Many of us follow national politics closely. We follow the actions of the President and Congress, sometimes obsessively. Yet our knowledge of our own Pennsylvania legislature is often limited. We may know our local senator or representative and possibly a couple of high-profile leaders. Beyond that, many of us are clueless. This is unfortunate because our legislature is involved in issues that affect all of us, including abortion, voting rights, and redistricting. This lack of attention and oversight on our part has contributed to a legislative body that is dysfunctional and totally partisan. Here is a snapshot.

The Pennsylvania Legislature is the third most expensive, only behind New York and California, according to a recent study by the Commonwealth Foundation. Yet it is also one of the five least productive states in terms of enacting significant legislation. Our full-time legislature enacts only 4% of introduced legislation. This is less than most part-time legislative bodies according to a study by Fiscalnote, a global leader in fiscal intelligence. It also appears that the 2021-22 legislative session is on course to be one of the least productive on record.

Tom Deloe is a member of Democracy For America’s Government Accountability Task Force. He lives in Cumberland Township, Adams County.

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