Illinois Council of Revision

City: Springfield

County: Sangamon

State: Illinois

As stipulated in the Illinois Constitution of 1818, the Illinois Council of Revision was charged to review and revise all bills passed in the Illinois General Assembly. Illinois and New York were the only states with such a council of revision, although nine other states granted veto power to the governor. The Illinois Council of Revision consisted of the Governor and the justices of the Illinois Supreme Court. The Council Chamber was located in Vandalia until 1837, when the capital moved to Springfield. The Illinois Constitution of 1848 abolished the Council and gave review power over legislation exclusively to the governor.

During the thirty years of the Illinois Council of Revision's existence, the General Assembly passed 3,158 laws. The Council of Revision vetoed 104 of them. The General Assembly passed only 11 bills over the Council of Revision's veto. Of the remaining 93 vetoes, the General Assembly amended 62 to address the objections and dropped 30 from further consideration. The Council of Revision withdrew one veto. If the Council of Revision failed to act on a bill within ten days, it became law without approval, and a few dozen bills did become law in this manner, including 14 in 1835, 21 in 1837, and 23 in 1839.

Members of the Council of Revision during Abraham Lincoln's four terms in the Illinois House of Representatives included, at various times, Governor Joseph Duncan, Governor Thomas Carlin, Supreme Court justices Samuel D. Lockwood, Theophilus W. Smith, Thomas C. Browne, William Wilson, Thomas Ford, and Samuel H. Treat.

Ill. Const. (1818), art. III, ยง 19; Niels H. Debel, The Veto Power of the Governor in Illinois, vol. 6, nos. 1-2 of University of Illinois Studies in the Social Sciences (Urbana: University of Illinois, 1917), 27-35.