Recently, you may have received a pamphlet in the mail, which included a proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution. Have you ever heard of Constitutional Amendment 49 to the Illinois Constitution?

It is on the November 6 ballot and will become law if it is approved by the super majority of 60 percent of those voting on the question or a majority of those casting a ballot for any office in the election. Some say the amendment's purpose is to make it harder for state and local government to increase public sector pensions. Did you hear about Democratic speaker of the House Michael Madigan's bill that allowed two teachers' union lobbyist, non public jobs, to qualify for $100,000 plus annual public pensions by working one day each as a substitute teacher? It's ironic that Madigan is the chief sponsor of the amendment to make it harder for people like Madigan to use the legislative process to pay off political friends with taxpayer money. Because the state is not funding the pensions, and embarrassed over pension sweeteners for special groups of state employees and even more outrageous state pension benefits to non state employees, Legislature's proposed a plan for amendment 49 earlier this year.

The amendment is so long that it will not be printed on the ballot. Instead, the voters will be provided with an expectation of its meaning and asked to vote yes or no. The amendment contains more words that the entire first 10 amendments of the U.S. Constitution. It appears the intent is to hide its true impact from the voters and 700 words of unnecessary and deceptive law. Is this like Obama Care where it was said just pass it and we will figure out what it says later? What the amendment really means can only be interpreted by the judicial branch of the government. So this means the amendment is open to debate until the courts make an interpretation.

Critics have focused on the last paragraph of the amendment, which was added at the last minute of the legislative review.

Here is what it says:

"Nothing in this section shall prevent the passage or adoption of any law, ordinance, resolution, rule, policy or practice that further restricts the ability to provide a 'benefit increase' 'emolument increase' or 'benefit determination', as those terms are used under this section.

What does all that mean? They can do as they please!

The Constitution was written many years ago to protect the people against the tyrant to government not to give the government more power. We need to be very careful about any changes made to the Constitution. If the lawmakers want this why didn't they just make it law? In my opinion, to add constitutional amendment 49 to the Illinois Constitution could weaken it and take away protection of the people. The Democrats have had control of the House and the Senate so why did they not make this a law instead of changing the Constitution? This is why the matter is on the ballot, because only the people can authorize a change in the Constitution.

I cannot vote for something that was not clear and understandable. So my vote will be NO. You may want to consider these facts and vote the same.

Ed Hoopingarner
Watson, IL