Illinois
4:41 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Two Constitutional Amendments Headed To Fall Ballot

Illinois voters will be asked to weigh in on at least two changes to the Illinois Constitution at this November's election. Both measures got final approval Thursday in the Senate.

Credit Brian Mackey

One measure says people can't be denied the right to vote because of race, sexual orientation, or other factors.

Sen. Kwame Raoul, a Democrat from Chicago, all but dared his colleagues to vote it down.

"If you're for voter ID laws, you should vote no to this resolution,” Raoul said. “I urge an aye vote from all the people who want to encourage every American citizen who has the right to vote, to be able to cast their ballot."

The final vote was 52-0.

The other measure seeks better treatment for victims of crime — like being allowed to make a statement before a defendant is sentenced and being able to sue to enforce their existing rights in the Illinois Constitution.

That measure is sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans, also a Chicago Democrat. She says that, without the ability to go to court, victims' rights are not that strong.

"We can't always stop violence or erase the pain we know that it causes to victims,” she said. “But we can make sure, at least today, that their dignity and respect is honored during the criminal justice project."

There could be additional constitutional amendments before voters this fall. One would change the way legislative districts are drawn, and another would impose term limits on state politicians.