Friday, December 9, 2022

Play

Sen. Markey rallies with unions and airport workers in D.C; PA Democrats 'showed up' for rural voters; Canadian mining expansion threatens tribes and watersheds in the Northwest.

Play

The U.S. House of Representatives passes same-sex marriage protections, Brittany Griner comes back to the U.S, while Paul Whelan remains detained in Russia, and a former anti-abortion lobbyist talks politics and the Supreme Court.

Play

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act could help more farmers, the USDA is stepping-up to support tribal nations, and Congress is urged to revive the expanded child tax credit.

Group Turns Up Heat on PA Lawmakers to Pass Gift Ban

Play

Tuesday, September 6, 2022   

Pennsylvania law allows an elected official to accept a gift - including cash - as long as it's disclosed in annual reports. But that raises some ethical questions and is getting a closer look.

The advocacy group 'MarchOnHarrisburg' is increasing pressure on state lawmakers to pass a gift ban that would make it harder to bribe public officials.

The group is raising awareness with a three-day, 35-mile march, starting September 9 in York and ending on September 12 in Harrisburg.

MarchOnHarrisburg Executive Director, Rabbi Michael Pollack, said House Bill 1009 needs four votes to get to the governor's desk. But there have been 33 gift-ban bills introduced in the last two decades.

"And out of those 33 bills, only two have ever moved out of committee," said Pollack. "They've received a committee vote - that was in 2019 and 2021. It passed out of committee unanimously, and now it has stalled without a vote on the House floor."

House Bill 1009 is sponsored by state Rep. Aaron Kaufer - R-Luzerne County - and has bipartisan support. Pollack said a motion will be made on the House floor to bring the current bill up for discussion and a vote.

Pollack said a gift ban is in place for state government employees, but not state legislators. He explained that a police officer or state worker can't accept a slice of pizza - but in Pennsylvania, but the Speaker of the House can accept a new car.

He added there are reports of gifts worth tens of thousands of dollars, including the use of private planes.

"That's something our last Speaker of the House did is, he took a private jet flight from a gas executive," said Pollack. "And of course, he did everything they wanted him to do. There's absolutely no limit. There are reporting thresholds, but even the reporting system is completely broken. It's an absolute joke."

Pollack added that Gov. Tom Wolf has been a strong proponent of the gift ban and signed an executive order when he first took office in 2015 to prohibit members of his office and the executive branch from accepting gifts.




get more stories like this via email
A bill approved by Congress repeals the federal Defense of Marriage Act. That law, passed in 1996, prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Congress has signed off on a bill that preserves federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages. A legal expert in Wisconsin says it …


Social Issues

Airport service workers rallied in Washington, D.C., Thursday to demand Congress pass legislation ensuring they receive a livable wage with stronger …

Social Issues

Before the pandemic, one in five people in Los Angeles County lacked consistent access to food - and in 2021, one in four low-income families …


According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Peach State is sixth in the nation for public EV charging stations, at more than 1,500 outlets. (Michael Flippo/Adobe Stock)

Environment

Electric vehicles are an environmentally friendly way to get from one place to another, but the lack of charging stations often limits drivers to …

Social Issues

As Americans make end-of-year donations to their favorite causes, those that help children with cancer and their families say these households need …

The Farm Labor Organizing Committee was founded in 1968 to defend the rights and basic human dignity of farm workers regardless of immigration status. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

A labor union representing agricultural workers in Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia says it isn't waiting around for federal immigration reform to …

Social Issues

West Virginia's prison population has ballooned, and formerly incarcerated people face numerous obstacles when they are released. A Charleston-based …

Environment

As the year comes to a close, the Sierra Club of Connecticut is looking back on some of its accomplishments and challenges. The group focuses on …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021