Is It Time For A New Illinois Constitutional Convention?

Jul 19, 2017

The Illinois Constitution has been in place since 1970, but there's an effort to consider drafting a new one. 

State rep. Tim Butler.

State Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, has introduced a plan to hold another constitutional convention. He says there's plenty to talk about -- from the way the state taxes its residents and funds schools to how political district boundaries are drawn.

"I think it's time for us to at least re-evaluate our governing document and see if, moving into our third century of statehood, if there are things we can change in the constitution that will allow us to move forward and prosper as a state," Butler said.

He says holding a convention might be the best approach.

"There are a lot of big issues out there that are constitutional issues that I think we need to resolve and try to move past," he said.

But state-employee labor groups have raised concerns that opening the constitution for revisions could take away pension benefit protections.  Butler, who represents a large number of state governor workers, opposes that. 

For his effort at a constitutional convention to be successful, three-fifths of the General Assembly would need to agree to put it on the ballot, and 60 percent of voters would need to go along.

Back in 2008, voters overwhelmingly turned down the idea of a constitutional convention.