PRINTER'S NO. 1
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE RESOLUTION
No.
1
Session of
2021
INTRODUCED BY YAW AND K. WARD, JANUARY 5, 2021
INTRODUCED AND ADOPTED, JANUARY 5, 2021
A RESOLUTION
Adopting Ethical Conduct Rules of the Senate.
RESOLVED, That Ethical Conduct Rules of the Senate be adopted
for the governing of the 205th and 206th Regular Session.
2021-2022
ETHICAL CONDUCT RULES OF THE SENATE
Rule 1. Preliminary provisions.
As used in these rules, the following words and phrases shall
have the meanings given to them in this rule unless the context
clearly indicates otherwise:
"Campaign activity." An activity on behalf of a political
party, candidate, political committee or campaign, which is
intended to advance the interests of a specific party,
candidate, political committee or campaign for elective office,
including any of the following:
(1) Organizing a campaign meeting, campaign rally or
other campaign event, including a fundraiser where campaign
contributions are solicited or received.
(2) Preparing or completing responses to candidate
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questionnaires that are intended solely for campaign use.
(3) Preparing a campaign finance report.
(4) Conducting background research on a candidate.
(5) Preparing or conducting a campaign poll.
(6) Preparing, circulating or filing a candidate
nominating petition or papers.
(7) Participating in, preparing, reviewing or filing a
legal challenge to a nominating petition.
(8) Preparing, distributing or mailing any campaign
literature, campaign signs or other campaign material,
including television and radio ads, website construction, e-
mails, facsimiles and robocalls, on behalf of any candidate
for elective office.
(9) Managing a campaign for elective office.
(10) Participating in, preparing, reviewing or filing
any documents in any recount, challenge or contest of any
election.
(11) Posting campaign-related information on a website,
including social media websites or other electronic media
websites.
"Campaign contribution." A monetary or in-kind contribution
made to an electoral candidate campaign.
"Candidate." As defined in section 1621 of the act of June
3, 1937 (P.L.1333, No.320), known as the Pennsylvania Election
Code.
"Cash gift."
(1) Any of the following:
(i) United States or foreign currency.
(ii) A money order.
(iii) A check.
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(iv) A prepaid debit or credit card.
(v) A gift card or certificate.
(2) The term does not include:
(i) An expenditure or other transaction subject to
reporting under Article XVI of the act of June 3, 1937
(P.L.1333, No.320), known as the Pennsylvania Election
Code.
(ii) A commercial loan made in the ordinary course
of business.
(iii) A transaction involving reasonable
consideration of equal or greater value.
(iv) A cash gift from a parent, sibling, spouse,
child, stepchild, stepparent, stepsibling, grandparent,
grandchild, parent-in-law, sibling-in-law or other close
relative when the circumstances make it clear that the
motivation for the action was a personal or family
relationship.
(v) A cash gift available to the public or offered
to members of a group or class in which membership is not
related to being a Senator or Senate employee.
(vi) An award or prize given to competitors in any
contest or event open to the public, including random
drawings.
"Commercial loan made in the ordinary course of business." A
loan from a bank or other financial institution on terms
generally available to the public.
"De minimis." An economic consequence which has an
insignificant effect.
"Lobbyist." Any individual, firm, association, corporation,
partnership, business trust or other entity that is registered
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as a lobbyist under 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 13A (relating to lobbying
disclosure).
"Newsletter." A printed document more than one page in
length that addresses more than one subject and is printed in
quantities of 25,000 copies or more.
"Official action." An administrative action or legislative
action, as those terms are defined in 65 Pa.C.S. ยง 13A03
(relating to definitions).
"Official Senate contact lists." Any list containing
individuals, companies or vendors, including names, addresses,
telephone numbers or e-mail addresses that are procured,
compiled, maintained or produced with Senate funds.
"Own time." A Senate employee's time that is distinct from
Senate work time and includes all leave.
"Principal." Any individual, association, corporation,
partnership, business trust or other entity that is registered
as a principal under 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 13A.
