SPRINGFIELD – A Constitutional Amendment sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, that would allow Illinois voters to decide whether to impose a two-term limit on the state’s Executive Branch officers stalled in a Senate Executive Subcommittee on April 29.
“I’m disappointed that Democrats turned their backs on legislation that would have given Illinois voters a say in how their state government operates. In recent years we’ve seen tremendous growing public interest in term limit laws in Illinois, and I think voters should have been given the opportunity to decide whether to limit terms of office for the state’s constitutional officers,” said Radogno.
The Senator said the measure was passed over by Democrats seeking their own constitutional amendment to change the state’s current flat rate tax to a graduated, or “progressive,” tax system. Radogno explained that only three Articles of the constitution can be impacted by legislative constitutional amendments during any given election. The General Assembly has already approved amendments impacting Articles 1 and 3, leaving room for only one more Article to be impacted by a legislatively passed measure; Radogno’s term limit amendment would impact Article 5, while the graduated income tax would impact Article 9.
“Unfortunately, there was only room for one more constitutional amendment on the November ballot. When given the opportunity to increase voter choice or increase taxes I believe we should give the public more influence, but it’s not surprising that Democrats would prioritize the placement of their next tax increase,” said Radogno.
Despite the quickly approaching May 5 deadline to pass a Constitutional Amendment, Radogno said that it was possible to move her legislation, Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 69 (SJRCA 69), through the General Assembly before the cutoff date.
“Anyone acquainted with the legislative process in Springfield knows that where there is a will, there is a way. With the support of the legislative leaders this measure certainly could have passed before the May 5 deadline,” said Radogno.
If the Constitutional Amendment had been adopted by both chambers of the General Assembly, SJRCA 69 would have been placed on the 2014 ballot during the November General Election, at which time Illinois voters would have been asked to decide whether or not to add these provisions to the Illinois Constitution. Constitutional Amendments require either a three-fifths majority vote of those voting on the Constitutional Amendment or a majority of those voting in the election.
If approved by voters, the Constitutional Amendment would have been applied to those Executive Officers elected during the 2018 general election. As a result, even if the Constitutional Amendment is approved, an individual elected to an Executive Branch position during the 2014 election would be allowed to serve that term plus two additional terms in office.
Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 69 would not only limit Executive Branch officers to two terms in office, it also addresses circumstances where an individual is appointed to replace a Governor or Constitutional Officer, whether due to a death or another reason. In that situation, if the acting Governor or appointee serves for more than two years of their predecessor’s term, then they will be limited to one additional term in office; in this way, no Constitutional Officer will ever serve more than ten years in that capacity.