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PRINTER'S NO. 1116
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
809
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY BAKER, FOLMER, MUTH, LEACH, COLLETT, KEARNEY,
BLAKE, SCHWANK, HUGHES, SANTARSIERO, YUDICHAK, COSTA,
BREWSTER AND HAYWOOD, AUGUST 7, 2019
REFERRED TO JUDICIARY, AUGUST 7, 2019
AN ACT
Amending Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in Judicial Conduct
Board, further providing for staff and operations and
establishing the Pennsylvania Commission on Legislative
Conduct.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Section 2104 of Title 42 of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes is amended to read:
§ 2104. Staff and operations.
(a) Operations.--The Judicial Conduct Board shall [appoint]
do all of the following:
(1) Appoint a chief counsel and other staff.
(2) Subject to section 2107(a)(2) (relating to
Pennsylvania Commission on Legislative Conduct), prepare and
administer its own budget as provided by law[, exercise].
(3) Exercise supervisory and administrative authority
over all board staff and board functions[, establish].
(4) Establish and promulgate its own rules of
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procedure[, prepare].
(5) E mploy staff for the Pennsylvania Commission on
Legislative Conduct, consisting of an attorney at law to
serve as executive director. The board may utilize this staff
to perform other board functions which do not materially and
adversely impact commission functions.
(6) Prepare and disseminate an annual report [and take].
(7) Take other actions as are necessary to ensure its
efficient operation.
(b) Budget.--The budget request of the board shall be made
by the board as a separate item in the request submitted by the
Supreme Court on behalf of the [Judicial Board] board to the
General Assembly.
Section 2. Title 42 is amended by adding a section to read:
§ 2107. Pennsylvania Commission on Legislative Conduct.
(a) Establishment and duties.--
(1) The Pennsylvania Commission on Legislative Conduct
is established as a unit of the Judicial Conduct Board.
(2) The commission shall prepare and administer its own
budget. The budget request of the commission shall be made as
a separate item in the board's budget under section 2104(a)
(2) (relating to staff and operations). The commission shall
exercise supervisory and administrative authority over:
(i) commission staff under section 2104(a)(5); and
(ii) commission functions.
(3) For conduct within the scope of their duties,
commissioners and commission staff under section 2104(a)(5):
(i) enjoy sovereign immunity and official immunity
and remain immune from suit under 1 Pa.C.S. § 2310
(relating to sovereign immunity reaffirmed; specific
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waiver); and
(ii) are immune from professional or occupational
administrative disciplinary action.
(b) Membership.--
(1) Except for an appointee who is a member of the
General Assembly, all of the following subparagraphs apply:
(i) An appointee must not be an elected public
officer or a public employee of the Commonwealth.
(ii) An appointee must have expertise in one of the
following areas:
(A) Human relations.
(B) Personnel.
(C) Law related to discrimination or harassment
based on:
(I) race, national origin or ancestry;
(II) sex;
(III) age;
(IV) religion;
(V) education, specifically including the
type of high school diploma received; or
(VI) disability, including use of a guide or
support animal for disability and relationship to
an individual with a disability.
(D) Finance.
(E) Financial disclosure requirements.
(2) C ommissioners shall be appointed as follows:
(i) The President pro tempore of the Senate shall
appoint:
(A) one commissioner who is a member of the
Senate; and
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(B) two additional commissioners.
(ii) The Minority Leader of the Senate shall
appoint:
(A) one commissioner who is a member of the
Senate; and
(B) two additional commissioners.
(iii) The Speaker of the House of Representatives
shall appoint:
(A) one commissioner who is a member of the
House of Representatives; and
(B) two additional commissioners.
(iv) The Minority Leader of the House of
Representatives shall appoint:
(A) one commissioner who is a member of the
House of Representatives; and
(B) two additional commissioners.
(v) The board shall appoint one member.
(c) Terms.--
(1) Except as set forth in paragraph (2), a commissioner
shall serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority and
until a successor is appointed.
