On the first day of veto session at the end of October, amidst ongoing public corruption investigations entangling multiple layers of Illinois government, news broke that another member of the General Assembly was not only being investigated, but was arrested. The following day, I filed legislation to directly target the “sweepstakes” machines behind the unethical behavior which led to that arrest. The whole situation rightly, and finally, set off a firestorm demanding ethics reform in state government. Unfortunately, by the end of veto session in November, nothing more than a partisan slanted commission and a badly watered down lobbying reform bill came out of it. More on this series of events is below.
On a more positive note, I hope everyone has a very happy holiday season filled with love and laughter among good friends and family. If you’re like me, no matter how crazy life may get, spending time with loved ones is what makes the season special.
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Corruption and the need for ethics reform.
Taking action to curb “sweepstakes” machines.
It is obvious to anyone that has seen one of these “sweepstakes” machines that they are clearly setup as gambling machines designed to skirt the law. I find that very concerning because it puts consumers at risk. The 2012 video gaming law was setup with important consumer protections like requiring operator background checks, limits on the number of gaming terminals and guaranteed chances for players to win to ensure they are not being cheated. Read More Here.
Pressing near-term solutions.
As the growing mire of public corruption in Illinois continued to worsen, I joined Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and others to introduce a package of sweeping ethics reform legislation. This package of legislation was a practical offering of near-term solutions the General Assembly could have acted on during the second week of veto session. Read More Here.
Taking aim at Board of Elections conflicts of interest.
The fact that a member of the State Board of Elections can run a political committee and also sit on the board that determines if a political committee has broken the law is an obvious conflict of interest. Closing this loophole and preventing other potential conflicts that could place a board member in an ethically questionable situation is common sense, good government, and we hoped our colleagues on the other side of the aisle would have help us advance this legislation. Read More Here.
Ethics reform commission with a partisan slant.
Instead of any of the numerous ethics reform bills filed months ago being considered, or even any of the several recently filed with bipartisan support, none were. House Joint Resolution 93 and Senate Bill 1639 were dropped by the majority party just before midnight on the second to last day of session.Speaking during debate on HJR 93, I expressed serious concerns about the partisan makeup of the ethics reform commission created by the legislation. More balance was needed, but I felt obligated to vote for the measure in the absence of alternative options being permitted a vote on the House floor. More must be done in the spring. Watch the Video Here.
Honoring the passing of former Sheriff Wes Barr.
During the first week of veto session, the House paused proceedings to mourn the passing of former Sangamon County Sheriff Wes Barr. House Resolution 543 honored Sheriff Barr for his life of service in the military, law enforcement and his numerous volunteer contributions to the community. Watch the Video Here.
Attending Institute on State/Provincial Policies.
In October, I had the opportunity to participate in the inaugural class of fellows for the Patricia Birkholz Institute for Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Policy during a two-day institute focusing on nutrient-related issues in the Great Lakes Basin. The Birkholz Institute brought together a bipartisan, binational group of 21 legislators from seven states and two provinces that share the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. Read More Here.
Resolution to protect state from Chicago pension liabilities.
The City of Chicago and Cook County have to stop turning to the taxpayers of Illinois for their failure to manage their own assets. Likewise, the pension funds of downstate and suburban first responders should not be made to bear the burden of those failures either. This is why I filed House Resolution 600. Read More Here.
State Police seeking cadet applicants.
The Illinois State Police are looking for qualified applicants to join their ranks in Cadet Class #132. Applicants should submit required support documentation prior to January 31, 2020. Candidates whose application documentation are deemed acceptable may be invited to take the Recruitment Test. Candidates who successfully complete the Recruitment Test will be invited to take a mandatory physical fitness (PT) evaluation in late March. Read More Here.