"Senate employee." A person employed by the Senate,
including the Chief Clerk and the Secretary of the Senate.
"Senate employee in a supervisory position." A Senate
employee who has a general supervisory role within: a caucus; an
individual Senator's office; or a Senate services office.
"Senate office." All Senate offices and Senate conference or
meeting rooms located in the Capitol complex or any similar
space contained within a district office.
"Senate resources." Senate-owned or Senate-leased equipment
including telephones, computer hardware or software, copiers,
scanners, fax machines, file cabinets or other office furniture,
cell phones, personal digital assistants or similar electronic
devices and office supplies.
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"Senate work time." Publicly paid work time consisting in
the aggregate of 75 hours every two weeks for full-time
employees and a lesser amount of publicly paid hours every two
weeks for part-time employees.
"Senator." A person elected to serve in the Pennsylvania
Senate from each of the fifty Senatorial districts.
Rule 2. Practice.
(a) Work time.--No campaign activity may be conducted by a
Senate employee on Senate work time. The following shall apply:
(1) Senate employees are permitted to engage in campaign
activities on their own time, as volunteers or for pay.
(2) Senate employees may work irregular hours often
depending upon the time the Senate is in session. As a
result, a staffer's own time can occur during what may be
considered "normal" business hours.
(3) Sick leave, family and medical leave, work-related
disability leave, parental leave, short-term disability
leave, civil leave or military leave cannot be requested by a
Senate employee to perform campaign activities.
(4) No Senate employee may be allowed any amount of
Senate work time for time spent doing campaign activities.
(5) Senate employees, with the permission of their
employing Senator, may reduce their Senate hours with a
commensurate reduction in pay (and benefits, as required) to
perform campaign activities. These arrangements must be
memorialized in writing and filed with the Chief Clerk.
(6) Any Senate employee who has reduced his or her
Senate hours to perform campaign activities shall keep a
daily written log outlining Senate hours and related work
responsibilities.
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(b) Office and resources.--No campaign activity may be
conducted by a Senator or a Senate employee in a Senate office
or with Senate resources.
(1) De minimis campaign activities may be unavoidable
for a Senator or Senate employee in the course of their
official duties. Examples include the following:
(i) In responding to inquiries from the public, a
Senator or a Senate employee may need to address
questions that relate to a Senator's or other candidate's
campaign for elective office or a related legislative
record.
(ii) Scheduling assistance and information from the
Senator or a Senate employee may be provided to ensure
that no conflict occurs among the Senator's campaign
schedule, official schedule and personal schedule.
(iii) Engaging in political conversation in the
natural course of personal communication.
(2) Unsolicited campaign-related communication on a
personally owned cell phone, personal digital assistant or
similar electronic device may occur on a de minimis basis in
a Senate office but may not interfere with Senate work time.
(3) A Senator's official Senate website, social media
website or other electronic media website shall not contain a
link to a campaign website for any candidate. A Senator's
campaign website shall not contain a link to his or her
official Senate website. A Senate employee who is on Senate
work time and using Senate resources may post legislative
materials, media advisories, news releases and announcements
on a social media website or other electronic media website,
which is not a campaign website for any candidate, even if
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campaign-related information also exists on such a website. A
Senate employee who is on his or her own time and using
personal resources may post material involving or referring
to campaign activity on a social media website or other
electronic media website.
(c) Contributions.--The solicitation or receipt of campaign
contributions on Senate work time or with Senate resources is
prohibited.
(1) Solicitation or receipt of campaign contributions in
a Senate office or with Senate resources is prohibited at any
and all times.
(2) If an unsolicited contribution is sent to a Senate
office through the mail or in an unidentifiable form, the
employee who receives it shall turn it over to the campaign
within no more than seven days and immediately notify the
donor that campaign contributions should not be received at a
Senate office.
(3) No Senate employee may serve as an officer on a
campaign committee or a campaign finance committee on behalf
of any Senator, Senate candidate or Senate caucus.
(4) A Senate employee may help plan and may provide
assistance at a campaign event on his or her own time.
(d) Employees.--No Senate employee may be required to
perform any campaign activity or make any campaign contribution.
