The BGA’s Policy Agenda in Springfield: Stay Tuned to What We’re Supporting to Improve Our Government

The hundreds of bills tracked by the BGA's Policy and Civic Engagement team cover subjects like the Freedom of Information Act, ethics and disclosure, government streamlining, consolidation and more.

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Check out our wrap-up of bills successfully passed and blocked in the Illinois General Assembly.

A part of the Better Government Association’s Policy and Civic Engagement team’s mission is to advocate for laws and policies that promote government accountability, efficiency, and transparency. That means we track, support and oppose hundreds of pieces of legislation each year in the Illinois General Assembly. Our list of bills covers subjects like the Freedom of Information Act, ethics and disclosure, government streamlining, consolidation and more.

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We monitor and track committee hearings. We work with lawmakers to introduce, support, change, or stop legislation.

For the current legislative session, which is scheduled to end at the end of the month, we are watching 492 bills related to our mission.

Among those proposals, we’re currently actively supporting 63 bills and opposing 10 pieces of legislation. That isn’t to say we are not tracking all of the bills on our list. The number of bills we support or oppose frequently is fluid because new ideas can surface and be added to legislation in the form of amendments.

Below are some examples of the kinds of proposals, currently under consideration by the General Assembly, that we are monitoring:

Consolidation (The BGA has taken a position on 15 bills)

  • HB 4637: Allows the board of trustees of any township located in McHenry County to submit a proposition to voters to allow the township to dissolve.

  • SB 2459: Allows the Lake County Board to pass a resolution to dissolve the Seavey Drainage District.

Transparency/Disclosure (13)

  • HB 4278: If an Illinois Veterans Home administrator or administrative staff member discovers an infectious disease is affecting at least two people, they are obligated to provide notice to all residents, post the notice at its entrance, and notify the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  • HB 4413: Any open meeting of the board of trustees of a retirement system or pension fund must broadcast its meetings to the public.

Elections/Voting/Democracy (13)

  • SB 2273: Requires Illinois to only use the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) system for interstate voter registration purposes.

  • HB 4469: Provides a process for those who are in custody at county jails and who are still eligible to vote to be able to register and vote by mail.

Government/Financial Accountability (10)

  • HB 4243: No public funds can be used to pay off an individual for their silence in an allegation or investigation of sexual harassment by a member of the Illinois General Assembly.

  • SB 3604: All severance packages for public employees are limited to 20 weeks of pay. No severance package will be allowed for those who are forced out due to misconduct.

Ethics (8)

  • SB 2299: Any individual elected to township office will not be allowed to be employed by the township in any other capacity except as a volunteer firefighter.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (4)

  • HB 4932: Adds a new exemption to the FOIA which says that law enforcement records in the possession of an agency that did not create the records will not release those records. Rather, the agency will refer the requestor to the original agency that created the record.

Criminal Justice Accountability (2)

  • SB 2378: Requires each law enforcement agency to adopt a written policy for internal review of officer-involved shootings. Requires all such policies will be available under the Freedom of Information Act.

  • SB 3415: Says that the pedestrian stop statistical study will continue and that the Department of Transportation must report on the findings and recommendations to the Governor and Illinois General Assembly by March 2022.

Misc. (4)

  • SB 3139: States that state government communications and legislation will be written using plain language; in a way that uses more common words and less legal jargon.

  • SB 3032: Any new contract or renewed contract may be signed off on by a designee of the chief executive, chief legal counsel, or chief fiscal officer of an agency.