House of Representatives

This is the Pennylvania House of Representatives January 10, 2018.

A bill to cut the size of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is awaiting a final vote that would ultimately allow citizens to decide if the chamber should drop from 203 members to 151.

It was unclear Friday whether legislative leaders would take the final steps to pass the legislation before they adjourn next week.

“Many of us are encouraging leadership to bring it up before the summer recess,” said state Rep. Steven Mentzer, a Lititz Republican who has repeatedly advocated for the constitutional amendment.

Plans to reduce the size of the Legislature have been debated repeatedly for decades, but none has come as close to passing as the current bill.

Changing the state's constitution requires both the House and the Senate to pass the same measure in two consecutive legislative sessions — and then for voters to approve it in a statewide referendum.

The bill as it stands, House Bill 153, is awaiting a final House vote. If it's approved before the recess, voters would see the question on their Nov. 6 general election ballots.

Mentzer and all other Republican lawmakers from Lancaster County supported the change in previous votes. The county's lone Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Mike Sturla, of Lancaster city, voted against it.

Proponents say the change would potentially save $15 million and foster a more cooperative, efficient environment in the House. Critics argue the savings are insignificant within a $32 billion budget and that constituents would be harmed with lesser representation.

Each lawmaker's district would grow from about 63,000 constituents to about 84,800.

The bill was not on the legislative schedule for a vote on Friday. House leaders needed to pass it out of the Rules Committee and then bring it up for a floor vote.

Earlier in the week, the Senate rejected a House-passed amendment to also reduce the number of senators from 50 to 38.