Pennsylvania Senate panel OKs bills to eliminate some top state posts

Lieutenant governor, 2 Supreme Court justices would be cut

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania state senators are signaling support for amending the constitution to eliminate some top state government offices, including lieutenant governor and two Supreme Court justices.

Two bills that passed the Senate State Government Committee on Tuesday would affect all three branches of government.

Under them, the House would shrink from 203 to 153 seats while the Senate would shrink from 50 to 45 seats. Eliminating the post of lieutenant governor would put the Senate president pro tempore in line to temporarily succeed a governor who dies or otherwise vacates the post.

Eliminating two of the state's seven Supreme Court justices would leave five in place.

Each proposal faces a multi-year path in the Legislature before going to voters in a statewide referendum no sooner than 2015.

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