Pennsylvania Senate votes to downsize House, not self

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Pennsylvania senators have approved a bill to reduce the size of the state Legislature, but without language to downsize their own chamber.

The Senate on Thursday passed an amended version of House Bill 153 by a vote of 42-7.

The bill originally sought a constitutional amendment to reduce the House of Representatives from 203 to 151 members while a second proposal, House Bill 253, called for downsizing the Senate from 50 members to 38.

House Bill 253 cleared its chamber in February but has been stuck in a Senate committee since then.

House representatives passed H.B. 153 in March after including language to also downsize the Senate.

The Senate returned the measure to its original form and sent it back to the House for concurrence.

Changes to the state constitution require passage in two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly before going to voters in a ballot referendum. A bill to reduce the House of Representatives cleared both chambers last session, so the referendum could conceivably be on the ballot this fall.

Pennsylvania has the largest full-time Legislature in the nation.

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