A Delaware lawmaker wants to re-introduce a bill that would strip pensions from public employees convicted of felonies.
Sen. Ernie Lopez [R-Lewes] initially introduced the bill last summer but it didn’t go far. However, Lopez hopes that recent events will highlight the importance of the bill.
From Delaware Online:
Sen. Ernie Lopez, a Lewes Republican, said in an e-mail to supporters that he wants to reintroduce the measure after Richard ‘Dickie’ Howell, a Kent County teacher and wrestling coach, was charged with child sex abuse and rape in what police said was a 10 month-long sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student. He said in the email that a number of his constituents had reached out to him regarding the incident at Caesar Rodney High School in Camden.
“As a public policy maker and also as a father, I strongly believe that Delaware should be first in the nation in laws that protect our most vulnerable populations, especially our children,” Lopez wrote in the e-mail. “To think that 25 other states have pension forfeiture laws yet Delaware does not, demands that this bill deserves a full and open hearing.”
Lopez introduced similar legislation last June, but the measure never made it out of committee. Under that version of the legislation a state employee would have their pension terminated if they were convicted of felonies, including murder, child pornography, and sexual abuse of a child by a person in a position of trust.
He said in the e-mail that he plans to circulate the bill for co-sponsors this week with the hope that the bill will be heard and assigned to a committee when the General Assembly reconvenes in March.
Half the states in the U.S. have similar laws on their books. Illinois is the most recent state to join those ranks.