Pennsylvania House of Representatives

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House of Representatives
Pennsylvania General Assembly
Coat of arms or logo
Term limits
New session started
January 5, 2015
Speaker of the House
Mike Turzai (R)
Since January 6, 2015
Majority Leader
Dave Reed (R)
Since January 6, 2015
Minority Leader
Frank Dermody (D)
Since January 4, 2011
Seats 203
House of Representatives diagram 2014 State of Pennsylvania.svg
Political groups
Governing party

Opposition party

Length of term
2 years
Authority Article II, section 1, Pennsylvania Constitution
Salary $78,314/year[1]
Last election
November 6, 2014
(203 seats)
Next election
November 4, 2016
(203 seats)
Meeting place
Pennsylvania State Capitol House Chamber.jpg
House of Representatives Chamber
Pennsylvania State Capitol
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is the lower house of the bicameral Pennsylvania General Assembly, the legislature of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. There are 203 members, elected for two-year terms from single member districts.[2][3]

Following the 2014 elections, the house consisted of 119 Republicans and 84 Democrats. Republican Mike Turzai was elected Speaker of the House on January 6, 2015. In 2012, a State Representative district had an average population of 60,498 residents.

The house is the largest full-time state legislature in the United States (the New Hampshire House of Representatives is larger but only serves part-time).

Hall of the House

The Hall of the House contains important symbols to Pennsylvania history and the work of legislators.

  • Speaker's Chair: a throne-like chair of rank that sits directly behind the Speaker's rostrum. Architect Joseph Huston designed the chair in 1906, the year the Capitol was dedicated.
  • Mace: the House symbol of authority, peace, order and respect for law rests in a pedestal to the right of the Speaker. Its base is solid mahogany, intricately carved and capped by a brass globe engraved with the Pennsylvania coat of arms. An American Eagle perches on top. The tradition of the mace may date to the Roman Republic when attendants of Roman consuls carried bundles of sticks wrapped around an axe to enforce order. The tradition is common may also come directly from Pennsylvania's English heritage.
  • Murals: a colorful panorama of Pennsylvania history appear in murals by Edwin Austin Abbey. The most commanding of the series hangs behind the Speaker's rostrum and dominates the wall behind the Speaker. It is called The Apotheosis of Pennsylvania
  • Ceiling: a work of art in itself with its ornate geometry of gold leaf buttoned at the center by a charming painted illustration. In "The Hours", Abbey represents the passage of time in the form of 24 maidens revolving in an endless circle amidst the moon, the sun and the stars of the Milky Way.[4]

Speaker of the House

The speakership is the oldest elected statewide office in the Commonwealth. Since its first session in 1682—presided over by William Penn—over 130 house members have been elevated to the speaker's chair. The house cannot hold an official session in the absence of the speaker or his designated speaker pro tempore. Speaker Leroy Irvis was the first African American elected speaker of any state legislature in the United States since Reconstruction. Speaker Dennis O'Brien was the only minority-party Speaker known in Pennsylvania and only the second known nationwide. Pennsylvania has never had a female speaker.


Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Democratic Republican Vacant
End of previous legislature 91 111 203
Begin[5] 83 119 202 1
April 13, 2015[6] 120 203 0
April 30, 2015[7] 118 201 2
June 1, 2015[8] 82 200 3
June 8, 2015[9] 81 199 4
June 9, 2015[10] 80 198 5
August 4, 2015[11] 81 119 200 3
August 11, 2015[12] 84 203 0
December 16, 2015[13] 83 202 1
December 31, 2015[14] 82 118 200 3
Latest voting share 40.4% 58.1% 1.5%

Gender Composition

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has only 36 women out of 203 total representatives in 2013.[15] This is only 17.7%, which is below the national average of 23.1% women in all statewide legislative positions.

House of Representatives Leadership

As of January 6, 2015

Speaker of the House of Representatives: Mike Turzai (R)

Majority Party (R) Leadership Position Minority Party (D)
Dave Reed Floor Leader Frank Dermody
Bryan Cutler Whip Mike Hanna
Sandra Major Caucus Chairperson Dan Frankel
Donna Oberlander Caucus Secretary Rosita Youngblood
Bill Adolph Appropriations Committee Chairman Joe Markosek
Brian Ellis Caucus Administrator Neal Goodman
Kerry Benninghoff Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla

Members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives

See also


  1. The Pennsylvania Manual, pp. 3–7.
  2. Article II, section 2, Pennsylvania Constitution.
  3. Article II, section 16, Pennsylvania Constitution.
  5. Democrat Brendan Boyle (District 170) resigned prior to the session start to take a seat in the 114th Congress.
  6. Republican Martina White seated after winning the special election to succeed Boyle.[1]
  7. Republicans Glenn Grell (District 87) and Joe Hackett (District 161) resigned to take other jobs.[2][3]
  8. Democrat Ronald Waters (District 191) resigned after pleading guilty to accepting bribes.[4]
  9. Democrat Michelle Brownlee (District 195) resigned after pleading guilty to conflict of interest in connection with a lobbying scandal.[5]
  10. Democrat John Sabatina (District 174) resigned after being elected to the State Senate in a special election.[6]
  11. Republican Greg Rothman and Democrat Leanne Krueger-Braneky were elected to succeed Republicans Grell and Hackett, respectively. [7]
  12. Democrats Ed Nielson, Joanna McClinton and Donna Bullock were elected to succeed Sabatina, Waters and Brownlee, respectively. [8]
  13. Democrat Louise Williams Bishop pleads guilty and resigns. [9]
  14. Democrat Cherelle Parker joins Philadelphia City Council; Republican Tim Krieger becomes Westmoreland County judge. [10]


External links

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