Monday, July 26, 2010

The History Of The Number of Representatives In Pennsylvania Government

The next time a state representative or senator talks about the size of the legislature here are some facts for consideration from the state website.


In 1967, the Pennsylvania Constitution was amended to set the number of House members at 203.

When the House of Representatives first met in 1682, there were 42 members. By the early 1700s, that number dropped to 24 and then steadily increased to 76 by 1776.

In creating the Senate, the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1790 stipulated that this body should be no smaller than one-fourth of the House of Representatives and no larger than one-third, but it set no maximum for the House. When the House reached 100 members in 1855, a constitutional amendment in 1857 set that as the limit.

The Constitution of 1873 increased the Senate (then at 33 members) to 50 and set the House at a minimum of 200. Every county was guaranteed at least one member, regardless of its population.

The House peaked at 210 members for five sessions from 1955 until 1963. In order to adhere to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of "one person, one vote," the Pennsylvania Constitution was amended to provide for 203 House members from districts "nearly equal in population." The first House to meet that standard convened in 1967.

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