By Nick Gale, WLS-AM 890 News
(SPRINGFIELD, Ill.) — The Senate Republican Caucus Wednesday filed a bill to give the Legislative Inspector General more powers.
State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) filed Senate Bill 2297, which gives the Legislative Inspector General (LIG) the appropriate tools, which the current LIG has suggested, to conduct independent investigations of legislators.
“There is a cloud hanging over the capitol. Recent events have reminded the public that the Illinois legislature is incapable of policing itself,” said Barickman. “Under current law, the Office of the Legislative Inspector General isn’t allowed to have the independence necessary to do its job. It looks like the fox is guarding the hen house. Today we’re acting to change that.”
Currently, except in cases alleging sexual harassment, the LIG must get advance approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission (LEC) before opening an investigation, or issuing subpoenas. Additionally, if, during the investigation, the LIG discovers wrongdoing that is beyond the scope of, or unrelated to the initial complaint, they have to go back to the LEC to get approval to investigate further.
Under SB 2297, the LIG would be able to investigate complaints against legislators and issue subpoenas without approval from the LEC. By taking legislators out of the process, lawmakers say the bill ensures independence in the investigation of these claims.
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