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“Excellent politics” but “questionable for governance”

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2016

* The governor has been barnstorming the state about term limits this week

Standing atop a hay wagon on the property, Rauner asked an assembled crowd of citizens and local public officials to demand members of the Legislature vote during their fall veto session on putting a constitutional amendment on the ballot to impose term limits on state officials.

The Rauner plan would limit statewide officeholders to eight years in a position — two terms — and no more than 10 years in the General Assembly, either five House terms or three Senate terms. […]

“Be a regular person. … Serve for a few years, do what’s right for the people and then go back to the real world,” Rauner said.

His tour on Tuesday took him to four regions of the state — near Rockford, Springfield and the Quad Cities, and between Peoria and Bloomington — though the districts he stopped in were primarily represented by Republicans, who have been friendlier to his plans. All are represented by a Republican in the state Senate, and three out of the four stops were in districts with a Republican in the state House.

The issue polls extremely well, and he’s been firmly on-message everywhere he’s spoken so far. Also, he doesn’t need to actually be in a targeted district to make his point about the ruling party, as long as he’s in the same media market as one.

* But not everybody is enthused

State Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, differs with Gov. Bruce Rauner when it comes to term limits. […]

Brady told WJBC’s Scott Laughlin voters should be able to remove lawmakers if they want, but for the legislative leadership positions, such as the one House Speaker Mike Madigan has held for three decades, that’s another story.

“Those types of changes should be looked at when it comes to something where you have the speaker as long as he has (been in office),” Brady said. “If you want real reform, I think you ought to be talking about within the caucuses.”

Rauner said in a visit to El Paso on Tuesday wants the General Assembly to pass term limits and redistricting reform since citizen-led efforts have failed in the courts. Brady suggests with Madigan in power, that will never happen.

* And

Chris Mooney, director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois, said [the failure of more than a dozen legislative term limit proposals in Illinois since 2015] shouldn’t come as a surprise. […]

Two state legislatures that did approve term limits — Louisiana and Utah — did so only because more restrictive measures were coming down the pike through voter initiatives, he said.

Mooney said research has shown that many claims from proponents and opponents of term limits aren’t supported by the facts. For examples, they don’t seem to increase electoral competition as proponents argue, he said, nor do they appear to concentrate more power in the hands of lobbyists as opponents claim.

The most significant impact of term limits is that they’ve resulted in an “increase in power of the executive branch at the expense of the legislative branch,” Mooney said.

“It’s excellent politics,” he said. “It’s questionable for governance.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

29 Comments
  1. - Reality Check - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:40 am:

    That headline is Rauner’s first two years in a nutshell — and that’s being generous to him.


  2. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:41 am:

    Why is experience a bad thing in Springfield? Remember we are going to run things like a business in Springfield. What business owner says bring me an employee with no experience?


  3. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:42 am:

    Term limits also increases the power of “special interests” as former legislators leave to become lobbyists.


  4. - AlfondoGonz - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:44 am:

    Term limit advocates seem to pop up more often when they can’t beat a guy or gal through the democratic process. If you want someone out of office, put up a candidate with ideals that the electorate will respond to. If the electorate, time and time again, votes in the incumbent, perhaps the goal shouldn’t be to take their voice away but to give them a better option.


  5. - cdog - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:49 am:

    IF successful, term limits would favor the 1% crowd who have the means to drown out/shout over any competition.

    Not a fan for this reason and the reason cited above by the scholar.


  6. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:52 am:

    ===It’s questionable for governance===

    That pretty much sums up the Rauner administration so far.


  7. - paddyrollingstone - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:53 am:

    47th Ward “That pretty much sums up the Rauner administration so far.”

    Well played, sir. Well played.


  8. - A guy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:56 am:

    ===Term limits also increases the power of “special interests” as former legislators leave to become lobbyists.===

    We sure wouldn’t want that to happen…oh wait.


  9. - Thoughts Matter - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:58 am:

    Voters are free to vote against an incumbent whenever they want. It’s up to the opposition party to run a qualified candidate. If the voters want to re-elect an incumbent that is their right. Rank and file legislators don’t have an over abundance of power just because they’ve been there a while. They don’t sign or veto bills, or issue executive orders, or call out the National Guard.

    Now, should we have fair districts- yes. Although over time demographics change in any district - including Madigans. Should we limit the amount of terms someone can serve as Speaker or Senate President? That is really where the power lies. Madigans’ voters might vote him out if he wasn’t the Speaker because they wouldn’t be giving up a prestigious leader.


  10. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 12:02 pm:

    A guy, appreciate the snark. Would you like every single legislator slated to leave to be voting on an issue, not accountable to their constituents, but accountable to the lobbying firm they are trying to get a job with? 177 of them.


  11. - Lucky Pierre - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 12:09 pm:

    47 th ward how is the Governance in the GA,? Everything running like a Swiss watch?


