News Local/State

State Senators Say Democrats’ Support Of Leader Term Limits Is Show Of ‘Good Faith’ For Budget Plan

Jason Barickman

Republican State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington Sean Powers/WILL

State senators on both sides of the aisle are presenting last week’s bipartisan vote to impose term limits on top Senate leaders as a good-faith showing by Democrats in support of a state budget compromise.

That includes Assistant Republican Leader Jason Barickman of Bloomington. Barickman is praising Senate President John Cullerton and other Democrats for supporting the ten-year term limits on the Senate President and Minority Leader. He says the vote merely instituted a rules change that could be easily revoked.

But Barickman says it shows Democrats’ commitment to a package of budget bills that includes the same term limits for the Illinois House as well, through a state constitutional amendment.

“President Cullerton said, while that budget package that includes a term limit constitutional amendment, while that moves through the legislative process, why don’t we immediately enact a term limit on the Senate legislative leaders”, said Barickman.  

Democratic Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign agrees that Democrats voted for Senate term limits as a show of good faith. And he thinks term limits for legislative leaders will appeal to Governor Bruce Rauner. The governor has called for term limits for all state lawmakers. But Bennett thinks term limits for leadership posts would go a long way toward addressing his concerns.

“What the term limits really is about, at least what I hear from constituents is, we just want to see some change in leadership,” said Bennett. “They don’t necessarily want to lose their own state representative or state senator, because that’s what every election, they get a chance to decide if they like that individual or not.”

The term limits -- both those approved in the Senate last week and the ones in the Senate budget package --- are not retroactive. That means years already served will not be counted against the current legislative leaders.

Senators took no action on their compromise budget bills last week. But Bennett says they could get a hearing when lawmakers return to Springfield last week.

The 13-piece budget compromise package in the Senate includes hikes in the state income tax and minimum wage, but also a property tax freeze and restrictions on workers compensation awards.

According to the Associated Press, State Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno has promised Senate action on the budget package before Feb. 1.