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In ethics reform bill, Steans moves to increase lobbying transparency

steans 111419SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans is pushing for new ethics reforms in the wake of scandals surrounding numerous Springfield lawmakers in recent months, passing legislation out of the Senate today.

“Today we took the first steps to reform the disturbing, unacceptable behavior that has rocked state government in recent months,” said Steans, (D-Chicago). “Raids, arrests and indictments are not what people expect of their elected officials. While they mean that the ethics laws we already passed are working, and law enforcement is doing its job, it also means we need to change the culture in Springfield, close loopholes, and eliminate grey areas. We need to earn back your trust.”

 

Steans’ legislation takes aim at the practice of state lawmakers lobbying local units of government. The measure would require:

  • state lobbyists to disclose any units of local government they also lobby,
  • state lobbyists to disclose any elected or appointed offices they hold,
  • lobbying firms that contract out other lobbyists to disclose who is lobbying for each business or other client,
  • the Secretary of State’s Office to improve the lobbyist database, integrating these new provisions and making the entire system easier to search and navigate.

“Transparency is the first step we take to restoring the public’s trust,” Steans said. “That means we’ve still got much, much more to do. I urge the governor to sign this measure into law, and I urge my colleagues in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle to continue working to make the state of Illinois a government worthy of its citizens’ trust.”

The legislation is Senate Bill 1639. Having passed the Senate without opposition, it awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

Senator Heather Steans

steans-2014-150

7th District

Years served: 2008 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations I (Chairperson); Appropriations II; Environment and Conservation; Executive Appointments; Executive; Government Accountability/Pensions; Human Services.

Biography: Born May 8, 1963, in Lake Forest, IL; B.A. in Urban Studies from Princeton; M.A. in Public Policy from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government; former budget director, WI Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations and former strategic planner, Chicago Public Schools; married (husband, Leo Smith) with three children.

Associated Representatives:
Kelly M. Cassidy
Gregory Harris