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BGA: Transparency ‘Training Course’ Insufficient For Illinois Officials

Andy Shaw

Better Government Association president Andy Shaw. (Credit: CBS)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — A new law taking effect on Jan. 1 will mandate Illinois public officials learn more about transparency, but a good government group says it’s not enough.

Current office holders will have a year to take an “open meetings training course” provided by the public access counselor. They’re then required to attach a completion certificate to their statements of economic interest.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports

Better Government Association President Andy Shaw says the course should include more than open meeting training.

“They don’t understand the ways in which conflicts of interest, nepotism, patronage and cronyism actually undermine the proper use of tax dollars. I think, in a perfect world, every elected official would have an ethics course,” he said.

Exempted from the law are those elected to serve on a body with meetings regularly attended by an attorney or parliamentarian, and school board members who take alternative training provided by their district. Newly elected office holders will have 90 days to complete the training.

The measure is H.B. 1670, now Public Act 97-0504.