SPRINGFIELD — Republican Bruce Rauner offered his imprimatur Wednesday to a new term-limits proposal from GOP House and Senate leaders to limit the tenure of the governor and other statewide officeholders, but Senate Democrats gave the plan a cold shoulder.
Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, proposed a constitutional amendment that would limit the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer and comptroller to eight-year terms.
“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,” Radogno said in a prepared statement.
“Coupled with an effort to have voters decide on legislators’ term limits, this could lead to a meaningful change in Illinois government,” she said.
Later Wednesday afternoon, Rauner added his support for the plan, which is similar to a separate voter initiative pushed by Rauner to impose eight-year term limits on legislators.
“I strongly support this term-limits proposal. It is the perfect complement to our initiative for legislative term limits, and as governor, I’ll limit myself to two terms no matter what,” Rauner said in a prepared statement. “Despite his current opposition to both term-limits efforts, I urge Pat Quinn to take on his party’s legislative leaders and side with the people of Illinois who support term limits across the board.”
The Quinn campaign did not immediately respond to questions about the governor’s posture toward the Radogno-Durkin plan, but a top aide to Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, expressed little interest in the Republican legislation.
“Voters have the opportunity to deny terms in every election,” Cullerton spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Radogno’s legislation, SJRCA69, would have to pass the Senate and House with three-fifths supermajorities, meaning Democratic votes would be necessary in each chamber in order for the proposed amendment to go before voters on the November 4 ballot.
Constitutional amendments originating in the General Assembly have until May 4 to pass both legislative chambers.