PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – Voters may have the opportunity to shrink the size of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives this November.
House Bill 153 would shrink the number of representatives from 203 to 151. GOP lawmaker Rep. Jerry Knowles, of the 124th Legislative District in Berks, Carbon and Schuylkill Counties, is the bill’s prime sponsor.
He tells the “KDKA Morning News” the reduction would save taxpayers $15 million.
“It’s a lot of money here where I come from. Some people will say that when you put it in the multi-billion dollar budget that it’s not a big deal, but it is a big deal,” said Knowles.
If the bill passes, voters will make the final decision on Election Day.
“The main thing that we need to remember is that the people of Pennsylvania, the bosses of the state legislatures, the people that pay the bills, they’re the ones that will get to make this decision,” said Knowles.
Knowles also believes a reduced legislature would allow for a smoother-functioning House.
“If you’ve ever been on the house floor, it can be pure bedlam sometimes, and I believe with the 151 number we would have better discussion. We’d have clear and better debate,” said Knowles.
Knowles says the reduced legislature would begin, “in the year 2022 after the reapportionment. There would be 52 less of us in the House of Representatives.”
The same bill passed the House and Senate in the 2015-16 session and the Pennsylvania Constitution requires the same bill be passed in two consecutive sessions before it can go to the voters.
Knowles expects a vote sometime this week.
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