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Judge Rules Against Term Limits, Redistricting

Petitions calling for limiting Illinois legislators’ terms and political redistricting hit a major road block. Cook County Judge Mary Mikva ruled both proposals were unconstitutional Friday, June 27, and the group pushing the "Redistricting Initiative" ended its efforts to place the question on the November ballot.

The judge ruled against the “Term Limit Initiative” stating the provisions were unrelated. “The inclusion of these other components also puts this initiative in conflict with the Free and Equal Clause in Article III, 3,” Mikva wrote, “…separate questions in an initiative must be ‘reasonably related to a common objective in a workable manner.’”

The proposal called for an eight-year limit on legislators in office in addition to a change in the size of the Illinois House and Senate and an amendment that would make it harder to override a governor's veto. The group pushing the “Term Limits Initiative” said it will appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court. 

Judge Mikva also ruled against the proposal by Yes for Independent Maps stating the provisions went beyond changing the structure and procedure of the General Assembly in part by limiting members of the independent commission from running for the General Assembly. According to the initiative, they wouldn’t be allowed to serve as a lawmaker for a decade following their time on the commission.

However, the judge did point out potential in this initiative. “In contrast, a differently drafted redistricting initiative could be valid, but, for the reasons stated, the proposed Redistricting Initiative is not,” Mikva wrote.

The independent map coalition said it may try again in 2016 or 2018. “We have concluded that we are not going to proceed in this election cycle. Instead, we will put the lessons learned in this campaign and from the judge’s ruling to good use,” said Deborah Harrington, Chair of Yes for Independent Maps in a statement.