Chance of constitutional convention?

ILLINOIS (WCIA) -- You could soon have a say to change the way Illinois fundamentally does state government business. One lawmaker wants to bring back a constitution convention and you could vote in favor of it.

There hasn't been a convention since 1969, but Representative Tim Butler (R) wants to put it on the next ballot to see if people would like to see another convention.

But, he says it needs to happen sooner rather than later because, as we inch closer to a third year without a state budget, some issues facing the state could be resolved by the people having the power to change laws in the constitution.

In 2008, voters were asked if they'd like to see a constitutional convention take place. Close to 70% of voters said no.

However, Butler says, back then, the state wasn't making history as the only state without a budget.

"A lot of people think it's hard to tackle large issues of the day without changing the constitution. I just had a good idea to put this out there to call for putting a question on the ballot."

Every 20-years, voters are asked the question, but since 2008, lawmakers have introduced more than 400 resolutions to reshape the constitution.

"So, there's people who have pushed a graduated income tax. There's people left pushed reforming our pensions because the clause in the pension in the constitution says you cannot change public employee pension term limits."

Some see it as a positive because they could have a greater impact on state government than they would in a typical election.

"To keep the people in control and you should have it to maybe have zero-based budget or have it where laws that are obsolete need to be taken off the books. I think you need to clean this stuff up all the time."

However, not everyone thinks bringing a convention back to town is a good idea.

"I say, just leave it alone. I think it's okay. Nothing's broke, so you don't need to fix it."

If a convention is favored this time by the public, anything in the constitution the delegation wants to change would have to go back to voters for a final decision.

"I think you should get all sides of the issue if you can to be informed before you make a decision as always proper thing to do."

The resolution still has to pass the House and Senate, so the process could take awhile as lawmakers are nowhere in sight since leaving last month.

Also, if the measure is approved by voters, there would have to be another election for people to determine who will be their delegate to represent their districts.

If a constitutional convention is decided for by the public, there would be 118 delegates. In the past, some were lawmakers, including House Speaker Michael Madigan (D), however, it doesn't have to be elected officials. 


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