Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has signed legislation to expand the list of crimes that strip lawmakers and other public officials of their taxpayer-funded pensions.
Act 1 of 2019, formerly Senate Bill 113, requires pension forfeiture when a public employee or official is found guilty, pleads guilty, or pleads no contest to any felony related to their employment.
Previously, only about a dozen crimes automatically triggered pension forfeiture. Public officials could keep their pensions by pleading guilty to non-forfeiture crimes.
“It’s frustrating when we know someone has committed a serious crime, but we still have to pay them a pension using taxpayer money. That’s just not fair to honest, hardworking Pennsylvanians,” Wolf said in a statement. “Closing this loophole is an important step in ensuring public officials and employees who betray the people of Pennsylvania are held accountable.”
The legislation also requires the courts to notify state pension boards so that payments are stopped immediately after a conviction.