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updated: 2/4/2014 8:11 PM

Illinois Republicans push to end lame-duck votes

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  • Jim Durkin

    Jim Durkin

By Zachary White

Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs announced Tuesday a proposal to get rid of lame-duck sessions in Springfield that have, in the past, paved the way for the approval of controversial legislation.

Durkin and other House Republicans pointed in particular to the 2011 income tax hike vote in the hours before a new set of lawmakers was sworn in. Outgoing Democrats with little to lose politically helped push the increase through.

"Several of the lame ducks who voted yes that night were replaced the next day by new members who had pledged to vote no on the income tax increases," said state Rep. Sandra Pihos, a Glen Ellyn Republican.

The proposal, if approved, would move the state's inauguration day from January to December. It would also require lawmakers to be done with their work by Election Day.

As an amendment to the Illinois Constitution, the change would have to be approved by both lawmakers and voters.

"We're going to do something about it," Durkin said. "We're going to educate the public about the abuses that go along with being in the majority party."

State Rep. Kay Hatcher, a Yorkville Republican and lame-duck lawmaker, said she has been asked to vote like a lame duck.

"I was astounded at the number of people who came to me following my opportunity to not run again to say: 'You know, it's OK to vote for this law. You're not running again,'" Hatcher said. "Well what does that say to the public?"

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