CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH
FOR "Term limits has a lot of
appeal as something that might do something to help root out the culture of
corruption in politics. And in Illinois, you have to admit that recent history
suggests that we need some help in this regard." So writes political
scientist Chris Mooney, director of the Institute of Government and Public
Affairs at the University of Illinois. With Republican governor candidate Bruce
Rauner backing a well-financed effort to put a term limits constitutional amendment
on the 2014 ballot, the issue has more momentum today than it's had in 20 years
-- since then-Treasurer Pat Quinn nearly got term limits onto the 1994 ballot.
But Mooney says term limits often worsen
the very things they're intended to improve. Something to think
about as petitions for a term limits amendment get passed around in the months
BIG PICTURE Mooney has studied term limits extensively. His views expressed
in the piece above come in large part from a 2007 study he conducted that looked
at the effects of term limits in states that had them (and, of
course, from an intimate knowledge of Illinois politics). The study concludes
that term limits are a very broad solution to a very narrow problem. And with
broad solutions come unintended consequences.
- I also discussed the pros and cons of term limits in this post from last month. Certainly a lot to consider in what, at first glance, seems like the simplest of issues.
TOP 25 For an idea of where term limits supporters are coming from,
check out our list of Top 25 longest serving
lawmakers in Illinois. The political reality is that the term limits
effort this time around is aimed primarily at the occupant of the No. 1
10 PAC MONEY Find out which
political action committees in Illinois have raised the most money this year in
today's Top 10 list. Donors to one of them will be getting their money back
shortly. The list is here.
FACTS: KIRK DILLARD Kirk Dillard missed
the Republican nomination for governor by a mere 193 votes in 2010. He may be
well known, but here are a few things you might not know in Part 2 of our Fun Facts series.
CHAMBER BACKS FAIR MAPS In my blog post referenced above, I make the case that the
problem in Illinois isn't necessarily that politicians stay in office too long.
It's that they can do so because party bosses create district maps tailored to
their reelection needs. Thus, they rarely have to worry about a credible
challenger. Nor do they have to seek any support from voters of the opposite
party. This post-census map-rigging is the foundation of the biggest problems
in Illinois government. Reboot Illinois wants to change the map-drawing system
and is a strong supporter of Yes for Independent Maps. Thus, it's encouraging
to see that Illinois Chamber of Commerce President Doug Whitley is urging his
members to get involved. Check out Whitley's letter to Chamber members for a good
explanation of why this reform is needed and why you should get involved.
SOUND OFF FOR FAIR
MAPS Wresting the power to create
legislative districts away from the politicians is a mammoth effort that will
require gathering a minimum of 300,000 signatures and a boatload of legal work.
The Illinois Constitution does not make it easy for citizen initiatives like
this one to get on the ballot. Yes for Independent Maps has taken on this
Herculean task, but it would be so much easier if the General Assembly would
get behind it. Tell your representatives in Springfield and other leaders to
support this important reform by using our Sound Off tool. It's an
easy and effective way to get a message directly to the people in power. (And
if you don't know who your representative and senator are, it'll tell you that
too.) Click here and demand maps drawn for
voters, not to protect incumbents.
SPEAK UP AND SOUND OFF Redistricting reform is only one of many issues on our new
Sound Off tool. Taxes, pension reform, school funding and the Metra scandal are
just a few of the other topics you can choose. It only takes a few mouse clicks
to identify your representative and senator, choose your issue, send your
message and encourage your friends to do the same. Believe it or not, Illinois
lawmakers really do listen to their constituents, especially when their numbers
are too big to ignore. Give Sound Off a try!
TOP 5 Here's what's making news in Illinois today:5. The city of Chicago is asking the state to change its method of buying power for utility customers,which would hike the rates ComEd customers. (Crain’s Chicago Business)
4. Following the indictment of the former comptroller of Chicago, Mayor Emanuel is reining in the power of the comptroller's office. (Chicago Sun-Times)
3. Cook County is seeking help from the Illinois Supreme Court to ease its court backlog. (Chicago Tribune)
2. Hillary Clinton weighed in on the Illinois governor race, calling Pat Quinn the “luckiest politician.” (Chicago Tribune)
1. The judge hearing the lawsuit brought against Pat Quinn by the state’s legislator leaders indicated he will need more time before he issues a ruling. (Chicago Tribune)