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Lawmakers Propose Measure To Eliminate Redundant, Outdated Laws

Illinois State Capitol

Illinois State Capitol buillding in Springfield (AP Photo)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) – Some Illinois lawmakers say it’s time for some spring cleaning when it comes to the state’s laws.

A group of state senators is pushing legislation that would create a new Board of Legislative Repealers, which would be tasked with finding redundant, outdated, or otherwise unreasonable laws; and recommending the repeal of such laws to the General Assembly.

The measure, sponsored by State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale), would create a four-member board to pore over the state’s laws “to determine instances in which those laws, regulations, or other governing instruments are unreasonable, unduly burdensome, duplicative, onerous, in conflict, or held unconstitutional by a state or federal court.”

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports

“It sets up a repealer system to clean up our laws,” Dillard said.

The board would be made up of the director and deputy director of the Legislative Reference Bureau — the agency which drafts the vast majority of proposed legislation in the General Assembly — and the top two officials at the Legislative Research Unit — the agency which performs legal research for state lawmakers and their staffs.

Dillard pointed out that, in less than 30 years, the number of books it takes to compile the state’s laws has swelled from three to nine. He wants Illinois to follow the lead of such states as Florida and New York to “set up a system where redundant laws that are in conflict, or outdated, or burdensome may be reviewed on recommendation to us to get rid of.”

Dillard says there are examples regularly of laws which repeat existing laws, or for some other reason are not needed.

“A lot of redundancies. We just had a bill in the Criminal Law Committee the other day, where we made it a penalty – for the fifth time – not to do something,” Dillard said.

Although the four-member board that would be formed by Dillard’s proposal would be tasked with finding redundant and outdated laws in Illinois, it would not have the power to repeal such laws itself. Instead, it would make recommendations to the state’s four legislative leaders and the governor’s office.

The board would also be allowed to take recommendations from the public, from judges, from attorneys, and from other government bodies.

Dillard said that would allow the state to “set up a system where businesses, if they think we have a redundant law or something, and (that) we need to get rid of it, could let the (Legislative Reference Bureau) know, and they recommend to us.”

The board would be required to make annual reports about changes in the law that it “deems necessary to modify or eliminate antiquated and inequitable rules of law and to bring the law of this state, civil and criminal, into harmony with modern conditions.”

The Illinois Senate passed the measure by a 55-0 vote last month, sending the proposal to the Illinois House for consideration. It has yet to be assigned to a House committee.