(1) No Senator, no Senate employee acting on the
Senator's behalf and no Senate employee in a supervisory
position may require a Senate employee to perform any
campaign activity on Senate work time or on the employee's
own time as a condition of employment.
(2) No Senator, no Senate employee acting on the
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Senator's behalf and no Senate employee in a supervisory
position may require any Senate employee to make a campaign
contribution as a condition of employment.
(3) A Senate employee who agrees or offers to
participate in any campaign activity on his or her own time
or who makes a campaign contribution may not do so in
consideration of receiving any additional Senate compensation
or employee benefit in the form of a salary adjustment,
bonus, compensatory time off, continued employment or any
other similar benefit.
(4) A Senate employee who declines to participate in a
campaign activity or to make a campaign contribution shall
not be sanctioned for that refusal.
(e) Newsletters.--No Senate-funded newsletter may be printed
or distributed within 60 days of the primary or general election
at which any Senate member is a candidate for the office of
Senate or any other elective office.
(1) This subsection shall apply to newsletters printed
by the Senate or by an outside vendor paid for with public
funds.
(2) The Chief Clerk of the Senate may not authorize the
reimbursement or payment of any money expended for print,
distribution or postage incurred after the 60-day deadline.
(3) Senators who are candidates for the office of the
Senate or any other elective office shall submit to the
Secretary of the Senate a final proof copy of any newsletters
no less than 90 days prior to the next occurring primary or
general election.
(f) Official Senate contact lists.--Official Senate contact
lists shall be used solely for legislative purposes.
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(1) Official Senate contact lists shall not be provided
to any candidate, political party, political committee,
campaign or campaign committee or used for any campaign
purpose.
(2) Senate time and resources shall not be used to
create, store or maintain any list that identifies the listed
individuals as campaign volunteers or contributors to any
candidate, political party, political committee, campaign or
campaign committee.
(3) No list may be developed by a Senator or a Senate
employee using Senate time and resources for the purpose of
monitoring or tracking campaign activity or campaign
contributions of any Senate employee.
(4) Official Senate contact lists may be purchased at
fair market value from a private source with Senate funds if
the lists are used solely for legislative purposes. An
official Senate contact list that is so acquired may not be
used or redirected in the same or a modified form for
campaign purposes.
(g) Non-work-related tasks.--No Senate employee may be
required to perform any non-work-related task.
(1) No Senator, no Senate employee acting on the
Senator's behalf and no Senate employee in a supervisory
position may require a Senate employee to perform tasks
unrelated to the Senate employee's official duties as a
condition of employment.
(2) An employee who agrees or offers to perform a task
unrelated to that person's official duties on his or her own
time may not do so in consideration of receiving any
additional State Senate compensation or employee benefit in
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the form of a salary adjustment, bonus, compensatory time
off, continued employment or any other public benefit.
(3) An employee who refuses to perform a task unrelated
to that person's official duties cannot be sanctioned for
that refusal.
(h) Cash gifts.--No Senator or Senate employee shall accept
or solicit a cash gift from any of the following:
(1) A lobbyist or principal.
(2) A person that is seeking official action from the
Senator or Senate employee.
Rule 3. Enforcement.
(a) Standardized process.--There shall be a standardized
process for reporting any alleged violation of these rules.
(1) A Senator or an employee who becomes aware of a
violation of these rules should report the violation to any
of the following:
(i) A Senator.
(ii) The President Pro Tempore, or an appropriate
designee.
(iii) The Majority Leader of the Senate, or an
appropriate designee.
(iv) The Minority Leader of the Senate, or an
appropriate designee.
(v) The employee's supervisor.
(vi) The Secretary of the Senate.
(2) A verbal report by an employee is acceptable but
must be followed up with a written statement that includes
the date, time and place, names of possible witnesses and the
nature of the ethical conduct violation. The written
statement must be signed by the employee.
