Illinois lawmakers inch closer to codifying term limits for legislative leaders

(The Center Square) – Illinois lawmakers are poised to make leadership term limits of no more than ten consecutive years state law.

Before he resigned from the House earlier this year, Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, served in the state legislature for more than 50 years. Madigan served as House Speaker for 24 consecutive years from 1997 to 2021. For two years when Republicans had the majority in the House, Madigan was the Minority Leader. Before that, he served as Speaker for 12 years from 1983 to 1995.

House Bill 642 puts a limit of ten consecutive years on legislative leadership roles like the Illinois Senate President, Senate Minority Leader, House Speaker and House Minority Leader.

Such provisions were approved by the Illinois Senate in their membership rules several years ago. Around the same time, House Republicans put similar rules in place for the Republican caucus. House Democrats approved leader term limits in their rules starting this year.

“We included leadership term limits in our rules and that in itself was very historic,” said the bill’s chief sponsor state Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights.

While DeLuca’s measure doesn’t put term limits on legislators–something that would require a constitutional amendment–it would curb the historic leadership terms Madigan secured during his tenure.

DeLuca didn’t mention Madigan on the floor Thursday, but did thank House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Westchester.

“It would not have happened without Speaker Welch, who is a cosponsor on this bill,” DeLuca said just before shaking hands with Welch.

Welch secured the speakership when Madigan lost majority support in January.

House Bill 642 passed nearly unanimously. State Rep. Will Davis was listed as voting “present.”

Welch has been speaker for just a few months. House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, has been in his leadership position since 2013.

Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, was elected to the post by Senators in January 2020. Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods, was selected by Republicans earlier this year.

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