On Partisan Legislative Staffers

One recommendation of the Grand Jury report release this week was that the Pennsylvania General Assembly should move from hiring partisan staff for each caucus to having a centralized nonpartisan hiring office and giving each lawmaker a budget for their own office staff.

Hogwash, Sen. Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi says:

“It’s not something unique to Pennsylvania or unique in American history. You’d be hard-pressed to find a general assembly in a large state that does not operate along party caucuses,” Pileggi said.

Tribune Review reporter Mike Wereschagin, however, was not at all hard-pressed, but rather easily dismantled Pileggi’s claim with actual facts from other states:

Most [state legislatures], however, handle such things as hiring, legal analysis and computer services through a central, nonpartisan office, according to an analysis by the National Conference on State Legislatures. In Pennsylvania, caucus leaders hire employees and dole them out to lawmakers.

California, which has three times as many residents as Pennsylvania and 800 fewer legislative staffers, has smaller caucus staffs and allows each lawmaker an equal number of workers. Texas has no caucus staff and gives each member the same monthly budget for staff.