Lawmaker wants a change in rules

Published 09/26 2012 06:16PM

Updated 09/27 2012 09:17AM

SPRINGFIELD -- One lawmaker wants to change the rules when it comes to firing other lawmakers. Representative Sidney Mathias, (R-Arlington Heights) wants to make sure the General Assembly has the power to keep someone out once they have been kicked out. 

This constitutional amendment proposal comes in response to former representative Derrick Smith (D-Chicago), who was booted out a few weeks ago. He is the first representative in more than 100-years to be removed from office. Fellow lawmakers dismissed him because he's charged with bribery.

There is a twist, though. Smith is up for re-election, and has a chance to end up back in the House in January. If he does, his colleagues could not vote him out again for the same reason; it is against the state Constitution. Some lawmakers are not happy about it and want to change the rule. 

Since it would change the actual Constitution, it would ultimately be up to the voters. If it passes lawmakers, you could see it on the ballot next year.

If Smith wins his spot back, he would be safe until the measure passed Illinois voters. This change is primarily to prevent any similar situations in the future.

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