Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) is sponsoring House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendments 1 and 2 (HJRCA 1 and HJRCA 2) to revive efforts to implement term-limits and reform redistricting of elected offices. HJRCA 1 seeks to limit the number of terms in office for Illinois State Senators and Representatives, while HJRCA 2 seeks to reform the redistricting process by taking the process of drawing legislative districts out of the hands of the officials holding those respective offices.
“These initiatives are no-brainers and things the people of Illinois have been demanding for far too long,” said Wheeler. “Last year, opponents of term-limits and fair redistricting maps used technicalities and gimmicks to keep two similar efforts from getting on the ballot and deliberately prevent the voters of Illinois from having a fair say. Now that Gov. Rauner has been inaugurated, we have an historic opportunity to finally make this a reality and I look forward to working with him and my legislative colleagues to bring these much needed reforms to our state.”
House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 1 seeks to prohibit members of the Illinois General Assembly from serving more than ten years in office. This Amendment to the Illinois Constitution would essentially limit Illinois State Senators to three terms (one term of two years and two terms of four years) and Illinois State Representatives to five terms in office. It also stipulates that no person can use a combination of the offices of Senator or Representative to serve more than ten years. Currently, neither of these offices have any limit on the number of terms or years served, or limitations on an elected official holding a leadership role in their respective body of the legislature.
House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 2 calls for the State Board of Elections to develop a specialized computer program to create unbiased districts for Illinois State Senators and Representatives. The computer program designated by the Board of Elections must disregard specified data and must consider certain prioritized factors to help ensure that districts are otherwise produced in a random manner and not correlated to a political party affiliation and gerrymandering. At present, Illinois State Senators and Representatives draw the maps for redistricting themselves, often leading to a basis in favor of one party.