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Two Midstate activists still looking for total gift ban - abc27 WHTM

Two Midstate activists still looking for total gift ban for lawmakers

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Two local polItical activists are still calling for a total gift ban for state lawmakers in Pa.

Back in 2006, a coalition of organizations presented a "Roadmap to Reform" for Pennsylvania lawmakers. At the top of their proposals was a total ban on gifts and entertainment.

This month, the State House and Senate approved rules that ban lawmakers from accepting cash gifts.

Gene Stilp and Eric Epstein were part of that "Roadmap to Reform" effort and they haven't quit.

"The cash gift ban is just window dressing," said Stilp. "It has to be taken much further for a total gift ban."

"By banning cash and not banning gifts, it's kind of like telling a bank robber, 'the front door's closed but the back door's wide open," Epstein said.

Stilp says it's human nature when somebody gives you something, you're indebted to them. Epstein says lawmakers received more than $117,000 worth of subsidized travel, lodging and gifts from 2007 through 2011.

Epstein is hopeful the ban will become reality.

"I think the legislature is being embarrassed into action prior to a primary," he said.

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