Monday, January 08, 2007

Dem leader wants to reduce size of Pa. legislature

Reform is getting more talk.
Dem leader wants to reduce size of Pa. legislature A Democratic senator from Berks County is joining the call for a smaller Legislature and for making two other changes he says will improve state government.

Sen. Michael A. O'Pake, the Senate's No. 2 ranking Democrat, wants to reduce the Senate to 40 members (from the current 50) and reduce the House to 121 members (from the current 203).

The reductions are similar to those proposed last year by Sen. John Pippy, R-Moon. They didn't go anywhere but calls for reform have increased in the wake of the repealed 2005 pay raise and defeats of three dozen incumbent legislators last year.

Reducing the size of the Legislature would need a constitutional amendment which could take two years or more.

Mr. O'Pake also wants a nonpartisan panel to redraw the state's congressional district boundaries after the 2010 census.

He also wants residents to be able to put political 'robo-calls'' on their list of Do Not Call numbers, an idea suggested last fall by Rep. Michael McGeehan, D-Philadelphia.

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