Illinois House votes to eliminate Lt. Gov. position

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon
Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon

(KFVS) - The Illinois House of Representatives approved a constitutional amendment to eliminate the office of Lt. Governor.

State Representative Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) co-sponsored the constitutional amendment.

Under the bill, the position of Lieutenant Governor will be eliminated beginning in 2019.

It's estimated the state would save $2.2 million by eliminating the position.

The current salary for the Lt. Governor is $137,200 and total appropriations in Fiscal Year 2012 was $2.1 million.

Six states do not have an office of Lt. Governor. Those states are Arizona, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Sheila Simon (D-Carbondale) is the current Lieutenant Governor in Illinois.

Pending approval by the Senate and Governor, the bill would be placed on the 2014 ballot for voters to approve. If approved, the Attorney General would become next in the line of succession to replace the Governor. The vacancy in the Attorney General's office would be filled by an appointment from the Governor and the appointee would hold office until the next election.

The bill was approved with 83 voting yes – 28 voting no – and two voting present. The Constitutional Amendment awaits approval in the Senate.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon's office released this statement on Thursday:

We're neutral on the current proposal, as we support the opportunity for the public to provide input in their government through referenda. That said, we are opposed to the idea of abolishing the Lt. Governor's Office, which is important for a number of reasons.

A total of 45 states have a Lt. Governor to succeed the Governor in cases of emergency, as has happened in Illinois five times, most recently with Governor Quinn.

The Lt. Governor is the only administration officer the Governor cannot fire and can be counted on to serve as an independent advisor.

In these tough economic times, Lt. Governor Simon has made it her mission to do more with less for the taxpayers of Illinois. She has voluntarily cut her budget by more than 12 percent the past two years and gives back a portion of her salary each year.

Simon is working hard to improve the quality of life for Illinois residents as the state's point person on education reform, an advocate for victims of domestic violence and our military families, and she is leading the effort to preserve our rivers.

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