- Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - The House has given initial approval to a bill preventing public employees from receiving benefits if they are found to be misusing public money.

The proposal comes in the wake of an Arizona Republic investigation that found the head of the Phoenix mass transit system misused public funds on first class flights, expensive hotel rooms and restaurants.

Rep. Warren Petersen of Gilbert sponsored the measure to bar public employees from receiving any severance pay, annuity, pension or any other public benefits for misusing public funds.

Advocates say it would hold public employees accountable and prevent future corruption. Opponents say they have constitutional concerns.

The House gave initial approval to House Bill 2115 Thursday. It now awaits a formal vote.

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