RI County to draft letter to Madigan on altering number of board members


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Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013, 9:02 pm
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By Eric Timmons, etimmons@qconline.com
The debate over when the Rock Island County Board can alter the number of its members may end up in the hands of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

The board agreed on Tuesday its governmental affairs committee should draft a letter asking Ms. Madigan to weigh in with a new legal opinion. If the committee approves the letter, the full county board would have to approve it before it would be submitted to the attorney general.

The question arises after county voters in November voted overwhelmingly in an advisory referendum to cut the board from 25 to 15 members.

The size of the board is normally set every 10 years after the census, and a legal opinion issued in 1974 by former Illinois Attorney General Bill Scott suggested that is the only time the size of the board can be addressed.

Though the Rock Island County Board re-drew districts as scheduled in 2011 -- retaining 25 single-member districts -- board member Drue Mielke, R-Coal Valley, said respect for the voters' wishes, as expressed in the referendum, requires the county to draft an ordinance that would reduce the board to 15 members, with five members elected from each of three districts.

Mr. Mielke points to a second opinion from Mr. Scott, issued in 1976, that seems to say re-drawing districts can be done more often than every 10 years, in some circumstances.The opinion states, if voters decide to change from single-member to multi-member districts, "the number of board members would have to be reduced to conform to the one-man one-vote requirements.

"In such a situation, conformity to the constitution would seem to require a departure from the normal decennial rule (for altering the size of the board)," the opinion states.

Rock Island County Board Chairman Phil Banaszek stated Rock Island County State's Attorney John McGehee has concurred with the 1974 opinion that the board could not be reduced once reapportionment was completed after a census.

Rock Island County Board member Don Johnston, D-Moline, said he supported seeking an opinion from Ms. Madigan as a way "to finally put this thing to bed."


















 



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  Today is Wednesday, Aug. 20, the 232nd day of 2014. There are 133 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Quite a number of Negroes have lately been brought here by abolition offers returning from the army in violation of the laws of the state.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Miss Tillie Denkmann, of Rock Island, was making plans to accompany a Davenport family on a tour of Europe.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The German advance into Belgium was going apparently without serious check. The American ambassador at Berlin published a denial of the charge that Americans had been ill-treated in Germany.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Seventy-two members of Rock Island High School's 1939 graduating class are preparing to enter college — 34 of them at Augustana.
1964 -- 50 years ago: One of the oldest buildings in Milan, which for a number of years has housed the Milan Hotel, will be razed to make way for a modern, two-story office structure.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Some are blaming it on the sudden influx of insects and the extreme humidity. Still others say the invasion was inspired by a recent movie. But whatever the reason, the Quad-Cities is swarming with bats.




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