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It’s just a bill

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

14 Comments
  1. - NorthsideNomore - Tuesday, Jan 31, 17 @ 10:13 am:

    They ought to enact campaign finance reform w hard caps first. Don’t care that some retired GA member goes and lobbies after they leave. Let the GA members still there police themselves. No shortage of folks that oversold there connections and are soon out of the game.


  2. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Jan 31, 17 @ 10:20 am:

    About time. I was really disturbed by the rank hypocrisy of the Rauner Administration.


  3. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 31, 17 @ 10:23 am:

    ===campaign finance reform w hard caps first===

    lol

    You’re living in the past. Government can’t stop rich people from funding their own campaigns and now you want to stop their opponents from competing with them?

    Nope.


  4. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Jan 31, 17 @ 10:25 am:

    Hallelujah! It’s about time. Now does the bill have a chance? Don’t hold your breath.


  5. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 31, 17 @ 10:27 am:

    SB 615 does not really address the problem. It is easy not to be a lobbyist for one year and be employed as an “expert” by a firm that does lobbying. In fact that expert could testify before a committee without being registered and that would not be lobbying. Senator Steans is so wealthy that she actually does not get all of this, but her intent is good.


  6. - Kyle Hillman - Tuesday, Jan 31, 17 @ 10:36 am:

    I need to read the bill, but the last one could be way too expansive and needs clear warnings for those nominated to task forces as often they aren’t government employees but experts on specific issues.


  7. - intersting - Tuesday, Jan 31, 17 @ 10:43 am:

    The problem with this type of legislation is that it demonizes “lobbying” and gives the impression all lobbying is inherently bad. That’s not necessarily the case.

    The Illinois Lobbyist Registration Act is expansive and requires almost all people who professionally interact with the General Assembly to register. Some non-profits have numerous people registered, in part because they talk to members often and provide advice. They aren’t always “lobbying” in the traditional sense.


  8. - Just Observing - Tuesday, Jan 31, 17 @ 10:53 am:

    === (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. ===

    So, if you are on the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Board or the Blind Services Planning Council or the White County Port District, you can’t be a lobbyist?


  9. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 31, 17 @ 10:55 am:

    ===you can’t be a lobbyist?===

    That’s actually current law. This proposal would close the revolving door for a year.


  10. - Wow - Tuesday, Jan 31, 17 @ 11:01 am:

    Should be a 5 year ban


  11. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Jan 31, 17 @ 11:26 am:

    –Should be a 5 year ban–

    Well that’s one way to deter people from working for the state.


  12. - CLJ - Tuesday, Jan 31, 17 @ 12:34 pm:

    These so called revolving door laws are nonsense. They really do nothing. It’s all political theater to shift the blame of government’s failures. There are plenty of work arounds that will enable former lawmakers and state employees to make a living influencing government policy.


  13. - sam t - Tuesday, Jan 31, 17 @ 3:50 pm:

    Maybe the bill should include a ban on work with any governmental unit in the state. No more lawyers doing tax appeals.


  14. - Anon - Tuesday, Jan 31, 17 @ 5:58 pm:

    Legislators like the waiting period for state workers, but not for themselves. This won’t pass any more than term limits will.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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