Fair Districts PA volunteers have prepared a third report on legislative activity in Harrisburg, covering the first 12 months of the current two-year session.
The first two reports (Dysfunction by Design and Off to a Slow Start) provided anecdotal evidence demonstrating that many bipartisan solutions don’t get votes. This new report carefully analyzes what happens to bipartisan bills in the legislature, providing more detailed data than other readily accessible information published to date
A Benchmark to Help with Statistical Analysis
In order to analyze legislative activity, a benchmark was needed to define “bipartisan.” FDPA volunteers measured bipartisan at three different points in time, using the following criteria:
These stringent criteria exclude many initiatives that have significant support across party lines and misses many bipartisan efforts. However, bills that meet this criteria are unquestionably bipartisan at that point in time. The criteria allow objective analysis of committee and legislative activity.
The report categorizes bills at the three stages and includes detailed committee data plus data for action in each chamber and the general assembly as a whole. The criteria are not perfect; however, FDPA volunteers developed the criteria so data could be synthesized and shared.
Statistical Analysis of Each Committee:
Committees vary widely in the number of bills referred to them, the number of times that they meet and the percent of bipartisan bills that they consider and vote upon. The report offers a detailed examination of each committee’s work.
The following principles recommended by Fair Districts PA are reaffirmed as the basis for a more effective, responsive legislative process: