Term limits seemingly off the table in Illinois budget negotiations

Eric Kohn

Eric Kohn is marketing manager at the Illinois Policy Institute.

Eric Kohn
June 28, 2017

Term limits seemingly off the table in Illinois budget negotiations

Nearly 4 out of 5 Illinoisans support term limits for lawmakers.

Despite enjoying robust public support, it now seems that term limits – both for elected representatives and for legislative leaders – are no longer part of the budget deal negotiations in Springfield.

Following the June 26 meeting of legislative leaders, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin commented that term limits were “off the table,” according to Reuters reporter Dave McKinney.  Durkin stated that he was “talking about three issues right now.”  Those three issues are pensions, workers’ compensation and property taxes.

The push for term limits originated as an item in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda.  After being originally proposed as term limits on all Springfield lawmakers, the reform was subsequently watered down just to prospective 10-year term limits on only legislative leaders.  Senate Resolution 3, which passed the chamber Jan. 11, proscribed 10-year term limits on the Senate president and minority leader, but didn’t apply to the House Speaker or House minority leader.

When questioned directly by reporters as to whether he was willing to give up on negotiating on term limits, Durkin reiterated that he’s focused on the three issues of pensions, workers’ compensation and property taxes, according to McKinney.

According to polling from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, nearly 4 out of 5 Illinoisans support term limits.  A 2014 effort to put term limits on the state ballot was killed after an associate of House Speaker Mike Madigan, attorney Michael Kasper, successfully sued to knock the item off the ballot.

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