In response to the arrest of a Chicago lawmaker on a federal bribery charge, State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) co-sponsored a package of ethics reform bills aimed at fighting corruption inside state government, including the creation of a new State Ethics Task Force.
“The corruption occurring in state government is inexcusable,” said Rep. Meier. “It’s unfortunate Illinois carries the torch for being one of, if not the most corrupt states in America – which is why I support the creation of a State Ethics Task Force and the passage of stricter ethics laws. We can’t sit back and do nothing, I hope Speaker Madigan will allow these bills to come for a vote when we return for veto session on November 12.”
The three ethics reform bills co-sponsored by Rep. Meier are the following:
- 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 361 dramatically increases the fines legislators face for engaging in numerous restricted activities and for violations of legislator rules of conduct.
- House Joint Resolution 87 would create the State Ethics Task Force, consisting of nine members: a member of the Governor’s staff or the Lt. Governor, along with two legislative members appointed by each of the four caucus leaders. Once formed, the task force must accomplish its work in ninety days, with findings and a final report recommending legislative changes then to be submitted to the Governor and General Assembly for action.
Rep. Meier added, “This fall, Illinois government has witnessed the indictment of a State Senator, the FBI raiding the offices and home of another State Senator, and most recently the arrest of a State Representative on a federal bribery charge. It’s time for the legislature to act now by enacting ethics reforms aimed at fighting corruption in our state government.”