SPRINGFIELD – A Republican candidate for Illinois governor wants to limit state lawmakers to eight years in office, cut the size of the Senate and make it more difficult to override a veto.
Winnetka venture capitalist Bruce Rauner formally launched a petition drive Tuesday to get the questions on the November 2014 ballot.
He told The Associated Press that he planned to personally invite Gov. Pat Quinn and his primary challenger, Bill Daley, to co-chair the initiative with him, as both have supported term limits in the past.
The referendums would limit legislators to eight total years in office and cut the size of the Senate from 59 members to 41. The House would expand to 123, which Rauner says would make races more competitive.
Rauner also wants to change the number of votes needed to override a governor's veto to two-thirds from three-fifths. He says the governor should have a stronger role in order to bring Illinois in line with the U.S.
Rauner described the effort as separate and distinct from his bid for governor, where he faces a four-way primary against state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale, state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa.
"It has its own staff, its own fundraising initiative," Rauner said, responding to criticisms that the initiative was another way for him to promote his campaign. "The time is right."
He said the initiative is one of a number of reforms he'll be proposing throughout the race for governor.
A 1994 "Eight is enough!" term limits ballot initiative by Quinn was struck down in the courts. The court's decision was rooted in a 1976 Illinois Supreme Court ruling that said proposed referendums can be placed on the ballot only if they include "structural and procedural" changes to the Legislature.
According to an Associated Press review, 67 of 177 members of the General Assembly have served more than 10 years.