Pennsylvania’s Senate approved a bill February 4 requiring lawmakers convicted of a crime related to their jobs to forfeit their taxpayer-funded pension benefits.
State Senator John DiSanto (R-Dauphin) sponsored the bill, which passed unanimously by a 49-0 vote. It now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Through a loophole, former state Senator Robert Mellow was able to collect his $246,000 a year annual pension after he pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges. His attorneys argued to the State Employees’ Retirement System board that his crime wasn’t comparable to the state crimes listed under the pension forfeiture law. The board narrowly agreed to restore his pension.
Senator DiSanto’s bill would prevent public officials from collecting pension benefits following a guilty or no contest plea to any felony offense relating to the office they hold.