Rep. Tom Demmer - House Republicans Continue Push for Ethics Reform with Call for Sweeping New Legislative Package
In the wake of even more federal corruption investigations entangling multiple layers of Illinois government, Deputy Republican Leader Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) and Assistant House Minority Leader Grand Wehrli (R-Naperville) continuine to press the case for comprehensive ethics reform.
Yesterday morning, Demmer and Wehrli were joined by fellow members of the House Republican caucus at a Capitol press conference to call on the General Assembly to take up a sweeping package of legislation to tackle the long overdue problem. This is the third such press conference to call for ethics reform in as many weeks.
At that press conference two weeks ago, House Republicans called for House Bill 361, which dramatically increases the fines legislators face for engaging in numerous restricted activities, to be released from the House Rules Committee. At that time, it was a group of bipartisan legislators that also called for the creation of a State Ethics Task Force through House Joint Resolution 87.
In response to the federal corruption probe that has widened further since two weeks ago, House Republicans have now upped the ante with a new package of legislation introduced at the end of last week.
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 or 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