In his first two years in office, only 3 of Governor Rauner’s 111 vetoes were overridden. After Democrats were emboldened by the passage of the tax increase over the summer and outrage by Republican lawmakers over the governor’s signing of an abortion bill, this veto session was expected to be incredibly difficult for the Governor.
*In the House, 71 votes (¾ majority) is needed to override any gubernatorial veto. The House is composed of 67 Democrats and 51 Republicans*
Debt Transparency Act
Illinois unpaid bill backlog is now at a staggering $16 billion dollars. The Debt Transparency Act would require monthly instead of annual reports from state agencies to the Comptroller’s Office and allow more comprehensive financial information to be included. The governor vetoed the bill because state agencies already report annually on their liabilities and interest. This legislation would dramatically increase their reporting requirements. Additionally it neglected to account for the realities of agency record keeping and reporting which make compliance with this mandate difficult, time consuming, and expensive. The Governor vetoed the bill believing the primary effect of this mandate would be to divert limited funds and staff attention away from their core functions in providing services to the citizens of Illinois.
However, many thought it is reasonable to require state agencies to disclose certain information to the public on a regular basis, including the amount of bills being held by each agency and an estimate of late payment interest penalties for eligible liabilities. The override of the Governor’s veto was unanimous.
Local Right to Work Lives to See Another Day
Governor Rauner vetoed Senate Bill 1905, a bill that prohibits local governments from enacting “Right to Work” zones in their communities. This means that local communities would not be able to allow individual workers a choice in whether or not they want to pay a union as a condition of employment.
I believe that Illinois communities should have the freedom to determine the best interests of their workforces and employers, especially cities on the border with neighboring states that have already enacted Right to Work laws. These cities are losing thousands of jobs every year to more competitive locations.
One of the most egregious components of SB1905 is that it would make violations of this Act a Class A misdemeanor. It is outrageous that we would jail local elected officials for up to a year for acting in the best interests of their communities.
The Senate voted to override 42-13. I believe in local control. For that reason I voted against the veto override, which failed to pass the House by 1 vote. Another attempt at an override is expected when we return in November.
State Equal Pay Act Amended
The House and Senate overwhelmingly voted to override the Governor’s veto of a measure to prohibit employers from seeking a prospective employees’ current salary. The hope is that this will help level the playing field for women in the work place and help to ensure that women and minorities are not paid less for doing the same work. I initially spoke on the House floor in favor of this bill and spoke again in support of the override.
A narrow 71-40 vote overrode the governor’s veto of a measure pushed by Democratic State Treasurer Michael Frerichs requiring life insurance companies to compare electronic records of its policies in force since 2000 with the Social Security Administration’s list of deaths to determine whether a policy should be paid.
Equifax Breach Bill
The House passed a bill in the wake of the Equifax breach to ban credit reporting agencies from charging consumers fees for placing a security freeze on their credit. The bill also prohibits credit agencies from charging a fee to consumers to unfreeze their reports if they want to obtain a loan or conduct some other financial transaction that requires access to the reports.
2nd Amendment Under Attack?
A number of gun control bills were recently filed in the wake of the horrific tragedy in Las Vegas. HB4107 would ban the possession, delivery, sale or purchase of so-called assault weapons and large-caliber rifles. Magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition would also be outlawed, along with trigger modification devices known as “bump stocks.” HB 4112 and 4117 would also outlaw trigger modification devices. HB4117 was debated on the floor last week and thanks to a bipartisan effort, it failed to pass. The bill could have potentially made it a felony to own 40% of the guns currently owned by law abiding Illinois gun owners.
As a strong supporter of our constitutional rights, I will be voting against any ill thought out, haphazard, and overly broad attempts to curb the Second Amendment. We need to do more to prevent horrible events like Las Vegas, but law-abiding gun owners should not have their rights trampled upon by politicians looking to score cheap political points in the wake of recent tragedies.
Sexual Harassment Addressed in Springfield
Ever since the Weinstein scandal broke, sexual harassment has been a major topic in the news. The Hill ran an article calling out rampant sexual harassment in state capitols which prominently featured a Springfield lobbyist. Since then a letter, signed by many women working in Springfield, was made public. It alleges widespread sexual harassment in Illinois politics and specifically cites several instances without naming names. It was circulated as part of an effort to help change the culture in Springfield. A resolution, HJR83, was filed last week urging the members of the General Assembly and candidates for the upcoming election next year to do better and find ways to change the culture of sexual harassment. In addition, legislation was filed on Thursday in the form of an amendment to SB402.
If you weren’t able to attend my informative property tax session, the powerpoint used by Assessor Joe Kral is available on my website here.
Education funding has been a major issue in Illinois for the past decade and especially in the past year. In August a new statewide funding formula was implemented. This new formula will put more state money in our schools and hopefully reduce the local burden to provide for education. On November 29th I am hosting an education focused townhall. Representatives from ISBE will present information on what the new formula means for the 37th district and the new federal schooling standards.
I will also be taking questions on legislation impacting our schools and the efforts to crack down on skyrocketing school mandates. RSVPs are important so that we can ensure we have adequate materials. Please let my office know if you plan to attend.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy Halloween tomorrow!