With the ongoing revelations of corruption involving embattled House Speaker Mike Madigan, State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) and Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) today proposed a recall system for elected officials and the Speaker of the House, Senate President and Auditor General. The lawmakers are in the process of filing three pieces of legislation to institute these processes to ensure the power is back in the hands of Illinois voters.
While the State of Illinois permits a recall, it currently only applies to the Governor in a very complicated manner, and there is no citizen led recall ability. For Representative Batinick, the first sitting lawmaker to call for Speaker Madigan to resign, it is essential for a process to be in place not only for other elected officials, but also for positions like the Speaker of the House.
"The culture of corruption in Illinois politics has gone on for far too long and the people of Illinois have lost faith in our government," said Rep. Batinick. "The Democrat led majority has refused to clean up corruption in Springfield, so we need to empower the people of Illinois, to give them the tools to start this process. It's time that we implement changes to proactively reject corruption, and these legislative proposals will do just that."
Sen. Barickman and Rep. Batinic's legislation includes three constitutional amendments. Through these proposals, Illinois will join eighteen other states who already lay out the right to recall elected officials in their constitutions. Legislation that would have allowed recall of state legislators failed to pass the Illinois General Assembly in 2017 and 2018, however, the lawmakers feel the legislation is now more important than ever to prove to the people of Illinois that they have the means to choose their voice in Springfield.
"For too long, the political class turned its back on the people of Illinois, resulting in a deep erosion of public trust in our government," said Barickman. "Our goal is to restore power to the people of Illinois by equipping them with the tools necessary to hold public officials accountable to the citizens they are supposed to serve."
The three constitutional amendments are currently being drafted, but include the following parameters:
- Constitutional amendment to recall the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller and Treasurer; also allows removal of Speaker of the House, Senate President and Auditor General.
- The existing state recall provision only applies to the Governor; this removes the cumbersome process and extends that provision to apply to all Constitutional Officers, Speaker of the House, Senate President and Auditor General.
- Requires signatures from 12% of the number of votes cast for Governor in the preceding election.
- Constitutional amendment to recall Members of the General Assembly.
- The Constitution does not currently provide for any recall of Members of the General Assembly. This new proposal would require signatures from 12% of the number of votes cast for Governor in the targeted district in the preceding election.
- Constitutional amendment to recall Local Government Officials.
- Must obtain signatures equal to the below percentages of the votes cast for Governor in the targeted district in the preceding election:
- 30% in jurisdictions with 0 - 1,000 registered voters
- 25% in jurisdictions with 1,000 - 10,000 registered voters
- 20% in jurisdictions with 10,000 - 50,000 registered voters
- 15% in jurisdictions with 50,000 - 100,000 registered voters
- 10% in jurisdictions with 100,000 or more registered voters
All three constitutional amendments include the following:
- Under all three constitutional amendments, if recalled, both non-elected officers and other public officials are ineligible to return to the position for a period of 10 years after the recall vote has been certified.
- For all three constitutional amendments, it requires a 60% threshold to recall someone from office.