Eichelberger proposes constitutional convention to consider reforms

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

State Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr., a Republican who represents Greencastle and Antrim Township, and Rep. Stephen Bloom, a Republican from Cumberland County, held a news conference at the Capitol last week to introduce companion legislation calling for a limited constitutional convention.

Senate Bill 867, sponsored by Eichelberger, and House Bill 1967, sponsored by Bloom, will allow the public to vote in an upcoming election on whether or not there should be a constitutional convention limited to very specific topics, according to news release from the lawmakers. The topics include proposed changes to the terms and size of the General Assembly; spending without an enacted budget; the office of the lieutenant governor; and the judiciary.

“Pennsylvanians deserve better,” said Eichelberger. “They’re fed up with the inability of the General Assembly, on the whole, to address significant deficiencies in several key areas of the state government. A limited constitutional convention could lead to significant reform and go a long way in restoring the public’s faith in a system that has been failing them.”

According to Eichelberger, the citizens could have an opportunity for only the sixth time in 244 years to convene a convention to reinvigorate Pennsylvania government.

“A constitutional convention would be an opportunity for citizens who are frustrated with our broken state government to take a very direct role in historic government change,” said Bloom.

If the majority of voters approve, a preparatory committee would immediately make logistical arrangements for holding the convention. The convention would consist of 163 members - three delegates elected from each of the senatorial districts and 13 others from the General Assembly.members. Convention delegates would vote on recommended changes to the state constitution. All recommendations would require a majority vote of the 163 delegates. Proposed changes in the form of ballot questions would be placed on the ballot for final approval or rejection by the voters.