Democratic lawmakers leading a study of stricter ethics guidelines for the Illinois General Assembly acknowledged missing a key deadline because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform was formed last fall after several federal indictments for bribery and more hit sitting legislators. The deadline for putting forward the panel's recommendations was March 31.
But the novel coronavirus outbreak has slowed the panel's progress, said its co-chairmen, House Majority Leader Greg Harris and Sen. Elgie Sims.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated that we all put the health and safety of our state and our communities first,” the Chicago Democrats said in a joint statement released last week. “We have completed our meetings, heard from stakeholders and are working through the proposals that have been put before us. However, due to the ongoing crisis, more time will be necessary to complete our work.”
The lawmakers said they hold out hope for debating potential legislation yet this spring, but the Legislature, like schools and many businesses in the state, has suspended work to temper the transmission of the virus. Lawmakers missed most of March, canceling 11 scheduled session days through Friday.