State Sen. Dave Luechtefeld (R-Okawville) is targeting the General Assembly’s ability to impose tax increases or make drastic policy changes during post-election, lame-duck sessions.
“Just two short years ago, the lame-duck legislative session produced a historic 67 percent, personal income tax increase. That same tax increase imposed on business has driven jobs out of Illinois,” Luechtefeld said. “This past January, we witnessed an unproductive lame-duck session that focused on gay marriage, ‘assault weapons’ and other topics that took the focus off the top two priorities — fixing our pensions systems and budget crisis.”
Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 15 would provide that between the dates of the biennial general election and the seating of a new General Assembly, all votes would require a three-fifths majority for passage.
Hot-button or controversial issues, like the massive 2011 tax increase, civil unions and gay marriage, or proposed assault weapons bans would need 36 Senate votes and 71 House of Representatives votes for passage.
For example, during the final days of the 96th General Assembly, the tax increase (House Bill 2505) passed the House with 60 votes and the 2010 Civil Union legislation, (Senate Bill 1716) passed the Senate with 32 votes. Both of these votes barely passed with a simple majority and would have fallen short of a three-fifths vote.
Luechtefeld noted he chose the constitutional amendment route instead of seeking regular legislation which could be more easily overturned. “By putting this bill into an amendment, it would make it more permanent and thus a lot more difficult for future General Assemblies to remove lame duck provisions,” Luechtefeld said.
SJRCA 15 was introduced on Feb. 15 and would need to be approved by the General Assembly and Governor and then by voters during the 2014 General Election, before it could become law.