HJRCA 12, filed earlier this week in Springfield, would amend the Legislature Article of the Illinois Constitution to limit the number of years any lawmaker could serve as Speaker of the House of Representatives, President of the Senate, Minority Leader of the House, or Minority Leader of the Senate. Through the Amendment, legislative leaders would be limited to serving for a total of eight years in any one position and 12 years combined in two or more positions.
“The timing is right to advance the issue of term limits for legislative leaders,” said Demmer, a Chief Co-Sponsor of the bill. “Our new governor is on record as favoring term limits for leaders, so we have a real opportunity to work in a bipartisan manner to enact pivotal legislation that would significantly improve our processes.”
According to Demmer, three of the four legislative caucuses have instituted term limits on leaders via internal caucus rules: House Republicans, Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats. House Democrats, ruled by Mike Madigan, have not set internal term limits. Demmer supports the internal rules, but believes term limits for leaders must be codified in the Illinois Constitution for all four caucus leaders.
“Because we don’t have term limits today for legislative leaders, one individual can amass a concentration of power that goes completely unchecked,” Demmer said. “We need a healthy turnover of leadership and ideas.”