Our Actions Forced Speaker Turzai to Co-Sponsor HB 1291!
After marching 110-miles from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, on Monday, May 6, MarchOnHarrisburg organized two nonviolent direct actions at the Pennsylvania State Capitol, demanding action on HB 1291: Gift Ban for Public Officials. MarchOnHarrisburg has been advocating for the Gift Ban for the past two years. Through dozens of Citizen Lobbying Days, we have worked closely with Representative Tina M. Davis and Rep. Thomas Murt to introduce the bipartisan, common sense Gift Ban, which would make it illegal for lobbyists to bribe Pennsylvania legislators with gifts like cars, vacations and fancy meals.
In total, 20 activists were arrested at the State Capitol for protesting. MarchOnHarrisburg Executive Director, Rabbi Michael Pollack was arrested with 11 others for blocking the East Wing entrance into the Capitol, with dollar bills marked “Bribe” taped over their mouths. Activists from above the sit-in dropped a banner which read, “$$ Silences Us.”
“Our legislators cannot serve both money and people. As long as money is speech and bribery is legal, the voice of the people will not be heard. We must pass HB 1291: Gift Ban and make bribery illegal so that our public servants can serve the people,” said Rabbi Michael Pollack before being arrested.
After the outdoor action, eight activists with MarchOnHarrisburg shut down Pennsylvania House Session immediately after it was gaveled in. They chanted “Pass the Gift Ban, and Money Out People In”, flooded the House with 500 one-dollar bills, and dropped a banner that read “Some are guilty; all are responsible. Pass the Gift Ban Now!”
Immediately after the day’s actions, Speaker Turzai told the protestors that he supports a gift ban, and followed up his statement by co-sponsoring HB 1291: Gift Ban for Public Officials.
We will continue to keep the pressure on Representative Everett for a vote in State Government Committee and the State Legislature to pass a Gift Ban, this session!