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Lincoln Daily News
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Powerful tool of change is being abused by House Speaker Michael Madigan

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Dear Editor:

A powerful tool of change is being abused by House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Our state's constitution provides a process by which constitutional amendments can be put to voters but limits the number that can be considered during one election. No more than three articles of our state's constitution can be amended at one time.

One constitutional amendment that deserves a public vote is a cost-saving proposal to merge the offices of the state comptroller and treasurer. The resolution was adopted by a unanimous vote of the Senate on March 31, 2011, but it is being held by the House speaker while other amendments are being given priority.

Madigan is pushing his proposal to require a supermajority, three-fifths vote for passage of any legislation to increase pension benefits. Because of the cost-saving potential, I support his proposal and asked him to consider strengthening it by also requiring that no such vote take place during any lame-duck session of the General Assembly, a recommendation he did not take.

[to top of second column in this letter]

However, the Senate Executive Committee approved resolutions on April 18 calling for two more constitutional amendments. One amends the Bill of Rights article of the Illinois Constitution to provide additional rights to crime victims. Another requires each state's attorney to be a resident of the state. The issues addressed in these amendments are quite important, and I support them; however, if they advance, there will be no room on the ballot for the comptroller-treasurer merger amendment.

Constitutional amendments should not be subject to political games or power plays. The state's attorney residency amendment addresses a valid issue, but its passage is not particularly time-sensitive, nor does it have the cost-saving impact of the comptroller-treasurer merger amendment. If Speaker Madigan is serious about addressing the state's fiscal crisis, he needs to let the comptroller-treasurer merger amendment have an immediate hearing in the House of Representatives.


Bill Brady
44th District state senator

[Posted May 01, 2012]

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