Watson introduces 'Cueto Law' to prevent retention circumvention
Sen. Frank Watson
SPRINGFIELD - State Sen. Frank Watson has introduced a proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution that would prohibit judges who fail to file a declaration of candidacy for retention from filing petitions as a candidate for the vacancy created by that failure.
Dubbed the "Cueto Law," Watson's proposal on Thursday was in direct response to St. Clair County Judge Lloyd Cueto's decision not to seek retention to his seat in the general election in November. Cueto, who would have needed a 60 percent "yes" vote to be retained, instead vacated his position and filed to run for election.
In an open election, only 51 percent of the vote is necessary to win.
Cueto, a Democrat, may have run unopposed, but in the 11th hour of the election filing period, O'Fallon attorney Paul Evans, a Republican, gathered enough signatures to challenge Cueto in the general election.
The following is the synopsis of SJRCA 0065: "Proposes to amend the Judiciary Article of the Illinois Constitution. Prohibits a Supreme, Appellate, or Circuit Judge who fails to file a declaration of candidacy for retention from filing petitions as a candidate for the judicial vacancy created by that failure. Effective upon being declared adopted."