* Charlie Wheeler in Illinois Issues…
Forty-five years ago this month, Illinois voters ratified a new Constitution to replace the state’s century-old predecessor. The framers of the new document saw it as a step into the 20th century for the state from the horse-and-buggy era of the 1870 Constitution.
As Illinois staggers into an unprecedented sixth month without an enacted budget and faces massive bill backlogs and pension debt, now might be an appropriate time to ask how well the 1970 charter has withstood the test of time. Has its promises of streamlined government operations, clear delineations of responsibility and greater ethical behavior been achieved? In retrospect, what obvious mistakes did its authors make? What problems did they overlook or fail to foresee?
As one who covered the Sixth Constitutional Convention as his first major assignment for the Chicago Sun-Times, your columnist admits to a certain bias in favor of the delegates’ handiwork. But on balance, I’d submit the 1970 charter has served Illinoisans well in most regards.
Consider these 1970 updates to the 1870 Constitution.
Go read the whole thing and tell us what you think.