CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner said he plans to appeal a Cook County judge’s ruling that tosses out a ballot initiative seeking to impose term limits on state lawmakers.
Rauner, who is running against incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in November, led the effort to put a question on the November ballot, asking voters if term limits should be required for state legislators. If approved by voters, it would have limited state lawmakers to a total of eight years in office.
It also would have increased the Illinois House from 118 seats to 123, reduced the Illinois Senate from 59 seats to 41, and made it tougher to override a governor’s veto by requiring a two-thirds vote from lawmakers rather than the current three-fifths.
“We believe the voters deserve a choice about term limits. Voters should be able to decide whether eight years is enough in office; so we can change that culture of corruption, that culture of failure that’s been going on in Springfield for decades,” Rauner said.
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Mary Mikva ruled the measure didn’t meet constitutional requirements for such ballot initiatives. She wrote all provisions of the term limits measure were not related, as required by the 1970 Illinois Constitution.
Rauner said Mikva’s ruling won’t be the last word.
“We want the will of the people to move forward. We are going to pursue appeals. We’ll appeal all the way to the Supreme Court. We think that term limits are a very important initiative. We believe firmly that the way we drafted our term limits initiative, it is constitutional,” he said.
Democratic lawmakers filed a lawsuit to block the term limits measure, and a separate measure to set up a new process to redraw legislative districts in Illinois.
Mikva ruled both proposals failed to meet requirements to go on the ballot. She ruled the redistricting initiative included provisions that don’t meet constitutional requirements, including that members of an independent commission tasked with redrawing legislative maps would be barred from running for office for a decade after serving on the panel.
Rauner said he knows Illinois judges are elected in partisan elections, but he said he hopes they’ll decide the appeal by the letter of the law.
Michael Kasper, a prominent elections attorney who works for Democratic politicians and was once House Speaker Michael Madigan’s top legal counsel, has declined to discuss the case and could not immediately be reached for comment Friday, but Democratic leaders have dismissed allegations that their lawsuit was politically motivated.
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