Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan's push to eliminate the office of lieutenant governor took one step forward Wednesday, as the House Executive Committee approved the measure by a vote of 8-3.
The measure, a proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution, will now go before the entire House. It will also need approval from the Senate, and from the electorate in November.
Under the proposed legislation, whoever wins the office this fall would serve a full term, until January 2015. At that point, the $2 million-a-year, eight-employee office would be completely eliminated.
The movement to axe the lieutenant governor gained momentum after the meteoric ascent and catastrophic demise of the Democratic candidate for the office, Scott Lee Cohen. Cohen spent over $2 million of his own money to pull off a dark-horse victory in February's primary. But just days after his election, a string of nasty allegations -- including domestic violence, steroid abuse, and failed child support -- began to surface. He ultimately stepped aside on Super Bowl Sunday, and Democratic Governor Pat Quinn still has yet to find a running mate for the fall.
Cynics might point out that under Madigan's proposal, the next in line to succeed the governor would be the attorney general. Illinois's current attorney-general is Lisa Madigan, Speaker Madigan's daughter. But given her own political ambitions, she may well not be in that office in 2015.