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HomeIllinois NewsUPDATE X1: Proposed Constitutional Amendment would eliminate Lieutenant Gov slot

UPDATE X1: Proposed Constitutional Amendment would eliminate Lieutenant Gov slot




SPRINGFIELD – If, for some reason, Governor Bruce Rauner were not able to finish out his four-year term, the Republican would be succeeded by longtime Democrat House Speaker Mike Madigan's daughter, Attorney General Lisa Madigan if a new measure moving through the Illinois House were currently in place in the Illinois Constitution. 

UPDATE X1: Rep. McSweeney emphasizes that the measure he's proposing [as described below] would not go into effect until 2019, and if it were to go into effect at that time only, voters would be reminded that they are voting for governor and his potential successor would be the attorney general elected at the same time.

"I don't want anyone to be mistaken that this would take effect now as you described [in the first paragraph]," he told Illinois Review. "It would not go into effect until 2019."

Tuesday, the Illinois House State Government Administration Committee approved a measure to save taxpayers approximately $1.6 million each year by eliminating the office of Lieutenant Governor according to State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills), the sponsor of the legislation.  

The Illinois House State Government Administration Committee approved House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 5 (HJRCA 5) by a 12-0 vote.  

“The office of Lieutenant Governor has limited official responsibilities and it is time to eliminate the office,” McSweeney said. “In light of the state’s overwhelming financial problems, we need to be looking at ways to save taxpayers’ money. I have supported the idea of eliminating the office of Lieutenant Governor for many years because it is a simple way to reduce expenses and save taxpayers’ money.”

House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 5 (HJRCA 5) would eliminate the office of the Lieutenant Governor beginning with the term of office commencing in 2019. The bill provides for a new Gubernatorial succession with the Attorney General, Secretary of State, and then as provided by law, respectively.‎ The $1.6 million savings estimate is derived by averaging the money appropriated for the Lieutenant Governor's office for FY 11 through FY 15.

Currently, gubernatorial candidates run as a team with their select lieutenant gubernatorial candidates.

“The bottom line is that eliminating the office of Lieutenant Governor would save taxpayers about $1.6 million each year,” McSweeney said. “Obviously, we still have a long way to go to get Illinois’ finances back on track, but we have to start somewhere. Eliminating an office with limited responsibilities and duties is a logical place to start."

In 2013, Representative McSweeney sponsored the same constitutional amendment to eliminate the Lieutenant Governor's office (HJRCA 18), which passed the House with 83 votes.

HJRCA 5 will now move to the House Floor for further consideration. It requires a three-fifths majority to pass, but a matching measure will also need to be passed by the Illinois Senate to amend the Constitution. 

It will also need to be approved by a majority of Illinois voters.


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  1. Eliminating the Lieutenant Governor’s Office has merit, but the amendment is not well designed. The successor should be a member of the same political party as the former governor being replaced. It would be better to designate someone such as a state senator chosen by his or her colleagues as the “lieutenant governor” without an office or salary at the start of each gubernatorial term. Simply naming another state constitutional officer as the successor ignores the party selected by the voters for the governorship.
    Savings or not, voters ought not to support McSweeney’s proposal for partisan reasons.

  2. The Lt. Governor position is a joke, and its current occupant has surpassed her predecessors in sheer uselessness. WHAT does the Lt. Gov. need a “Chief of Staff” for at SIX-FIGURES A YEAR???

  3. Why not save space for a constitutional amendment by cleaning up the state officials by adding the combining comptroller and auditor. This would combine the same question in changing the state constitution in the same amendment. This would be easier to have everyone understand and think about the same question.

  4. I have mixed emotions about this only because I am so old that I can remember when the office of Lt. Governor was legitimate and mattered more. The only time we had a governor of one party and a lt. governor of a different party was when Gov. Richard B. Ogilvie (R) had to serve with Lt. Gov. Paul Simon (D) from 1969 to 1973. That was fixed with another constitutional amendment to make sure that from 1972 forward, the governor and lt. governor had to run as a team so they would be of the same party. The cost of having a Lt. governor can be lowered without eliminating the office and the cost now is just a tiny sliver of the state deficit. There are times when we need a lt. governor as a standby officer in case of temporary or permanent incapacity of the governor.