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Letter: Pension Legislation Would Strip Authority From Governmental Units

On Nov. 6, Illinois voters will vote on a proposal to amend the Illinois Constitution to require a three-fifths majority vote in order to increase a benefit under any public pension or retirement system.

Submitted by the League of Women Voters of Downers Grove, Woodridge and Lisle 

On Nov. 6, Illinois voters will vote on a proposal to amend the Illinois Constitution to require a three-fifths majority vote in order to increase a benefit under any public pension or retirement system.

Raising such a benefit would require a three-fifths majority vote in each chamber of the Illinois General Assembly, as well as in the governing bodies of any unit of local government, school district, or pension or retirement system.

The League of Women Voters of Illinois opposes this proposal and urges voters to vote no.

The League of Women Voters strongly supports governmental systems that are transparent, representative, accountable, and responsive. By requiring a super majority, this amendment, if passed, would strip the deliberative decision-making authority of governmental units and cede that authority to the minority. 

The League agrees with the Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure that “whenever a vote of more than a majority is required to take an action, control is taken from the majority and given to the minority. The higher the vote required, the smaller the minority to which control passes.”

Further, it is the League’s position that the Constitution is not the proper place to remedy a larger problem with a narrow, single solution. If the General Assembly thinks this provision is necessary, it should consider introducing and passing legislation to modify the existing statute, not codifying it in the Constitution.

The blue book that voters received from the Illinois Secretary of State provides the language of the amendment. We encourage voters to take a look at it, reflect on the League position, and then consider this Amendment’s effect when they vote on November 6th. 

— By Peggy Healy and Hilary Denk, co-presidents of the League of Women Voters of Downers Grove/Woodridge/Lisle

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