Senate bans political activity on work time

Posted by By at 5 July, at 13 : 11 PM Print

From the Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice:

Almost lost in the developing drama over the next state budget was the long-awaited approval last week of new Senate chamber rules to explicitly ban political activity on legislative work time.

The rules adopted unanimously stipulate what senators and staffers can and cannot do when it comes to being involved with campaigns and set penalties for violations. Recent additions to the rules proposed last November define what is acceptable use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

The Senate has made itself the enforcing agent for violations of the new rule. The Senate Ethics Committee will handle detailed investigations of allegations involving a senator while an independent party will conduct an investigation if a staffer is involved.

But a series of proposals by Sen. John Gordner, R-Berwick; to lift the veil of secrecy over the ethics committee will await action another day. The committee currently operates under a confidentiality rule that greatly limits public access to its deliberations involving allegations against a senator. Critics say the rule shields lawmakers from public accountability.

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