Conklin bill to ban domestic violence convicts from holding public office moves to House Judiciary Committee

Legislation seeks to ensure officeholders’ ethical integrity

STATE COLLEGE, May 19 – The House Judiciary Committee is now considering H.B. 2596, state Rep. Scott Conklin’s initiative to prohibit those convicted of domestic violence from serving in the state legislature – or of holding any public office of trust or profit in state government.

As the bill embarks on an important first step in the legislative process, Conklin on a parallel track is working to secure important outside support for a proposal he believes promotes public trust and ensures higher ethical integrity for those elected and selected to hold important government positions.

“We continue to seek support for this important piece of legislation,” said Conklin, D-Centre. “Recently, the Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors tabled a resolution in support of the bill. I am still hopeful this historic board will pass the support resolution at a future meeting. My office stands ready to answer the board’s questions and address their concerns.” 

Conklin noted that the bill has already received unanimous support from the Centre County Board of Commissioners and Centre Safe Executive Director Anne Ard, as well as support from Centre County Controller Jason Moser, and Millheim Borough Councilman Robert Zeigler. It’s also been supported by the editorial boards of the Williamsport Sun Gazette and the Tribune-Review.   

Co-sponsors of the Conklin legislation include state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, Ryan Bizzarro, Frank Burns, Joseph Hohenstein, Stephen Kinsey, Bridget Kosierowski, Maureen Madden, Steven Malagari, Ben Sanchez, Peter Schweyer, Melissa Shusterman, Regina Young and Michael Sturla.

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

In Pennsylvania, it is estimated that one-in-four women and one-in-seven men experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner. At least 109 people have died as a direct result of domestic violence in last year alone, while Pennsylvanians bear an estimated $156 billion in lifetime economic burdens due to intimate partner violence.

*Persons who receive a pardon would be exempt from the restriction.