

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You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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