What Are Term Limits for Various Elected Representatives in the State of Illinois?


Quick Answer

There are no term limits for individuals elected to the House of Representatives or the State Senate. The legislative branch of Illinois, or the General Assembly, encompasses the State Senate, and each of its 59 members are allowed to serve four-year terms per decade.

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Full Answer

Each of the 59 senators represents an individual legislative district that the state re-districts every 10 years. Each district consists of approximately 217,000 people. The state staggers term cycles, so that districts do not elect senators en masse every four years. Rather, the staggered term cycles allows some senators to potentially serve 16 years at a time, by winning elections for back-to-back four-year terms that straddle consecutive decades.

Legislative reforms, specifically of term limits in Illinois, have thus far been unsuccessful as of 2015. In 2014, multiple court rulings disqualified the proposal of an amendment for term limits for Illinois legislators. The amendment would have limited terms to a maximum of eight years, increased the House from 188 to 123 and reduced the Senate from 59 to 41. To override a governor's veto, the measure also proposed a required a two-thirds majority vote from both houses.

One lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court in April 2014 to prevent the term limits measure included several prominent corporate plaintiffs, such as the former CEO of Commonwealth Edison. The Plaintiffs' formal complaint asserts that term limits on members of the General Assembly contradicts what the Illinois Supreme Court holds to be proper subjects for amendments to Article IV.

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