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Term limits for lawmakers proposed

SPRINGFIELD -- When you head to the polls next year to vote for state lawmakers, you may also decide if there should be a limit on their time in office.
SPRINGFIELD -- When you head to the polls next year to vote for state lawmakers, you may also decide if there should be a limit on their time in office. There's a new push for term limits. WCIA-3's Steve Staeger has the story.

Term limits would have to be a constitutional amendment, so that means there would need to be a petition drive, then a statewide vote. But it's getting a lot of attention this time around.

Janet Teegarden said, "I've preached that we should have term limits for years."

She isn't a political reformer or an expert. She's just an average voter who pays close attention to what goes on in the State Capitol.

Teegarden says she's a supporter of a new proposal on the table.

"I think that legislators get too comfortable. I think they forget sometimes why they're there, that their constituents have put them there."

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner is starting a Political Action Committee to collect signatures and get a referendum on next year's ballot. He wants voters to put term limits on legislators.

"I think we would see new blood and new faces, especially some younger ones."

But UIS Political Science professor Michael Miller says term limits can have some mixed results.

"The policial science of these things really suggests that they tend to move power away from the assembly and make a stronger governor."

Miller says it also takes some power away from the voter who may want to re-elect an incumbent. Still, he says there is a potential plus.

"If you know you're only going to be in there for three terms, you hit the Capitol and you get the job done. If you have a pet issue, you really push it and you push it hard. And you're a little bit less-focused on bringing home pork projects."

Fifteen other states have term limits on their legislatures and this is just a proposal. It needs signatures first before it would make it to the ballot.
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