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LETTER: Close loopholes in lobbying bill and pass it

Mary E. Barnes
Springfield Township
FILE - This Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, file photo shows the Pennsylvania Capitol building in Harrisburg. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

For two years, I’ve been volunteering with March on Harrisburg to help stop state corruption, especially corruption occurring with special interests’ gifting (which is bribing) legislators with things like steak dinners, Steelers tickets and the like.

This has gone on because Pennsylvania has been one of only eight states that sets no limits on what lobbyists can give away to legislators. Though some legislators have refused this influence, too many haven’t, and too often the people’s interests are being ignored.

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So it was good news last month when our House State Government Committee voted for House Bill 1945, which sets some limits on these bribes.

The challenge left as this bill heads for a full House vote is to eliminate its loopholes. This can be done by either amending HB 1945 to make it an actual gift ban bill or to make it a partial gift ban bill with full and timely disclosure requirements. This would provide the transparency needed for Pennsylvania residents to know who the legislator actually works for.

Please contact committee Chairman Garth Everett at 717-787-5270 to support these changes and Speaker Mike Turzai at 717-772-9943 to support a timely vote.