Saving Illinois starts with changing its Constitution, groups argue
Amending the Illinois Constitution is the only way to reform policies that have destroyed the economic and political landscape of the state for decades, according to An Illinois Constitution for the 21st Century, a book co-published by the Illinois Policy Institute and Liberty Justice Center.
Pat Hughes, the external relations officer for the institute, discussed the significant amount of structural reform required to turn Illinois around with Shaun Thompson and Bruce Wolf, the guest hosts of "Chicago’s Morning Answer" radio show.
Dan Proft, the official host of the show, is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
The Illinois Policy Institute is hosting an event at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday at the University of Chicago Law School to discuss how the Constitution can be amended for structural reforms in the 21st century.
“We propose amendments to the Constitution to allow for redistricting reform and term limits so the same people that have brought you all this pain can then be ultimately replaced,” Hughes said.
A pension clause in the Constitution has been interpreted by the Supreme Court in a way that does not allow anybody to touch or change it. Hughes said that has to change if the state wants to get its $130 billion in unfunded pensions under control.
Keeping the status quo benefits few people in Illinois, Hughes said.
“It’s the public sector unions and the trial lawyers who pour money into the pockets of (House Speaker) Mike Madigan and his cronies to get these same folks elected to do the same things over and over,” Hughes said.
Republicans in Illinois are seeking reform on all fronts, but they keep hitting roadblocks in the Democrat-run Legislature, Hughes said.
“When you think about school choice, when you think about pensions, when you think about term limits and redistricting, this is the kind of reform the Republican side is trying to get,” Hughes said.