Harrisburg – Legislation introduced by State Senator John DiSanto (Dauphin/Perry) to ensure that public employees who commit job-related felonies are stripped of their taxpayer-funded pension was approved by the Senate today with House amendments and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk. The Governor has ten days to act on the bill and has said previously that he supports the legislation.
Currently, the Public Employee Pension Forfeiture Act requires a public employee to forfeit his or her pension only for certain crimes listed in the act. In practice, this law allows public employees charged with a forfeiture crime to plead guilty to a different non-forfeiture crime in order to avoid losing their pension.
Senate Bill 113 would require pension forfeiture if a public employee or public official is convicted of or pleads guilty or no contest to any felony offense or other criminal offense punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding five years that is related to his or her employment.
The bill also closes the “Mellow Loophole,” through which former State Senator Bob Mellow of Lackawanna County had his $245,000 a year pension restored despite pleading guilty and being sent to prison on federal conspiracy charges.
In addition, the legislation ensures that criminal convictions involving public officials are reported to state pension boards. Current law does not require the employee, courts, or state agencies to send copies of court records upon conviction.
“This reform should have passed last session but it died in the House without a final vote. I kept up the pressure on leadership to bring it back, and I appreciate that both the House and Senate agreed it was a priority for this session. I am committed to reforming our government and protecting taxpayers, and this is just the start of what needs to be done.” DiSanto said.
CONTACT: Chuck Erdman firstname.lastname@example.org (717) 787-6801