Conklin to introduce domestic violence ethical integrity legislation

Bill would bar people convicted of domestic violence from holding public office

HARRISBURG, April 4 – In a push to ensure trust and protect the integrity of the commonwealth, state Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, is moving to introduce legislation that would bar individuals convicted of domestic violence from the state’s legislature or holding any public office of trust or profit in state government.

“As we work in Harrisburg to enact smart policies to reduce rising rates of domestic violence, it is incumbent that legislators do so not only with a clean conscience, but by putting families and the victims of domestic violence – and not their own interests – first,” Conklin said. “You wouldn’t trust someone convicted of embezzlement with the public purse, so why should we allow individuals convicted of domestic violence to make decisions about public policy related to domestic violence? Legislators who themselves have been convicted of domestic violence-related crimes cannot be trusted to act ethically on behalf of domestic violence victims.”

In Pennsylvania it is estimated that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner. Sadly, at least 109 people have died as a direct result of domestic violence in last year alone. Pennsylvanians further bear an estimated $156 billion in lifetime economic burdens due to intimate partner violence.

Pennsylvania’s constitution prohibits people “convicted of embezzlement of public moneys, bribery, perjury or other infamous crime” from serving in the General Assembly. Conklin’s legislation, which he plans to introduce soon, would explicitly make domestic violence convictions a disqualifying offense.

“Combatting domestic violence and reducing these deadly statistics require legislators with integrity to act in the public good to pass the necessary legislation to reduce rates and protect victims,” Conklin said. “My bill would ensure that that is the case – and that we put victims and their families first.”