Pennsylvania House of Representatives
House of Representatives
|Pennsylvania General Assembly|
New session started
|January 2, 2013|
Speaker of the House
Length of term
|Authority||Article II, section 1, Pennsylvania Constitution|
|November 6, 2014
|November 4, 2016
|House of Representatives Chamber
Pennsylvania State Capitol
|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.
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.
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.
Results of the November 4, 2014 elections:
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
|End of previous legislature||91||110||203||2|
|June 4, 2013||92||203|
|September 6, 2013||110||203||1|
|February 10, 2014||111||203|
|End of previous legislature||203|
|Latest voting share||41.4%||58.6%|
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has only 36 women out of 203 total representatives in 2013. 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, 2013
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
- Pennsylvania State Senate
- Project Vote Smart (Pennsylvania State Senate information and voting records is the link to the Pennsylvania section.)
- The Pennsylvania Manual, pp. 3–7.
- Article II, section 2, Pennsylvania Constitution.
- Article II, section 16, Pennsylvania Constitution.
- 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.
- Democrats Dan Miller and Kevin Schreiber were sworn in following their victories in special elections in May.
- Republican Dick Hess dies.
- Jesse Topper sworn in following their victories in special election victory in January.
- "Officers". Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
- Trostle, Sharon, ed. (2009). The Pennsylvania Manual 119. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Department of General Services. ISBN 0-8182-0334-X.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pennsylvania House of Representatives.|
- Pennsylvania House of Representatives
- State House of Pennsylvania information and voting records This link leads to information about elected officials and candidates in Pennsylvania on the website "Project Vote Smart." This web site provides such information for all states in the US.