Is The Office Of Lieutenant Governor "A Luxury" Illinois Can't Afford?

Apr 13, 2016

Illinois' lieutenant governor is Evelyn Sanguinetti; her position would be abolished under legislation approved by a House committee Wednesday.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois lawmakers have taken the first step toward eliminating the office of Lieutenant Governor. Estimates show the proposed constitutional amendment could save $1.6 million dollars a year.

The lieutenant governor doesn't actually have to do much: The Constitution vaguely says whoever holds the office "shall perform the duties ... delegated to him by the Governor."

This year, the Lt. Gov is actually a “her," Evelyn Sanguinetti. She led a local government consolidation task force.

Of course, Sanguinetti's major constitutionally-prescribed duty is to be ready to take the place of the governor, should Bruce Rauner resign, die or be impeached.

"It's always been an insurance policy but I think it's well past the point of insurance," says Rep. Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat who voted in favor nixing the office. "We're in a crisis mode in the state. We’re on a lifeboat, and we can't keep everything."

Although the proposal passed a committee unanimously, lawmakers raised concerns. Without a "lite gov," the Attorney General would be next in line.

Currently, that's Lisa Madigan -- a Democrat, and daughter of Republican Gov. Rauner's political nemesis, House Speaker Michael Madigan.

The proposal, which is sponsored by Republican Rep. David McSweeney of Barrington Hills, must be approved by three-fifths of both General Assembly chambers in order to earn a place on the upcoming general election ballot.