Ethics Reform Bill On Tap To Pass In Special Session Today, GOP Says Better Bill Needs To Be Made

By Benjamin Cox on September 9, 2021 at 8:33am

The Illinois House failed to pass an ethics reform bill during special session last week. House Republicans held a press conference yesterday asking a new ethics reform bill be taken up with more robust measures in place. The bill that failed to pass will be taken up according to statements made by Democratic House Leader Greg Harris yesterday to Chicago media.

95th District Republican Representative Avery Bourne of Morrisonville says major loopholes and problems with the current bill need to be fixed: “[The Democrats] say this will create a revolving door ban so that lawmakers can’t immediately go and lobby their colleagues, but we know that there is a loophole that they would be able to. Most concerning to me and to our caucus is the lack of independence of the Legislative Inspector General. If we are ever going to get true and meaningful anti-corruption reform in Illinois and true accountability for politicians, we need an independent Legislative Inspector General. The bill that [Senate Democrats] passed, Senate Bill 539, actually takes away some of the jurisdiction of the Legislative Inspector General and limits the scope of the investigations that she can investigate. It also doesn’t include any of the really important reforms that [Carol Pope] and previous Legislative Inspectors General have requested.”

Bourne says that Governor J.B. Pritzker failed to use his amendatory veto power to create some of the changes in the current bill. Pritzker’s only amendatory veto, which is why the bill was sent back to the General Assembly to begin with, got rid of a portion of the bill that required his office to use a federal monitoring program for hiring. Bourne and her GOP colleagues said yesterday that House Democrats and the Governor’s Office have failed to listen to any of their proposals for true ethics reform in the state.