House passes ban on hand-held cellphone use while driving, but provision limits police

Ford Turner | Thursday, January 16, 2020, The Morning Call

HARRISBURG — A ban on using a hand-held cellphone while driving in Pennsylvania was approved by the state House of Representatives on Wednesday, but some lawmakers called it a step backward because of a provision that prohibits police from stopping motorists simply because they spot cellphone use.

The bill to put the ban in place was approved by a vote of 120 to 74, and now will go to the Senate for consideration.

Read More

House votes to amend constitution to pick judges by district

Thursday, December 18, 2019, The Associated Press

HARRISBURG — Majority Republicans in the state House on Wednesday took the first step to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution so that appeals court judges would be elected by district rather than statewide.

The House voted 102-95 for the proposal that would have lawmakers draw the district lines for Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth courts.

In order to be enacted, the bill must still pass the Senate, then be approved by both chambers in the 2021-22 legislative session, before going to voters for final approval as a referendum.

Read More

The Pa. House, where size still matters

John Baer | Wednesday, September 26, 2018, Philly.com

At least they’re consistent.

Whenever there’s even a glimmer of hope that the Pennsylvania legislature might act in the interest of governmental common sense, a lawmaker in one party or the other, in one chamber or the other, or everybody acting in collusion, finds a way to slip back into darkness.

And, so, yet again, on the verge of allowing voters to decide whether the legislature’s too large (spoiler alert: it is), lawmakers are opting to keep the public out of the discussion, and to continue clinging to (all of their) seats.

Read More

Don’t laugh: the Pa. House could actually vote to shrink itself | OPINION

John L. Micek | Thursday, January 11, 2018, Harrisburg Patriot News

Pennsylvania’s, full-time 253-member General Assembly, where unenlightened self-interest often trumps common sense, is often (and justly) criticized for being wildly inefficient, depressingly corrupt and eye-wateringly expensive.

So it’s with no small amount of surprise I’m greeting the news that, after roughly 1.5 million years of trying by reformers, the state House and Senate might finally send a constitutional amendment reducing the size of the Legislature to the voters.

Read More