Illinois state Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon)
Illinois state Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) is looking to seize the moment when it comes to the fight to bring ethical reforms to Springfield.
“The public is paying more attention right now and it’s more likely that they’ll be willing to say, ‘OK, this is something that’s important and needs to happen,’” Righter told the East Central Reporter. “There’s no question the [former state Rep. Luis] Arroyo indictment gives this push a little boost.”
Righter is among those leading the charge, recently filing Senate Bill 2302, which seeks to ban members of the General Assembly and their family members from being able to lobby if they are being compensated by virtue of the act. Arroyo, who served as a lobbyist while an acting state representative, was recently forced to step down in the 3rd District after being arrested on bribery charges that include accusations he tried to pay off a state senator in exchange for support on a gambling bill.
Illinois state Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago)
“As the cloud of ethical violations and criminal investigations gets darker over the state capitol, it’s becoming more apparent that legislators and lobbyists don’t mix,” Righter said. “I don’t think there are very many people in the state that can reconcile being a lobbyist and a legislator. We need to be paying attention to what the public feels about things like this because I would think our population is at an all-time low right now.”
With longtime Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) having recently announced his plans to retire in 2020, Righter again stressed that the time is now to strike with such reforms.
“I’m hoping that senate Democrats will have the foresight to elect someone who is a reformer and not a registered lobbyist or is beholden to someone like that,” he said. “If we can get someone that’s not so aligned with the likes of Speaker Mike Madigan, this could happen and we might really be able to have a chance.”
Cullerton has served almost four decades in the senate, including the last decade as senate president.