Even though initial efforts to block several ethics bills sponsored in March by State Sen. Darin LaHood (R--Dunlap) the Senator declared victory as two provisions were adopted by the Illinois Senate on May 9.
“A tiny step forward was achieved today when the Senate passed two provisions that will help clean-up outdated statements of economic interests,” LaHood said. “We successfully passed a bill that will force legislators and lobbyists to publically disclose their family or business relationships with each other.”
Senate Bill 1361 is a general rewrite and update of the Illinois Statement of Economic Interests that public officials and state employee must fill out upon assuming office or a job. The statement update was a legislative priority of the Lt. Governor’s office and good-government groups.
LaHood stressed that while he was pleased with the progress on the Statement of Economic Interest forms, more ethics and transparency efforts are needed. “This is a beginning; we have a long road to travel before the public trust is completely restored with the Illinois General Assembly and the Office of the Governor,” he said.
The LaHood-inspired parts of SB 1361 were contained in his’ original two bills, SB 2264 and 2265. His 2013 ethics legislative package was contained in SBs 2260-2265. In January 2012, the New York Times wrote an article on the lack of transparency in Illinois government. As a result, Senator LaHood continues his efforts for more governmental openness.
SB 1361 was approved by a vote of 52-1 and now heads to the House of Representatives.