Rep. Scott Conklin has introduced a bill that would prohibit individuals with a domestic violence conviction from running for or holding any public office in the state government.
In Pennsylvania, it is estimated that one in four women and one in seven men experience severe physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner.
Last year alone 109 people in the commonwealth died as a direct result of domestic violence.
State Rep. Scott Conklin (D-Centre) knows all too well the grim outcome of a violent relationship, having lost three friends to domestic violence over the years.
“Domestic violence is not okay and we need to make clear that there will be consequences for those actions,” Conklin said. “As we work in Harrisburg to enact smart policies to reduce rising rates of domestic violence, it is incumbent that legislators do so not only with a clean conscience, but by putting victims — and not their own interests — first.”
Conklin recently introduced House Bill 2596 which would amend the state’s constitution to prohibit individuals with a domestic violence conviction from running for or holding any public office of trust in the state government. This would include the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, judges, justices of the peace, and civil officers. The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
Pennsylvania’s constitution currently prohibits people “convicted of embezzlement of public moneys, bribery, perjury or other infamous crime” from serving in the state legislature. Conklin’s bill would make domestic violence convictions a disqualifying offense.
If the legislation is passed, it could very well mean that any current lawmaker with a domestic violence conviction would be ineligible to run for reelection.
“We as elected officials should be held to a higher standard,” Conklin said.