CHICAGO, Ill. (IRN) – The governor is pushing a constitutional amendment to allow the public to introduce ethics reforms.
The measure would allow citizens to gather signatures of 8 percent of the voters in the last election for governor and force a referendum on government and political ethics measures and campaign finance reform, at the state or local level. Gov. Pat Quinn says it’s needed.
“We must have a way for everyday people to gather signatures on a petition and put on the ballot a binding referendum that will improve our government in the 21st Century and centuries beyond,” he said at a news conference Sunday at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago.
Referenda under this measure would be limited to changes that establish and enforce ethical standards, including campaign finance reform, conflict-of-interest voting, pay-to-play abuses, patronage abuse and misuse of taxpayers’ funds.
For this measure to become law, the General Assembly must approve it by May 6. Then it would go before voters in November, with 60 percent yes votes needed to adopt it as a constitutional amendment.
The sponsor is State Sen. Anzaette Collins (D-Chicago).
The governor has been pushing some form of this for decades to no avail, but he isn’t deterred, saying it appears “impossible” only because it hasn’t yet succeeded.