Monday, January 2, 2017

PLS Reporter: What Will The New General Assembly Look Like?

By Jason Gottesman, PLS Reporter

Tuesday, the legislators making up the General Assembly for the 2017-2018 legislative session will officially be sworn into office.
Starting on Day 1, what will the new legislature look like?
The Senate will be starting the session with a full complement of 50 members.
Republicans hold a supermajority of 34 seats compared with the Democrats who hold 16 seats in the Senate.
The chamber will be made up of 43 men and seven women.
Six senators will be officially starting their first term on Tuesday with five Republicans and one Democrat newly elected to the Senate in November 2016’s General Election. An additional eleven Senators will be in the last half of their first term, marking a total of 17 freshman Senators.
Senate leadership is largely unchanged from last session, where Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) is expected to continue in his position and Sen. Jake Corman (R-Center) and Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) have been elected as Floor Leaders for their respective caucuses.
The most senior Senator is Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery), who was first elected in 1978. The senior Democratic Senator is Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia), first elected in 1994.
In the House, the chamber is expected to start the session down one member, with 202 members being sworn in. A special election to replace Rep. Leslie Acosta (D-Philadelphia)—who is expected to officially resign Tuesday—has yet to be scheduled.
Republicans will hold 121 of the 202 seats. With Acosta’s resignation, Democrats hold 81 seats in the House.
It is expected that last session’s House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) will resume his position in the coming session, and each legislative caucus in the House returned the top for their internal leadership teams with Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) elected to serve as GOP Floor leader in the House and Minority Leader Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny) helming the House Democrats.
There are 22 freshman House members: 12 Republicans and 10 Democrats.
Forty women will serve in the House, the highest number in history.
The senior House member is Rep. Tom Caltagirone (D-Berks) who was first elected in 1976. The most senior Republican member is Rep. Bob Godshall (R-Montgomery) who was first elected in 1982.
Both chambers will meet at the constitutionally required time of 12:00 noon on the first Tuesday of January, this year falling on Tuesday, January 3, 2017.
(Reprinted from PLS Reporter, a service of PA Legislative Services.)

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