Pennsylvania’s General Assembly, made up of a 203-member House of Representatives and a 50-member Senate, considers as many as 5,000 bills in every two-year session.
Any member of the legislature can introduce a bill. Upon introduction, the measure is assigned a number and referred to the appropriate committee. Both the House and Senate have committees, which focus on specific issues and serve as the General Assembly’s legislative workshop. Bills introduced by House members go to House committees; bills introduced by Senate members go to Senate committees. The committee chair, who represents the chamber’s majority party, decides what bills the committee considers. This is a tremendous power for a legislator. The committees comprise several members of both parties, but the majority party has more voting members. Bills brought before the committee are subject to review and debate. The committee may hold hearings and solicit testimony; members may propose amendments.