Would Shrinking the Legislature Actually Help Republicans?

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The only sensible way to shrink the PA legislature, if we’re doing that, is to go unicameral. If we really want to get rid of 50 political seats, they should be the 50 seats of the state Senate, not a random 50 seats in the state House.

More politicians per constituent is more representative of the state’s diverse interests (though not as representative as proportional representation, what with these aggressively gerrymandered seats), so keeping the state House as the single unicameral legislature would be best. I definitely hear Sam Smith’s point about the difficulty of getting so many people to agree, but the better solution to the coordination problems of a large legislature is stronger political parties and more log-rolling.

Here’s my big question though – are GOPers actually going to self-derp their way to a House minority with this? How does shrinking the legislature even benefit Republicans? I see some Democrats saying this is a power grab or something, but that just seems wrong. The house of the legislature in which Democrats currently are more competitive is the state Senate – the one with fewer seats and bigger districts. Obviously much depends on how you draw them, but it seems pretty obvious to me why larger districts help Democrats. Am I missing something?



This entry was posted in State House.

2 Responses to Would Shrinking the Legislature Actually Help Republicans?

  1. Hershey Democrat says:

    If we’re going to mess with the number of seats in the legislature, maybe we could get nested districts out of it. Wisconsin has probably the most comparable example to PA with 33 senate seats and 99 house seats. Each senate seat is comprised of 3 assembly districts. Unlike states such as New Jersey or North Dakota which have multi-member representation (1 senator and 2 house members per constituent), the Wisconsin system does not overlap house districts (1 senator and 1 house member per constituent).

    Other than the weird anti-government vein in the GOP right now, they don’t really have any real justification for reducing the size of legislature. But if they’re going to do it, at least think about nested districts that will help constituents understand their state level representation a little better.

  2. John H says:

    Whether Pennsylvania goes unicameral or not, I would like to see the size of the General Assembly reduced and tied to the size of the state’s congressional delegation. With 18 representatives we could have a Senate of 36 seats. Make each seat half of the congressional district. Make each House seat, if we keep two houses, one tenth of the congressional district.

    Reapportionment of the congressional districts needs to be taken away from the General Assembly. Create a truly independence redistricting commission of professors of geography, demographics, and political science from the state universities. The commission draws a redistricting plan and the General Assembly passes or rejects the plan with no changes. If the commission and legislature cannot agree on the plan it goes to the supreme court like it does now.

    Finally, reduce the number of civil subdivisions in the state. Either go with just counties or, if smaller units are desired, base them on the current school districts.