* From the Illinois Policy Institute’s journalist in residence…
In the 1990s, Quinn pushed for a constitutional amendment to create term limits for legislators. But the Illinois Supreme Court threw out the proposal before it could go to the voters.
This past week, however, Quinn came out against a new plan to create term limits for lawmakers, a plan being pushed by Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner.
That’s artfully worded, but Quinn still favors term limits. The governor simply questioned whether there was a need for the rest of Rauner’s proposal…
Rauner is circulating petitions to get the issues on the 2014 ballot. That includes making it harder to override a governor’s veto by changing the number of votes needed from three-fifths to two-thirds. He also wants to limit legislators to eight years in office, cut the size of the Senate from 59 members to 41 and expand the House from 118 to 123.
Quinn told reporters Wednesday there’s no need to change the three-fifths vote. […]
Quinn says it’s unnecessary to increase the number of House members.
* Quinn is right about that. Nobody cares about those two issues. In reality, the two proposals were simply a way to get term limits onto the ballot. Eric Zorn doesn’t think it’ll work…
The power of citizens to initiate amendments to the state constitution via petition drive was limited by the framers only “to structural and procedural subjects contained” in Article IV, the one that deals with the legislature [the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in 1994]. […]
So would term limits change the structure of the legislature?
No, the majority ruled in 1994. Even with term limits, “The General Assembly would remain a bicameral legislature consisting of a House and Senate with a total of 177 members, and would maintain the same organization.”
Would it change the procedures of the legislature?
Again, no. “The process by which the General Assembly adopts a law would remain unchanged” with the addition of term limits, said the majority opinion. […]
If, earlier this week when Rauner’s proposal was formally unveiled, you wondered why it included this pair of off-the-radar-screen ideas, now you know: It’s an effort to create a plausible reason for the Supreme Court to give the OK.
“These are three interrelated reforms,” said Mike Schrimpf, a spokesman for Rauner and the term-limits effort. “Taken all together, they make the legislature more responsive to the citizens and they make elections more competitive.”
But, so far anyway, Rauner is the only person offering up an actual plan. So being against a couple of smallish aspects of that plan means it can be spun by the pro-Rauner types (and the Illinois Policy Institute’s honchos are with Rauner) as being “against term limits.” So, advantage Rauner.
* Sen. Kirk Dillard took his opposition a step further…
When asked if term limits is a big issue in Illinois, Dillard said Rauner is “pulling a Pat Quinn.” He says Rauner is pandering to the public on a popular issue.
As for himself, Dillard supports term limits for legislative leaders. He voted for a recall, which he believes sends a better message than term limits. That way, if people want to get rid of an official like Rod Blagojevich, they can get rid of him right away, rather than having to impeach or wait until the next election.
Dillard said the legislative leaders are the problem.
* OK, but this constitutional amendment is already being sold as a way to get rid of Madigan and break the stranglehold of Chicago’s influence….
Rauner’s got a video out to promote his term-limits issue.
It blasts “career politicians” who stay too long in office. And whose pictures roll by on the screen when this discussion is taking place? Senate President John Cullerton, ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich and House Speaker Michael Madigan, all Chicago Democrats.
Dillard is on the “wrong” side of this issue, as far as the public is concerned, so he’s gotta revert to name calling. Politically, anyway, this is, again, advantage Rauner.