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(3) Upon receipt of the written statement pursuant to
paragraph (2), the person to whom the violation is reported
as provided in paragraph (1) shall forward a copy of the
written statement within five business days to the Secretary
of the Senate or the Chief Clerk if the alleged violation
involves the Secretary of the Senate or a person in the
Secretary of the Senate's Office.
(4) A report of a possible violation of these rules must
be filed within one year of the alleged conduct.
(b) Inquiry.--An inquiry and review of all properly
submitted reports regarding an alleged violation of these rules
shall be conducted.
(1) The Secretary of the Senate shall conduct a
preliminary inquiry of any written statement forwarded under
subsection (a)(3). The subject of the report shall be
notified within five business days by the Secretary of the
Senate that a written statement has been forwarded to the
Secretary's office under subsection (a)(3). The Secretary of
the Senate shall also notify the President Pro Tempore, the
Majority Leader and the Minority Leader within five business
days that a written statement has been forwarded to the
Secretary's office under subsection (a)(3). The Secretary of
the Senate shall have 14 business days from the date of those
notifications to complete a preliminary inquiry and determine
whether there is more than a de minimis violation of these
rules and whether there is a satisfactory basis for the
initiation of a formal investigation and shall report that
recommendation to the President Pro Tempore, the Majority
Leader and the Minority Leader. If the Secretary of the
Senate or a person in the Secretary of the Senate's office is
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the subject of an alleged violation, the responsibilities
under this subsection shall be performed by the Chief Clerk
of the Senate.
(2) After receiving a recommendation from the Secretary
of the Senate under paragraph (1) that a formal investigation
is warranted, if the subject is a Senator, the President Pro
Tempore, the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader shall
proceed to refer the report to the Senate Committee on Ethics
for an investigation by that committee in accordance with
Rule 34 of the Rules of the Senate of Pennsylvania. The
provisions of Rule 34 of the Rules of the Senate of
Pennsylvania shall exclusively govern and apply in their
entirety to any further proceeding involving a Senator under
this rule.
(3) After receiving a recommendation from the Secretary
of the Senate under paragraph (1) that a formal investigation
is warranted, if the subject is a Senate employee, the
President Pro Tempore, the Majority Leader and the Minority
Leader shall proceed to obtain the services of an independent
third party to conduct a formal investigation. Upon
completion of the investigation, a report shall be prepared
containing findings of fact and a conclusion as to whether a
violation of these rules has occurred.
(4) After reviewing the findings of fact and the
conclusion contained in the report prepared pursuant to
paragraph (3) regarding a Senate employee, the President Pro
Tempore, the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader shall
issue a final determination by unanimous vote regarding all
of the following:
(i) Whether a violation of these rules by a Senate
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employee has occurred.
(ii) Whether a sanction regarding that violation by
a Senate employee is warranted.
(iii) If a sanction is deemed warranted, the type of
sanction that should be imposed.
(iv) When and how the sanction should be imposed.
(5) During the course of an investigation of a Senate
employee by the independent third party designated pursuant
to paragraph (3), the subject shall have the opportunity to
be heard, to present evidence, to cross-examine witnesses and
to be represented by counsel.
(6) Prior to the issuance of a final determination under
paragraph (4), the subject shall have an opportunity to
submit a written presentation prepared by either the subject
or the subject's counsel.
(7) All proceedings under this rule shall be
confidential unless otherwise waived in writing by the
subject of the proceeding.
(8) If the President Pro Tempore, the Majority Leader or
the Minority Leader is the subject of a report, is a witness
or if for any reason is unavailable, the duties of the member
shall be performed by the Senate Whip of the respective
caucus.
(9) Retaliation against any Senate employee who files a
written statement in good faith under subsection (a)(3) or
who testifies in good faith regarding an alleged violation of
these rules is prohibited.
(c) Disciplinary action.--A violation of these rules may
subject a Senate employee to disciplinary action that, depending
on the circumstances of the violation, may include any of the
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following:
(1) A warning.
(2) A written reprimand.
(3) A permanent disciplinary action noted in the
personnel record.
(4) Restitution for damages.
(5) Suspension of employment.
(6) Termination of employment.
