Pa. Senate passes bill banning cash gifts

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Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Legislation to punish lawmakers and government officials for accepting cash gifts from anyone seeking to influence public policy has the approval of Pennsylvania state senators.

The unanimous vote Wednesday sends the bill to the House. It follows allegations last month in a Philadelphia Inquirer report that several House members accepted cash from a confidential informant in a criminal investigation.
The bill would make accepting cash or gifts similar to cash of $250 or more would be a felony. Amounts less than that would be a misdemeanor.
The bill wouldn't change the broader ethics law that lets Pennsylvania lawmakers and the governor accept any amount of non-cash gifts, such as dinners, trips or event tickets, although such gifts could violate conflict-of-interest laws.
Some legislators have called for a broader such ban.

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