HARRISBURG – A judicial election reform bill passed the PA Senate. House Bill 196 amends the PA Constitution to change the way appellate court judges are elected. It would divide the state Supreme, Superior, and Commonwealth Courts into judicial districts to ensure a broader range of regional interests are represented on the courts. Currently, members of the state’s appellate courts are elected by a statewide vote. As a result, over half of all the members of PA’s Superior and Commonwealth Courts are from only two of the state’s 67 counties, which represent only 21% of the state’s population. Five of seven Supreme Court Justices are from Allegheny or Philadelphia Counties, leaving 79% of the state’s population under-represented. 11 other states elect some or all of their appellate court judges or justices regionally. The bill must be approved in two consecutive legislative sessions and be approved by voters in a statewide referendum. The PA House approved the bill in December.