Illinois lawmakers are one step away from changing how local voters can limit local leaders

ILLINOIS (IRN) — Term limits are popular with voters across the state, but state lawmakers in Springfield are a step closer to limiting how local voters can use them.

An Illinois Senate panel on has approved a plan that would erase term limits for a handful of Chicago-area communities, and force all cities across the state to live by one set of rules.

Those rules would require local term limits only apply going forward. And would grandfather-in any leader already in office.

Patrick Hayes with the Illinois Municipal League says a one-size-fits-all rule from Springfield isn’t the answer.

“This would abolish four different referendums that passed. In Calumet City, Crestwood, Harvey, and Hazel Crest,” Hayes said. “It would annul the outcome of the voters’ choices in those local communities to impose term limits.”

Supporters say it’s unfair to say people can’t serve in a number of different offices. State Sen. Napoleon Harris, D-Harvey, said he wants term limits that only go forward, and allow people in office now to be grandfathered in.

“I think it’s unfair that someone can serve their community at an aldermanic level, or a park district level and then when it’s time to run for mayor to say ‘because you’ve served so long, you can’t run for mayor. You’re disqualified.’ ”

The plan now heads to the full Illinois Senate for a vote.