Radogno, Durkin: Constitutional Amendment would allow voters to weigh-in on term limits for Constitutional Officers

Springfield, Ill. – Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) introduced a Constitutional Amendment on April 21 with the support of House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) that, if approved by Illinois voters, would impose a two-term limit on the state’s Executive Branch officers.

“I've been slow to embrace term limits because voters do have the power to reject candidates and oust incumbents. However, given the condition of Illinois, I think the time has come to give voters a choice on limiting terms of office for its constitutional officers," said Radogno. "Coupled with an effort to have voters decide on legislators' term limits, this could lead to a meaningful change in Illinois government."

"The power of incumbency is particularly strong for those holding top executive positions like the Governor.  Term limits will bring fresh perspectives to these offices and will make elections for these offices more competitive," said Durkin.  

Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 69 (SJRCA 69) would not only limit Executive Branch officers to two terms in office, it also addresses circumstances where an individual is appointed to replace a Governor or Constitutional Officer, whether due to a death or another reason. In that situation, if the acting Governor or appointee serves for more than two years of their predecessor’s term, then they will be limited to one additional term in office; in this way, no Constitutional Officer will ever serve more than ten years in that capacity.

Though a May 5 deadline to pass a Constitutional Amendment is looming, Radogno said it is still possible to move the measure through the General Assembly before the cutoff date. Having been read into the record on April 22, SJRCA 69 has completed the first step in that process.

“It is entirely feasible to pass this measure prior to the May 5 deadline. It would just require a commitment from Leaders in the House and Senate to usher it through the process as expediently as possible,” said Radogno.

If the Constitutional Amendment is adopted by both chambers of the General Assembly, SJRCA 69 will be placed on the 2014 ballot during the November General Election, at which time Illinois voters will decide whether or not to add these provisions to the Illinois Constitution. Constitutional Amendments require either a three-fifths majority vote of those voting on the Constitutional Amendment or a majority of those voting in the election.

If approved by voters, the Constitutional Amendment would be applied to those Executive Officers elected during the 2018 general election. As a result, even if the Constitutional Amendment is approved, an individual elected to an Executive Branch position during the 2014 election would be allowed to serve that term plus two additional terms in office.