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Bill would limit terms of Illinois legislative leaders

SPRINGFIELD — A bill has been proposed at the Illinois General Assembly that would put term limits on four legislative positions.

The legislation would limit the House speaker and the Senate president, along with the minority leader in each chamber, to 10 consecutive years in their roles. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Thomas M. Bennett, R-Gibson City, The State Journal-Register reported.

Bennett submitted a similar bill last year but it never left a committee. But the Senate approved a resolution last year that limits the tenure of the chamber’s president and its minority leader to 10 years.

Democratic Sen. Julie A. Morrison of Deerfield sponsored that effort. She supports expanding the rule outside of the Senate but says the change would be more effective as a constitutional amendment.

“I am under the opinion that it should be an amendment as opposed to a bill or even a resolution, as I understand it would be stronger and more permanent,” Morrison said. “We need to make sure it isn’t changed under a whim. I mean, nothing’s permanent, but it is much more difficult to change the Constitution rather than other pieces of legislation. Resolutions only affect the chamber they’re passed in.”

Bennett also is sponsoring a constitutional amendment that would limit all legislators to no more than 16 years combined in the House and Senate.

Morrison said she’s supportive of term limits but said more debate and discussion is needed before they’re put to a vote.

“One concern I’ve heard from my constituents is that then the only permanent group with institutional and policy-expertise in Springfield would be lobbyists and bureaucrats,” she said.

–Associated Press

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