State Representative Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) is calling for an immediate special session to fight corruption in state government. Caulkins has been calling for a special session since December 2019 and is renewing his call for a special session following today’s press conference held by Senate and House Democrats concerning ethics reform. Legislative Democrats are asking for several ethics reforms to be considered during the November 2020 Veto Session.
“My Republican colleagues and I have been calling for a special session to approve anti-corruption reforms since November 2019,” said Rep. Caulkins. “Now that Mike Madigan has been implicated, the Democrats are talking about the need for ethics reform. It’s about time they speak up, I call on my Democrat colleagues in the General Assembly to join me in calling for a special session immediately to address the package of anti-corruption bills my Republican colleagues and I have sponsored. There is no time to lose, we must act now.”
As of November 2019, here are the following reform bills Rep. Caulkins co-sponsored to curb corruption in state government:
- House Bill 3954 requires statement of economic interests to include more details similar to the information required for judicial statement of economic interest forms. This forces full disclosure of potential conflicts of interest and provides greater transparency for members of the General Assembly.
- House Bill 3947 would ban members of the General Assembly, their spouses, and immediate live-in family members from performing paid lobbying work with local government units. Currently, members of the Illinois General Assembly – state representatives and state senators – are prohibited from lobbying the State of Illinois, but are not prohibited from lobbying local government units, such as counties or municipalities.
- House Bill 361 dramatically increases the fines legislators face for engaging in numerous restricted activities and for violations of legislator rules of conduct.
- House Joint Resolution 87 would create the State Ethics Task Force, consisting of nine members: a member of the Governor’s staff or the Lt. Governor, along with two legislative members appointed by each of the four caucus leaders. Once formed, the task force must accomplish its work in ninety days, with findings and a final report recommending legislative changes then to be submitted to the Governor and General Assembly for action.
- House Resolution 588 will allow a Chief Co-Sponsor of any bill with five co-sponsors from each party to call it for an up or down vote in a substantive committee.
- House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 13 provides that a person may not be elected to the office of State Senator or State Representative, or a combination of those offices, for terms totaling more than ten years. Provides that no person may be elected or appointed as a State Senator or State Representative if, upon completion of that term of office, he or she will have been a member of the General Assembly for more than ten years.
Rep. Caulkins added, “As I said last year, corruption is an epidemic in our state government. The legislature should return to work and pass legislation now to stop corruption at its core. We can’t sit back and do nothing which is why I am calling for a special session.”