Friday, July 3, 2009

Petition Drive to Amend Illinois Constitution Asks for Unicameral Legislature

Friend and activist John Bambenek is righteously upset, as are many of us in Illinois. His press release says it all: News Release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 3, 2009 Contact: John Bambenek / Illinois Citizen begins Petition Drive for Constitutional Amendment The “Bambenek Put-back Amendment” is designed to radically restructure the General Assembly and decentralize power CHAMPAIGN - Today Illinois citizen and activist John Bambenek began a petition drive to place a state constitutional amendment on the November 2010 general election ballot. Citing the frustration at the gridlock in Springfield and the chaos caused by massive cuts to social services spending, Bambenek believes that the time is right to reform the Legislature. “We’ve had two very different governors now, and while Blagojevich was a significant problem, the dysfunction in Springfield remains under Quinn. The only consistent feature of our dysfunctional state government is the Legislature,” Bambenek said. The amendment will fundamentally change the Legislature by converting it to a unicameral (or one chamber) body and return to three-member districts with cumulative voting (total of 177 members). Additionally, it will implement long ignored reforms such as reforming redistricting, implementing term limits of no more than four two-year terms, term limit legislative leaders to only one session (two years), end shell bills, require a seven-day public viewing period for all legislative, provide for any bill to get an up-or-down vote upon motion of at least 25 members and greatly reform the process for legislative pay raises. “Now isn’t the time to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, it is time to decentralize power in the legislature. When one man can cause political and social chaos simply to bolster his daughter’s political prospects, something is very wrong.” In explaining why he is taking the effort to circulate a petition to put the amendment on directly, Bambenek said, “The campaign contribution caps bills shows that we simply cannot trust the Legislature to reform itself. Regardless of what someone thinks about caps, “caps for everyone but Mike Madigan” is a radical power grab masquerading as reform. The framers of the Constitution put this right of citizens in our state constitution explicitly because the legislature cannot be trusted to right itself.” The amendment will be called the “Bambenek Put-back Amendment” design to Put the voters Back in charge. If Bambenek is successful in gathering enough signatures (legal minimum of just less than 280,000), the amendment will be listed on the ballot and requires no General Assembly Action. It will pass upon 60% of the votes approving the question. ### John Bambenek is a political activist, writer and co-founder of the Illinois Citizens Coalition (ICC), a political action committee created to inform and organize Illinois citizens to take more of an interest in state government. For more information visit the ICC website at Leave a Comment... See Our Online Store Chicago News Bench RSS Feed We're on Twitter...