Tuesday, February 19, 2008


The newest member of the Illinois Senate has become the newest co-sponsor of House Bill 1, which would limit pay-to-play state contracting opportunities.

Just days after being sworn-in to a vacancy in the Senate, Sen. Heather Steins, D-Chicago, became the 47th member of the 59-member Senate to sign on as a co-sponsor of HB 1.

HB 1 would prohibit business owners with more than $25,000 in state contracts from making campaign contributions to officeholders awarding the contracts.

“If state government contractors are banned from contributing campaign dollars, taxpayers will have some confidence that contracts are being awarded fairly, and business owners will be less likely to be squeezed for campaign contributions in exchange for doing business with state government,” said Cynthia Canary, Director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

“Too many business executives believe that campaign contributions are the price that must be paid in order to win a state contract,” Canary said. “We need to turn that on its head and make campaign contributions the price of not getting state business.”

Last spring, the Illinois House approved HB 1 by a vote of 116 to 0. In the more than nine months since HB 1 passed the House, Senate President Emil Jones has not allowed HB 1 to be debated.

“Support for this legislation is overwhelming,” Canary said. “Senate President Jones should either permit the bill to come to a vote or tell the 47 sponsors and the public why he fears passage of this important government reform.”

For additional information about HB 1, please visit www.ilcampaign.org.

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