PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 9, 2011 – State Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Phila.) today called on the Chairman of the Pennsylvania Senate’s Finance Committee to fast track his legislation that would keep state and municipal workers who are convicted of a sex crime against a minor from collecting their public pension.  Senate Bill 1290 was introduced on October 18, 2011, and would amend the Public Employee Pension Forfeiture Act.

In light of the alleged sex crimes scandal at Penn State University, Senator Farnese is calling on the state Senate to quickly act on his proposed legislation that would prohibit current and former public employees convicted of sex crimes against children to collect their pension. [audio:|titles=sex-crimes-bill-farnese-wrapstory]

“Senate Bill 1290 is an important piece of legislation that will protect our children and it needs to be called up for a vote when the Senate reconvenes,” said Sen. Farnese.  “The headlines out of Happy Valley are disgusting, and we need to get this legislation to the Governor’s desk as soon as possible so those convicted of sex crimes against minors know we are serious about protecting our children.”

Almost 19,000 Penn State employees participate in state funded pension plans that could be covered under this law.  Current Pennsylvania law contains provisions that bar public officials and employees who commit certain crimes related to their employment from receiving retirement and benefit payments.  But there are no provisions that call for the same punishment if an employee commits a crime against a minor.  Senate Bill 1290 corrects that by prohibiting public employees from receiving retirement benefits if they commit crimes requiring them to register as a sex offender under Megan’s law.

Megan’s Law is a federal law that authorizes states to establish their own procedures for registering sex offenders.  In Pennsylvania, information about registered sex offenders is available to the public through the internet.  The law was inspired by the case of seven-year-old Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a known child molester who moved across the street from her family.  Senate Bill 1290 is companion to legislation introduced by State Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Phila./Mont.) and State Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-Phila.).

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