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Future Illinois governors will face limit on last-minute patronage


From Illinois Business Journal news services

SPRINGFIELD – A measure to prevent future governors from engaging in last-minute patronage is now law in Illinois.

State Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Deerfield, introduced the proposal after former Gov. Pat Quinn appointed a political operative to a $160,000-per-year state job at the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority a month after he lost his election last year.

Her plan affects any director appointed to a governor-controlled board or commission after the governor loses an election. They will be limited to 60 days in the position, allowing the newly elected governor to find the best person for the position. Morrison’s legislation extends beyond the sports authority to include similar government organizations.

“People are sick and tired of Illinois public officials abusing their positions,” Morrison said. “We shouldn’t need this law, but Gov. Quinn made it clear that we do. Fortunately, now this loophole is closed forever.”

The Illinois Sports Finance Authority – a government entity – owns U.S. Cellular Field, home of the White Sox, and provided the majority of the financing for the renovation of the Bears’ Soldier Field. It receives subsidies from the state and the city of Chicago, income from the White Sox rental agreement, and revenue from a 2 percent tax on all hotel rentals in Chicago.

The legislation was originally House Bill 4078. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed it Aug. 26.

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