BY JONATHAN McLEAN WEEKLY REPORTER
SHILOH – Shiloh Valley Supervisor and County Board Member David Tiedemann hosted Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner at his farm last week as part of his tour to generate local support for a constitutional amendment that would limit the number of terms members of the general assembly and state-wide office holders can serve.
A group of around 90 people, mostly farmers and local elected officials, gathered around farm equipment to hear the Governor speak.
Rauner opened his remarks by saying “Two-thirds of the legislature face no opposition in the general election. The system has given so many advantages to incumbents in the legislature that it’s very hard to vote them out – even if they’re not doing a good job. We’ve got politicians in Springfield who’ve been there for twenty, thirty, forty years! And look what’s happened to our state in that time.”
Rauner is calling on members of the general assembly to vote on a constitutional amendment when they come back for the fall veto session. The vote would require at least three-fifths of the house and senate to vote in favor of the amendment. If passed by the house and senate, the measure would be placed on the ballot and require approval by a majority of the voters who vote.
The Governor, a Republican, is facing an uphill battle to get a term limit amendment passed in the house and senate. Republicans are firmly in the minority in both chambers. Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, a Democrat, is not in favor of term limits and Republicans in the house do not expect the term limit amendment to make it out alive.
State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville), who represents parts of O’Fallon, attended the event with the Governor and supports the term limit proposal. Rep. Meier told the O’Fallon Weekly that “I look forward to day when I have a chance to vote on term limits.”
Both Governor Rauner and Representative Meier said they also support a fair maps proposal, which is currently tied up in the courts and is likely not to appear on the ballot this November.
The fair maps proposal would create an independent, non-partisan committee to redraw legislative districts every ten years – after a census. In other states with independent commissions, a computer normally redraws the district boundaries taking in to account the current district boundaries and changes in population.
Currently, legislative districts are redrawn by the legislative leaders. Critics say that the legislative leaders redraw districts that favor their own political party or to punish current members who do not support their legislative agendas. In 2012, State Senator Dave Luechtefeld (R-Okawville) was redrawn out of his district by leaders in the house and senate. Luechtefeld contends that it was done deliberately to hurt him.
Supporters of the fair map collected 563,974 signatures throughout Illinois to get the question on the November ballot. The State Board of Elections ruled that there were enough valid signatures; however, a lawsuit challenging the language of the ballot question was filed in court. The lower court ruled against it being placed on ballot but the Illinois Supreme Court has granted an appeal to hear the case very soon.