SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan filed a bill to eliminate the state’s second executive office today, beginning in 2015.
Madigan’s proposal would require a constitutional amendment, a process that would take months. Amending the constitution requires the legislature to approve the question to be on the next general election ballot.
At least 3/5 of the voters on that question or a simple majority of total voters in the election need to approve the amendment for it to become law.
Madigan’s proposal is House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 50. It hasn’t been assigned to a committee for debate yet, but what Madigan wants is usually what happens in Illinois.
The lieutenant governor office has few constitutional duties. Past occupants have formed their own areas of policy focus, including now Gov. Pat Quinn, but others have left the job out of boredom.
State Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, proposed a bill to change the way lieutenant governors are elected in Illinois earlier this week. State Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, has also proposed eliminating the office but his bill hasn’t gone anywhere in the House.
Why all the attention for an office that many have deemed useless?
Scott Lee Cohen’s surprise win for the Democratic nomination in last week’s primary could have something to do with all the legislation focused on the lieutenant governor spot. Cohen resigned Sunday under pressure from many of the state’s powerful Democrats after allegations of abuse by his ex-wife and an ex-girlfriend were reported.