Now in his 11th year serving the 142nd Legislative District, Rep. Frank Farry (R-Bucks) has been appointed to serve as majority chairman of the vital House Ethics Committee for the 2019-2o legislation session. This assignment is Farry's first as a committee chairman.
The Ethics Committee differs from the 22 standing House committees in that the panel does not consider legislation. It is responsible for investigating complaints against House members, officers, employees and lobbyists. The panel is also responsible for rendering advisory opinions regarding questions pertaining to legislative ethics or decorum and providing biannual sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace training to each member.
On Tuesday, Jan. 1, the chamber voted to amend House rules to charge the Ethics committee with the tasks of investigating sexual harassment allegations against a member or officer of the House. Previously, each caucus investigated any case involving its own members.
Additionally, the committee was tasked with considering expulsion resolutions at the time when a member is convicted or pleads guilty to a crime of embezzlement of public moneys, bribery, or perjury relating to his office and is considered no longer eligible to serve in the General Assembly. Previously this action was taken after sentencing.
"Although we aren't vetting legislation, this committee is a very important one, and I take this appointment very seriously," said Farry, who has been a practicing attorney in Bucks County since 2002. "In light of the gravity of the subject matter it considers, and the multitude of negative allegations facing government these days, I remain committed to restoring trust in government and upholding the highest standards of ethics, which this institution and the people of Pennsylvania deserve."
The committee is composed of eight House members - four from each of the party caucuses.
Farry was appointed to serve as chairman of the committee by House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny).
"Rep. Farry is a thoughtful and diligent lawmaker," said Turzai. "We are confident that he will approach the important work of the House Ethics Committee with fairness and integrity."
In addition to his role as chairman, Farry will continue to serve on four standing House committees, which are expected to be announced later this month.