With a desire to start a serious discussion about the many large issues facing the State of Illinois, State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield) has introduced House Joint Resolution 68 which would allow the question of calling a state Constitutional Convention to be on the 2018 Illinois General Election ballot.
“We have now gone over 700 days without a real budget in our State, and last week we once again ignored our mandated deadline to get something done for the people of Illinois,” Rep. Butler said. “I have heard so many of my colleagues, as well as citizens around the State, say that we need changes to our Constitution to truly move forward, and that is the main reason why I have introduced this call for an Illinois Constitutional Convention.
“Next year will represent a half-century since Illinois’ last Constitutional Convention was called and our State faces challenges today not envisioned by convention delegates 50 years ago. I believe it is time the citizens of our State once again have the ability to provide their say on if they want to change our Constitution through a comprehensive convention.
“Since 2008, the last time the Constitutional Convention question was on the ballot, legislators have introduced over 400 resolutions to amend the Constitution. These proposed amendments run the political gamut. Legislators elected on behalf of the people, spanning the spectrum of ideology, believe our Constitution needs changes. Whether it is a graduated income tax or pension reform, term limits or drawing legislative districts, home rule or school funding, I believe a Convention is the best way to hash out these concerns.
“2018 is the bicentennial of Illinois statehood. Over our state’s history, six Constitutional Conventions have been called, including on our 50th, 100th, and 150th anniversaries of statehood. As we put 200 years of statehood behind us, I can think of no better time to examine our state’s governing document and enable a discussion about the constitutional solutions we need for moving this state forward into our third century,” Rep. Butler said.
Butler’s legislation is House Joint Resolution 68 (in honor of 1968 being the last time a Constitutional Convention was called). According to the Illinois Constitution, and as stated in HJR 68: “Whenever three-fifths of the members elected to each house of the General Assembly so direct, the question of whether a Constitutional Convention should be called shall be submitted to the electors at the general election next occurring at least six months after such legislative direction”. Butler’s resolution, if approved, calls for that proposition to be placed on the ballot.