* From a press release…
The Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits, chaired by Bruce Rauner, filed petitions today containing 591,092 signatures, nearly twice the statutory minimum, with representatives from the Secretary of State’s office at the Illinois State Board of Elections.
Term Limits and Reform has been collecting signatures in a statewide petition drive since September in order to place the Term Limits and Reform constitutional amendment on the ballot in November. Because of an outdated requirement for filing a petition with the State Board of Elections, left over from when petitions were divided by county instead of a single statewide filing, the 36-foot long, 67,976 page, 1,600-pound Term Limits and Reform petition was delivered to the Board of Elections by semi truck and required a team of over 20 to deliver.
The amendment limits state lawmakers to 8 years in the general assembly, while also making other structural and procedural changes to the legislature, including raising the threshold to override a gubernatorial veto to bring Illinois in line with 36 other states, and changing the number of state house and senate districts, saving taxpayers millions and bringing house members closer to home.
“All these reforms, especially term limits, will go a long way towards changing the insider culture of Springfield and send a message that power belongs in the hands of the people, not the career politicians and special interests,” Bruce Rauner said.
* From the Tribune…
Rauner has made support for legislative term limits a major plank in his run for governor, his first bid for public office, and the wealthy Winnetka equity investor has given $600,000 of the more than $1.6 million raised by the term-limit committee.
All told, Rauner, national term-limits advocate Howard Rich, conservative donor Richard Uihlein and real estate mogul Sam Zell have donated 76.5 percent of the money raised by the term-limit group.
After the petitions are filed, the State Board of Elections will conduct a random check of 5 percent of the signatures to determine if the proposal has enough valid registered voter names to be submitted to voters for ratification.
The proposal still is likely to face a legal challenge before the Illinois Supreme Court over whether it meets the constitutional requirement to appear before the voters.
Wednesday in Springfield, Senate GOP Leader Christine Radogno argued that limiting the Governor and other top officials to two terms in office would allow for fresh ideas.
“Sometimes we have good and useful people who feel they cannot possibly overcome the disadvantage of incumbency,” said Radogno. “and, this discourages people who are well qualified from running.”
But Democrats on the Senate subcommittee voted down the proposal 2-1.
The proposal never had a chance.
Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, said 35 other states place term limits on their statewide officials, and most of them are in better shape than Illinois. She said the overwhelming power of incumbency has scared away qualified candidates who might challenge the status quo. She also said voters are ready to “tear their hair out” over the lack of options at the ballot box.
Democrats, though, criticized Radogno for waiting until the last minute to introduce the amendment. Even if the Senate had approved the measure, the House would have had to add additional session days in order to take up the measure before Monday’s deadline. They also noted that a statewide official can pledge not to serve more than two terms without the amendment. Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner has said he will not serve more than eight years. Gov. Pat Quinn has also said he will not run again if he is re-elected in November.
“If you believe in it, you should practice what you believe,” Clayborne told Radogno, trying unsuccessfully to extract a promise from her that should wouldn’t run for re-election as a symbolic show of support for her concept.
Radogno said she would adhere to whatever voters decide on a separate amendment aiming to limit legislators’ terms, assuming it makes it onto the fall ballot.
* The group pushing to change the way the General Assembly draws state legislative district maps is filing its petitions tomorrow.