Illinois Legislature Paves the Way for People to Pick Comptroller in 2016

Raoul: Next step is consolidation of offices for efficiency and savings

SPRINGFIELD, IL — 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.

“This was clearly the right thing to do,” Raoul said. “The framers of Illinois’ 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 — achieving both efficiency and savings — when the new General Assembly begins its work next week.”

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 Topinka’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.