Presumably, Sam Smith doesn't want to eliminate his own job, but the soon-to-be Speaker of the House in Harrisburg is proposing something that both gubernatorial candidates enjoyed talking about during the campaign: reducing the size of the legislature. And Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi agrees! The Inquirer has the story, with the verdict of: Don't get your hopes up.
Fresh off his party's victories at the polls, House Minority Leader Sam Smith (R., Jefferson) on Wednesday said he would like to see the chamber's ranks trimmed - for the simple reason that he believed it would make it easier to get things done in the Capitol.
"I've come to the conclusion that a smaller number of members would make the House more manageable," Smith told a room packed with reporters, lawmakers, and lobbyists as he sketched his caucus' agenda for the next legislative session.
His comments received favorable reviews from a key figure in the state Senate. "It's only a question of how much smaller," Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said Thursday.
But as others who have tried before him can attest, wanting to get this seemingly sensible thing done and actually getting it done are two very different things in Harrisburg.
The idea of downsizing the legislature has, in the last five years, become a kind of battle cry for those who say Harrisburg needs reforming.
Yet time and time again, the idea has failed to gain traction in a legislature deeply divided over whether it even needs to render itself more efficient and accountable.
"That's what happens when you put people with a vested interest in the status quo in charge of trying to make a change," said Tim Potts, a former House aide and cofounder of the activist group Democracy Rising. "Nothing happens."