The unexpected death of Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka has renewed talk of combining the office's duties with those of the state treasurer.

Lawmakers and newspapers have urged the adoption of the idea that's been discussed for decades, saying it could save money and streamline government.

Democratic State Sen. Kwame Raoul and Republican Sen. Matt Murphy plan to introduce the proposal in the General Assembly during next year's session.

But it's an idea that has been beaten back for more than 40 years in Springfield, all the way to the 1970 constitutional convention. Veteran lawmakers remember principled arguments made against it there, including that separate offices would maintain checks and balances over the state's fiscal matters.

The comptroller is in charge of writing state checks. The treasurer invests state funds.

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