Illinois lawmakers call for ethics reform


Springfield, Ill. (WEHT) – In the wake of the ComEd scandal involving House Speaker Michael Madigan, there have been a number of legislators who are now talking about ethics reforms in Illinois.

State Reps. Blaine Wilhour, John Cabello, Darren Bailey, and Brad Halbrook held a press conference Tuesday calling for reform.

“It is time to do more than talk about reform,” Wilhour said. “A growing number of Democrats have issued public statements calling for ethics reform, which is great news, but it is time to turn talk into action. We know what needs to be done. It is time we bring the Legislature back to Springfield and pass the reforms we need to end the culture of corruption that has plagued our state for far too long.”

“We need to take steps such as making the office of the Legislative Inspector General a truly independent office,” Bailey said. “Right now, the Legislative Ethics Commission, which is made up of lawmakers, has authority over the Legislative Inspector General. It is essentially the fox guarding the henhouse. We need more accountability. We need reforms such as House Bill 4810 to make the Legislative Inspector’s office a truly independent office.”

Other reforms include:

  • HB 4421 – Ends COLAs for legislative and executive officers and appointees.
  • HR 588 – Requires that if a bill has five bipartisan sponsors the bill must be discharged from Rules and called for a vote in committee.
  • HJRCA 44 – Places term limits on State Representatives and State Senators by limiting the time served in each chamber to 12 years.

“Not only do we have to enact laws to hold legislators more accountable, but we also need to change how government works,” Halbrook said. “We need to end COLA’s for legislators. We need term limits and we need structural changes in the way the House and Senate are run to give the minority party the opportunity to have their bills considered. We must enact reforms that will prevent the abuse of power in Illinois.”

The lawmakers called on the Governor and the leaders in the House and the Senate to call a Special Session to consider ethics legislation.

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(This story was originally published on Aug. 18, 2020)

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