Our work is not done

With public corruption scandals at never-before seen levels in Illinois, lawmakers had an opportunity during the Fall Veto Session to enact meaningful ethics reforms to address glaring instances of public abuse of power. Since January, House Republicans have filed 26 different ethics reform bills. While these robust, common-sense measures languished in the House Rules Committee and were denied consideration, majority party lawmakers filed two watered-down measures in the middle of the night leading into the final day of session, and limited floor action to only these two bills.

The approved measures do nothing to prohibit lawmakers from also serving as paid lobbyists. They do nothing to prevent committee chairpersons from blocking bills his or her campaign donors don’t like. They also do not prevent committee chairpersons to lobby agencies whose budgets they control, or prohibit legislators who resign from office after being arrested on federal corruption charges, from having significant voting power over selecting his or her successor.

House Republicans stood united and voted against adjourning Veto Session, asking that lawmakers remain in Springfield until meaningful ethics reforms were approved and sent to the governor. Members of the Democratic Caucus instead voted to go home without passing anything substantive to improve ethical conduct in the legislature.