(d) Sanction.--A violation of these rules may subject a
Senator to sanction by the full Senate and, depending on the
circumstances of the violation, may include any of the
following:
(1) A warning.
(2) A written reprimand.
(3) Restitution for damages.
(4) Any other sanction provided for under the Rules of
the Senate of Pennsylvania or the Constitution of
Pennsylvania.
Rule 4. Filing of financial interest statement.
(a) Compliance.--Compliance with the financial interest
statement requirements and all other requirements under the
Public Official and Employee Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 11
(relating to ethics standards and financial disclosure), shall
be mandatory for all Senators and Senate employees who meet the
criteria set forth in subsection (d) or (e).
(b) Time.--Financial interest statements covering the
previous calendar year must be filed by May 1 of each year for
every Senator and those Senate employees who make purchasing
decisions or other official decisions or provide input that can
influence a purchase or official decision.
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(c) Location.--Senators must file their financial interest
statements with the Secretary of the Senate, the Ethics
Commission and any governmental agency, authority, board or
commission on which they serve. Affected Senate employees must
file their financial interest statements with the Secretary of
the Senate.
(d) Required filing for official nonministerial action.--
Filing a financial interest statement shall be required for
employees who are responsible for taking or recommending
official nonministerial action concerning any of the following:
(1) Contracting or procurement.
(2) Administering or monitoring grants or subsidies.
(3) Planning or zoning.
(4) Inspecting, licensing, regulating or auditing any
person.
(5) Any other activity where the official or recommended
official action has an economic impact of more than a de
minimis nature on the interests of any person. For most
employees on a Senator's staff or in a caucus office, this
category would be most applicable, since recommending
"official action" to a Senator as part of job
responsibilities triggers the duty to file a financial
interest statement. Official action would relate to a
Senator's lawmaking duties especially as that relates to
legislation and confirmations.
(e) Required filing for recommendations.--A financial
interest statement must be filed if a Senate employee's
responsibility includes making a recommendation to a Senator as
to any of the following:
(1) Advice regarding how to vote on the Floor or in
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Committee.
(2) The potential consideration of bills, resolutions,
amendments to bills or resolutions or nominations in
Committee.
(3) The drafting and preparation of legislation or
resolutions, and any amendments to bills or resolutions,
including advice on decisions regarding bill or resolution
sponsorships.
(f) Applicability.--The requirement to file a financial
interest statement shall apply to executive directors, counsels
or any Senate employee responsible for a Committee and to Senate
chiefs of staff. Executive, administrative and legislative
assistants may be subject to the filing requirements depending
on the nature and scope of the individual's employment
responsibilities.
(g) Personal point of view.--A Senate employee who does
nothing more than occasionally share a personal point of view
with a Senator is not required to file a financial interest
statement. In most cases, a Senate employee with job
responsibilities not directly related to the actual lawmaking
process, such as correspondence or scheduling, does not need to
file a financial interest statement.
(h) District office.--A Senate employee assigned to a
district office shall be subject to the same filing requirements
as a Harrisburg-based Senate employee depending on the nature of
that individual's employment responsibilities.
Rule 5. Training.
To assure compliance with these rules and other laws related
to ethical behavior by Senators and Senate employees,
appropriate training measures shall be implemented by the
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Senate. Training shall be provided annually for all Senators and
Senate employees on various topics, which shall include, but are
not limited to, all of the following:
(1) These rules.
(2) The Public Official and Employee Ethics Act, 65
Pa.C.S. Ch. 11 (relating to ethics standards and financial
disclosure).
(3) 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 13A (relating to lobbying
disclosure).
Rule 6. Rules.
(a) Force and effect.--These Rules shall be in full force
and effect until altered, changed, amended or repealed as
provided in subsection (c).
(b) Voting for altering, changing or amending rules.--The
consent of a majority of the Senators elected shall be necessary
to alter, change or amend these Rules.
(c) Alteration, change or amendment of rules by
resolution.--All alterations, changes or amendments to Senate
Rules shall be by resolution which shall not be considered
unless first referred to and reported from the Rules Committee.
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