State Representatives Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills) and Mike Dovilla (R-Berea) applauded the committee passage of House Bill 162.

House Bill 162, sponsored by Representatives Dovilla and Anielski, will add the felony offenses of extortion and perjury to the list of crimes which will result in the forfeiture of retirement benefits or termination of disability benefits in the event an individual serving in a position of public trust is convicted. In addition, it would strengthen current state law to allow pensions to be forfeited based on federal criminal convictions.

“It is well past time to hold public officials accountable and demand transparency in the administration of our public offices,” said Dovilla. “The hard-working taxpayers of our county and our state should not be saddled with the responsibility of ensuring indicted politicians such as Jimmy Dimora and Frank Russo enjoy taxpayer-subsidized golden parachutes into retirement after squandering hundreds of thousands of dollars – limited taxpayer funds which could have gone to support our schools, public safety officers, and communities.”

Currently, only elected or appointed officials convicted of the felonies of (1) bribery or engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity; (2) theft in office of property or services; and (3) conspiracy, complicity, or an attempt to commit any of these offenses, at the state level forfeit their retirement and disability benefits.

“Closing the loophole that allows felony convicted public officials to keep their taxpayer-funded public pensions or disability benefits must come to an end,” said Anielski. “Federal convictions should be treated the same as state convictions.”

House Bill 162 is currently waiting to be scheduled for a vote by the full House of Representatives.

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