Charlton, Solomon bill to establish commission to plan America’s 250th birthday passes House

HARRISBURG, Nov. 21 – State Reps. Alex Charlton, R-Delaware, and Jared Solomon, D-Phila., announced their bill to establish the Pennsylvania Semiquincentennial Commission passed the House unanimously.

“As the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence, it’s important to recognize our Commonwealth’s integral role in the founding of the United States of America,” Charlton said. “The semiquincentennial is a chance for all Pennsylvanians to engage in a shared undertaking of national unity, as well as remembering what has united us as American citizens for over 200 years.”

House Bill 1793 would establish a commission to plan, encourage, develop and coordinate the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States. The commission would submit a comprehensive report that includes the specific recommendations of the commission to the governor and the General Assembly by September 2018.

“By our commonwealth playing host to the nation’s 250th birthday, we hope for an extensive, expansive, and exciting dialogue between and within all 67 counties in Pennsylvania, a dialogue that brings together all Pennsylvanians and all state and local governments to plan how we welcome the world to our state for this yearlong celebration,” Solomon said. “I thank Rep. Charlton for his leadership and partnership on this bill, and I hope the spirit of bipartisanship that led to this bill’s passage out of the House, extends not only through its passage into law but also into the life of the new Semiquincentennial Commission and the 250th birthday celebration itself.”    

The commission would consist of the following members:

  • One Republican and Democratic member of the Senate.
  • One Republican and Democratic member of the House.
  • Twenty private citizens who will be appointed by the governor, Senate and House.
  • Non-voting members including the Secretary of the Commonwealth, the attorney general, the auditor general, the chair of PA Historical and Museum Commission, the secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Education, the secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources, the adjutant general and the chair of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

The Pennsylvania Semiquincentennial Commission would meet at points throughout the commonwealth at times and locations determined by the chairperson, whom the governor would appoint.

House Bill 1793 now goes to the full Senate for consideration.