(2) A commissioner under subsection (b)(2)(i)(A), (ii)
(A), (iii)(A) or (iv)(A) shall serve ex officio.
(d) Procedure.--
(1) A majority of the commissioners constitute a quorum.
(2) Action of the commission must be taken by a majority
vote of the commissioners present.
(3) The commissioner under subsection (b)(2)(v):
(i) shall be counted for purposes of determining a
quorum; but
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(ii) may only vote if there is a tie on a question
before the commission.
(4) All of the following apply to complaints under
subsection (e):
(i) A complaint may be made anonymously.
(ii) A complaint from a named source must be in
writing and verified.
(iii) A complaint is subject to 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904
(relating to unsworn falsification to authorities).
(iv) A civil action may not be predicated upon the
filing of a complaint.
(v) Professional or occupational administrative
disciplinary action may not be predicated upon the filing
of a complaint.
(5) The commission may promulgate regulations to govern
procedure.
(e) Jurisdiction.--The commission has jurisdiction over a
complaint filed by a person or initiated by the commission
against a seated member of the General Assembly alleging any of
the following:
(1) The member has engaged in conduct in violation of a
provision of the Constitution of Pennsylvania or a statutory
provision.
(2) The member has violated any of the following:
(i) The Ethical Conduct Rules of the Senate.
(ii) The Financial Operating Rules of the Senate.
(iii) The Ethical and Professional Conduct Rules of
the House of Representatives.
(3) The member has been sentenced for an offense graded
higher than a misdemeanor of the first degree.
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(f) Hearing.--
(1) Upon filing of a complaint under subsection (e), the
commission may recommend interim action and shall conduct a
hearing. A hearing under this subsection is subject to 2
Pa.C.S. Ch. 5 Subch. A (relating to practice and procedure of
Commonwealth agencies).
(2) The commission may issue a subpoena to require
testimony or produce a document and may enforce the subpoena
in Commonwealth Court under section 761(a)(2) (relating to
original jurisdiction).
(3) If the subject of a hearing is charged with a felony
by indictment or by filing of an information, the hearing
shall be suspended pending resolution of the criminal charge.
(4) A civil action may not be predicated upon any of the
following:
(i) Submission of a document under paragraph (2).
(ii) Testimony in a hearing.
(5) Professional or occupational administrative
disciplinary action may not be predicated upon any of the
following:
(i) Submission of a document under paragraph (2).
(ii) T estimony in a hearing.
(g) Findings and recommendations.--Upon conclusion of a
hearing under subsection (f):
(1) The commission shall issue findings of fact.
(2) The commission shall recommend one of the following
to the appropriate chamber of the General Assembly:
(i) Exoneration of the member.
(ii) Reprimand of the member.
(iii) Removal of the member from assignments to
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committees and from other assignments.
(iv) Expulsion of the member under section 11 of
Article II of the Constitution of Pennsylvania.
(v) Any other discipline authorized by the
Constitution of Pennsylvania or warranted by the hearing.
(h) Right-to-Know Law.--For purposes of paragraph (2) of the
definition of public record in section 102 of the act of
February 14, 2008 (P.L.6, No.3), known as the Right-to-Know Law,
all of the following apply:
(1) The following are exempt from being disclosed:
(i) The contents of a complaint under subsection
(e), unless the exemption is waived by all of the
following:
(A) The subject of the complaint.
(B) The person that filed the complaint. This
clause does not apply to a complaint initiated by the
commission.
(ii) I nformation or evidence acquired by the
commission in the conduct of a hearing under subsection
(f), unless the exemption is waived by all of the
following:
(A) The subject of the complaint.
(B) The person that filed the complaint. This
clause does not apply to a complaint initiated by the
commission.
(2) The following are not exempt from being disclosed:
(i) The filing of a complaint under subsection (e).
(ii) Recommendations under subsection (g)(2).
(i) Annual report.--The commission shall submit an annual
report to the Secretary of the Senate and the Chief Clerk of the
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House of Representatives.
Section 3. This act shall take effect immediately.
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