  12. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 12:34 pm:

    Another silver bullet idea. Let’s make sure complicated problems are solved by ignorant lawmakers. That will get us better results.

    There are structural changes that could help. Indiana has extreme prohibitions on state debt because of problems they had building canals. They can’t have our unfunded pension liabilities.

    I favor multi-member districts, but don’t expect it to solve everything.


  13. - NoGifts - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 12:53 pm:

    I prefer my representative to have experience in government. We have plenty of examples of inexperienced people making a mess of things.


  14. - Matt Vernau - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:00 pm:

    The entries above against term limits sound reasonable but don’t fit the state I have watched for 50 years. Voters can’t necessarily vote out incumbents as easily as suggested. Many run unopposed. Many win because of name recognition or getting themselves on the top of the ballot. Any change we make can have negative consequences but we have lived without fair districts and term limits for ever and the results too often include problems like those faced by Mr. Mautino. Everybody said he was a great fellow until they audited his travel vouchers. Was he a good guy then because he always had someone else’s money to pick up the lunch tab? Term limits would help move folks along before they became really good at manipulating the system. Maybe another way to get money out of politics might be to shorten the election cycle down to 2 months. What we are doing has gotten us Madigan and Rauner and spin.


  15. - X-prof - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:02 pm:

    An informed and involved electorate would make term limits unnecessary. While we’re unlikely to see that anytime soon, term limits are not a workable substitute. A misinformed or disinterested electorate is just as likely (perhaps more likely) to choose a new person who will make things worse. Trump’s primary victory and Rauner’s electoral victory are, IMO, cases in point.


  16. - A guy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:04 pm:

    ===Would you like every single legislator slated to leave to be voting on an issue, not accountable to their constituents, but accountable to the lobbying firm they are trying to get a job with?===

    Could it not work just the opposite way?


  17. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:10 pm:

    ==how is the Governance in the GA,? Everything running like a Swiss watch?==

    Can you just once make a comment that isn’t made with a victim mentality or the “yeah, but” syndrome?

    As for 47th’s comments they are absolutely on target. The Governor has been an abysmal failure at actually governing. I would like to see the guy do some governing. We need a Governor. He’s AWOL


  18. - Cubs in '16 - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:12 pm:

    “Be a regular person. … Serve for a few years, do what’s right for the people and then go back to the real world,” Rauner said.

    Oh c’mon. What does he know about being a regular person or the “real” world?


  19. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:12 pm:

    Term limits aren’t the problem. The way districts are drawn is the problem. I’ve never been an advocate for term limits. We already have them in the form of elections. Redo the way maps are drawn and you’ll get (hopefully) better competitive elections.


  20. - Highland IL - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:18 pm:

    You only have to look at our neighbor Missouri to see how lobbyist control the process of the revolving door of representatives and senators…


  21. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:51 pm:

    I was going to touch on governance, but that has been appropriately addressed by so many.

    If the Gov wants to vote on CA’s for 2018, how about term limits (including gov limits) in exchange for progressive income tax.


  22. - Lucky Pierre - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:55 pm:

    The post was about fixing the legislature led by a man with a 13 percent approval rating. Term limits might help legislators make tough votes. Not sure what Rahmer has to do with the failure of the legislature to pass a balanced budget for years now


  23. - Chicago 20 - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:58 pm:

    - “Be a regular person. … Serve for a few years, do what’s right for the people and then go back to the real world,” Rauner said.

    Who can quit their job for ten years and then return to “the real world “?

    We already have term limits, they’re called elections.


  24. - Sense of a Goose - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 2:01 pm:

    Amateur lawmakers have to rely on staff or lobbyists for knowledge. Which do you trust? Think I’d prefer someone I actually get to vote for. Governing isn’t easy and the number of issues faced continues to grow. We need elected officials that have a clue.


  25. - Mama - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 2:17 pm:

    The voters currently have the right to impose term limits on the legislature & the governors office - its called an ‘election ballot’.


  26. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 2:34 pm:

    ==Term limits might help==

    We’ve got term limits. They are called elections. I find that the people who support term limits are the same people who whine when they can’t get the outcome they want at the ballot box.


  27. - A guy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 2:59 pm:

    ===Amateur lawmakers have to rely on staff or lobbyists for knowledge.===

    Actually, all of them do.


  28. - chitowndrummer - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 4:25 pm:

    General term limits are a dumb idea for many of the reasons already cited, but there’s something to be said for limits on how long someone can serve in a leadership position or as a committee chair. Following the 1994 “Republican Revolution,”the U.S. House adopted (as a House rule, no legislation or constitutional amendment necessary) a six-year limit on committee chairs. So, citizens were free to re-elect their Reps if they chose to do so, but those incumbents could not hold on to chairmanships ad infinitum.


  29. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 6:03 pm:

    Rauner: Let’s start with a single term as Governor.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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