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SPRINGFIELD – Illinois is one step closer to requiring presidential or vice-presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the state’s election ballots – if such a measure is even constitutional.

State Sen. Tony Munoz’s Senate Bill 145 passed the Senate by a 36-19 vote Thursday. It would require the release of tax returns for those running for the nation’s executive branch, but not for U.S. senators or representatives or any statewide elected officials such as the governor.

“Why aren’t any of those people in this?” state Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, asked.

Munoz, a Chicago Democrat, said he is open to expanding the elected officials included in the bill upon negotiation in the House.

Righter called the bill “an embarrassing waste of the Senate’s time,” citing two U.S. Supreme Court cases which say the Constitution lays out ballot qualifications and states cannot make them more strict.

Munoz said the bill does not add qualifications, but simply requires release of another document.

“They’re doing this in 25 states whether you agree with it or not,” Munoz said, adding “If you have nothing to hide, you shouldn’t worry about anything.”

The bill would require the release of five years of tax returns to the secretary of state, whose office would redact sensitive information.

It will now move to the House for further consideration.

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