Pennsylvania House of Representatives

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Pennsylvania
House of Representatives
Pennsylvania General Assembly
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type Lower house
Term limits None
History
New session started January 2, 2013
Leadership
Speaker of the House Sam Smith, (R)
Since January 4, 2011
Majority Leader Mike Turzai, (R)
Since January 4, 2011
Minority Leader Frank Dermody, (D)
Since January 4, 2011
Structure
Seats 203
Composition of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.svg
Political groups      Republican Party (111)
     Democratic Party (92)
Length of term 2 years
Authority Article II, section 1, Pennsylvania Constitution
Salary $78,314/year1
Elections
Last election November 6, 2012
(203 seats)
Next election November 4, 2014
(203 seats)
Meeting place
Pennsylvania State Capitol House Chamber.jpg
House of Representatives Chamber
Pennsylvania State Capitol
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Website
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is the lower house of the bicameral Pennsylvania General Assembly, the legislature of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. There are 203 members, elected for two-year terms from single member districts.23

Following the 2012 elections, the house consisted of 111 Republicans and 92 Democrats. Republican Sam Smith was elected Speaker of the House on January 4, 2011. In 2012, a State Representative district had an average population of 60,498 residents.

The house is the largest full-time state legislature in the United States (the New Hampshire House of Representatives is larger but only serves part-time).

Hall of the House

The Hall of the House contains important symbols to Pennsylvania history and the work of legislators.

  • Speaker's Chair: a throne-like chair of rank that sits directly behind the Speaker's rostrum. Architect Joseph Huston designed the chair in 1906, the year the Capitol was dedicated.
  • Mace: the House symbol of authority, peace, order and respect for law rests in a pedestal to the right of the Speaker. Its base is solid mahogany, intricately carved and capped by a brass globe engraved with the Pennsylvania coat of arms. An American Eagle perches on top. The tradition of the mace may date to the Roman Republic when attendants of Roman consuls carried bundles of sticks wrapped around an axe to enforce order. The tradition is common may also come directly from Pennsylvania's English heritage.
  • Murals: a colorful panorama of Pennsylvania history appear in murals by Edwin Austin Abbey. The most commanding of the series hangs behind the Speaker's rostrum and dominates the wall behind the Speaker. It is called The Apotheosis of Pennsylvania
  • Ceiling: a work of art in itself with its ornate geometry of gold leaf buttoned at the center by a charming painted illustration. In "The Hours", Abbey represents the passage of time in the form of 24 maidens revolving in an endless circle amidst the moon, the sun and the stars of the Milky Way.4

Speaker of the House

The speakership is the oldest elected state-wide office in the Commonwealth. Since its first session in 1682—presided over by William Penn—over 130 house members have been elevated to the speaker's chair. The house cannot hold an official session in the absence of the speaker or his designated speaker pro tempore. Speaker Leroy Irvis was the first African American elected speaker of any state legislature in the United States since Reconstruction. Speaker Dennis O'Brien was the only minority-party Speaker known in Pennsylvania and only the second known nationwide. Pennsylvania has never had a female speaker.

Composition

Results of the November 6, 2012 elections:

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Total
Democratic Republican Vacant
End of previous legislature 91 110 203 2
Begin5 90 111 203 2
June 4, 20136 92 203
September 6, 20137 110 203 1
February 10, 20148 111 203
Latest voting share 45% 55%

Gender Composition

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has only 36 women out of 203 total representatives in 2013.9 This is only 17.7%, which is below the national average of 23.1% women in all statewide legislative positions.

House of Representatives Leadership

As of January 2, 201310

Speaker of the House of Representatives: Sam Smith (R)

Majority Party (R) Leadership Position Minority Party (D)
Mike Turzai Floor Leader Frank Dermody
Stan Saylor Whip Mike Hanna
Sandra Major Caucus Chairperson Dan Frankel
Mike Vereb Caucus Secretary Ronald Waters
Bill Adolph Appropriations Committee Chairman Joe Markosek
Dick Stevenson Caucus Administrator Neal Goodman
Dave Reed Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla

Members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The Pennsylvania Manual, pp. 3–7.
  2. ^ Article II, section 2, Pennsylvania Constitution.
  3. ^ Article II, section 16, Pennsylvania Constitution.
  4. ^ http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/VC/visitor_info/our_house/what.htm
  5. ^ Democrat Eugene DePasquale was elected as both a representative and state auditor general in the 2012 election. The vacant seat will be filled during a special election in 2013. Democrat Matt Smith was elected to the state Senate in the 2012 election. The vacant seats were filled in special elections on May 21, 2013.
  6. ^ Democrats Dan Miller and Kevin Schreiber were sworn in following their victories in special elections in May.
  7. ^ Republican Dick Hess dies.
  8. ^ Jesse Topper sworn in following their victories in special election victory in January.
  9. ^ http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/member_information/mbrList.cfm?body=H&sort=alpha
  10. ^ "Officers". Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Retrieved January 4, 2011. 

References

External links








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