Severin Sponsors Tougher State Ethics Laws

Marion….State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) announced this week that he has signed on to co-sponsor three bills that take aim at Illinois’ lax state ethics laws. An expansive federal corruption probe has resulted in multiple Federal raids of district and capitol offices, as well as township and business offices associated with Federal investigative activity.

On the first day of the 2019 Veto Session, House Republicans held a Capitol press conference to announce the introduction of HJR 87, a Joint Resolution that would create a State Ethics Task Force. At the same time, news was breaking detailing the arrest of now-former State Rep. Luis Arroyo on charges of attempted bribery of a State Senator.

Severin says the Joint Resolution is a necessary first step toward cleaning up Illinois’ ethics laws and making them tougher.

“Establishing a State Ethics Task Force would be a good start towards cleaning up corruption in Springfield, Chicago, and beyond,” Severin said. “I’m happy that the FBI and IRS seem to be working to stamp out corruption in Illinois, but legislators must act quickly in every way that we can to strengthen ethics laws and rebuild public trust. The task force would study our current laws, review best practices in other states that have tougher ethics laws, and make recommendations for changes here in Illinois.”

Severin has also signed on to sponsor legislation that enhances penalties for legislators that break current ethics laws (HB 361) and a bill that would ban legislators from serving as lobbyists for municipalities.

“In Illinois, sitting state lawmakers are currently allowed to register and work as lobbyists for municipal governments, including the city of Chicago,” Severin said. “There is a clear conflict of interest for sitting lawmakers to perform paid lobbying work while in office. House Bill 3947 would ban lawmakers, their spouses, and live-in immediate family members from that activity. I urge my Democratic colleagues to support this bill and other ethics reform measures so we can eliminate conflicts of interest and restore trust in state government.”

The legislation, 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 counties or municipalities.