Harrisburg, PA —  The PA State Senate voted earlier today to pass the “Public Employee Pension Forfeiture Act.”  The bill amends current law making it harder for government employees and officials to hang on to their government pensions, should they be convicted of a crime related to their job.

The bill passed 44-0 with 3 abstentions.  Governor Wolf has indicated that he will sign the bill making it law.

Yesterday, The state house overwhelmingly voted in favor of the bill.  The votes tallied 194 for and 1 against the law. The lone dissenter was Representative Greg Vitale, who covers portions of Montgomery and Delaware counties.  

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A call to representative Vitale’s office confirmed that the representative did vote against the bill, but the staffer did not know the reason why and referred comment to the representative.  An email was sent to the representative at the direction of the staffer but had gone unanswered by TAPino publishing time.

The act known as Senate Bill 113, approved amending existing pension forfeiture laws passed in 1978.  These amendments cover state and federal felonies and other crimes that could keep people in jail for at least five years. The bill would also require forfeiture of pensions at the time a defendant pleads guilty or no contest or is found guilty by a judge or jury.

A decision in December 2017 by the State Employees’ Retirement Board reinstated pension benefits to a former state Senate power broker, who had plead guilty to federal charges.

In 2012, former state Sen. Bob Mellow, D-Lackawanna, lost a $246,000- a-year pension after his plea to a conspiracy charge for using Senate staff to work on political campaigns. His attorneys successfully argued to the pension board that Mellow’s case did not match up with state crimes that prompt pension forfeiture.

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