Bill to change local term limits passes Senate
A bill that changes term limits for municipalities passed the state Senate on Friday after failing earlier in that day's session.
Senate Bill 1536 initially failed to receive the required number of votes at 29-19 and was postponed for verification. Later in the session, it received 31 Yes votes and 19 No votes.
Sen. Terry Link (D-Gurnee) sponsored the bill. He said term limits were not designed to limit people from running for different positions.
"This provides that the imposition of term limits by referendum, ordinance or otherwise, must be prospective," Link said. "If you want term limits on alderman, on the mayor, God bless them, they can have it. But, you can’t have a term limit that says if you were an alderman for so many years you can’t run for mayor. I don’t think that’s what term limits were ever designed for."
Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) said the bill is about local control.
"Why are we doing this?" Righter questioned. "These residents exercise their right of 'We want term limits and this is how we want them to apply.' Explain to me how you, or I, or any of the 57 Senators in this chamber are better equipped or entitled to say what those municipalities do."
Righter added that the bill failed on its merits the previous year, and it should fail again.
"This bill doesn’t take all municipal referendums and only selects those after 2016, and there's a good reason for that," he said. "We’re looking at one municipality and one legislator, a Democrat in the House of Representatives who wants to run for mayor in his community again and he can’t because his community said he couldn’t. We voted on this not that long ago and it was a bad bill then. It's still a bad bill. This is us deciding that we’re more important than locals and their local officials. That's arrogant."
Righter requested verification of the vote and questioned the votes of Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) and Sen. Scott Bennett (D-Champaign). Bennett's vote was stricken from the record because he was not in the chamber or at his seat when the verification was requested. Link requested the verification be postponed, and it was voted on again at the end of the session.