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An Illinois Constitution for the Twenty-First Century

ISBN: 9780692810903
Publisher: Illinois Policy Institute
Publication Date: 2017-05-04
Number of pages: 326
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Illinois is in bad shape.

People are leaving in droves, job opportunities are scarce, and residents pay the highest overall tax burden in the nation. And despite those taxes, the state can’t pay its bills; it has over a $100 billion in unfunded pension liabilities; and spending on pensions is crowding spending on social services people rely on.

Politicians deserve blame for all this. But what many Illinoisans might not realize is that our current state constitution shares a large part of the blame too.

The state constitution, and the judges who are supposed to enforce it, haven’t done enough to protect citizens’ rights and limit government power. Our constitution was supposed to prevent politicians from picking winners and losers in politics and the marketplace – but, for decades, our politicians have been doing exactly that, and the courts have let them get away with it. The courts have also interpreted the constitution to prevent pension reform and to allow the state to borrow money to balance its budget, all while providing little protection for taxpayers, property owners and small businesses.

Illinois needs change at the constitutional level. That’s why the Illinois Policy Institute and the Liberty Justice Center have gathered ideas from top legal minds, policymakers and scholars for amendments to the Illinois Constitution that could fix the state's broken political system.

We’ve put 12 proposals into a new book called An Illinois Constitution for the Twenty-First Century:

The Patrimony of the Poor Man: Reviving Constitutional Protection for Economic Liberty in Illinois by Timothy Sandefur

The Future of Religious Liberty Protection in Illinois: Harmonizing Religious Exercise and Legitimate Government Concerns by Heidi L. Brady and Robin Fretwell Wilson

Eminent Domain Law and Reform in Illinois: A Brief Overview by Donald J. Kochan

Term Limits for Illinois Politicians by Mark Batinick

A Process for Non-Partisan Redistricting by Richard Holden

Mandatory Sunsets for Illinois Laws by Joseph E. Tabor

Judicial Selection in Illinois by Brian T. Fitzpatrick

Educational Choice and the Illinois Constitution by Tim Keller

Reinvigorating the Public Purpose Clause by Clint Bolick

Pro-Growth Fiscal Reforms to the Illinois Constitution by Michael Lucci

Empowering Illinois's Pension Reform by Diana Furchtgott-Roth

Amending the Amendment Provisions of the Illinois Constitution by Joseph M. Bessette and Kenneth P. Miller

Adopting these proposals could put the state on a path to a freer, more prosperous future.

For more information, go to

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