March 4, 2020
SPRINGFIELD – A Senate committee today unanimously approved Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s plan to eliminate “exit bonuses” for legislators who resign their seats in the General Assembly before the end of their terms.
The measure, Senate Bill 2456, passed the Senate Executive Committee and has bipartisan support. It would end the long-standing practice of legislators being paid for an entire month when they resign their seats on the first day of the month.
“I’m thrilled that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree it’s time to do away with this greedy practice,” Mendoza said. “This is the right thing on behalf of taxpayers who foot the bill when someone chooses to exploit this loophole.”
The legislation was prompted by recent cases involving State Sen. Martin Sandoval and State Rep. Luis Arroyo – each of whom are under federal investigation, and each of whom were paid for an entire month after resigning on the first day of the month.
Under the proposal, which is sponsored by State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin), lawmakers who resign before completing their entire term in office would be compensated on a prorated basis – meaning they would be paid based on the number of days they work in the Legislature. The same rule would apply to lawmakers appointed to complete the term of a vacancy.
In addition, legislators would have the option to be paid twice a month, just like all other state employees and constitutional officers. Currently, they are all paid once a month. The Illinois Office of Comptroller issues paychecks to lawmakers, state employees and constitutional officers.
“The era of legislators taking advantage of the system to the detriment of taxpayers is over,” Castro said. “This is long overdue and I’m proud to be the one fighting to end this practice.”
The plan will go before the full Senate for consideration.