* But it’s long overdue…
As her first act on the Senate Government Reform Committee, Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) introduced legislation to close the revolving door between state government employees, officials and lobbying firms.
“It is high time that we strengthen ethics laws in Illinois and tighten regulations on the revolving door,” Steans said. “The General Assembly last passed revolving door reforms nearly 10 years ago. While those acts were undoubtedly progress, elected officials and state employees should not be able to immediately translate relationships built on state time into lobbying connections upon leaving public service.”
Senate Bill 615 requires employees and officials to wait one year after leaving a position with the state before accepting a position or compensation for lobbying state government. The legislation also bans state employees and officials from negotiating employment terms or compensation from lobbying entities while employed or serving as an appointee of the state.
“SB 615 restricts legislators and state employees from lobbying for at least one year after their departure from state government, bringing Illinois in line with a majority of other states who restrict this kind of activity,” said Sarah Brune, executive director of Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. “This legislation is an important step in closing the revolving door of state government in Illinois and encouraging openness and transparency in the political process.”
* As defined in the lobbyist registration act, “state official” means…
(1) the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer, and State Comptroller;
(2) Chiefs of Staff for officials described in item (1);
(3) Cabinet members of any elected constitutional officer, including Directors, Assistant Directors and Chief Legal Counsel or General Counsel;
(4) Members of the General Assembly; and
(5) Members of any board, commission, authority, or task force of the State authorized or created by State law or by executive order of the Governor.
Legislators in particular should not be allowed to negotiate employment terms with lobbying entities while in office. It defies common sense.
…Adding… It probably should be noted that the governor’s executive order from 2015 did some of this as well. But Rauner didn’t bar his people from working for lobbying entities for a year, like this proposal does. He just barred them from actively lobbying the governor’s part of the executive branch.