July 27, 2010
To the Honorable
Members of the
Illinois House of Representatives,
I hereby return House
Bill 5206 with specific recommendations for change.
This bill authorizes
election officials to use an electronic reporting system to cancel the voter
registration of any person who has passed away during the preceding month. The
integrity of our election systems is a bedrock of our democracy, and I commend
the sponsors for their hard work.
purpose of this bill is to assure the voters of our State that the democratic
process functions properly and that their voices are heard, fairly and clearly.
House Bill 5206 strengthens voters’ confidence in the registration and election
system. It is an important step toward empowering voters in the state of Illinois, but it is only a small step.
Our democracy is
based on the principle of government of the people, by the people, and for the
people. Elective offices belong to the citizens of Illinois —not the
officeholder. For citizens to have confidence that their officeholders are
representing their interests, there must be a mechanism that compels our
lawmakers to squarely address issues that may be unpopular or inconvenient. An
Ethics Initiative will return power to the citizens of Illinois and require our
legislature to address those issues that matter most.
The Ethics Initiative
that I propose gives the people of our state the ultimate power to express and
protect their interests: the power to change state law. Too often, issues such
as ethics and campaign finance reform get pushed from the forefront. Voters
need a safety valve to ensure that ideas, however inconvenient or unpopular for
incumbent officeholders, proceed through the legislative process.
The legislative power
to pass laws is a mighty power. My recommendation below does not detract from
the General Assembly’s constitutional authority. Under my proposal, the General
Assembly retains its full lawmaking authority. No bill can be passed without
adhering to constitutional requirements and the Ethics Initiative will not
alter that process. What the Ethics Initiative does do is give citizens a
direct voice to participate in lawmaking. Measures that withstand the scrutiny
of the petition process will be assured of a vote—either by the legislature in
the General Assembly or by the people of Illinois on the ballot.
The people of Illinois are weary of the status quo. Just as residents of the City of Chicago have the
power to directly petition for a proposed ordinance before the City Council and
citizens of Massachusetts can petition a proposed statute before their state
legislature, so too do the people of Illinois deserve to have their voices
heard. For far too long, Illinois citizens have been relegated to the
sidelines regarding issues such as campaign finance reform and establishing
standards of ethical conduct for public officials. An Ethics Initiative will
strengthen the people and require the General Assembly to squarely address
issues that affect the integrity of government.
to Article IV, Section 9(e) of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby
return House Bill 5206, entitled “AN ACT concerning elections.”, with the
following specific recommendations for change:
on page 1, line 5, after “6-62”, by
inserting“ “and by adding Section 28-15”; and
page 2, below line 25, by inserting the following:
“(10 ILCS 5/28-15 new)
Sec. 28-15. The
(a) The initiation and submission of
citizen initiative petitions on standards of ethical conduct and campaign
finance reform are subject to the provisions of this Section and Article.
(b)Upon request by
a proponent of an Ethics Initiative, the Legislative Reference Bureau shall
draft one or more bills and a summary of those bills that may be the subject of
a citizen initiative petition on standards of ethical conduct or campaign
finance reform. The summary of the bill or bills shall appear on the citizen
initiative petition and the bill or bills shall be submitted to the Clerk of
the House of Representatives, as provided for in subsections (c) and (d) of
(c) On a written
petition to the State Board of Elections signed by 100,000 voters, it is the
duty of the State Board of Elections to submit any citizen initiative petition
on standards of ethical conduct or campaign finance reform to the Clerk of the
House of Representatives for a roll call vote by each chamber of the General
Assembly as provided for by this Section.
(1) A citizen
initiative petition under this Section shall be limited to the subjects of
standards of ethical conduct and campaign finance reform.
any other provision of this Article to the contrary, citizen initiative
petitions filed under this Section may be submitted to the State Board of
Elections at any time and are not subject to the requirements related to the
binding and securing of petitions in Section 28-3. A single petition sheet may
include the signatures of voters from any election authority in the State and
may include the signatures of voters from one or more election authorities.
(3) The provisions
of Section 28-4 and Sections 10-8 through 10-10.1 relating to objections to
nominating petitions, hearings on objections, and judicial review shall apply
to and govern, insorfar as may be practicable, objections to petitions for
citizen initiatives on ethics and campaign finance reform.
(d) Upon receipt
by the Clerk of the House of Representatives of the petition and the bill or
bills, the Clerk shall submit the petition and the bill or bills to the Speaker
of the House. The bill or bills shall be introduced in the House of
Representatives not later than 2 days following submission to the Clerk of the
House of Representatives.
(e) The bill or
bills submitted to the Clerk of the House of Representatives may be passed by
the House of Representatives according to the provisions of Article IV of the
Illinois Constitution of 1970 within 15 session days after receiving the bill
or bills from the Clerk of the House of Representatives. If, on the 15th
session day after receiving the bill or bills, the House of Representatives has
not taken a record vote on the bill or bills, the House of Representatives, in
accordance with all procedures of Article IV of the Illinois Constitution of
1970, shall take a record a record vote on the bill or bills. If the bill or
bills receive the concurrence of a majority of members elected to the House of
Representatives by a record vote, the bill or bills shall be transmitted to the
Senate. If within 15 session days of receiving the bill or bills from the House
of Representatives, the bill or bills receives the concurrence of a majority of
members elected to the Senate by a record vote, the bill or bills shall be
transmitted to the Governor as provided for in Article IV, Section 9 of the
Illinois Constitution of 1970. The Governor shall act on the bill or bills in
accordance with Article IV, Section 9 of the Illinois Constitution of 1970.
(f) If the bill or
bills do not become law as provided for by subsection (e) of the Section in the
form in which it was presented on the citizen initiative petition, the petition
shall be returned to the State Board of Elections. The State Board of Elections
shall prepare an advisory question to be voted upon by the electors of the
State at the next general election. The ballot of the general election next
occurring shall contain an advisory question of public policy in substantially
the following form:
Shall the Illinois General Assembly pass
legislation [insert summary of citizen initiative petition here] during the
next session of the Illinois General Assembly and shall the Governor approve
that legislation and make it law?
The votes must be recorded as “Yes” or
(g) Nothing in
this Section shall be construed as a limitation of the legislative power of the
General Assembly, the executive power of any Executive Branch officer, or the
judicial power of the courts of the State of Illinois.”.
With these changes, House Bill 5206 will have my
approval. I respectfully request your concurrence.