Ballot amendments lose in lower courts; appeals expected

By Matt Porter |

Published 06/27 2014 10:10PM

Updated 06/30 2014 10:30AM

ILLINOIS -- Amendments to impose term limits on state legislators and reform the redistricting process hit road block in court. Friday, legislative reformers played defense after a defeat in a Chicago court.

Reformers hoped to put a couple amendments on the ballot, one to impose term limits on state legislators and another to create an independent committee for redrawing legislative districts. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Mary Mikva ruled neither initiatives met the narrow definition to put an amendment on the ballot.

Supporters of the term limit initiative, backed by Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, say they expected their case to fail in the Chicago-based court where they say their opponents have more influence.

The Committee for Term Limits and Reform proposed limiting all state legislators to eight years in office. They are already appealing the decision.

"We believe the voters deserve a choice about term limits," said candidate Bruce Rauner. "Voters should decide whether eight years is enough in office."

Advocates expect their case to be on the fast-track to the State Supreme Court since its decision will affect the ballot in November. Normally, amendments are voted on and passed by the Illinois General Assembly.

Illinois provides an exception for people to petition for ballot amendments, but they are defined by a very specific set of characteristics. The circuit court ruled neither amendment satisfied the definitions for a ballot amendment.

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