* From the AP…
Legislation attempting to prevent cozy relationships between lawmakers and lobbyists was squashed Friday by an Illinois Senate panel.
The measures would have required officials to disclose family members who are lobbyists.
Legislators also would have been barred from becoming lobbyists for one year after their terms end and they wouldn’t have been able to negotiate for lobbying jobs while in public office.
Similar “revolving door” restrictions already apply for many federal offices and are common in other states.
The measures were buried Friday in a three-member subcommittee that is controlled by Senate Democrats. The Republican member made a motion to pass the bills. Neither Democrat would second the motion, so the legislation is stuck in the subcommittee.
In December, former state Rep. Kevin McCarthy, D-Orland Park, quit after 14 years in the House to become a lobbyist for ComEd. The move raised eyebrows because McCarthy had spent the prior two years serving as the main negotiator and sponsor of legislation that gave the utility giant the ability to raise rates on customers with less regulatory oversight.
State Sen. A.J. Wilhelmi, D-Joliet, left the Senate earlier this year to become the chief lobbyist for the Illinois Hospital Association.
The two are among an estimated 40 former lawmakers registered to lobby members of the General Assembly.
Illinois is among 15 states that have no revolving-door provisions for lawmakers. Most states have imposed cooling-off periods ranging from six months to two years.
* Chris Kaergard of the Peoria Journal Star, LaHood’s hometown paper, was outraged…
I also have to take issue with what Senate Democrats’ spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon told The Associated Press about the bills. She claimed the bills weren’t “buried,” and in fact that everything was on the up-and-up.
“They received a fair public hearing,” she said. “I also wouldn’t consider the issue ‘buried’ because I believe that there are other senators that are continuing to work on similar issues this session.”
Forget delicacy or diplomacy. The ability to say that with a straight face is unbelieveable. It simply defies logic and flies in the face of common sense.
These are the bills currently on the table. They were ready. They were the ones set for a hearing — and instead were brought up in a farce of a hearing.
There is no excuse — none — for not allowing the bills a roll call vote. These bills are not inherently dangerous in the slightest. There is precisely zero reason that they cannot be allowed to the floor for an up-or-down vote. The failure to do so is an abomination, a perversion of democracy, and the more people who say so the better.
* And in other Senate subcommittee news…
A different panel rejected a plan from state Sen. Dan Duffy, a Lake Barrington Republican, that would have required candidates for office in Illinois to show a birth certificate or other documents that proved they were a citizen.
Candidates need to be citizens to hold office in Illinois, and they have to sign papers when they make their campaigns official stating they are.
Duffy’s plan would have required proof, but the subcommittee voted against it by a 2-1 vote.
He said his proposal was unrelated to disproved rumors that President Barack Obama isn’t a citizen.
“I’m not a birther,” Duffy said. “I believe Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen.”
Frankly, it’s amazing they’re even doing subcommittee hearings since the committee passage deadline has long since past.
* Statehouse Insider: Scholarship bill not financial fix
* Bills sponsored by Springfield legislators often go nowhere: Even though they are political opposites of the Democrats who control the General Assembly, neither Brauer nor McCann would complain about the treatment they receive from the majority party. Other Republicans in recent years, however, say Democrats have bottled their bills up in the House Rules Committee, never to be heard from in a committee or on the floor.
* Lawmakers eyeing outdated voter rolls: An effort is under way in the Statehouse to address problems with voting rolls in at least 16 Illinois counties. Under a proposal that could be debated in the Senate [this] week, the state Board of Elections would be required to conduct an audit to determine whether voter registration numbers are current and accurate.
* Editorial: Cullerton: Call the vote - Corrupted scholarship program has to go
* Could suburban ‘lame ducks’ play key role in reforms?: Among Tuesday’s fallen is Rep. Randy Ramey, a Carol Stream Republican who lost a bid for the Illinois Senate. He disputed the idea that lawmakers will change their minds just because they don’t face election. “I won’t flip-flop,” Ramey said. “You won’t see me voting for crazy things that I never would have voted for before.”
* Chuck Sweeny: ‘Drano Law’