Despite having a “full-time legislature” only 15 bills were enacted into law in Pennsylvania (the majority of which were required spending bills) during the first six months of 2023.
While Shapiro has defended his anemic record by claiming Pennsylvania is the only state with a “full-time, divided legislature,” eight other states have divided government (a governor and legislature of different parties), and Virginia has a part-time divided legislature.
The eight states with divided government—all but Wisconsin with a part-time legislature—have enacted a minimum of 75 laws (Wisconsin) and a maximum of 536 laws (Nevada) in the first half of 2023.
Meanwhile, under the leadership of Gov. Glenn Youngkin—with a divided, part-time legislature—Virginia has enacted 812 bills during the first half of this year. In other words, Youngkin has signed 54 times the number of bills as Shapiro.
While states have varying legislative and legal structures regarding the size and complexity of bills, it is clear that Pennsylvania, under Shapiro, has had the least productive legislative session. Even governors under divided government have gotten more done than Shapiro.
Indeed, Pennsylvania remains without a completed state budget in 2023, one of only a handful of states to fail to get its budget done on time.
The current dysfunction in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives under Democratic leadership is unique. The 45 scheduled voting session days (31 days so far, with another 14 on the schedule) would represent the fewest of any session since 1964—and the fewest ever held under the current state constitution, according to the Pennsylvania Manual.
Shapiro’s inability to persuade House Democrats, his own party, to get to work and pass his priorities—including completing the 2023–24 state budget—has resulted in a lack of legislative accomplishments.