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Area lawmakers call for ethics reform

State lawmakers representing Evanston are part of a group calling for a set of ethics reforms in Springfield.

The state capitol building in Springfield.

Seventeen state lawmakers, including all those who represent Evanston, today announced support for nine ethics reform measures that they say could gain bi-partisan support in the upcoming veto session.

The group says the proposals would dramatically increase transparency and take meaningful strides toward restoring public trust in state government.

The proposals would

1. Prohibit legislator-lobbyists
2. Stop the legislator-lobbyist revolving door
3. Better define who is a lobbyist
4. Fuller disclosure of outside income
5. Establish an official censure process
6. Measures to strengthen the office of Legislative Inspector General
7. End the exemption for General Assembly employees from the Human Rights Act
8. Establish term-limits for Legislative leaders
9. Establish a process for removal of leaders and committee chairs

“While I believe Speaker Madigan should step down, that is simply not enough. We need major ethics reform in Springfield to prevent future corruption and malfeasance,” Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, who represents a portion of Evanston, said in a statement. “These nine steps are concrete actions that create greater transparency and accountability in our government.”

State Rep. Robyn Gabel of Evanston and Sen. Laura Fine of Glenview also were among the lawmakers endorsing the package of reforms

“These nine steps without a doubt will bring a greater level of transparency to the business that is done in Springfield and it is important that legislators work together to get them passed,” said Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago). “Enacting meaningful ethics reform has been elusive and given the magnitude of the ongoing investigations it is imperative that we act in the upcoming veto session.”

“The time has come to change the culture in Springfield and we believe these proposals will be a major step forward in that effort,” said Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago). “Our system is broken and we need to fix it and I’m proud my colleagues have come together to demand change.”

“These recent events are a stark reminder that action must be taken. Rooting out corruption and corrupt activities is not just necessary to restore trust in government – it’s a moral imperative,” said Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake). “Illinoisans place their trust in us and they deserve nothing less than a General Assembly that stands firm and passes meaningful ethics reform.”

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