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Voters one step closer to gaining recall power
By Nicole Milstead | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 5/31/2009 12:01 AM

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SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois House voted Saturday in favor of a constitutional amendment that could lead to voters recalling future governors.

The measure was approved 109-6 with two member voting present. All Daily Herald-area House members voted "yes."

"The numerous failing of our former governor are indisputable examples of why a recall provision is necessary," said state Rep. Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat who sponsored the amendment.

The legislation allows for a governor to be recalled and removed from office by the voters on a special ballot. The voters would be able to vote to remove the governor and at the same time have the primary for a replacement. The lieutenant governor would temporarily become governor until such an election is complete.

"We must give the citizens the right to take their government back," Franks said. "Recently we have taken strong steps toward reforming state government here in Springfield but our work is far from done."

Gov Pat Quinn has been a big supporter of recall, however the reform commission he appointed this year left such a plan out of its list of ethical reforms. Quinn made it a priority anyway.

In a rare showing, Quinn and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, a Springfield Democrat, were present for the vote in the Illinois House.

"I think it's a great step forward. It strengthens the voters of Illinois that if a governor betrays the public trust that people have the right of recall in Illinois," Quinn told reporters.

The recall provision still has a ways to go before voters have a chance to consider it. Timing issues make it impossible for the Illinois Senate to consider it before the spring session is scheduled to end.

However, the deadline for getting such amendment question before voters isn't until next May so the Senate could easily take the plan up later this year or during next year's session.

• Daily Herald staff writer Dan Carden contributed to this report.