House Speaker Michael Madigan today advanced legislation aimed at eliminating the lieutenant governor's office in 2015, a response to embattled Chicago pawnbroker Scott Lee Cohen's primary victory and quick resignation upon disclosure of his tawdry past.You know some comments at Mechanics when I posted over there about the future of the Lt. Governorship of Illinois suggested that my ideas made too much sense to be successful.
Under Madigan's proposed constitutional amendment, a lieutenant governor elected this November would serve four years before the office went away.
The House Executive Committee voted 8-0, with three voting present, to send the measure to the full House. But it still must be approved by the Senate and voters also would have to sign off this November.
A lot of the chatter I see about this issue reads as if people believe this proposal is only a power play by Speaker Michael Madigan to further help his daughter Lisa Madigan (who is the state Attorney General) move up as far as gubernatorial succession. The question may well be if this proposal is all about politics.
Well I brought up the idea, but I won't be able to tell you if that's what it is. I will say that I almost wonder if this is as much of a genius move as reducing the number of representatives in the state House. Before 1982 there were three state representatives for every one senator. There are currently 59 state senators, and you multiply that by 2 and that 118 state reps. Before 1982 there would have been 177 state reps.
I've written about how these state reps were elected, by utilizing cumulative voting. Our current Gov. Pat Quinn advocated for this cut back in state reps by placing them in single member districts. He capitalized on voter anger at state politicians and just like those who advocate for an abolition of the Lt. Governorship it was mentioned that reducing state reps would save money.
This time Pat Quinn is indicating his support for the office he once held. He hasn't said much about this issue recently, but he's just as easily scrambling as the state Democratic Party to determine who might replace Scott Lee Cohen on the ballot in November.