Conning Voters Out Of Con-Con 2008

Published October 10, 2008

Dear Editor:

First, the Chicago Sun-Times editorialized against an Illinois Constitutional Convention because the result could make matters worse for citizens by allowing spurious changes to the state laws protecting a woman’s reproductive rights, and you worried about state-approved or state-prohibited same-sex marriage (“Don’t vote for a new constitutional convention,” October 7 ).

Later outside columnist Rich Miller of CapitolFax focused his journalistic efforts on supporting Con-Con by rehearsing the Jim Crow imperfections found in nineteenth century Illinois constitutions (“Illinois should vote for constitutional convention,” October 9).

But no one opposing or endorsing Con-Con is identifying the citizen-empowerment aspects: Con-Con provides a chance for independent voters to express their decision on recall provisions, real estate and income taxes, school finance reform, state pension fund liability reforms, and sustainable capital improvement strategies for roads and bridges throughout the state.

Voters may also consider amending the Illinois Constitution to provide for a return to three-member legislative districts in the General Assembly, broadening representative government with a voice for independents and the minority party. Such a broadening would balance the ineptitude of gridlock in a one-party state where the executive rules by decree and completely ignores the role of the legislature. Today Illinois offers twenty-first century “taxation without representation.”

Waiting for substantial changes to emerge from legislation alone could be wishful waiting.

Ralph W. Conner ([email protected]) is local legislation manager at The Heartland Institute.