Lewis Votes “Yea” on Leader Term Limits

Legislative leaders would be subject to term limits under legislation co-sponsored by State Representative Seth Lewis (R-Bartlett) that cleared the House of Representatives on Thursday, April 22, 2021. Lewis has long been a vocal advocate for term limits for legislators and elected officials.

Under House Bill 642, no person may serve more than ten consecutive years as a legislative leader in the General Assembly. Roles limited under the legislation include Speaker of the House of Representatives, President of the Senate, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, and Minority Leader of the Senate. The measure would take effect at the start of the next General Assembly, which begins on the second Wednesday in January of 2023.

“It’s well past time for legislation like this to become the law of the land in Illinois,” said Lewis. “The people of Illinois – from all ends of the political spectrum – have repeatedly made it clear that they support term limits for elected officials. This is a good start, but there is still much more work to be done to achieve that goal.”

Earlier this spring, Lewis introduced HB 2496, which would create the Local Government Term Limit Review Act. Under the act, units of government, including school districts, park districts, library districts, and fire districts that have leadership selected by the board, would be required to consider them. Governmental units would have to, by verbal or written vote, ordinance, or resolution or by referendum of the electors of the governmental unit, decide whether to impose term limits for the chairpersons, presidents, or executives of their governing bodies.

Under Lewis’s legislation, the outcome of these discussions about term limits and any votes taken would be part of the public record, meaning the public would be able to see how their elected representatives voted on such a consequential matter. The legislation would not apply to governmental leadership directly elected by the people. Unfortunately, the measure has failed to advance this legislative session. 

“Today, we passed term limits for legislative leaders with overwhelming, bipartisan support,” said Lewis. “I hope that in the future, we will see that same kind of bipartisan support for other term limits measures, like my legislation and other measures that would term limit service in the General Assembly for all members.” 

House Bill 642 has cleared the House of Representatives now heads to the Illinois Senate for consideration in that chamber.