Apr 6, 2010

Representative Gibbons Proposes One-Chamber State Legislature

Now this is the kind of reform ideas I think every good Pennsylvania Tea Party supporter can get behind. State Representative Jarret Gibbons has introduced two bills that will save PA taxpayers 90 million dollars a year. The proposal will also make the legislative process more efficient and more accountable to the people.
Gibbons said his first bill, H.B. 2389, would amend the state constitution to make the following changes:
  • The 253 members of the General Assembly (203 House seats and 50 Senate seats) would be reduced to a General Assembly with one chamber consisting of 201 members serving staggered four-year terms. Currently, House members are elected to two-year terms and senators to four-year terms.
  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court would try impeachment cases filed by the unicameral General Assembly.
  • The unicameral General Assembly would approve or reject appointments made by the governor.
  • Upon the occurrence of a vacancy in the office of lieutenant governor, the governor would appoint a lieutenant governor with the consent of the General Assembly. Should there be no lieutenant governor, the speaker of the General Assembly would fill a vacancy in the office of governor.
"The idea of a one-chamber state legislature is not new to our state. Pennsylvania had a unicameral General Assembly from 1777 to 1790," Gibbons said. "Nearly 220 years ago, the legislative branch was changed to model the federal government. But the reason for the two branches at the federal level – to balance the interests of small states and large states – is constitutionally prohibited to balance the interests of small and large counties at the state level. We do not need a separate House and Senate, duplicating representation in population-based districts, at the state level."

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Gibbon's other Bill calls for the elimination of the Lt. Governor's Office a measure I would also support. These are the types of reform ideas gubernatorial candidates in both parties should be talking about right now. Our state legislature is too large, too expensive, and too corrupt. It is time to cut the fat in Harrisburg. Even going to a part time legislature would be a step in the right direction. Kudos to Representative Gibbons!!!


  1. Anonymous9:31 PM

    This working well in other States.

  2. Anonymous11:41 PM

    i think there is an important fact that get missed a lot in the discussions about how our original constitution in 1776 had a unicameral general assembly - it also had another council that was part of the executive branch. while the one-chambered legislature looked like what now is our house, the executive branch had a body (with one member elected from each county) that looked like what now is our senate. so the constitution of 1790 did not so much add a brand new chamber to the government as much as it moved it from the executive branch to the legislative.

    additionally, i dont like anything that makes the legislature more efficient. a single governor with no executive would be the most efficient but there is no way in the world i'd go for that. efficiency should never be a goal when deciding how to constitute a government. the founders of our commonwealth and this nation knew that - they had a very efficient monarch who could tax without representation.

    just my 2 cents.

  3. Hey guys. The current bicameral system passing the 2005 pay raise relatively quickly :)