Corman’s Constitutional Change that Alters Lieutenant Governor Succession Rule Clears Senate

(HARRISBURG) – Yesterday the State Senate passed legislation written by Sen. Jake Corman (R-34) that would amend the state constitution to change the Lieutenant Governor succession rule.

Corman’s legislation, Senate Bill 822, would allow a lieutenant governor who assumes the governorship to name a new Lieutenant Governor. That nominee would have to be confirmed by the Senate.

Corman said the change is needed and became a necessity after former Governor Tom Ridge resigned to become director of the United States Homeland Security Department in 2001.

Then-Lt. Gov. Mark Schweiker became governor, and then-Senate President Pro Tempore Robert C. Jubelirer, became the lieutenant governorship. Then-Lt. Governor Jubelirer continued to serve as a state Senator during the term.

Even though the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found no violation of the constitution or law with Lt. Governor Jubelirer serving as both Lieutenant Governor and state Senator, Corman sought a change in the Pennsylvania constitution.

Corman’s legislation, which would lead to a constitutional amendment, would have Pennsylvania’s process mirror that of the federal government in cases when there is a vacancy in the office of Vice President.

“I believe that in cases of a vacancy of Lieutenant Governor, the sitting Governor should have the ability to pick his or her Lieutenant Governor, just as the President of the United States has that right,” Corman said. “I also believe that a state Senator should not be serving as both a state Senator and Lieutenant Governor as our current system provides. Ultimately, I hope the people of Pennsylvania will have the opportunity to vote on this important change to our constitution.”

Constitutional amendments must pass both chambers in two consecutive sessions, then go before voters in a referendum.

Senate Bill 822 is now before the House for consideration.

Don Houser
Phone: 717 787-1377