Illinois Legislature
10:36 am
Sun March 16, 2014

Reducing the Number of State Laws Not So Simple

The name “lawmaker” implies someone who helps pass laws.  But some who serve in the role are critical of that part of the job description.

They feel there are already too many laws on the books. They point out more than 600 new laws were signed in the last year alone.

For many Republicans, laws that require more from businesses are seen as an obstacle to job growth.  

For example, State Senator Kirk Dillard (D-Hinsdale), who is running for the Republican nomination for governor, called last year for eliminating what he called "unnecessary" laws.

Dillard said if elected governor, his running mate would have a specific job.

"I've said throughout this campaign, in addition to being the lieutenant governor, Jil Tracy is going to be known as the ‘Repealer’ in state government.  She's going to go throughout this state talking to businesses, small and large, and farmers and families about what laws are stifling economic development in this state," Dillard said.

But there are skeptics.  Kim Maisch is Illinois Director for the National Federation of Independent Business.  She says the theme is brought up each election.

"I think all of the Republican candidates are very genuine when they talk about reducing regulations,” Maisch said. 

“But, you know, I heard it all when George Ryan ran for governor and won.  And he talked about reducing regulations and he put his lieutenant governor on the job and she came up with a list of things that should happen and, of course, none of it happened.”

Some members of the legislature say they don't want to wait for the election.  

Representative Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove) introduced a measure that would set up what he called a “Board of Legislative Repealers” to get rid of obsolete and duplicative laws. 

“Eventually, you're going to need a lawyer just to get out of your house," Sandack said.

Sandack pointed to century old cargo laws as examples of some that are outdated and unnecessary.

But Sandack is helping sponsor more than 50 bills this session. His name was attached to nine that became law in the last year.

Sandack admitted he introduces a lot of proposals, but said he'll draft legislation to help people in his district.

Another reason Republicans want fewer laws is they have been relegated to minority status in Illinois’ General Assembly, meaning they can only get laws approved if Democrats go along.  And Democrats can do what they want.