The 102nd General Assembly has been conducting business for four months, but the Senate Ethics Committee just met for the very first time this year to hear testimony on an omnibus bill that seeks to reform legislative ethics laws in Illinois.
State Sen. Fowler says Senate Bill 4, which was announced to be heard just hours before the 9:00 a.m. committee meeting on April 21, has some good ideas but doesn’t go nearly far enough to truly start rooting out corruption and rebuilding the public’s trust.
In light of numerous indictments and charges against Illinois elected officials in recent months, Senate Republicans have filed a variety of ethics reform bills, none of which have been given a hearing. Some of these measures include:
- Amending the State RICO law to give wiretap authority to state’s attorneys to investigate crimes of public corruption.
- Giving the Legislative Inspector General the ability to investigate and issue subpoenas without prior consent of the Legislative Ethics Commission (which is comprised of sitting lawmakers).
- Prohibiting legislators from becoming lobbyists for one year after leaving office or until the end of their current term, whichever is longer.
State Sen. Fowler says that while he appreciates Senate Bill 4 for starting the conversation, more work must be done if lawmakers are truly serious about changing Illinois’ political culture.