Comptroller’s ‘no exit bonus, no signing bonus’ reform passes in legislature’s ethics package deal

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – Legislators of both parties exploited a loophole in state law that allowed them to resign on the first day of the month and collect the whole month’s pay or get sworn in at month’s end but claim a whole month’s pay, according to Illinois State Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza.

That ends with this legislation. The new rules take effect Jan. 1, 2022.

“Waitresses and factory workers don’t collect a month’s pay for a day’s work, and legislators don’t deserve that luxury on the back of taxpayers,” Mendoza said.

Former State Rep. Luis Arroyo, charged with bribery; the late former State Sen. Martin Sandoval, who pleaded guilty to federal bribery and tax charges; and former State Rep. Nick Sauer, charged with online sex crimes, all took advantage of that loophole in state law in recent years, according to Mendoza.

“I can think of no other occupation that pays employees an entire month’s salary for working just a few days,” State Rep. Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville) said. “Illinois lawmakers can – and should – do better for the taxpayers of this state.”

In February, three legislators could all claim a month’s pay in the 22nd legislative district following the retirement of former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan. To his credit, former State Rep. Edward Kodatt declined the month’s salary he was entitled to for his two days in office.

“In any other job, if you work for one day, you don’t get paid for the whole month, and legislators shouldn’t get special treatment,” State Sen. Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) said. “This is a common-sense provision that will save our taxpayers money.”

Castro and Stuart were the chief sponsors of the ethics legislation before it was incorporated into the ethics package. State Rep. Mike Murphy (R-Springfield); Rep. Maura Hirschauer (D-Batavia); and Rep. Dave Vella (D-Rockford) were chief co-sponsors of the bill. State Rep. Kelly Burke (D-Evergreen Park) and State Sen. Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) were chief sponsors of the ethics omnibus package.

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