Difference between revisions of "Illinois Constitution"

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==[[Article II, Illinois Constitution|Article II]]==
==[[Article II, Illinois Constitution|Article II]]==
Article II of the Illinois Constitution is titled "Powers of the State" and describes the division of powers into [[State executive offices|executive]], [[legislature|legislative]] and [[Judiciary|judicial]] branches.
Article II of the Illinois Constitution is titled "Powers of the State" and separates the state government into the executive, legislative and judicial branches.<ref name="il"/>
==[[Article III, Illinois Constitution|Article III]]==
==[[Article III, Illinois Constitution|Article III]]==

Revision as of 12:23, 10 June 2014

Illinois Constitution
Flag of Illinois.png
The Illinois Constitution is the basic governing document of the state of Illinois. There have been four Illinois Constitutions. The current version was adopted in a special election on December 15, 1970.[1]


The 1970 Constitution of Illinois has a preamble, 14 articles and a schedule.[1]

Article XIV requires that Illinois voters be asked at least every 20 years if they desire a constitutional convention. The last time that measure was put to a vote was in 2008. The ballot measure failed with 67 percent voting against the measure.[2]


See also: Preambles to state constitutions

The preamble to the Illinois Constitution states:

We, the People of the State of Illinois; grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He has permitted us to enjoy and seeking His blessing upon our endeavors — in order to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the people; maintain a representative and orderly government; eliminate poverty and inequality; assure legal, social and economic justice; provide opportunity for the fullest development of the individual; insure domestic tranquility; provide for the common defense; and secure the blessings of freedom and liberty to ourselves and our posterity - do ordain and establish this Constitution for the State of Illinois.[1]

Article I

Article I of the Illinois Constitution is titled "Bill of Rights" and contains similar provisions as the United States Bill of Rights, such as freedom of religion, speech and assembly and the right of due process double jeopardy.[1]

Article II

Article II of the Illinois Constitution is titled "Powers of the State" and separates the state government into the executive, legislative and judicial branches.[1]

Article III

Article III of the Illinois Constitution is titled "Suffrage and Elections" and describes voting qualifications, disqualifications and other election rules.

  • Section 1 stipulates that a person must be 18 years old and a resident of the state for 30 days to vote.
  • Section 2 disqualifies persons persons convicted of a felony.
  • Section 4 provides that the Illinois General Assembly establish rules for elections.
  • Section 5 establishes rules for the state board of election, requiring that no political party have a majority on the board.

Article IV

Article IV of the Illinois Constitution is titled "The Legislature" and provides rules for the Illinois General Assembly.

  • Section 1 divides the assembly into two bodies, the Illinois State Senate with 59 legislative districts and the Illinois House of Representatives with 118 representative districts.
  • Section 2 describes the composition of the two bodies.
  • Section 3 describes legislative redistricting procedures.
  • Section 9 describes procedures involving executive vetoes of legislation.
  • Section 14 describes impeachment rules.

Article V

Article V of the Illinois Constitution is titled "the Executive" and describes rules for the six state elected members: Illinois Governor, Illinois Lieutenant Governor, Illinois Attorney General, Illinois Secretary of State, Illinois Comptroller and Treasurer.

Article VI

Article VI of the Illinois Constitution is titled "the Judiciary" and establishes rules for the Supreme Court of Illinois, the Illinois Appellate Court, and the circuit or trial courts of Illinois.

Article VII

Article VII of the Illinois Constitution is titled "Local Government" and provides rules for county, township and city governments. This article also provides local government with a limited ability to pass ordinances.

Article VIII

Article VIII of the Illinois Constitution is titled "Finance" and provides for financial matters including obligation of funds, budgeting, spending and audits.

Article IX

Article IX of the Illinois Constitution is titled "Revenue" and provides rules for various forms of taxation and state debt.

Article X

Article X of the Illinois Constitution is titled "Education" and establishes the goal of free schooling though secondary education and creates a state board of education.

Article XI

Article XI of the Illinois Constitution is titled "Environment" and grants each person the "right to a healthful environment."[1] It sets this as public policy and the duty of individuals to ensure a healthful environment be maintained.

Article XII

Article XII of the Illinois Constitution is titled "Militia" and established rules for the state militia stating, "The State militia consists of all able-bodied persons residing in the State except those exempted by law."[1] It also establishes the Governor of Illinois as the commander in chief of the militia and grants authority to use the militia to "enforce the laws, suppress insurrection or repel invasion."[1]

Article XIII

Article XIII of the Illinois Constitution is titled "General Provisions" and establishes rules for persons holding public office.

  • Section 7 provides for public transportation, allowing the General assembly to spend money to provide it.

Article XIV

Article XIV of the Illinois Constitution is titled "Constitutional Revision" and describes procedures for amending the constitution of Illinois.


The Transition Schedule of the Illinois Constitution consists of a preamble and ten sections, though some have been removed. It is also the conclusive section of the Illinois constitution.

Amending the constitution

Main article: Amending state constitutions

Article XIV lays out four different routes that can be taken in order to change the constitution over time.

  • The legislature can only propose to amend up to three articles of the constitution in any one election.
  • The legislature is not allowed to propose any amendments when a constitutional convention has been called up through the time that an election is held on any proposed amendments or revisions that arise from that convention.
  • It can only apply to "structural and procedural subjects" contained in Article IV of the Illinois Constitution.
  • Signatures equal to 8% of the total vote cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election must be collected.

Whether the question at hand is about holding a constitutional convention, ratifying an amendment proposed by the Illinois General Assembly, or adopting an initiated constitutional amendment, these ballot questions are only considered successful if voters say "yes" by a supermajority vote of 60% of those voting on the question or a majority of those who cast a ballot for any office in that election.


The first Illinois Constitution was adopted in 1818 when Illinois was admitted to the Union. Constitutional revisions were subsequently ratified in 1848, 1870 and 1970.[3]

The Illinois Constitution of 1818 was modeled after the United States Constitution and written in Kaskasia, Illinois, the state's first capital. It established the state's bicameral legislative system and a provided for a governor and lieutenant governor to be elected every four years. Other members of the executive branch and members of the judiciary branch were appointed by the governor.[4] At the time of the 1818 constitution's framing, slavery was legal in the Illinois territory, though the United States Ordinance of 1787 that said no new states may be established as slave states. The framers worked around this by outlawing slavery except for slave labor that already existed (especially in the salt mines) until 1825.[5]

In 1862 a constitutional convention was held, but the changes known as the "Copperhead constitution" were not ratified by the voters.[6] A constitutional convention was held in 1920, but in 1922 the changes were rejected by voters.[7] 2008 was the last time that a ballot measure concerning a constitutional convention was put to a vote. The ballot measure failed with 67% voting against the measure.

See also

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