Thursday, November 16, 2017

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Setting the Record Straight: Plan to Reduce the Size of the House of Representatives

Letter to the Editor from Representative Jerry Knowles (Republican for Carbon/Berks/Schuylkill)

As the prime sponsor of legislation to reduce the size of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, I hear much misinformation about this bill and the legislative process.  Let me try to set the record straight.

My legislation, House Bill 153, would reduce the House from 203 to 151 members. Since this involves a change to the Pennsylvania Constitution, a specific process must be followed for this to take place.

In the 2015-16 session of the General Assembly, House Bill 153 passed in both the House and Senate.  Per law, notification of passage in both chambers was placed in two newspapers in every county throughout the state. Now identical legislation, which I have re-introduced in the 2017-18 session, must again pass in both chambers.  Following that, notification will again appear in newspapers, and the measure will appear on the ballot as a referendum for voters to decide.  The voters of Pennsylvania will make the final decision on whether the House will consist of 151 or 203 members.

While I understand the frustration that the reduction in the size of the House has not yet appeared on the ballot as a referendum question, be assured that I strongly believe in this legislation.  Further, I have been assured by Leadership in the House that a vote will be taken this session.  I will continue to push House Bill 153, and I eagerly anticipate seeing this constitutional change on the ballot in the future.