|Posted:||September 15, 2014 04:45 PM|
|From:||Senator Lisa Baker and Sen. Lloyd K. Smucker|
|To:||All Senate members|
Pennsylvania is one of only ten states with no limits on gifts to public officials and their staffs. This position has traditionally been a source of public criticism whenever financial disclosure statements were filed. Recently, it became untenable once several state legislators were caught on tape accepting gifts they did not disclose, gifts that may have been illegally tied to votes. Merely requiring the disclosure of gifts received above a certain value is no longer regarded by the public as an effective guard against corruption.
In April, the Senate unanimously passed a strong ban on cash gifts, applying to public officials and public employees across the state. Senate Resolution 339 was also unanimously approved putting such a ban in our rules. The commentary at the time, while highly supportive of those steps, urged a broader reform of banning non-cash gifts. As the result of some extensive discussions and a review of testimony received during a public hearing by the Senate State Government Committee, a comprehensive gift ban proposal has been developed.
This measure is essential toward rebuilding public confidence that our laws and policies are shaped through thoughtful deliberation rather than by undue influence on the part of special interests.
This legislation will:
Gifts to public officials and public employees will be prohibited from:
The legislation will also prohibit gifts to relatives of public officials and public employees if the gift is given because of the official’s or employee’s position.
“Gift” will be defined to include anything of value, including items, meals, travel, lodging and entertainment. Exemptions will include:
The legislation will also include the following common-sense exceptions for meals, which will apply so long as the meal is provided by the organizer, not someone purchasing a block of tickets:
Thank you for your co-sponsorship.
Introduced as SB1501