Raoul: Next step is consolidation of offices for efficiency and savings
SPRINGFIELD, IL â€” With strong support from State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th), the Senate voted earlier today to let the people of Illinois choose a new comptroller in 2016. Now that the House has followed suit, the legislation calling for special elections to fill long-term vacancies of constitutional offices will go to the governor.
â€œThis was clearly the right thing to do,â€ Raoul said. â€œThe framers of Illinoisâ€™ constitution explicitly authorized the legislature to pass laws providing for special elections in cases like this, and we exercised that authority today to return power to the people. I look forward to continuing the conversation about consolidating government operations where appropriate â€” achieving both efficiency and savings â€” when the new General Assembly begins its work next week.â€
Raoul has pledged to continue seeking approval of a constitutional amendment aimed at merging the statewide fiscal offices of treasurer and comptroller under a single elected official, called the Comptroller of the Treasury. A Senate committee discussed his current proposal this morning; a similar measure he sponsored received Senate approval in 2011.
Illinois was left without a comptroller or comptroller-elect when Judy Baar Topinka died last month. With no provision in state law for a special election, an unelected appointee picked by the incoming governor would serve as comptroller unless legislators act to give voters a say. House Bill 4576 would put the comptroller position back on the statewide ballot in 2016 so voters can pick who should serve out the final two years of Topinkaâ€™s term. An appointee would serve the first two years. The legislation would also close a loophole in state law by requiring a special election to fill any future vacancy in the statewide executive offices of attorney general, secretary of state, comptroller or treasurer if more than 28 months remain in the term.