(The Center Square) – Illinois Senate Republicans, frustrated over the lack of discussion during the General Assembly on ethics reforms, have introduced new legislation that seeks to reduce corruption in government.
A federal corruption investigation that has led to charges against several current and former Democratic state lawmakers and the eventual downfall of longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan, the Illinois GOP is urging fellow lawmakers to strengthen the state’s government ethics laws.
During a press conference Monday in Springfield, Sen. John Curran, R-Downers Grove, says SB 1350 goes further than previous legislation, but time is of the essence.
“We are wasting time,” said Curran. “This is not a process that has transparent, and with two weeks to go, the matter is now critical. We must pass meaningful ethics reform.”
Senator Jill Tracy, R-Quincy, has introduced several bills to address ethics reforms, but none have been given a hearing.
One of her proposals would prohibit a member of the General Assembly from lobbying local governments for compensation. The legislation also prohibits spouses and immediate family members from lobbying for compensation at any level of government.
Another proposal would prohibit a General Assembly member to negotiate for employment with a lobbying entity while in office and provides a “revolving door” prohibition on former members of the General Assembly lobbying within one year of leaving office.
“For too many years the corruption of a few bad actors has cast a shadow over the good work done by so many other lawmakers in our capitol,” Tracy said.
House Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch told a Quad-Cities television station Monday that it is important to get an ethics reform package passed.
“It has to be substantive and signal that it is a new day in Springfield,” Welch said.
Asked why no ethics reform bills have been passed during this session, Welch said they are working on several big pieces of legislation, but “those things take time.”
Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods, said Gov. J.B. Pritzker has not followed through on a campaign promise to address ethics reforms.
“The governor has sat idle on the sidelines,” McConchie said. “He has refused to put forward his own package, he has failed to address the flames of corruption that continue to engulf this state.”