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Posted by on Mar 8, 2012

Lawmakers Introduce Bill To Amend Hatch Act

Legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate to update the nearly 75-year-old Hatch Act, a law that governs the political activities of federal, state, and local government employees.

The Hatch Act Modernization Act of 2012 would make three major changes:

• State and local government employees covered by the Hatch Act would be allowed to run for partisan elective office.

• The Merit Systems Protection Board (which rules on alleged Hatch Act violations) would have more options for penalties. Currently, the only penalty, regardless of the level of the infraction, is immediate termination. Under the proposed legislation, the board could also impose sanctions such as reprimands, suspensions, demotions, or fines.

• Employees of the District of Columbia would be subject to the same restrictions that apply to employees of state and local government agencies. Under the current act they are treated as federal employees.

It has been nearly 20 years since Congress revised the Hatch Act and supporters of the new legislation say the proposed changes are “common sense” revisions that are desperately needed. Do you have any thoughts on the Hatch Act?

I’ll be tracking this legislation as it moves through Congress, so keep watching this post.

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