State Representative Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) is championing legislation this year that would institute term limits for legislative leaders in the General Assembly.
HJRCA 12, filed earlier this week by State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield), would limit any lawmaker from serving as Speaker of the House of Representatives, President of the Senate, Minority Leader of the House, or Minority Leader of the Senate. Legislative leaders would be limited to serving for a total of eight years in any one position and 12 years combined in two or more positions. Wehrli is a Chief Co-Sponsor of the bill.
“It’s no secret that Illinois has the longest-serving Speaker of the House in the history of the United States,” said Wehrli. “Mike Madigan has served as Speaker of the Illinois House for all but two years since 1983. This position yields a tremendous amount of influence over the budget and what bills are passed, and without a reasonable degree of turnover one individual’s political agenda becomes the long-term agenda for the entire state.”
According to Wehrli, three of the four legislative caucuses have instituted term limits on leaders via internal caucus rules: House Republicans, Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats. House Democrats, ruled by Madigan, have not set internal term limits. Wehrli supports the internal term limit rules but believes term limits must be codified in either Illinois law or the Illinois Constitution for all four caucuses.
“The people of Illinois are clamoring for term limits, so I am pleased to be a leading sponsor of this new bill,” said Wehrli. “I feel the bill will help restore some accountability to Springfield and prevent any one individual from accumulating too much power within state government. Term limits for legislative leaders would allow for a healthy turnover of leadership and ideas.”