House GOP could consider leader term limits

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The state’s longest-serving House speaker could find himself the only holdout on implementing term limits for legislative leaders.

There are a couple of ways to bring about term limits for legislative leaders. The Illinois Senate adopted a resolution for leader term limits for their chamber. The House could do the same.

Republican state Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, said he’s urging House minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, to implement leader term limits within the House Republican caucus.

“We can do it on ourselves,” he said. “We don’t need legislation to make this happen. We can do it within our own rules of our caucus, and that’s something I think we should do.”

Durkin’s office said that he will take the issue up with caucus members.

Another way to have legislative term limits placed on both chambers is through a constitutional amendment, something Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, recently filed.

National Conference of State Legislatures Program Director Wendy Underhill said without term limits on legislative leaders, it’s possible that a person elected from one district could amass more power than someone elected by an entire state.

“It seems as though that makes the speaker a very powerful person, probably able to be as powerful as the governor,” Underhill said.

Butler said it makes sense to enforce term limits on leaders.

“I’m one person who believes that turnover after a bit of time is be good, and it certainly would not get us into the position we are today with Speaker (Mike) Madigan,” he said.

A spokesman for Madigan — who’s been speaker for over 30 years — said term limits are applied by voters every two years; however, he didn’t directly address leaders, who are selected by senators and representatives.

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