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*** UPDATED x2 *** Senate Republican proposal addresses half the problem identified by former IG

Wednesday, Oct 30, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* SB2297

Amends the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act. Provides that the [Legislative Ethics] Commission shall adopt no rule requiring the Legislative Inspector General to seek the Commission’s advance approval before commencing any investigation or issuing a subpoena. Provides that any existing rule, as of the effective date of the amendatory Act, requiring the Legislative Inspector General to seek the Commission’s advance approval before commencing any investigation or issuing a subpoena is void. Removes language providing that the Legislative Inspector General needs the advance approval of the Commission to issue subpoenas.

* Press release…

The Senate Republican Caucus took action today to restore public trust in an honest and ethical state government.

At a press conference in the Capitol’s blue room, members unveiled a legislative proposal to ensure independent investigations of members of the General Assembly.

State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) filed Senate Bill 2297, which gives the Legislative Inspector General (LIG) the appropriate tools, which the current LIG has suggested, to conduct independent investigations of legislators.

“There is a cloud hanging over the capitol. Recent events have reminded the public that the Illinois legislature is incapable of policing itself,” said Barickman. “Under current law, the Office of the Legislative Inspector General isn’t allowed to have the independence necessary to do its job. It looks like the fox is guarding the hen house. Today we’re acting to change that.”

Currently, except in cases alleging sexual harassment, the LIG must get advance approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission (LEC) before opening an investigation, or issuing subpoenas. Additionally, if, during the investigation, the LIG discovers wrongdoing that is beyond the scope of, or unrelated to the initial complaint, they have to go back to the LEC to get approval to investigate further.

“What we have currently is a system where politicians are being trusted to police politicians,” said State Sen. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy). “Our proposal takes politicians out of the equation and allows the Legislative Inspector General the independence necessary to do their job.”

* Sen. Tracy is a member of the Legislative Ethics Commission. She struggled with a reporter’s question today about another problem with the process. Former Legislative Inspector General Julie Porter wrote an op-ed earlier this year which complained about the item addressed in the Senate Republican bill and something else

When I agreed to serve as acting legislative inspector general in 2017, I knew that there were structural problems, but never for a minute did I believe that the commission would take any action to thwart my independence. I certainly did not think that the commission would refuse to publish one of my founded summary reports.

Sen. Tracy was on the commission when it decided to forbid Porter from publishing that report.

Thoughts?

…Adding… Senate President John Cullerton…

I welcome their ideas and look forward to working with them and others to get effective results.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) introduced an almost identical bill (the bill does not include subpoena powers) way back in January

Amends the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act. Provides that the Legislative Ethics Commission shall adopt no rule requiring the Legislative Inspector General to seek the Commission’s advance approval before commencing any investigation authorized under specified provisions. Provides that any existing rule, as of the effective date of the amendatory Act, requiring the Legislative Inspector General to seek the Commission’s advance approval before commencing any investigation is void. Effective immediately.

She picked up just one sponsor, a fellow Democrat.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Here you go…


       

9 Comments
  1. - The Real Captain - Wednesday, Oct 30, 19 @ 11:25 am:

    There are 4 days of veto session left. They introduced the bill today. Doesn’t Senator Barrickman know how the law works for passing bills? Even the best bill in the world couldn’t pass when it has to be read in 2 chambers on 3 different days.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 30, 19 @ 11:25 am:

    === * Sen. Tracy is a member of the Legislative Ethics Commission. She struggled with a reporter’s question today about another problem with the process.===

    Pandering, for the sake of pandering, will do that.

    Probably why my main concern in all this *is* process. Probably not an accident.

    The best way for anyone pandering here is either ignoring process, not understanding process, or finally not able to explain the change in the framing of process.


  3. - Anon E Moose - Wednesday, Oct 30, 19 @ 11:35 am:

    I’m shocked that a Republican would be hypocritical.


  4. - Nagidam - Wednesday, Oct 30, 19 @ 11:44 am:

    === I’m shocked that a Republican would be hypocritical.===

    Ok. Where is the democratic plan for half the issues raised by Porter?


  5. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, Oct 30, 19 @ 11:58 am:

    Paging Susan Garrett, who always fought for “independent” inspector generals for everyone else but herself and fellow legislators, and has been strangely quiet on this issue.


  6. - JJJJJJJJJJJ - Wednesday, Oct 30, 19 @ 1:24 pm:

    ===Ok. Where is the democratic plan for half the issues raised by Porter?===

    See the update.


  7. - Nagidam - Wednesday, Oct 30, 19 @ 3:55 pm:

    ===Ok. Where is the democratic plan for half the issues raised by Porter?===
    ===See the update.===

    Yes I saw. Does this mean Sen. Bush is Hypocritical?


  8. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 30, 19 @ 4:42 pm:

    === Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) introduced an almost identical bill (the bill does not include subpoena powers) way back in January. … She picked up just one sponsor, a fellow Democrat.===

    Says volumes about Mr. Barickman?

    Lots of pandering going in today.

    Lots and lots.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 30, 19 @ 4:45 pm:

    Mr. Barickman…

    === “There is a cloud hanging over the capitol. Recent events have reminded the public that the Illinois legislature is incapable of policing itself,” said Barickman. “Under current law, the Office of the Legislative Inspector General isn’t allowed to have the independence necessary to do its job. It looks like the fox is guarding the hen house. Today we’re acting to change that.”===

    “…Today we’re acting to change that.”…”

    Sen. Bush wonders what took you so long, lol


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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