SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State lawmakers started to file new proposals as the 102nd General Assembly got underway last week. A House Democrat from the South Suburbs of Chicago hopes to see term limits for members in both chambers.
Rep. Anthony DeLuca has filed the same joint resolution for term limits at the start of each of the last six sessions. Still, he hopes the legislation could move during his seventh term in office.
DeLuca says his constitutional amendment question would ask voters if state lawmakers should be limited to three terms in office. He explained that would be six years for the House and 10 years for the Senate. However, an individual could serve 16 years if they spend time in both chambers. The proposed term limits would only impact lawmakers taking office after approval of the constitutional amendment. That means this proposal wouldn’t impact anyone currently serving in the General Assembly.
The Chicago Heights native stressed his proposal never moved out of the Rules Committee under former Speaker Mike Madigan.
“By having term limits in place, if you choose to go into this arena, then you know ahead of time how much time you have,” DeLuca said. “You worry much less about self-preservation and you worry more about making decisions that are in the best interests of the state.”
Giving residents a voice
DeLuca says he files the proposal as a constitutional amendment to give residents the opportunity to have their voices heard. While the Democrat didn’t always believe in term limits, his opinion changed shortly after taking office in 2009.
“Limiting the amount of time that a legislator could serve would be the biggest single reform, in my opinion, that we could pass in Illinois,” DeLuca said.
If lawmakers passed the legislation and voters approved the amendment, DeLuca said he wouldn’t seek another term in office.
The veteran lawmaker appreciates Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch’s suggestion to create term limits for House leadership. Welch announced last week he intends to pass a law creating a 10-year term limit for Speaker. Madigan has led the chamber 36 of the last 38 years. DeLuca hopes to co-sponsor Welch’s plan later this spring.