(Chicago, IL) – February 12, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today proposed an amendment to the Illinois Constitution that would allow state voters to enact ethics reforms through popular initiative and referendum.
“Our citizens must always have a role in keeping our government honest and ethical,” said Quinn.
Sponsored by State Senator Annazette Collins (D-Chicago), the measure, dubbed by Quinn as the “Lincoln Amendment,” would grant citizens the means to enact ethics reforms to local governments, school districts, and the legislative, executive and judicial branches of state government by gathering 8% of the total votes cast in the most recent gubernatorial election.
Based on the 2010 results of 3,729,989 votes cast in the governor’s race, for example, a statewide referendum would need 298,399 signatures. Not a simple task.
The Lincoln Amendment would be limited to changes that establish and enforce ethical standards, including campaign finance reform, conflict-of-interest voting, pay-to-pay abuses, patronage abuse, and misuse of taxpayer funds, says Quinn.
Currently, voters may only propose, by popular initiative, amendments to the Illinois constitution that deal with the structure and procedure of the General Assembly. If the legislature this spring approves Quinn’s plan, voters could push through a referendum on a permanent change to the Illinois Constitution during the November 2012 general election.
“I am proud to sponsor this amendment, which will allow people to be even more involved in their government, and I would like to thank Governor Quinn for his support of ethics in government,” said Collins.
Bread and circuses.