Last week, Illinois Senate Republicans re-released a package of legislation including four proposed constitutional amendments that in almost any other state could have been written by Democrats.

But don't expect them to get any traction in the Democrat-controlled Illinois legislature. For one thing, Democratic leaders already showed no interest in the provisions when they were originally introduced a year ago. For another, in Illinois' partisan political environment, it's hard to know whether the proposals announced by Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie, of Hawthorn Woods, are serious or just an opportunity to create an election issue around which to rally voters.

This is unfortunate. For, regardless of which party presented them, the ideas flow from the very spirit of citizen involvement in Illinois government and deserve at least, in McConchie's words, "a serious debate."

The centerpiece of the legislation Republicans are calling a "Voter Empowerment Package" is a proposal for an independent commission to oversee the drawing of congressional and legislative district boundaries.

This eminently reasonable and necessary idea has been stymied by Illinois Democrats for a decade -- and elsewhere is being stymied by Republicans in states they control. Despite overwhelming public popularity and years of grass-roots efforts, Democrats managed to suppress the notion of an independent commission to draw the boundaries in Illinois until it was irrelevant for this decade. But it will be important again in 2030, so, if nothing else, it's refreshing to see that someone is trying to keep the idea alive.

And other proposals also merit attention, to varying degrees.

One would open up the state's current restrictive process for citizen initiatives, giving voters a more direct say in policy matters that affect them. Another would give voters more opportunities to recall constitutional and local officials. Another would give voters the power to order referendums on recently passed legislation.

None of the ideas is a slam dunk, but that shouldn't discount any of them offhand. The latter is perhaps the most unsettling, conjuring images of irate partisans disrupting legislative operations every time a controversial bill passes on a narrow vote. And the notion of recall, while certainly worth expanding beyond simply the governor, is something that bears extremely careful and precise direction.

But all the proposals deserve scrutiny they are not likely to get. To that extent, Republicans deserve credit for keeping alive ideas that strike at the foundations of democracy in Illinois.

"Other bills that I know of that have been introduced along these lines in the past have not had a serious debate," McConchie told the State Journal-Register in Springfield last week. "Let's start the debate. I don't know what people are afraid of."

We do. It's loss of power, of course. But we hope lawmakers of either party, and citizens as well, won't give up trying.