Despite its passage in the House on the long and arduous political journey to a constitutional amendment, the bill to reduce the size of the Pennsylvania General Assembly is still unlikely to make it to a successful finish.
At the very least, it would be almost a decade before a smaller legislature was seated.
However, count us among those who support reducing the size - and cost - of the nation's second largest state legislature.
We find it interesting that state Rep. Kathy Rapp, R-Warren, voted against the measure, given her allegiance to a party that is supposed to be fiscally conservative and constantly on the lookout for government thrift.
Her reason is that reducing the size of the legislature, the House in particular, would cause rural districts to grow geographically and thus reduce the availability and effectiveness of constituent service. She also opines that she is concerned about the balance of power between the legislative and executive branches.
The second argument simply has us head scratching. As to the first, rural districts with the number of representatives proposed in the amendment wouldn't grow any larger than current state senate districts. The senate districts would still be smaller than current congressional districts.
Constituent service is done by all three of those offices, covering districts as geographically small as a few square miles to a few thousand. Very little of it is done for the walk-in trade, so it's difficult to believe that legislators would to open and staff significantly more district offices.
But, that also brings up the question of just how much should filing PennDOT forms, and rooting out the tangle of bureaucracy fill the time of people who are elected to make laws? A state representative's office should only be the last resort call if your driver's license didn't get to you on time. State representatives, senators and members of Congress should not be a major cog in their respective bureaucracies.
States much larger than Pennsylvania have legislatures that are much smaller, even part-time. We're not aware of any hue and cry coming from within their borders to expand the size and expense of their legislatures.