The constitutional amendment that’s on the ballot is confusing, according to an Illinois constitutional activist. John C. Bambenek, a Champaign resident who’s now running for the state Senate, is suing the state Board of Elections over the amendment, which he says includes a preamble talking about aconstitutional convention, which is the result of a change in the law.
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“When they changed it, they kind of combined the process for constitutional amendments and the constitutional convention vote that happens every 20 years. The problem is that now you’ve got this language that applies to several circumstances, but when you actually look at this circumstance, it’s incomprehensible,” he said. The amendment itself would require governing bodies – the General Assembly, city council, county boards, school boards, etc. – to reach a 60 percent vote before employee pensions could be increased.
The wording in the preamble is Bambenek’s principal objection, but he says the wording in the body of the amendment is also unclear, and he says something as important as a constitutional amendment should be clear. Bambenek, who filed suit in Champaign County, wants the court to rule the amendment advisory only, if it passes. He expects the case eventually to reach the Illinois Supreme Court. Bambenek was active in a “vote yes” campaign for a constitutional convention in 2008, and for a constitutional amendment for redistricting reform in 2010.