Senator VillivalamSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) voted to pass two sweeping ethics measures out of the Illinois Senate today. The legislation enhances current ethics laws and creates a bipartisan commission to make recommendations on where the laws can be strengthened.

“We must acknowledge the crisis of democracy we currently face,” Villivalam said. “We need to continue to work on regaining faith in government – both in Springfield and in Washington. We must work to restore public trust so future generations can have an accountable, democratic form of government.”

Senate Bill 1639 creates the following reforms:

  • Increases what must be disclosed on a Statement of Economic Interests.
  • Requires the secretary of state to create a database of lobbyist contributions, statements of economic interests filed by State officials, among other items.
  • Requires lobbyists to disclose their subcontractors.

House Joint Resolution 93 creates the Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform. The Commission will consist of 16 members appointed by legislative leaders, the governor, the secretary of state and the attorney general. No member may have been a lobbyist in the past five years. The Commission will hold a series of public hearings to review various ethics laws and make final recommendations by March 31, 2020.

In addition to this measure, Senator Villivalam plans to introduce other pieces of ethics legislation that would reform campaign finance laws, address conflicts of interest and make the Legislative Inspector General truly independent.

Senate Bill 1639 awaits the governor’s signature.