Republicans introduce own ethics bill to get Democrats' attention
Democrat Ann Gillespie of Arlington Heights and Republican John Curran of Downers Grove have competing ethics bills in the Illinois Senate. The question is whether either can pass before the end of the legislative session on May 31.
Republicans, however, understand the uphill battle their legislation faces. They would need to flip Democratic support away from Gillespie's bill, as well as get the signature of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat. That's unlikely, so Republicans are hoping they can grab the attention of Democrats and encourage them to include Republican provisions in Gillespie's bill.
Republicans had worked with Gillespie on her bill, which targets the political revolving door by prohibiting legislators from becoming lobbyists within six months of leaving office. It also addresses relationships between legislators and lobbyists, campaign fundraising, who can serve on political committees and the operations of the General Assembly.
Curran said he and Gillespie have worked very "collaboratively" but he wouldn't commit to her bill, saying he needs to see an amended version. Democrats, however, don't need GOP votes for passage of the bill, which moved out of the Senate Ethics Committee on April 21.
"I believe she is going to have some meaningful enhancements when this amendment finally arrives," Curran said. "Today's news conference, first and foremost, was an opportunity to express our concern that we are going to time out here without getting any meaningful ethics reform done this assembly."
Gillespie said in a statement she "remains committed to passing an ethics package this legislative session and (is) working with colleagues in both chambers to develop the best package possible."
Republicans want to see Gillespie's bill mirror language in theirs to make it so sitting legislators cannot negotiate jobs with lobbying firms while in office. They also want to give more power to the inspectors general's office.
Gillespie said she has yet to review the language in the Republicans' proposal.