001collinsSPRINGFIELD – In response to pervasive scandals that have undermined citizens’ trust in state government, State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) will call on the members of the General Assembly to impose mandatory recusal upon themselves in cases when they would need to vote on matters of personal financial interest.

“Before a single word of the Illinois Constitution was ever written, the faith of the people of Illinois in elected lawmakers was the basis of our democratic government,” Collins said. “That faith has been shaken in recent months, and to restore it we must show that there is a hard separation between our personal financial interests and the best decisions for the state. We can accomplish this by requiring lawmakers to recuse themselves in situations that involve a clear conflict of interest.”

Under Collins’ plan, lawmakers with a substantial financial interest in a business, investment, real property, lease or other enterprise – or who have an immediate family member with such an interest – must ask to be excused from voting on any matter involving it. The General Assembly’s Legislative Ethics Commission would have the power to slap violators with $1,000 fines.

“Transparency and accountability measures are good and necessary, but we must do more to prevent this kind of graft,” Collins said. “We do not merely ask corruption to forbear. We must demand it to yield.”

The legislation is Senate Bill 3339. It awaits consideration in the Senate.

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