The Senate has unanimously approved the first Hatch Act reform measure in nearly 20 years, paving the way for some state and local government officials to run for partisan elected office.
The 2012 Hatch Act Modernization Act would ensure state and municipal employees whose salaries come entirely from federal funds remain prohibited from seeking elected office, but would lift the ban for others. Currently, all non-federal government employees who receive any federal funds are barred from running for office.
The bill also would expand the options for penalizing federal employees who violate the law. As it currently stands, these employees face immediate termination.
The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent Friday. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s ranking member, has introduced companion legislation with bipartisan support.
“I urge the House to act swiftly to send this bill to the president’s desk,” Cummings said in a statement.