Area legislators address action focused on state budget, term limits
After nearly 18 months without a full budget, a bipartisan package of reforms, spending and revenue was unveiled in the Illinois State Senate, according to State Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo.
State Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg, also reported his support for action on proposed term limits of legislative leaders.
Schimpf said Jan. 17 that “legislators from both sides of the aisle hailed the legislation as the first step toward ending the state’s historic budget impasse.”
Schimpf is the new state senator from the 58th District in Southern Illinois. Part of Union County is in the district.
“If the state’s historic budget impasse is to end any time soon, it could largely be due to a package of legislation unveiled in the Senate for the first time on January 9th,” Schimpf stated.
“In addition to providing a full year budget with matching revenue, the measures tackle a broad range of issues, including term limits for legislative leaders, a statewide two-year property tax freeze, workers compensation reform, pension reform, and reforms to trim the cost of government.”
Schimpf said that the legislation was largely the result of meetings between Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, and Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago.
The negotiations were based on the framework developed by bipartisan, bicameral working groups throughout the year, Schimpf said.
“The package of bills marks the first time any of the recent bipartisan agreements have linked reforms, a budget, and revenue together,” Schimpf said.
He said the legislation also features language linking the entire package together, so that all of them must be passed into law for any of them to take effect.
Schimpf said that Gov. Bruce Rauner has been briefed on the legislation, and that he offered support for the efforts of the Senate leaders to continue negotiating to find common ground.
After the recent swearing in of new members, Schimpf said the Illinois Senate adopted its new rules, including, for the first time, term limits for legislative leaders.
The new rule limits both the Senate President and Minority Leader to a maximum of five terms.
A Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment would permanently create leadership term limits via constitutional amendment, is part of the larger budget/reform package which was unveiled.
Schimpf is a cosponsor of that legislation and said that he hopes it will be voted on soon.
Further Support for Term Limits
As one of his first official acts of being in office, Sen. Fowler said he voted for “a meaningful change in the Illinois Senate rules” on Jan. 11.
“I have made a pledge to term limit myself and this rules change is a symbolic shift for the Illinois Senate,” Fowler said in a news release.
“It is my intention to lead by example and I believe this is a good first step to show our constituents that Springfield is changing for the better.”
Fowler represents the 59th District in Southern Illinois. Part of Union County is in the district.
Fowler declared that stagnation and the status quo have been the “rule and not the exception” for far too long.
“I appreciate the Senate’s leadership stepping up and serving as an example. We hope that the House of Representatives will follow suit.”
Illinois senators approved a rules change which for the first time will begin term limiting leadership of the General Assembly’s upper chamber.
The rules change will limit the offices of Senate President and Minority Leader to five terms.
Fowler noted that a Senate Resolution would codify the rules change for the Illinois Senate.
Fowler is a cosponsor of the measure which was approved with a 58-0 vote.
Other legislative term limit measures have been introduced in the past, but have rarely even been called for a committee vote, Fowler said.