A new package of reform legislation has been introduced at the state capitol, on the heels of the formation of a bipartisan, bicameral reform caucus.
If the goal is to be as transparent as possible, Republican state Senator John Eichelberger (R-Blair) says there’s no reason not to pass the nine bills unveiled on Monday. “We have a bigger push now than we’ve had since I’ve been here, six years,” Eichelberger said at a news conference in the capitol rotunda. “It’s a pretty substantial push.”
One of the nine bills would require public officials to disclose all gifts that exceed $50 in value, compared to the current $250 threshold. Another bill would expressly prohibit a governor or a member of the governor’s administration from accepting gifts from anyone who does business with the commonwealth.
Senator Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia), who’s leading this latest reform push alongside Eichelberger, believes the state capitol still has problems with its public image. “Too often our current laws allow for the appearance, at least, of cozy relationships between special interests,” Stack says. “It’s dispiriting and it erodes the public faith in what we’re trying to do here.”
Stack acknowledges that the nine bills unveiled on Monday do not represent an exhaustive list of government reforms, but he believes they represent a good first step.