PA Federation of Democratic Women Supports Bill to Bar Convicted Domestic Abusers from Holding Office

capitolCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

STATE COLLEGE, PA — State Rep. Scott Conklin’s bill to bar individuals convicted of domestic violence from the state legislature or holding any public office of trust or profit in state government is gaining traction after the PA Federation of Democratic Women voted to support the bill at their annual convention in Lewisburg earlier this month.

Conklin, D-Centre, said he wanted to thank the Federation and its president, Dianne Gregg, for the organization’s support.

“I introduced this bill because I believe in accountability, and because I believe that legislators and public leaders need to act with integrity and ethically when it comes to public policy,” Conklin said. “I am grateful for the support this legislation has received, both in the House of Representatives and from public organizations and individuals. By working together, we can get this done.”

Conklin also noted that with his legislation (H.B. 2596), individuals whose records have been expunged, had their convictions overturned, or received a pardon should not be excluded from holding public office.

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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 the last year alone, while Pennsylvanians bear an estimated $156 billion in lifetime economic burdens due to intimate partner violence.

Since taking office, Conklin has worked tirelessly to make sure the needs of Centre County are front-and-center in Harrisburg, whether that’s fighting for state budgets that invest in education and local communities, to policies that put working Pennsylvanians – and not big corporations – first.

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