Illinois House Republicans Want To Limit "Lame Duck" Lawmakers

Feb 5, 2014

A politician is called a "lame duck" only briefly -- during the time when he or she retires or loses a race, but is still able to cast votes.

Credit State of Illinois

The thinking goes that because these legislators no longer have to worry re-election, they're more apt to vote "yes" on controversial issues they might otherwise reject.

Like increasing Illinois' income tax, which passed during the lame duck session of 2011.  That increase is set to expire at the end of this year, making taxation a ripe issue for you guessed it -- the next lame duck session. House Minority Leader Jim Durkin wants to abolish these lame-duck sessions.

"We're going to have a very spirited election this November and by all accounts no matter how the outcome is, next January could be the mother of all lame duck sessions," Durkin said.

Representative Dwight Kay:

"The lack of constituent accountability has created an easy way to pass controversial legislation with no fear, no fear whatsoever, of repercussions."

Durkin is pushing for a constitutional amendment that would effectively make holding them impossible, save for an agreement by the governor and legislative leaders from both parties.

But Durkin has previously tried in recent years to rein in lame-duck sessions, to no avail. With Democrats controlling the process, it's unlikely he will succeed this time either.