Looking to build on recent Senate approval of a rule and a bill banning cash gifts, the Senate State Government Committee is holding a public hearing on a broader gift ban that would encompass hospitality and entertainment.
Committee Chairman Lloyd Smucker termed the hearing a “prelude to action” and said the best suggestions will be combined into bipartisan bills he is hopeful will become law this session.
“In the public view, the tradition of gift-giving and gift-accepting has tainted the legislative process. The tapes revealing state legislators accepting cash gifts in conjunction with discussion of prospective votes are proving the tipping point. It is increasingly apparent that a serious, substantial, and enforceable gift ban law is the much-needed remedy,” Smucker stated.
“The purpose of the hearing is to review the laws and practical experience in other states, nearly all of which have tighter restrictions than ours. We want to find out what works in terms of compliance and enforcement. We are also giving one of Pennsylvania’s most experienced ethical watchdogs and reform advocates, Barry Kauffman, a chance to offer perspective on the direction reform should take,” he explained.
“Taxpayers are not likely to have much confidence in our ability to reform state government if the basic ethics of state legislators are in question,” Smucker pointed out.
The hearing will be held Monday, April 28th, in Public Hearing Room #1 in the North Office Building, beginning at 10:30.