A state government reform panel appointed by new Gov. Pat Quinn today proposed term limits for powerful legislative leaders, cutting back on lawmakers’ private meetings and overhauling a patronage-riddled hiring system.
“The nation’s eyes are upon us, they are watching what we do here. Will we get meaningful reform?” said Patrick Collins, the former federal prosecutor who chaired the commission. “The question for our state at this time in our history is what will be our response to this unprecedented crisis of integrity that we face.”
House Speaker Michael Madigan, who I caught in an elevator a few minutes after Quinn’s press conference, was more reserved. “We view it as an honest effort to generate ideas,” said Madigan, who has ruled the House for most of the past 26 years. He went on to imply that the notion of limiting legisaltive leadership tenure is un-democratic.
As with general elective term limits, the Commission
was unable to make a unanimous recommendation regarding the direct recall of elected officials. While Commissioners acknowledge the merit of making elected officials more accountable to the voters, Commissioners were concerned about the potential unintended consequences of a reactionary endorsement of the recall power.
While the Commission applauds the recent Senate efforts to increase full committee hearing of proposed legislation, the Commission recommends modifying the process even further. To ensure due consideration of pending legislation, the Commission recommends that the House and Senate adopt rules requiring that each bill introduced to the Rules or Assignment Committees, as applicable, be subject to a
full committee vote if the bill has a minimum of sixteen sponsors in the House or eight sponsors in the Senate. The Commission believes that this will allow for consideration of all bills that have a reasonable chance of success, while preventing the waste of time that consideration of every single bill might engender.
The commission urged… an overhaul of the way the state budget gets voted on by breaking it into pieces and holding public hearings on each piece, and de-emphasizing the power of the House and Senate Rules committees, which historically have been chokeholds on major pieces of legislation.
The commission wants to make government more transparent by applying the Open Meetings act to the Illinois General Assembly and making state government approve more Freedom of Information Act requests.
* Gov. Quinn didn’t sign off immediately on the commission’s procurement reforms, saying he hadn’t had a chance to read them yet…
* The governor also said he’d be open to public financing for more than just judicial races…
The legislature’s feet need to be held to the fire on this well done report. Quinn is right in that a vote on each important issue needs to be taken and these elected officials need to be on the record-pro or con.
I believe we will see the Speaker at his finest gamesmanship in dealing with this hot potato
Ditto to others here and elsewhere who suggest the Reform Commission’s proposals were more likely to be taken up at a Con Con than by the General Assembly.
Having said that, I’m wondering why Quinn is going out of his way to antagonize the General Assembly. You’ve offered your proposals Governor, now move on to getting your budget passed and if the GA won’t act, do what you can via Executive Order and leading by example.
Didn’t Quinn learn anything in the last six years? Here he is poking his thumb in the Speaker’s eye after watching Blagojevich use his middle finger. How’d that work out for Rod?
One question - would any of these recommendations have stopped Blagojevich? I think the answer is no.
In the wake of the Governor’s scandal, this commission was supposed to look at ways to reform government, but they only provided ways to change the general assembly. I don’t get it. It wasn’t members of the senate that attempted to sell Barack Obama’s seat. It wasn’t members of the house sqeezing donors for campaign cash.
There are some good ideas in the report, but theres not one reform aimed at only the executive. What stops the Rezkos and Kellys? No mention of anything to end that practice.
I think the group is only after press releases when they target the general assembly rather than the executive.
I have to agree with “huh?”…It wasn’t the ILGA that tried to sell a Senate seat and is currently under federal indictment. Not that some of the Commission’s proposals regarding the GA aren’t valid. Could we see something regarding the Executive Office, please?
Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Speaker Madigan really the only one standing in Governor Blagojevich’s way in Sringfield. And now, the Reform Commission says that he should have had a term limit as Speaker. That makes no sense. My feeling is that the Commission is playing its hand badly and that few of their reforms will come to fruition.
The Reform Commission has bungled its way by focusing on legislative, rahter than executive changes. As a result, nothing of consequnece will get done.
Proposals like term limits would require amending the Illinois Constitution. Since it takes a three-fiths majority to submit any amendment to the voters, we could easily see each house pass a proposal but narrowly block the other house’s plan (say by only receiving a simple majority but not the three-fifths needed).
When Mike Madigan mentions term limits on leaders,he’s right it is un-democratic.So what? Restraining political power is a much more important value than letting majority rule tyranny run wild.There should be term limits on all politicians.We’d have more competitive elections and more open dialogue.
Yeah, well Fawell reportedly dished on Madigan to the USA during the Ryan probe, and others did the same during the 2002 Lisa campaign (Birkett’s folks). That wound up nowhere, obviously, so this may be an alternate route.
I agree that term limits can be handled within the election process. My problem is that in this representative democracy I did not elect Madigan to represent me. Yet no one including my Rep’s can get anything done with out his blessing. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
===Require exclusive employment for the Senate President and Speaker of the House positions with compensation commensurate with Illinois Supreme Court Justices. ===
This should actually be put in place for all legislators. Expensive? yes, but believe me, most of us have thought about hiring these guys law firms, buying insurance from them or using their real estate firms, etc. I’m not saying any legislator that I know of has used their outside employment for quid pro quo. But just the appearance of it possibly not being kept at arms length would make it a conflict of interest in most other business situations. At a minimum, maybe full disclosure of all clients who have a certain level of interest in dealing with the government.
Collins is doing exactly what Blago did on this issue. Propose something so huge and sweeping that it is dead on arrival and now he will run around the state blasting the ‘powers that be’ for standing in the way of change while in reality he will be merely promoting his own personal ambitions.
I said this before and i’ll say it again and again… what the Collins Commission is doing is to go around and adopt every reform proposal that has been floated over the years and lump it together as a so-called reform package. There is nothing new or original in their ideas. Its just a bunch of re-hashed bunk. I could have put this proposal out after a weekends worth of effort.
The commission’s proposed “Department of Procurement” would be a huge disaster. Blago concentrated so much in CMS that it was difficult to get any kind of contract for any product or service. This would turn the difficult into the impossible. When you can only get one type of computer printer but then you can’t get ink cartridges for it (thanks to CMS), that’s annoying but not a disaster. They will only make things worse.
If Quinn was serious about cleaning up state government he would dismantle CMS. This is nothing more than a corrupt political organization.
I don’t see him doing that. Because everyone knows that’s where the money, state contracts and jobs get doled out. Billions of taxpayer dollars wasted with incompetent contractors. It will never change. Quinn has already gotten a taste of the power and will do anything to keep it.
CMS will lead him to the money and jobs just like they did for Blagojevich. CMS was the biggest enabler Blagojevich had.
Now they have latched on to Quinn. Play it again Sam.
Term limits for everyone throughout the state. Lack of term limits constrains innovation, accountability, and competition. Journalists would have fun doing their jobs again covering more than the same faces for 35 years. It is really sad in this state - power is controlled by the few for too long. Those in power control everything without true accountability. It both dumbs down and corrupts the whole system. Term limits! (3 terms for Gov and Mayors, 6 for legislators, 4 for senate)