Recall amendment supported by Quinn, state senators
A possible amendment to the state constitution that would allow voters to recall elected officials -- all the way up to the governor -- is drawing support from state senators from both parties and even Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn.
State Sens. Dave Koehler, D-Peoria, and Dale Risinger, R-Peoria, said they would like to see a proposed constitutional amendment allowing Illinoisans the option to recall lawmakers and constitutional officers debated on the Senate floor.
"I hope it gets brought up and I will vote for it," Koehler said Monday. "This is not something the electorate will take lightly. I think (recall) should be looked at more broadly in terms of a philosophical approach to what is good government."
"I think we ought to give the chance for the people to vote on it," he said.
A Senate executive committee will consider the amendment proposal Wednesday during a 10 a.m. hearing in Springfield.
If the committee approves it, the recall plan could go to discussion on the Senate floor.
But some believe a full Senate debate on the issue might not happen. Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, the measure’s Senate sponsor who serves as a member of Senate President Emil Jones’ leadership team, doesn’t agree with it.
Jones is an ally of Gov. Rod Blagjoevich, who many lawmakers have claimed the amendment is aimed after.
"This is obviously a reaction to the governor," Risinger added. "I think it’s pretty symbolic and sends a heck of a message."
During a stop in Peoria Tuesday, Quinn also called on the Senate to give the recall process fair consideration. He called the process "clearly an uphill battle" and said Trotter and Jones should give senators a chance to voice their opinions on it.
Quinn, however, stopped short of acknowledging the push for the recall amendment was directly related to frustrations with the governor.
"Regardless of whether you are for the amendment or not, it’s the correct policy to have it come up for a vote," Quinn said.
Downstate senators have mixed opinions about the proposal.
"I’m not going to be in support of the recall," said Sen. Deanna Demuzio, D-Carlinville. "I feel that there are several (other) venues, one venue being the ballot box, that you can pick your choice there. If you go, you can voice your opposition to someone and not elect them."
Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, also a member of the Senator leadership team, said he’s "torn" on the plan.
Sen. Dan Rutherford, R-Pontiac, said he also hasn’t decided on it, but admitted he was leaning toward supporting recall.
The measure needs to clear the Senate by May 4 to wind up on the Nov. 4 ballot. It requires three-fifths approval from the Senate.
The Illinois House voted 75-33 April 8 in favor of putting the recall amendment on the November ballot.
After it passes the Senate, voters can approve it in one of two ways: three-fifths of those voting on the question on the ballot or a majority of those voting in the election to change the state Constitution.
Eighteen states have a recall provision, but recall elections rarely happen.
Only two states have it used it in the last century to recall a governor, the most famous being California and its recall of Gov. Gray Davis in 2003, setting up the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
John Sharp can be reached at (309) 686-3282 or email@example.com. Adriana Colindres can be reached at (217) 782-6292 or firstname.lastname@example.org.