John Micek cut a hot new video response to the haters who say he hates the PA legislature, and in an attached blog post he suggests some reforms that could improve the situation in Harrisburg:
Gift bans, redistricting reform, campaign finance limits, reducing the size of the General Assembly — all are relatively painless ways to improve the institution. It’s endlessly frustrating — and now entirely unsurprising — that these structural reforms have never passed or been signed into law.
All good ideas, but I never understand why anybody thinks cutting 50 representatives from the state House is a better idea than cutting all 50 state Senators and just going unicameral.
If the goal is to improve accountability without doing injury to representation, switching to a unicameral legislature is clearly the best option.
Keeping the state House at 203 seats would continue to ensure that the constituent populations each lawmaker serves aren’t too large. And the elimination of the state Senate would train voter attention on one single easy-to-monitor state representative.
Shining the bright glare of accountability on just one person would ensure that voters get something closer to the outcomes they want, rather than seeing countless bills flushed down the toilet of inter-cameral disagreement.
Electoral competition will be sufficient to hold lawmakers who take unpopular positions accountable. Adding in the hassle of inter-cameral negotiations does not enhance accountability, it scrambles it by making it unduly difficult to pass laws and supplying a far-too-convenient process excuse for lawmakers not to get anything done.