Pennsylvania General Assembly

Pennsylvania General Assembly
Coat of arms of Pennsylvania.svg
Coat of arms
Type
Type
HousesSenate
House of Representatives
Term limits
None
History
FoundedMay 5, 1682 (1682-05-05)
Preceded byPennsylvania Provincial Assembly
New session started
January 1, 2019 (2019-01-01)
Leadership
John Fetterman (D)
since January 15, 2019
Joe Scarnati (R)
since January 2, 2007
Mike Turzai (R)
since January 6, 2015
Structure
Seats253
Pennsylvania State Senate Partisan Composition.svg
Senate political groups
Pennsylvania State House of Representatives Partisan Composition.svg
House political groups
Length of term
Senate: 4 years
House: 2 years
Salary$86,478/year + per diem
Senators
50
State Representatives
203
Elections
First-past-the-post
First-past-the-post
Senate last election
2018-11-06)
(even-numbered districts)
House last election
2018-11-06)
Senate next election
November 3, 2020 (2020-11-03)
(odd-numbered districts)
House next election
November 3, 2020 (2020-11-03)
Redistrictingpolitician commission
Motto
Virtue, Liberty and Independence
Meeting place
Pennsylvania State Capitol Front Panorama.jpg
Pennsylvania State Capitol, www.legis.state.pa.us
Constitution
Constitution of Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania General Assembly is the legislature of the U.S. commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The legislature convenes in the State Capitol building in Harrisburg. In colonial times (1682–1776), the legislature was known as the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly and was unicameral. Since the Constitution of 1776, the legislature has been known as the General Assembly. The General Assembly became a bicameral legislature in 1791.

Membership

The General Assembly has 253 members, consisting of a Senate with 50 members and a House of Representatives with 203 members, making it the second-largest state legislature in the nation (behind New Hampshire) and the largest full-time legislature.

Senators are elected for a term of four years. Representatives are elected for a term of two years.[1] The Pennsylvania general elections are held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November in even-numbered years. A vacant seat must be filled by special election, the date of which is set by the presiding officer of the respective house.

Senators must be at least 25 years old, and Representatives at least 21 years old. They must be citizens and residents of the state for a minimum of four years and reside in their districts for at least one year. Individuals who have been convicted of felonies, including embezzlement, bribery, and perjury, are ineligible for election; the state Constitution also adds the category of "other infamous crimes," which can be broadly interpreted by state courts. No one who has been previously expelled from the General Assembly may be elected.[2]

Legislative districts are drawn every ten years, following the U.S. Census. Districts are drawn by a five-member commission, of which four members are the majority and minority leaders of each house (or their delegates). The fifth member, who chairs the committee, is appointed by the other four and may not be an elected or appointed official. If the leadership cannot decide on a fifth member, the State Supreme Court may appoint him or her.

While in office, legislators may not hold civil office. Even if a member resigns, the Constitution states that he or she may not be appointed to civil office for the duration of the original term for which he or she was originally elected.