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Proposed Erie County law would make felons ineligible for elected office

A proposed Erie County law would make felons ineligible for any countywide elected or appointed seat. The law, sponsored by Erie County Legislator Edward Rath III will be the subject of a public hearing before the Legislature at 6:15 p.m. Thursday.

The proposed law states "a person shall not be eligible to be elected or appointed to any elected office in Erie County or any appointed position on any board or commission in Erie County if such person has been convicted of a felony involving the accepting or giving, or offering to give, any bribe, the embezzlement of public money, extortion or theft, perjury, fraud, tax evasion or conspiracy to commit any of those crimes."

Rath, R-Amherst, submitted the proposed law for consideration last week.

"I think it's long overdue," he said, "because if anyone is doing any of these things, then they're unfit for public office."

He added that the new law is a natural outgrowth of his prior "Theft of Valor" law, which makes it a misdemeanor for a resident to impersonate a military member or veteran for financial gain. That law was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by County Executive Mark Poloncarz on Dec. 1.

The public hearing regarding the proposed law on felons will be held in the Legislature Chambers on the fourth floor of Old County Hall, 92 Franklin St.

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