Spain Op-Ed: May we resolve to create a more ethical Illinois in New Year

After enjoying the holidays with family and friends, our attention turns to the new year with hopeful expectations.  For Illinois, a state facing enormous challenges in the coming decade, a long list of resolutions could be offered. However, no issue deserves more careful attention than the desperate need for ethics reforms in Illinois.    

In 2019, we learned of incredible impropriety, including allegations of cash bribery for votes, which have prompted extensive FBI raids and wiretaps into the conduct of Illinois elected officials.  It is no wonder Illinois ranks as one of the most corrupt states in America. 

As a result, ethics reforms should take a spotlight to ensure Illinois is doing everything within its power to erase the stain of unethical behavior on the reputation and performance of our state.   Without a doubt, there is much low-hanging fruit, such as stiffening penalties on lobbyist registration lapses, requiring legislators disclose additional private income sources, barring ethically dogged sweepstakes gaming machines and preventing legislators from paid lobbying for other governmental units.

All these reforms, and more, should be passed and brought into state law during the Spring 2020 legislative session.  Delivering state government services ethically should not be a partisan issue.  I am happy to join reform-minded Democrats and Republicans in supporting common-sense reforms to root out corruption and self-dealing. 

Our state is suffering record population loss and economic stagnation.  The people of Illinois deserve an ethical and responsible state government to face the challenges of the coming decade without the stain of corruption and self-dealing.  Let’s look back at 2020 as the year Illinois leaders finally stepped up to face the urgent need for change. 

State Representative Ryan Spain

State Representative Ryan Spain serves as Republican Conference Chairman for the House Republican Caucus and represents all or parts of Peoria, Woodford, Marshall, Stark, LaSalle and Bureau counties in the Illinois House of Representatives.