SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, recently helped pass a sweeping ethics reform measure that increases transparency around lobbying and cracks down on corruption in state government.
“Ethics reform has long been a top priority of mine,” said Stuart. “Elected officials should not be in office to serve themselves or special interests, but to advocate on behalf of their communities. It’s time we hold Springfield to a higher standard, work to keep legislators and lobbyists accountable, and increase transparency in state government.”
Stuart sponsored Senate Bill 539, which restricts politicians from receiving a lobbying job immediately after leaving office and bans political fundraisers on legislative session days in an effort to limit lobbyists’ influence. The measure also expands the powers of the legislative inspector general to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by lawmakers.
Also included in the ethics reform bill is Stuart’s proposal to prohibit “exit bonuses” for legislators who resign mid-term. Currently, General Assembly lawmakers can claim a full month’s pay for as little as one day of work. The bill closes this loophole and prorates legislators’ pay, ensuring they only receive a salary for time they are actually in office.
“The ethics reforms we passed last month are a move in the right direction, but are in no way the end of my work on this important issue,” said Stuart. “We must continue working to restore faith in our public institutions and fight corruption in all its forms. This package is the first step in a much broader effort to strengthen our ethics laws.”