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Government Lawyers NewsletterThe newsletter of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Government Lawyers

August 2003, vol. 5, no. 1

News you can use

Executive order provisions superseded

In an effort to supersede an executive order signed by Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, the General Assembly on May 31, 2003, passed Senate Bill 1901, to amend the Executive Reorganization Implementation Act (15 ILCS 15). The bill was passed to set aside Executive Order Number 10 (2003) that was signed by Governor Blagojevich on March 31, 2003. Through the executive order, Governor Blagojevich proposed to consolidate and transfer internal auditing, legal services and facilities management of all agencies under the jurisdiction of the Governor to the Department of Central Management Services. Legal functions specific to each particular agency and adjudicatory staff were to remain with an agency. However, pursuant to the executive order, common legal functions related to personnel, procurement, bond financing and many other issues would be consolidated. The executive order was to become effective on the 61st day after its delivery to the General Assembly. In response to the executive order, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 1901. Regarding the consolidation of legal services, the bill limits the consolidation to "legal technical advisor functions related to procurement and personnel issues across agencies." All other legal functions are to remain at the agencies. Any legal personnel, records or property transferred from an agency to the Department of Central Management Services under the auspices of the Executive Order 10, but contrary to Senate Bill 1901, were to be immediately transferred back to the original agency from the Department of Central Management Services. To the extent that the language in the bill conflicted with a provision in the executive order, the bill included a provision that the language in the executive order was superseded. The bill was sent to the Governor for signature on June 27, 2003. A copy of Senate Bill 1901 can be found on the General Assembly's Web site at <www.ilga.gov>. A copy of executive Order Number 10 (2003) can be found on the State's Web site at <http://www.illinois.gov/gov/execorder.cfm?eorder=10>. For more information about Executive Order Number 10, see "News you can use" ISBA Standing Committee on Government Lawyers newsletter, May 2003, Vol. 4 No. 5.

General Assembly passes ethics legislation, Governor vetoes ethics bill

Backed by many legislators, the General Assembly on May 31, 2003, passed a bipartisan ethics bill geared toward restoring the public's trust in Illinois government. House Bill 3412 created the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act and prohibited State officers and employees of the executive and legislative branches of State government and the Office of the Auditor General from engaging in political activities during State time. The bill also required the implementation and maintenance of personnel policies for those officers and employees. The bill further mandated annual ethics training for all State employees, prohibited certain practices by State officers, candidates for offices and those employees with respect to campaign contributions, fundraising, public service announcements, and post-State service employment, and created protections for whistle-blowers. The bill was sent to the Governor for signature on June 27, 2003.

On June 12, 2003, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich amendatorily vetoed the bill before it was sent to him by the General Assembly. While the Governor gave credit to the General Assembly for passing ethics legislation, he indicated that additional changes were needed to strengthen the ethics reform package. The Governor's amendatory veto makes several significant changes to the legislation, including: (1) establishing an executive inspector general to oversee the entire executive branch to investigate reports of ethical misconduct; (2) creating an executive ethics commission to review information gathered by the executive inspector general; (3) setting up a toll-free hotline to report wrongdoing to the executive inspector general or to request guidance in understanding the State's ethics laws; (4) shifting responsibility for ethics training from ethics officers, as written in the original bill, to the executive inspector general; (5) tightening the Illinois Gift Ban Act by removing 11 exceptions, including those for golf and tennis; (6) completely banning public service announcements that feature the image, voice, or name of constitutional officers or members of the General Assembly; and (7) prohibiting any State employee who actively participated in making decisions that impact a specific company or employer from accepting a job with that entity within one year of leaving employment with the State. The restriction concerning post-State employment in the original bill only applied to employees who were the lead negotiators in contracts worth $25,000 or more. A copy of House Bill 3412 can be found on the General Assembly's Web site at <http://www.ilga.gov>


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