By Tony Romeo
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – A state senate committee has advanced legislation that could start the lengthy process of amending the state constitution to reduce the size of the legislature and judiciary and to eliminate the post of lieutenant governor.
The Senate State Government Committee approved the legislation despite the reservations of some members like Philadelphia Democrat Anthony Williams, who questioned whether reducing the size of the legislature would produce the results people want.
“Frankly, I think we’re giving the public some false hope that we’ll be much more efficient, a lot more cost effective, if we cut the number of members here,” Williams said.
But the top Senator, Republican President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, wants to go farther.
“There’s also two other branches of government that need to be reduced also, in my opinion,” he said.
Scarnati’s plan would reduce the state Supreme Court from seven to five seats and Superior Court from 13 to 11 members, and his plan would eliminate the office lieutenant governor, providing for a special election to replace a governor who leaves office, with the Senate President Pro Tempore filling in.