State Senator Donald DeWitte (R-St. Charles) has signed onto a series of bills that would empower Illinoisans, by providing them with tools that allow residents a more active role in the democratic process. The package consisting of four constitutional amendments was unveiled in a press conference held on January 18.
“State government belongs to the people of Illinois, and for far too long their voices have been marginalized or silenced by a legislative majority that shuts everyday Illinoisans out of the process,” said Sen. DeWitte. “The Senate Republicans’ Voter Empowerment Package gives the power back to the people, and provides valuable tools to help them ensure their state government is working for them and not for entrenched politicians.”
The Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendments included in the Senate Republicans’ Voter Empowerment Package include:
SJRCA 13: Requires an independent redistricting commission, where the chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court and the most senior supreme court justice of the opposite party would jointly select 17 commissioners to serve on the commission.
The commission would be comprised of seven individuals representing the Democratic Party, seven individuals representing the Republican Party, and three independent commissioners. The first redistricting process would occur in 2023 and then after every subsequent federal decennial census.
SJRCA 14: Allows Illinois voters to make more substantive changes to their constitution. The Illinois Constitution currently limits citizen-initiative amendments to specified structural and procedural subjects. This amendment would put voters in the driver’s seat, allowing them to circulate petitions for and vote on many key issues such as taxation, redistricting, and other important constitutional provisions.
SJRCA 15: Permits citizens the ability to initiate up-or-down referendums on newly passed laws. By giving citizens the right to veto unpopular or rushed legislation, the amendment would allow voters a form of popular redress to political overreach and unwanted mandates.
SJRCA 16: Allows voters to recall elected officials including any executive branch officer, the Speaker of the House, the President of the Senate, the Auditor General, Members of the General Assembly, and local government officials. Currently, only the Governor is subject to recall.
“I believe these four initiatives are vital to the future viability of our state,” added Sen. DeWitte. “They address decades of mismanagement, and create a platform where elected lawmakers are accountable to the people they serve not just on Election Day, but every day they are in office.”