Morrison Supports Tougher Ethics for Lawmakers

SPRINGFIELD—State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) is a chief-co sponsor of an ethics bill that will increase penalties for lawmakers who violate existing ethics laws.

The legislation, HB361, 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.

In response to the recent arrest of State Representative Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago) on bribery charges, Representative Morrison has advocated for changes to be made in current law and has supported the bipartisan push for larger ethics reform.

“With the ongoing federal investigations in Illinois government, it is clear our laws must change,” said Morrison.  “The existing ethics laws are not cutting it as the indictments continue to add up in the statehouse.  We need tougher ethics laws now more than ever, and the best way to make this change is by enhancing penalties to really stress the severity of these violations.”

Currently, members of the General Assembly are subject to the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, as well as the Governmental Ethics Act.  Those Acts include items such as prohibited political activities, filing statements of economic interests, conflicts of interest, and the gift ban.  HB361 would strengthen those Acts by increasing and adding penalties for violations.

“As State Representatives, we come to Springfield to represent the people,” continued Morrison.  “That’s hard to do as the public keeps losing trust in our ability to honestly and ethically do our jobs.”

HB361 was filed earlier this month and is currently awaiting further consideration in the House of Representatives.