Cutler, Denlinger, Krieger Call for Return to Part-Time Legislature
1/25/2010

Move would save taxpayer dollars and reduce corruption in Harrisburg

 

Pointing to the 101-day late 2009-10 budget, mounting corruption charges and a state government that has greatly overreached its bounds, Reps. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom), Gordon Denlinger (R-Ephrata) and Tim Krieger (R-Delmont) have introduced legislation that would return the nation’s largest full-time Legislature to a part-time General Assembly.

 

“If you look at the business the Legislature accomplishes over its extensive two-year term, it is clear that we do not need to be in session full time,” said Cutler.  “Not only would moving to a part-time Legislature save money in obvious ways like salaries, staff and benefits, but a part-time General Assembly would also give us, as lawmakers, less opportunity to spend the people’s money.”

 

House Bill 1554 proposes integrated amendments to the Pennsylvania Constitution that would reduce the current year-long session schedule to biennial sessions during the months of January and February in odd-numbered years.  During this shortened session, members would approve a two-year budget. 

 

“Part-time legislatures are not only successful in other large states like Texas and Virginia, but they are really the norm throughout the nation,” said Denlinger.  “The legislation does allow for a method by which special sessions could be called to address any unforeseen issues that might arise.  This is really a return to government as intended by our forefathers.”

 

In addition to reducing the amount of time legislators spend in session, the bill would extend the term of House members from two to four years, and would limit legislative pay to appropriate compensation for the time spent in Harrisburg and mileage for session. 

 

Cutler noted this extended term would allow legislators to focus on their jobs, not their re-election campaigns, and would help to reform state government.

 

“Returning Pennsylvania to a part-time citizens’ legislature is the surest path leading to tangible government reform and ending the corruption that has become an all-too-familiar trademark of state government,” said Krieger.   “An additional benefit would be a significant reduction in the expense, to the people of this Commonwealth, of operating the General Assembly.  Members of the General Assembly would receive part-time pay for part-time work.   If House Bill 1554 becomes law, the days of career politicians in Harrisburg will be history.”         

 

House Bill 1554 would also positively impact the legislative process by:

 

  • Reducing the influence of special interests in Harrisburg.
  • Returning the scope of government to its intended purpose.
  • Restoring a citizen legislature to the Commonwealth and ending the career politician.
  • Producing more meaningful legislation and keeping the General Assembly focused on the important issues.

The legislation is currently awaiting consideration by the House State Government Committee.  Cutler, Denlinger and Krieger are hopeful the committee will hold hearings on the issue and consider the reform this will bring to Pennsylvania government.

 

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