Activists call for ban on gifts for lawmakers in unusual way during press conference
Pennsylvanians that are fed up with lawmakers getting gifts were in the State Capitol on Tuesday calling for a change to the law. They did so by handing out Cor-bucks, which were pieces of paper made up to look like money with the Governor’s face in the center. The funny money was made by activist Gene Stilp. “We’re using a little tongue and cheek here to make the point that to pass a total gift ban bill these legislators, it seems that they need a bribe” said Stilp.
Stilp said that Governor Corbett accepted gifts including a yachting vacation and a trip to Brazil. The Governors office said the trips led to economic development and more jobs for Pennsylvanians. However some lawmakers agree with Stilp and think there should be a flat out gift ban. “There are things that I have recieved that I have sent back” said State Senator Rob Teplitz. He’s introduced Senate Bill 750 which would put in place new rules when it comes to the value of gifts politicians can get.
The way it works right now is that if a lawmaker gets a gift that’s valued at more than $250 dollars they have to disclose it. If the bill becomes law they’d have to disclose any gift valued at more than $50 dollars. “Requiring greater disclosure in Pennsylvania is a good first step because there are things that I’m sure people accept now that they would not accept knowing that they would have to disclose it” said Senator Teplitz.
Teplitz said he hopes to pass the bill by the end of June. However Stilp is a little more skeptical. “Trying to get these legislators to act, it’s almost impossible. It’s like physics. Objects that rest tend to stay at rest and these guys have been at rest for a long long time” said Stilp.