Term limits going nowhere in Springfield
SPRINGFIELD — An Illinois Senate subcommittee has squashed a Republican-led effort to impose two-term limits on executive officeholders in the state, such as governor, secretary of state and attorney general.
The 2-1 party-line roll call Tuesday on a constitutional amendment proposed by Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, almost certainly means the proposal is dead for this year. Amendments to the state Constitution have to be submitted by May 5. Parliamentary procedures required an affirmative vote by the Senate no later than Tuesday.
The vote against Radogno's amendment also left a spot on the November ballot for a possible Democratic-sponsored constitutional amendment on a progressive income tax for Illinois. The Legislature could take that issue up later this week.
"I think the Democrats do not want term limits," Radogno said after the vote on SJRCA 69.
Every executive office in Illinois but treasurer and comptroller is held by a Democrat. And one of the Republicans, Treasurer Dan Rutherford, is not running for re-election. He ran unsuccessfully for governor last month.
But Radogno said the proposed amendment was not aimed at Democratic officeholders.
"This is not about individuals. (Former Republican Gov.) Jim Thompson served more than two terms," she said. "This is about a policy going forward that will increase turnover in state government. I think it lessens the potential that people make policy decisions based on their next election."
Radogno said 35 states have some sort of term limitation on governors.
"And the fact of the matter is that almost all of those states are doing better than Illinois," she said. "We are not in good shape and perhaps it's time to look at something that has worked in other states."
Democrats, however, asked Radogno and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Westchester, whether they would abide by self-imposed term limits if a proposed constitutional amendment on legislative term limits was not approved.
"I'll know when my time is up and I clearly will not spend the time that my counterpart has in his position (House Speaker Michael Madigan, a member of the House since 1971)," said Durkin. "I'm at the ripe age of 53. I feel I have more to offer my district and the House of Representatives."
Radogno, who admitted she had not been a supporter of term limits originally, said her position on term limits for legislators "is evolving. I probably will support it."