House Votes To Eliminate Lt. Governor Position

Apr 12, 2013

Credit state of Illinois

Members of the Illinois House say the services of the lieutenant governor are no longer needed. They're not targeting current officeholder Sheila Simon … but the actual job itself.

One-time federal second banana John Nance Garner, vice president to Franklin D. Roosevelt for two terms,  is credited with declaring that the job of second-highest executive "is not worth a bucket of warm ..." (historians differ on the contents of the bucket).

Members of the Illinois House of Representatives seem to have similar ideas about the office derisively called the "lite guv." The  voted 83-28 to eliminate the job from the Illinois Constitution. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, says six other states don't have lieutenant governors, and expects the move to save nearly $2 million a year. 

 "It is a luxury that we can no longer afford. This amendment is not meant to try to offend the current lieutenant governor. In fact it would not go into effect until 2019."                                                       --Rep. David McSweeney

 The Illinois Constitution gives the lieutenant governor no formal duties. In the early '80s, one officeholder resigned, citing boredom with the job. Current Lt. Governor Simon has kept herself busy chairing task forces and councils on education, agriculture, and environmental issues. But even she's not running for reelection. She's kept quiet about her plans, but is expected to run for another office. 

Under the proposal, if something happened to the governor, the attorney general would be next in line.

The plan still has to get through the state Senate. Because it modifies the Illinois Constitution, it also would have to be approved by voters at next year's election.

Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey contributed to this report