SPRINGFIELD—State Representative Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) is supporting legislation to strengthen Illinois’ ethics laws. Ugaste joins a group of House Republican lawmakers in advocating for larger ethics reform efforts in response to the various issues brought to light by a federal investigation—including the recent arrest of State Representative Louis Arroyo (D-Chicago).
With the second portion of veto session resuming today in Springfield, Representative Ugaste and the House Republican caucus are calling for immediate action on this ethics reform package. “Allegations of bribery and any form of public corruption are extremely troubling, and ethics reform efforts are needed to close loopholes we clearly have in our state laws,” said Ugaste.
The ethics reform includes the following pieces of legislation:
- 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.
The House of Representatives will have until Thursday to address these bills, when veto session concludes until regular session begins next year. “This legislation is crucial in moving our legislative body forward and resolving lingering ethics questions as best as possible,” continued Ugaste. “We can’t wait on this. We need to move on from the corruption of the past and start new with better ethics in hand. Making these changes is the next best step for our chamber and the people of Illinois.”
Representative Ugaste was one of three House Republican lawmakers assigned to serve on the House Special Investigating Committee that would conduct an official investigation into whether disciplinary actions should be taken against State Representative Luis Arroyo. Arroyo resigned before the committee took action. Ugaste is a now a co-sponsor on the House Republican ethics reform package.