Bills Tackle Corruption, Juvie Justice

Wilkes-Barre Times Leader

Measures authored by Toohil and Boback pass state House and now head to Senate.

Several bills passed in the state House on Tuesday are on their way to the state Senate in hopes of mending corruption and juvenile justice in Pennsylvania.

The anti-corruption bills, authored by area state Reps. Tarah Toohil, R-Butler Township, and Karen Boback, R-Harveys Lake, address the requirement of statistical data on juvenile justice and an amendment to the Public Employee Pension Forfeiture Act that would require the immediate forfeiture of pension benefits when a plea of guilty or no contest is entered, or when a finding of guilty occurs.

Another bill, introduced by state Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, also passed through the House. It would create a legal avenue for citizens who are victims of an abuse of power and hold public officials who abuse their power accountable.

Turzai’s bill would creates a mandatory minimum sentence of two years for public officials who use their official position to violate someone’s rights and assists in getting restitution for victims.

“My bill makes it possible to go online and determine how many children are being sent away to prison,” Toohil said in a press release. “Putting the (Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice) recommendations into law will ensure the commonwealth remains vigilant in years to come.”

The commission was created by state legislators, with the support of the governor and state Supreme Court, to investigate circumstances that led to corruption in Luzerne County’s juvenile court system.

Boback said in a release that her bill was designed to apply to employer contributions to a public pension. Boback said the money contributed by an employee would be returned to the individual.