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Pa. House Approves Bills To Reduce Legislature By One Fourth

(The state capitol in Harrisburg.  File photo)

(The state capitol in Harrisburg. File photo)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – The state House has approved bills that could lead to a smaller legislature. But there’s still a long road ahead before that change could take effect.

The state House has approved bills that could lead to an amendment to the state Constitution that would reduce the membership of the state House and Senate by about a fourth.

The measures are sponsored by House Speaker Sam Smith, who believes it will make for better legislating, “I think the product we will produce will be better for the people of Pennsylvania.”

But Philadelphia Democrat Mark Cohen sees a downside, “You’d have 25-percent less advocacy before governmental agencies. You’d have 25-percent less civic leadership.”

But even if the Senate goes along this session, the bills would have to be passed again by both chambers in the 2015-16 session of the legislature – and then put before voters in a referendum – before the change is made.

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