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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.
44th District state senator
May 01, 2012]
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