IL GOP Senators Introduce Ethics Reform Package

By Benjamin Cox on September 25, 2020 at 9:41am

State Sen. Jil Tracy, R-Quincy, speaks at a virtual news conference to unveil a package of ethics proposals Thursday. (Photo Courtesy of livestream on Blueroomstream)

Illinois Senate Republicans introduced a large package of ethics reform and anti-corruption bills yesterday possibly to be voted on during the November veto session.

The new package includes allowing the Illinois Attorney General’s office to impanel a statewide grand jury to investigate and indict members of the General Assembly in alleged misconduct. Another bill provides State’s Attorneys the ability to secure warrants for wiretaps. Senate Bill 4014 would grant greater autonomy to the Illinois Inspector General’s office to conduct investigations and make the Legislative Ethics Commission an independent board comprised of citizens rather than other General Assembly members, as it is currently.

The ethics legislation package of bills would ban legislators from lobbying other units of local and state government for compensation, creates a prohibition on a revolving door of legislator-to-lobbyist requiring former legislators to sit out at least a year before becoming a lobbyist, prohibits a legislator from leaving office and using campaign funds to support lobbying activities, and also updates the Statement of Economic Interest for candidates to create more transparency by disclosing possible conflicts of interest.

Quincy State Senator Jil Tracy told the Illinois Capital Bureau that the reforms were common sense and asked her Democratic colleagues to embrace the reforms yesterday during a live stream introducing the reforms to the media.

Other Senate Republicans say lawmakers have to act on ethics reforms as soon as possible, especially in the wake of recent federal prosecutions and members resigning from office due to federal corruption charges.