022713br0333WDEERFIELD – A new law sponsored by State Senator Julie Morrison will ensure that the public and the press know when a company, political group or nonprofit is lobbying the government.

“Like it or not, lobbyists have become part of our political system,” the Deerfield Democrat said. “The people deserve to know which companies are trying to influence our laws and who they hire to do it.”

Current law requires lobbyists to disclose who hires them. However, there’s a loophole that many companies use to skirt the law. Companies will hire one person as their lobbyist, and then that person will subcontract out to others to do the actual work – sometimes as many as dozens of other people. Those subcontractors only have to list the person who hired them, not the company they are actually lobbying for.

“This is about honesty and transparency,” Morrison continued. “If, for example, a special interest group or major corporation has dozens of lobbyists – including former legislators and other ‘connected’ people – working to influence the law, the people and the press should be able to know about it.”

Illinois law already has a wide variety of safeguards to prevent conflicts of interest and other potential ethical problems with the legislative process. The new disclosure law is supported by the Better Government Association.

In passing the law, Morrison is following the tradition of her predecessor in the 29th Senate District, who was known for her passionate advocacy for enhanced government transparency, ethical safeguards and accountability.

The new law goes into effect Jan. 1, before the next major legislative session of the General Assembly begins.

Read more: Update: Lobbyist transparency measure moves to governor's desk