HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — MarchOnHarrisburg says Pennsylvania is one of eight states that doesn’t make it illegal for lawmakers to accept big gifts, which can serve as bribes. The organization has planned an event at 11 a.m. Wednesday in an effort to change that.
The group is meeting on the front Capitol steps to urge legislators to pass Senate Bill 401.
This would stop lawmakers from being able to accept big gifts from lobbyists.
Organizers say some PA legislators receive endless wining and dining, tickets to concerts and sporting events, paid vacations and even cash.
They say these kinds of gifts drown out the voices of Pennsylvanians while prioritizing big corporations and special interest groups.
The legislation would allow what’s called common sense exceptions, like cookies or mugs.
It would also require there to be a record for any gifts a lawmaker receives worth more than a dollar.
“This is something that’s been asked for for 20 years and it’s a really popular anti-corruption reform that the legislature has just failed to pass,” Beth Taylor, a regional organizer with MarchOnHarrisburg, said. “We are just demanding that they pass this and put the needs and voices of Pennsylvanians ahead of greed and money.”
MarchOnHarrisburg is specifically calling on Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman to move the legislation out of committee so it can be taken up for a vote.
His office had no comment on this specific event, but pointed out Corman has supported legislation that would ban cash gifts to lawmakers in the past.
There are some lawmakers against this legislation, telling MarchOnHarrisburg that dinners sponsored by lobbyists are the only way to do business together.