Rep. Spain, Former IL Governor Pat Quinn Propose Constitutional Amendment


Tuesday, at the Capitol, Deputy House Republican Leader Ryan Spain (R-73rd District) was joined by former Democratic Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to propose an amendment to the Illinois Constitution that will give Illinois citizens the ability to establish and enforce stronger ethical standards on elected officials in the state.

“It was two years ago, on March 2nd, 2022, that former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan was indicted on federal racketeering and bribery charges for the network of corrupt behavior he oversaw,” said Spain. “While his trial is still pending, since then, we’ve seen his associates convicted in the ComEd Four trial and his closest confidant, Tim Mapes, convicted, and the rash of ethical lapses in Illinois continues to be a serious problem. However, the state legislature has failed to deliver needed ethics reform to clamp down on this behavior.

“Fortunately, there is a different way we can approach this problem by creating an avenue for Illinois citizens to use a petition initiative to enact anti-corruption measures. As March is National Ethics Awareness Month, this is the perfect time to draw attention to this issue and empower the people of Illinois to establish the more ethical government they deserve.”

House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 19 (HJRCA 19), which was filed by Rep. Spain on March 1, proposes to amend the Illinois Constitution to establish a petition process that will allow citizens to propose changes to state ethics requirements via ballot initiatives to be voted on by the voters of Illinois. Any ethics requirement approved by the voters would apply to candidates and office holders of state offices and local governments, as well as boards and commissions created in the state constitution.

In a show of the bipartisan nature of this proposal, Rep. Spain was joined by former Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who, like Spain, has sought to champion ethics reform in Illinois.

“In 1976, I was part of a petition initiative called the Political Honesty Initiative to add ethics requirements to our state constitution,” said Quinn. “At the time, we collected 635,158 signatures to get the initiative on the ballot. Unfortunately, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the state constitution did not allow for a petition initiative process to amend the constitution for ethics matters. That is why this proposal is so important today. The legislature has shown it’s not able to adequately reform its ethical requirements on its own, so now is the time to give that power to the people of Illinois and allow them to hold government officials accountable through direct initiative action.”

As a constitutional amendment proposal, HJRCA 19 would need to be approved by both houses of the Illinois General Assembly by May 5. Once it passes that legislative hurdle, it would then be placed on the November 5, 2024, General Election ballot for Illinois voters to approve the use of the petition initiative process for ethics matters.

For more information about HJRCA 19, Rep. Spain or video of the press conference held today, visit

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