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Political Newcomer Rauner Seeks To Overhaul Statehouse

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Bruce Rauner

In this Aug. 15, 2013 file photo, venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, speaks to supporters during at the Illinois State Fair during the Republicans Day rally in Springfield. (Seth Perlman/AP)

Venture capitalist Bruce Rauner is drumming up his campaign for governor with a second campaign. Rauner, a Republican, is trying to get a question on the 2014 ballot that could lead to major changes in state government.  

He said he will donate a sizable portion of his personal fortune into the effort. Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky spoke about it with him at length in the following interview.

Meanwhile, at least one of Rauner's opponents in the GOP primary,  Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale),  is critical of the plan. Dillard said downsizing the Senate is a "slap in the face" to downstate voters, because it would make districts unmanageably large.  Dillard noted that he favors term limits for Illinois'  House Speaker and Senate President, with whom he says too much power is concentrated.

TEXT OF THE INITIATIVE:

PETITION FOR AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

We, the undersigned, being qualified electors of the State of Illinois, who have affixed our signatures in our own proper person to this Petition after July 1, 2013, do hereby petition, pursuant to Section 3 of Article XIV of the Constitution of the State of Illinois, that there be submitted to the qualified electors of this State, for adoption or rejection at the General Election to be held on Tuesday, November 4, 2014, in the manner provided by law, a nonseverable proposition to amend Sections 1, 2, and 9 of Article IV of the Constitution of the State of Illinois, the amended Sections and the Transition Schedule applicable thereto to read as follows:

ARTICLE IV SECTION 1. LEGISLATURE - POWER AND STRUCTURE

The legislative power is vested in a General Assembly consisting of a Senate and a House of Representatives, elected by the electors from 41 Legislative Districts and 123 Representative Districts, with such numeration to become effective on January 1, 2023. These Legislative Districts and Representative Districts shall be drawn as provided by law following each decennial census.

ARTICLE IV SECTION 2. LEGISLATIVE COMPOSITION

(a) One Senator shall be elected from each Legislative District. Immediately following each decennial redistricting, the General Assembly by law shall divide the Legislative Districts as equally as possible into three groups. Senators from one group shall be elected for terms of four years, four years and two years; Senators from the second group, for terms of four years, two years and four years; and Senators from the third group, for terms of two years, four years and four years. The Legislative Districts in each group shall be distributed substantially equally over the State. Notwithstanding the foregoing, effective January 1, 2023, all Senate terms will be for four years.

(b) Each Legislative District shall be divided into three Representative Districts. In 1982 and every two years thereafter one Representative shall be elected from each Representative District for a term of two years.

. . .

(f) No person may serve more than eight years in the General Assembly. No person may be elected or appointed as Senator or Representative if upon completion of the term of office that person will have been a member of the General Assembly for more than eight years. Time served in the General Assembly before the session beginning in January 2015 does not count toward the eight-year service limitation.

ARTICLE IV SECTION 9. VETO PROCEDURE

(c) The house to which a bill is returned shall immediately enter the Governor's objections upon its journal. If within 15 calendar days after such entry that house by a record vote of two-thirds of the members elected passes the bill, it shall be delivered immediately to the second house. If within 15 calendar days after such delivery the second house by a record vote of two-thirds of the members elected passes the bill, it shall become law.

TRANSITION SCHEDULE

This Amendment takes effect upon adoption by the electors at the general election on November 4, 2014.

We also petition that, to the extent permitted by law, this proposition be submitted on a separate blue ballot and that the proposition and the related explanation be printed in substantially the following terms:

PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, ARTICLE IV, SECTIONS 1, 2, AND 9

Explanation of Amendment.

The purpose of this amendment is: (1) to establish term limits for members of the General Assembly; (2) to require a two-thirds vote in each chamber of the General Assembly to override the Governor’s veto of legislation; (3) to abolish two-year senatorial terms; (4) to change the House of Representatives from 118 representatives to 123 representatives; (5) to change the Senate from 59 senators to 41 senators; and (6) to divide legislative (senatorial) districts into three representative districts rather than two.

Place an “X” in the blank box opposite “Yes” or “No” to indicate your choice.

Categories: Government, Politics