Illinois republicans split on Rauner term limit proposal

April 23, 2014

The GOP nominee for governor says his campaign has more than enough signatures than needed to get the question on the November ballot. But not all republicans agree with the proposal.

"I'm willing to give it a shot and I plan next November personally, as a private citizen, on voting for term limits when I go to vote," said Republican House Minority Leader Jim Durkin.

An aide to Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno - who opposed lawmaker term limits a few weeks ago - confirms that Radogno now supports them.

The movement needs just under 300,000 valid signatures. The state Supreme Court threw out a similar effort 20 years ago because it did not concern procedural or structural changes in the house and senate.

"After 20 years, they can revisit anything," said John Marshall Law School Professor Ann Lousin.

Lousin noted that the new term limits proposal would also change the sizes of both chambers, as well as how many votes would be needed to override a governor's veto.

"This is their effort to avoid the mistakes they made in 1994," Lousin said.

The state's top elected republican, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, still opposes term limits, although he is a big Rauner supporter.

"I think if you want to cancel, fire your legislator, just vote against them," Kirk said.

"Maybe it will fail, I'm not sure," Durkin said. "But I think that it's appropriate that it's placed in front of the voters for this next election cycle."

A Southern Illinois University Paul Simon Public Policy Institute survey this month reported 79 percent of Illinois voters support some kind of term limits.

Radogno filed a bill in Springfield Wednesday to set term limits for statewide office holders. That measure is unlikely to reach the floor of either chamber controlled by democrats.

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