State Senate committee approves bill banning cash gifts

The Senate State Government Committee unanimously approved legislation Monday that bans cash gifts to legislators and public officials.

Senate Bill 1327 would prohibits legislators and public officials from accepting cash gifts from lobbyists and other individuals seeking to influence the legislative process. Violators accepting a cash gift of more than $250 would face a maximum fine of $10,000 and a maximum prison sentence of five years.

The legislation is a bipartisan response to a dropped state investigation in which four state legislators allegedly failed to document cash gifts totaling $16,750.

“State residents deserve to know that the decision-making process in the legislature is driven solely by the desire to enact good public policy,” state Sen. Lloyd Smucker, R-13, of Lancaster County, said in a statement. “Substantial reforms are necessary to prevent abuses of the legislative process and begin the process of restoring the public’s faith in state government.”

Similar bipartisan legislation is being considered in the state House of Representatives.

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