In the pictures near the editorial about Rep. Mike Bost’s rant, none of his Republican colleagues around him seem interested, even though he is throwing papers all over them. (June 3 editorial headlined, “Anatomy of a rant.”) Perhaps they, like myself, who served with Bost for 16 years, knew that those rules he was ranting about, which gave House Speaker Michael Madigan so much power, were the same exact rules that Bost voted for without a murmur of protest when Republican Lee Daniels became speaker.
Changing the individual speaker is not the solution. The solution is to change the structure of the legislature to have smaller districts, thereby lessening the need for massive amounts of campaign money from party leaders or big special interests. Changing from Illinois’ bicameral lawmaking body of 59 senators and 118 representatives to a governing body of 150 members would bring district sizes down to a population of approximately 60,000 each, about the size of an Iowa Senate district. Contrast that with the current Illinois Senate districts of over 216,000 or the current Illinois House districts of over 113,000. These smaller districts would make it easier for racial, ethnic or political minorities to get elected. Such a change would save taxpayers millions of dollars annually as well as make legislators more accountable to their constituents. The process of lawmaking would also be more transparent to both the public and the news media.
With governments unable to provide needed services in education, health care, safety and transportation, and with working folks struggling from paycheck to paycheck, bicameral legislatures are luxuries taxpayers can no longer afford.