In March, I joined my colleagues Rep. Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City) and Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) to speak on Reimagine Illinois during a Facebook Live virtual town hall. We discussed the four pillars of the plan and how the platform’s reforms will help get Illinois back on track. During our conversation, I focused on one of these pillars: Ending the Culture of Corruption.
For far too long, Illinoisans have been paying for the high price of corruption. Corruption decreases economic growth and discourages investment in our state. Misusing funds and misallocating resources results in fewer tax dollars for education, veterans, seniors, and other vital services. It costs taxpayers plenty in rising property and income taxes and erodes public trust in elected officials.
Four components of Ending the Culture of Corruption include the following:
Exposing and Eliminating Conflicts of Interest
Conflict of interest and economic disclosure statements give citizens the ability to hold lawmakers accountable. That’s why I introduced HB3751 to expand economic interest statements for members of the General Assembly. Illinois needs to adopt a model of disclosure to expose conflicts of interest and help end the culture of corruption.
Banning General Assembly Members from Lobbying
A ban on General Assembly members from lobbying is a basic step we can take to end the culture of corruption. Allowing General Assembly members to work as government consultants and lobbyists has created dysfunction. An outright lobbying ban for these elected officials will put an immediate stop to the practice and start cleaning up government.
Re-balance the Power Structure
For decades, only Mike Madigan was able to decide if a bill would be called for a vote, with disastrous results for Illinoisans. The legislative process needs reform to allow opportunity for all Illinois legislators to receive an up or down vote on their bills.
Empowering Citizens to Act: Reimagine Illinois Batinick Bills
I proudly introduced two bills and four constitutional amendments in the 102nd General Assembly to help end the culture of corruption in Illinois. We can’t move forward to find solutions to our state’s biggest issues until we lay the groundwork to root out the corruption that has plagued our statehouse for far too long. With HB3751, I also introduced HB340 to create the Local Government Elected Official Recall Act.
HJRCA3 implements term limits for certain elected officials and states the Auditor General can serve a single term for four years rather than ten years. HJRCA4 will give Illinoisans the ability to recall elected officials. HJRCA5 will allow Illinoisans to propose amendments to more of the Constitution via petition. HJRCA6 will give Illinoisans the ability to recall legislation.
To learn more about Reimagine Illinois, I would encourage you to visit ReimagineIllinois.com where you can find downloadable PDFs, videos, podcast episodes, and more on these important issues. If you’d like to listen to my March Facebook Live on Reimagine Illinois, you can find that here.