* Ben Szalinski at the SJ-R…
After lawmakers passed bipartisan ethics legislation last month that included changes to the state’s legislative inspector general office, Carol Pope says the bill might actually make the job more difficult.
“There are a couple changes that make it more difficult to open an investigation,” said Pope, the state’s current legislative inspector general.
The major change for the LIG under Senate Bill 539, a bipartisan ethics compromise between members in the House and Senate, would no longer require Pope to receive permission from a panel of eight lawmakers before opening an investigation into a lawmaker or legislative branch employee.
“That’s the only tidbit I got,” Pope said. “The rest is rather negative if you ask me.”
* Speaking of the bill…
Reform For Illinois Executive Director Alisa Kaplan urged the governor to strengthen the reforms with an amendatory veto.
“Show us you were serious when you said there was a need for reform and that you wanted to get it done and use the powers you have as governor to strengthen this bill,” Kaplan said. “We’ve waited long enough. The people of Illinois have waited long enough for real reform.” […]
Kaplan said Illinoisans shouldn’t accept excuses.
“When are they going to do it?” Kaplan said. “We just had Tim Mapes indicted right before they passed this bill. What more do we have to see happen before they really get serious about reform.”
* And in other news, it’s not every day that one is quoted in the Wall Street Journal, even if it is the editorial page and even if there was no attribution…
J.B. Pritzker didn’t say “read my lips” in 2018 when he promised the people of Illinois he wouldn’t sign onto a partisan redistricting if elected Governor. Specifically, he promised to veto any redistricting map “drafted or created by legislators, political party leaders and/or their staffs or allies.” But on Friday he broke that promise, and it will now take its rightful place in the annals of political whoppers beside George H.W. Bush’s famous pledge not to raise taxes.
The new map diminishes the already diminished Republican presence in Springfield. Fourteen Republican-held seats in the state house will be squeezed into seven, for example, guaranteeing a loss of at least seven GOP incumbents. No Democratic incumbents will lose seats as a result of a combined new district. It also redraws the boundaries for the state’s Supreme Court for the first time since 1964—an effort to maintain the 4-3 Democratic majority on what is an elected court.
Adding to the wholly politicized nature of the effort is that redistricting is supposed to be done based on the latest Census results. But because of Covid-19, the results won’t come in time to meet the state constitutional deadline of June 30. The state provides for this—a bipartisan, eight-member commission would then take charge—but Democrats went ahead with less reliable and detailed data.
Last week we gave Mr. Pritzker the benefit of the doubt that he might keep his word, but we have relearned the eternal lesson: Never trust a politician.