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Fineman, Herbert, 1920-2016


biographical statement

Herbert Fineman served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1955-1977, and he represented the 194th District of Philadelphia County. He was born on July 4, 1920 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and he attended Temple University, receiving his B.S. in 1942. He then went on to attend Temple University School of Law to get his LL.B. in 1945. He practiced as an attorney for many years. Fineman was very involved in his community. He was a member of the Philadelphia County Pennsylvania Appellate Courts and U.S. District Courts of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia Bar Association; Pennsylvania Bar Association; Lawyers’ Club of Philadelphia; Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association; American Jewish Congress; Philadelphia Fellowship Commission and Justice Lodge of B’nai B’rith; Circus Saints and Sinners Clubs of America; and Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. Board Member. During his time in the House, he served on the Aeronautics Committee from 1955-1956, Judiciary Committee from 1955-1964 and as Vice Chair from 1959-1960, Military Affairs Committee from 1955-1956, Professional Licensure Committee from 1955-1962, Insurance Committee from 1959-1960, State Government Committee from 1959-1964 and as Chair from 1961-1962, Education Committee from 1961-1962, Rules Committee from 1967-1976, Committee on Committees from 1967-1968, and Legislative Budget and Finance Committee from 1967-1968. He was also a member of the Joint State Government Commission from 1965-1970 and the Pennsylvania Commission on Interstate Cooperation from 1967-1968, as well as the General State Authority, State Public School Building Authority, State Highway and Bridge Authority, and Pennsylvania Public Television Network Commission. Some of the major legislative initiatives during his tenure and credited to Mr. Fineman’s support or sponsorship included: eminent domain reform, tax reform and Pennsylvania’s 1st State income tax, lowering the voting age, the State Lottery, a wiretapping ban, gun control, the House Ethics Committee Code of Conduct, reducing House standing committees from thirty three to twenty one, changing representation on committees, installing of the vote lock system, and public hearings on legislation. Fineman helped improve staffing, services, space, salaries, sessions and other facilities in the House of Representatives, and he was instrumental in setting up the Legislative Office of Research Liaison (LORL), a non-partisan research agency to serve all Members. He was given the titles “architect of legislative reform,” and “father of the modern Pennsylvania legislature.” Fineman was the first Jewish Speaker of the House from 1969-1972 and 1975-1977. He also served as the majority whip in 1965-1966 and minority leader in 1967-1968. Fineman resigned from the legislature on May 23, 1977 after being indicted on an obstruction of justice charge. After he resigned from the House, he returned to the practice of law. Fineman passed away on August 18, 2016, in the city of Philadelphia.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

Benjamin Franklin Symposium, 1977-1979

Identifier: 2021.033
Scope and Contents The Benjamin Franklin Symposium was created in the 1975-1976 Regular Session with House Resolution 250. The first symposium was held January 17-19, 1977. To quote a 1977 editorial release for KDKA Radio 1020: "This year Pennsylvania's lawmakers will attempt to get a broader perspective on some of the long-range problems facing the state before they get down to their immediate nuts and bolts business. All 253 members of the legislature have been invited to participate in a three-day symposium...
Dates: 1977-01 - 1979-01

Papers of Herbert Fineman, 1955-1977

Identifier: 2005.004
Scope and Contents This collection is an outstanding resource for researchers investigating the history of legislatures as well as the modernizing process. The papers consist of an extensive library of books on legislatures in general and files on the National Conference of State Legislatures and Pennsylvania’s legislature. In addition, there are records on the Bicentennial Session of the General Assembly held in Philadelphia in 1976 as well as office activity records. Fineman’s speeches on a multitude of...
Dates: 1955 - 1977; Acquisition: 12/04/2004

Papers of Herbert Fineman, 1964-2003

Identifier: 2010.001
Scope and Contents This collection supplements the materials filed under Accession Number 2005.004, related to the service of Herbert Fineman in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The primary dates of these items range from 1964-1976, consisting of correspondence, biographical information, commendations, and articles related to Herbert Fineman. There is a focus on Fineman’s achievements in this collection, with numerous documents praising his accomplishments in legislation and fundraising. For further...
Dates: 1964 - 2003; Acquisition: 12/02/2009