Smaller should be better for future state Legislatures

With 203 state representatives and 50 state senators, the Pennsylvania Legislature is among the largest in the nation.

No one who has objectively observed state government in Pennsylvania in the past several decades would assert that large numbers have created efficient, forward-thinking action.

What the large numbers have produced is massive difficulty getting consensus on anything outside of memoriam type actions regarding people, roads and bridges.

The large numbers have produced difficulty in getting practical reforms regarding pensions, budgeting, roads and bridges and overall spending habits and priorities of state government. This condition has crossed party lines and remained in effect with Republicans and Democrats holding gubernatorial seats or majorities in the Senate and General Assembly.

So we like that lawmakers recently approved the first of two actions needed to move the ball forward on shrinking the number of state representatives from 203 to 153 and the number of state senators from 50 to 38.

Our support is not without caveats.

We are concerned that our rural region not suffer from its already questionable value on state issues if the numbers are reduced.

This concern appears to be addressed if both suburban/urban and rural area representation is reduced by 25 percent, as state Rep. Garth Everett, a Muncy Republican representing much of our region, indicated.

State Rep. Rick Mirabito is legitimately concerned that the redistricting process regarding this reduction be transparent and fair.

As talks progress on reduction of the Legislature, effective 2020, the redistricting process needs to be openly discussed.

But on balance, we like the fact that fewer numbers could produce better, more practical legislative lawmaking in Pennsylvania.

That’s long overdue.