Legislation would stop governors from circumventing the constitution’s confirmation system
The Illinois Senate is finally preparing to take up the nominations of several of Governor Pritzker’s nominations to the Prisoner Review Board (PRB), the result of continued calls from State Senator Jason Plummer (R-Edwardsville) and his Republican colleagues. Some of those appointees had served for years without being confirmed by the Senate, earning significant taxpayer-funded salaries, while taking countless numbers of votes on who to release from prison.
“There is a reason that the constitution requires the Senate to confirm appointees to the PRB, so that we can be sure that the board members are qualified and are truly acting in the best interest of the people of this state,” said Senator Plummer. “Governor Pritzker has repeatedly chosen to hide his appointees from any type of vetting or due process, allowing them to make decisions on whether or not to release violent felons back into communities with no accountability or transparency.”
The Illinois Prisoner Review Board is a 15-person body made up of individuals appointed by the Governor, tasked with deciding whether or not to release individuals from prison. The state constitution requires that appointees be confirmed by the Illinois Senate within 60 session days of their appointment.
Governor JB Pritzker, however, has repeatedly circumvented the confirmation process for his appointees, utilizing such tactics as withdrawing appointments before the 60-day deadline and then reappointing them to start the clock over.
Senator Plummer and several of his fellow Republican Senators had repeatedly drawn attention to the practice, and the Governor’s attempts to avoid the constitutional-prescribed system for approving appointments. The issue finally came to a head
Senator Plummer’s legislation, Senate Bill 3670, would require that appointees to the PRB be confirmed within 30 session days or 90 calendar days, whichever occurs first. Additionally, if an appointee is withdrawn, they cannot be reappointed for another two years.
“PRB members are entrusted with making incredibly tough decisions that can lead to good outcomes for reformed inmates, or potentially dangerous repercussions when the wrong individuals are released,” said Plummer. “Our constitution requires proper vetting and confirmation of these appointees, so that we can make sure the right people are making these decisions. It is absolutely unconscionable that a governor would play games with the process when the stakes are this high.”