Government Reform Caucus Announces Gift Reform Bill, Legislative Endorsement Process
6/15/2015
HARRISBURG—The Government Reform Caucus today expressed its support for legislation that would strengthen state law regarding gifts to public officials.

Caucus co-chairs state Rep. George Dunbar (R-Westmoreland) and Sen. Rob Teplitz (D-Dauphin/Perry) and members of the bipartisan, bicameral caucus, also announced the process by which the caucus will evaluate and support government reform bills offered by their colleagues.



“Elected officials and public servants at all levels of government owe the residents of Pennsylvania maximum transparency and accountability in everything we do,” Dunbar said. “We must continue to make substantive changes in the way state government does business to provide this transparency to our residents. There is absolutely no room or legitimate excuse for corruption or abuse anywhere in our system.”

The Gift Transparency and Limitations legislation, House Bill 43 and Senate Bill 885, prohibits the acceptance of transportation, lodging, hospitality or anything of economic value as a gift. State Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Allegheny, Washington) has sponsored the House version, and Teplitz and state Sen. John Eichelberger (R-Blair, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon) co-sponsored the Senate version.

“The people’s trust in government is imperiled whenever the citizenry loses confidence in the integrity of its elected officials. Voters become apathetic and grow to believe that their voices don’t matter, that only moneyed interests have influence,” Saccone said. “This bill seeks to tackle this crisis in confidence head on, working to root out any hint of impropriety by banning practices that have been abused in the past and have sowed confusion among the populace. It would restore public trust in government by holding lawmakers to the highest ethical standards.”

“Clearer guidelines are necessary to address what government officials can accept as gifts in today's environment,” Eichelberger said. “With situations like we've just seen unfold with several members, tightening the rules around what some people do to wield influence is needed to protect the integrity of the legislative process and the powers of executive officers.”

Since its inception in March 2013, the caucus has met regularly to develop and promote legislation to reform state government.

As more legislators seek the caucus’ support of their government reform bills, the members of the caucus have been developing a protocol for determining which bills the caucus endorses.

“There are many bills that fit under the category of ‘government reform,’ and so we developed a collaborative process to ensure that we are endorsing legislation that is meaningful, practical, and passable,” said Teplitz, the founder and co-chair of the Government Reform Caucus. “We want to support the efforts of our colleagues and their desire to see more openness and transparency in government, and we invite them to seek the caucus’ support for their own legislation.”

The approval process includes the following: notification to the Government Reform Caucus of the legislation for consideration to be included on the caucus agenda; a simple majority vote of active caucus members to approve consideration of legislation submitted for endorsement; a two-thirds majority vote of active caucus members to approve the legislation which will be endorsed by the Government Reform Caucus; and a letter signed by both caucus chairs addressed to the prime sponsor of the legislation notifying them of their legislation’s endorsement by the caucus.

Representative George Dunbar
56th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Ty McCauslin
717.772.9979
RepDunbar.com / Facebook.com/RepDunbar
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