Let's rein in lame ducks

February 6, 2014 

State Reps. Dwight Kay and Charlie Meier call their bill to limit the votes of lame-duck lawmakers a common-sense solution to a real problem: laws enacted by legislators on their way out the door.

Instead of the usual simple majority, a super-majority would be needed to pass bills in the months between an election and the swearing in of new officeholders.

It is a common-sense proposal but something most people in politics just can't comprehend.

For instance, Steve Brown, a spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, said he didn't know why the bill's supporters would want to tie the legislature's hands.

The income tax increase of 2011 is one glaring example of why.

Lawmakers who had been voted out of office and were no longer accountable to the voters cast the deciding votes of increasing the individual state income tax 66 percent. Some of the 12 lame-duck lawmakers had campaigned against the tax increase before they voted for it. Six of them ended up with high-paying state jobs. Coincidence?

If Kay's and Meier's bill becomes law, people would no longer have to worry and wonder about what lame-duck lawmakers might do to them.

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