Amidst the ever-widening series of federal public corruption investigations entangling all levels of Illinois government, State Representative Mike Murphy (R-Springfield) joined House Republican colleagues to call for action on a sweeping package of ethics reform legislation introduced late last week. The legislators held a press conference at the Capitol this morning.
“Comprehensive ethics reform is long overdue in Illinois, but the number and scope of recent federal investigations makes the need for action increasingly urgent,” said Murphy. “This package of legislation represents a reasonable set of common sense solutions we can act on now to directly address the failings in state law brought to light by these federal probes.”
The ethics package includes:
- House Bill 3954 that will revise statements of economic interests to include more details similar to the information required for judicial statements of economic interest. 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 party primaries. This will prevent political powerbrokers from picking their preferred candidates for 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.
Murphy noted each of the bills represent practical solutions that have garnered bipartisan support in the past and can be acted on in the short-term to get the ethics reform process moving, but that more action is needed in the long-term. Such as action on his House Bill 818, which would prevent a member of the General Assembly from receiving a full months pay if they resign from office before the month ends.
Murphy is also the sponsor of House Joint Resolution 87, to create a State Ethics Task Force and House Bill 361, which dramatically increases the fines legislators face for engaging in numerous restricted activities.
Murphy was joined at this morning’s press conference by House Republican State Representatives Tom Demmer (R-Dixon), Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville), Ryan Spain (R-Peoria), Dan Brady (R-Bloomington), Amy Grant (R-Wheaton), Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) and Tony McCombie (R-Savanna).