Part Time Legislature Should Be First Step Toward Reform
1/20/2010

By Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom)

Rep. Gordon Denlinger (R-Ephrata)

Rep. Tim Krieger (R-Delmont)

 

Last year’s state budget negotiations, as well as recent developments in the investigation into the use of taxpayer dollars for campaign purposes, have clearly demonstrated that substantive changes are needed in the way state government operates.  Something must be done to restore the trust Pennsylvanians have in their elected officials and ensure the people’s business is conducted ethically and openly.  The question is:  What reforms should be enacted to reach that goal?

 

One clear path to tangible reform is switching to a part-time legislature in Pennsylvania.  With that in mind, we have introduced House Bill 1554, which would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to return the General Assembly to its foundation as a part-time citizens’ legislature.  Under this proposal, the legislature would be in session for 60 days, every two years during which time a two-year budget would be debated and passed.

 

For the remainder of their terms, individual representatives would return home to regular jobs, unless called into emergency session by the governor or a majority of the members of the legislature. Perhaps best of all, members of the General Assembly would receive part-time pay for part-time work.

 

In addition to substantially reducing the total amount spent on salaries, staff and other expenses, changing the makeup of the General Assembly from a body of professional politicians in the nation’s largest full-time legislature to a body of citizen legislators would end much of the opportunity for waste, abuse, and corruption we have seen coming out of Harrisburg. 

 

Managed properly, the Legislature can complete the people’s business without being in session for the entire term.  Pennsylvania could succeed with a part-time legislature just like Virginia and Texas, and could focus on the important issues without being bombarded by special interests and coerced into bad public policy. 

 

House Bill 1554 is currently awaiting consideration by the House State Government Committee.  It is our hope that the committee will hold hearings and consider the legislation’s merits so it can be sent to the floor for debate by the full House.

 

Rep. Bryan Cutler

100th District

(717) 783-6424

Rep. Gordon Denlinger
99th District

(717) 787-3531

Rep. Tim Krieger
57th District

(724) 834-6400
Contact:  Nicole Wamsley

nwamsley@pahousegop.com or (717) 783-8063