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House Passes Legislation Allowing Counties to Eliminate the Office of Jury Commissioner

By a vote of 141-48, the House of Representatives this week passed House Bill 2001, legislation by Reps. RoseMarie Swanger (R-Lebanon) and Frank Farry (R-Bucks), to give Pennsylvania’s second class counties the option of abolishing the office of jury commissioner. 

Farry, the prime co-sponsor of the bill, noted that in many of Pennsylvania’s counties, the position of jury commissioner has become obsolete since technology now performs many of the functions of that office.  Juries are selected from voter registration, property tax, welfare rolls and PennDOT records, making the position of jury commissioner unnecessary in many counties, but state law mandates that counties fill both the majority and minority jury commissioner positions.   

“Governments at every level are feeling the financial pinch,” Farry said.  “As lawmakers, we should be doing all we can to help our counties meet those financial challenges.  The state should give counties the individual freedom to eliminate obsolete unfunded state mandates.  I am pleased to have worked with Representative Swanger to develop this legislation to allow counties to determine for themselves whether the office of jury commissioner is still needed.” 

Farry noted that House Bill 2001 would give counties the option of eliminating the office of jury commissioner via a voter referendum. 

“If a majority of the voters in a county determine that the office of jury commissioner is not necessary, the state should not stand in its way,” Farry continued.  “House Bill 2001 gives them that freedom.” 

Farry added that the bill does not mandate that counties eliminate the jury commissioner position.  Rather, it gives counties the option of doing so if it makes sense in their jurisdiction.   

“If a county determines that the expenditure is still worthwhile, it is free to continue,” Farry said.  “However, if a county determines that the office of jury commissioner is obsolete, our legislation gives it the freedom to eliminate the position and save taxpayer dollars.” 

Rep. Frank Farry
142nd District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact:  Sean Yeakle
House Republican Public Relations
(717) 787-3406

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