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dir="ltr" style="font-size: 12px;">Even with new laws in place aimed at protecting those in Illinois government from harassment, a growing number of advocates say more needs to be done.
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the most recent legislation from lawmakers designed to curb bad actors among themselves and their employees. The newest law adds more requirements for reporting harassment under the dome. It also requires new safeguards for campaign workers.
Eric Bradach with the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform agrees that more must be done, saying the Legislative Ethics Commission, an eight-lawmaker panel that oversees ethics complaints against lawmakers, should not be staffed by their colleagues.
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“People definitely would make the argument that it is a conflict of interest,” he said.
Retiring state Sen. Karen McConnaughay, R-St. Charles and a member of the LEC, has long been in favor of changing the role lawmakers have in policing their own behavior.
In a statement about the signing of the most recent set of reforms, she said she hoped that the General Assembly would look into “changing the structure and composition of the Legislative Ethics Commission and making it more independent,” adding that accountability needs to be increased there as well.
“The sickening behavior must end, and those involved in this kind of culture must be held accountable,” she said.
Despite the changes in the newest law, the Legislative Inspector General still must ask lawmakers for permission to look into one of their colleagues for corruption, Bradach said.
In announcing that he’s signing the bill, Rauner emphasized the need for further reforms.
“Illinois has one of the nation’s highest rates of public corruption, and Illinoisans have the lowest confidence in their government compared to citizens of every other state. An independent Legislative Inspector General and independent commission are needed to help restore Illinoisans’ confidence in the legislature,” Rauner said.
The most recent accusations of unprofessional behavior led to the resignation of House Speaker Michael Madigan’s chief of staff last week.