Despite consolidation push, lawmakers let lieutenant governor job survive

  • Illinois lawmakers balked at eliminating the office now held by Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti of Wheaton, who has championed government consolidation.

    Illinois lawmakers balked at eliminating the office now held by Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti of Wheaton, who has championed government consolidation. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 4/21/2016 4:04 PM

Illinois lawmakers Thursday rejected eliminating the state office now held by Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti of Wheaton, who has championed government consolidation in her first term in office.

State Sen. Tom Cullerton, a Villa Park Democrat, pushed the amendment to the constitution, saying the lieutenant governor job comes with no real responsibilities and eliminating the post would save $1.6 million per year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Your constituents have told you they want this to occur," Cullerton said.

But Republicans and some Democrats worried about who would succeed a governor who died or left office. Under Cullerton's plan, the attorney general would be next in line, and critics said installing a new governor of a different party would go against voters.

The plan came 15 votes short of approval.

State Sen. Matt Murphy, a Palatine Republican who ran for the lieutenant governor's post in 2010, said he was for eliminating the job even as he was running for it.

"But how you do things of this magnitude matter," Murphy said.

"In this form it's pure politics," he said.

Pat Quinn, then lieutenant governor, rose to the top job after Rod Blagojevich was ousted by the Senate in 2009.

State Rep. David McSweeney of Barrington Hills is carrying a similar proposal that hasn't been considered by the full House this year, and its future is now more in question.

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