Democratic lawmakers in a handful of states are trying to send a message two years after the violent attack on the US Capitol: Those who engage in an attempted overthrow of the government shouldn’t be allowed to run it. New York, Connecticut, and Virginia are among states where proposed legislation would prohibit anyone convicted of participating in an insurrection from holding public office or a position of public trust, such as becoming a police officer, per the AP. While the bills vary in scope, their aim is similar. “If you’ve tried to take down our government through violent means, in no way should you be part of it,” New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal said.
- New York: Hoylman-Sigal is sponsoring a bill that would bar people convicted of engaging in an insurrection or rebellion against the United States from holding civil office, meaning they would not be able to serve as a judge or member of the Legislature.
- Virginia: A state lawmaker introduced a bill this month, on the second anniversary of the Capitol riot, that would prohibit anyone convicted of a felony related to an attempted insurrection or riot from serving in positions of public trust—including those involving policymaking, law enforcement, safety, education, or health.
- Connecticut: A proposed bill would prohibit people convicted of sedition, rebellion, insurrection or a felony related to one of those acts from running for or holding public office. Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, who introduced the measure, said he wants the legislation eventually to bar them from holding state or municipal jobs.
Some Republicans say the legislation is unnecessary. In New York, Republican Assemblyman Will Barclay, the minority leader, called the bill there a “political statement," saying it is “more political than it is a concern about public policy.” He said existing rules already apply to people in certain positions who are convicted of crimes and that those laws “should be sufficient.” The legislation is another example of how the Capitol riot has become a political Rorschach test in the country.
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