Halbrook, House Republican colleagues call for immediate action on ethics reform proposals

In the wake of the ComEd scandal that has embroiled House Speaker Michael Madigan, there have been a number of legislators who are now talking about ethics reforms including Democrats, but several lawmakers are calling for less talk and more action when it comes to rooting out corruption in Illinois.

State Reps. Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City), John Cabello (R-Machesney Park), Darren Bailey (R-Xenia), and Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) today held a press conference demanding immediate action on reform.

“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.”

“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.”

The legislators are highlighting several reforms to address ending conflicts of interest, holding lawmakers more accountable and enacting structural reforms to change the culture of corruption.

“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.

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

“There are specific proposals on the table to begin to address the ethics issues before us in our state government,” Cabello said. “There is no excuse to wait on enacting these important reforms. We need a Special Session immediately.”

Following is a list of specific bills the legislators are calling on the Legislature to enact.