Morrison Joins Call for Total Ethics Reform

CHICAGO—State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) participated in a press conference today to renew the call for continued ethics reform in state government.  Morrison joined a group of House Republican lawmakers to present a new legislative package in response to the various issues recently brought to light by a federal investigation. 

Representative Morrison has supported the call for a total ethics reform, which has continued to gain momentum over the last few weeks.  “These revelations of public corruption have not only affected our government but also all our residents,” said Morrison. “Illinois faces enormous challenges but adding corruption and ethical lapses is frustrating to constituents—and only gives them another reason to leave our state. Today we are focused on achieving a higher standard of ethics, so we can eliminate this sort of corruption that has become all too common for Illinois.  We can’t change what has happened, but we can react quickly to make positive changes.”

The legislative package includes five bills:

  • House Bill 3954 that will revise statements of economic interests to include more details similar to the information required for judicial statement of economic interest forms. This forces full disclosure of potential conflicts of interest and provides greater transparency for members of the General Assembly.
  • HJRCA 36 will require a special election to fill General Assembly vacancies through the same laws governing our party primaries. This will prevent political powerbrokers from picking their preferred candidates for the vacancies.
  • House Resolution 588 will allow a Chief Co-Sponsor of any bill with five co-sponsors from each party to call it for an up or down vote in a substantive committee.
  • House Bill 3947 would ban members of the General Assembly, their spouses, and immediate live-in family members from performing paid lobbying work with local government units. Currently, members of the Illinois General Assembly – state representatives and state senators – are prohibited from lobbying the State of Illinois, but are not prohibited from lobbying local government units, such as a counties or municipalities.
  • House Bill 3955 will create mandatory and publicly available documentation of General Assembly communications with any state agency regarding contracts. 

Representative Morrison and the House Republican caucus are calling for immediate action on this ethics reform package.  With veto session resuming in the General Assembly next week, the hope is for these bills to move forward in the next five days.

In addition to the ethics bills addressed today, Rep. Morrison is also a chief-co sponsor of HB361, to increase fines for legislators engaging in restricted activities or violating the legislator rules of conduct.  He is also supporting HB3940, which bans lawmakers from lobbying local governments, and HJR87, which creates a State Ethics Task Force to address corruption in Illinois government.