UPDATE: Ethics Reform

As the final day of legislative session concludes in the General Assembly, there are several outstanding pieces of ethics legislation that have not been addressed.  State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) has supported a comprehensive package of bills to thoroughly address the recent public corruption charges that have plagued state government.

Below is a list of all the pieces of legislation that Rep. Batinick is urging the House of Representatives to consider before the close of the legislative year:

  • HJR87 will create a State Ethics Task Force to tighten ethics rules within Illinois government. 
  • HB361 to increase fines for legislators engaging in restricted activities or violating the legislator rules of conduct
  • HB 3940 changes the definition of “gambling device” to include sweepstakes machines. Gambling devices are currently illegal in IL, so the bill would make sweepstakes machines illegal.
  • House Bill 3954 that will revise statements of economic interests to include more details similar to the information required for judicial statement of economic interest forms. This forces full disclosure of potential conflicts of interest and provides greater transparency for members of the General Assembly.
  • HJRCA 36 will require a special election to fill General Assembly vacancies through the same laws governing our party primaries. This will prevent political powerbrokers from picking their preferred candidates for the vacancies.
  • House Resolution 588 will allow a Chief Co-Sponsor of any bill with five co-sponsors from each party to call it for an up or down vote in a substantive committee.
  • House Bill 3947 would ban members of the General Assembly, their spouses, and immediate live-in family members from performing paid lobbying work with local government units. Currently, members of the Illinois General Assembly – state representatives and state senators – are prohibited from lobbying the State of Illinois, but are not prohibited from lobbying local government units, such as a counties or municipalities.
  • House Bill 3955 will create mandatory and publicly available documentation of General Assembly communications with any state agency regarding contracts. 
  • HB3963 prohibits a member of the State Board of Elections, or a spouse of a member, from serving as an officer of a political committee or directing the actions of or the funds of a political committee.
  • HB 879 requires a one year waiting period for a former legislator to become a lobbyist.

“On the first day of veto session, a state representative was arrested on federal bribery charges,” said Batinick.  “Here we are on the final day of the legislative session and nothing has changed.  There is a sense of urgency to make changes to our ethics system through the legislation that has been carefully filed over the last few weeks.  Waiting to adopt these changes until next year is not good enough. We need to fix the holes in our current law and move on.”

After today’s session concludes, lawmakers won’t return to the General Assembly for session until January 2020.