In response to recent troubling revelations of corruption by several legislators from the Chicago area, State Representative Brad Halbrook and his House Republican colleagues are working to promptly pass legislation to reform state government and ensure Illinois has among the toughest legislative ethics laws in the nation.
Rep. Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) is sponsoring House Joint Resolution 87 which would create a nine-member task force to identify areas of concern, review current ethics laws, and propose additional legislative solutions to ensure Illinois is holding public officials accountable for their actions. The task force would have ninety days to issue a report recommending legislative changes to Illinois’ ethics policy and law.
Rep. Halbrook is also sponsoring and working for passage of tough new penalties for lawmakers who violate existing ethics laws. House Bill 361 increases fines for legislators who engage in restricted activities and for violating legislator rules of conduct. Such penalties include a $50 fine for intentionally not completing the annual required ethics and sexual harassment training and up to $1 million for bribery, a Class 2 felony.
“The list of state legislators under indictment and investigation continues to grow. It’s absolutely shameful,” Rep. Halbrook said. “We must take action now to put an end to Illinois’ culture of corruption.”
Earlier this week, Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago) became the third state legislator this year to be indicted or implicated in a federal corruption investigation. In just the past few months, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Lake Villa) was indicted on 45 counts of embezzlement and State Senator Martin Sandoval (D-Cicero) was revealed to be under investigation in a widespread federal corruption probe that has ensnared a number of local government bodies and businesses.
Rep. Halbrook said he will continue to push for passage of both HJR87 and HB361during the legislature’s second week of Veto Session which begins November 12.