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Morrison ethics package would increase lawmaker accountability

morrison ethics 030116SPRINGFIELD – Two proposals that would increase the level of accountability among Illinois lawmakers were recently introduced by State Senator Julie Morrison (D - Deerfield).

Senate Bill 3107 would require state legislators to publicly disclose potential conflicts of interest before casting a vote on any legislation. While some lawmakers currently make conflict of interest disclosures public, the practice is not required under state law.

“The public has a right to know when lawmakers have a conflict of interest,” Morrison said.

Morrison’s second proposal, contained in Senate Bill 3108, would expand what’s known as an “ex parte communication” to include conversations between legislators and state universities or agencies. Currently, certain conversations between state agencies and legislators are documented and reported to that agency’s ethics officer. The practice is meant to safeguard against politicians using political clout to interfere with state decisions on sensitive issues.

Morrison’s plan would expand these protections to include conversations regarding university admissions and hiring at state agencies.

“Lawmakers should in no way be involved in hiring decisions for state jobs or admission determinations to our state colleges and universities,” Morrison said.