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Con-Con in 2008

excerpted from article by State Representative Paul Froehlich

(1) Background:
Article XIV of the 1970 Illinois Constitution provides that the question of calling a constitutional convention (Con-Con) be placed before the voters every 20 years, unless the General Assembly calls for a vote on the question in the interim.

The last time the question was placed on the ballot was in November 1988. That means the next referendum is due in November 2008 asking voters whether to convene a constitutional convention.

(2) What is a Con-Con?
A Constitutional Convention is one of three means our state constitution provides for proposing amendments to that document. Once the decision is made to call a Con-Con, voters elect the 118 convention delegates, with two from each of the 59 senatorial districts. HereÕs what happens next, according to the Constitution:

ÒThe Convention shall prepare such revision of or amendments to the Constitution as it deems necessary. Any proposed revision or amendments approved by a majority of the delegates elected shall be submitted to the electors (votersÉat an electionÉAny proposed revision or amendments shall become effective, as the Convention provides, if approved by a majority of those voting on the question.Ó

In short, voters are empowered throughout the process and have a check and balance against radical change by deciding three matters:
1. Whether to convene a convention in the first place
2. Whom to elect as delegates if a convention is called
3. Whether to approve of amendments proposed by the convention

Those who predict possible catastrophe if Con-Con is called donÕt trust the voters. They donÕt trust the voters to elect good convention delegates, and, in the unlikely event that Con-Con puts a crazy proposal on the ballot, they donÕt trust the voters to reject it.

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