EVANSTON - The Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits announced Tuesday that it has collected more than 150,000 petition signatures and is halfway to placing the term limits amendment on the November 2014 ballot.
CORRECTED: In order for a referendum to affect law rather than advise the legislature, a Constitutional Initiative can apply only to the legislative Article of the Illinois Constitution. The proposal is limited to structural and procedural subjects contained in the Constitution's Article 4.
The amendment limits all state legislators to eight years in office, it does not affect statewide elected officials' terms. Whether that is four terms in the House or two in the House and one in the Senate, no one can serve more than eight years total in the legislature.
The amendment increases the number of House members from 118 to 123, but it shrinks the number of Senators from 59 to 41, thus eliminating 13 legislative seats overall.
The proposal will also increase the General Assembly's vote from 3/5 to 2/3 to override a gubernatorial veto. Analysts say the veto override would increase the power of the governor in an already "powerful governor" state.
"The office of Governor is the one office that represents all of the taxpayers, families and seniors statewide," the efforts' executive director told Illinois Review. "By raising the veto override threshold, from a 3/5 majority to a 2/3 majority, we bring Illinois in line with 36 other states. This reform will also limit the power of entrenched and/or narrow special interests in the Illinois House and Senate."
But it will also make it more difficult to override the governor's pen, providing the executive branch with even more muscle.
Still, in a state of long term one-party control, voters are looking for a way to get new blood into elected office.
“Illinoisans are hungry for term limits and our effort is gaining serious momentum,” said Bruce Rauner, chairman of the committee. “This amendment will help put the people back in charge of state government and folks are enthusiastically signing on.”
In September, the term limits committee collected 12,250 signatures. In October, over 61,000 signatures were collected. More than 77,000 signatures have been collected in the first three weeks of November.
The petition deadline is May 4, 2014, but the group plans to submit petitions prior to that date.
"Given the upcoming Holiday season, we will evaluate where we are in mid-January to make that determination," the group's spokesman Mark Campbell told Illinois Review.
The group will be holding a "Term Limits & Reform" Town Hall Saturday, November, 23rd 12-2 p.m. at the Diplomat West Banquet Hall at 681 W. North Ave in Elmhurst, IL.
Former Congressman Joe Walsh and Bruce Rauner, chairman of the Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits, will be answering questions about the effort.