Special Session Recap
On Tuesday, the Illinois House and Senate were called into session to take up measures leftover from this past spring. In addition to taking up new legislative maps using a questionable process, the legislature took up a potential energy bill, ethics reform, and vetoes from the Governor’s office. I’ll summarize these in turn.
To back up a week, the Democrats on the House Redistricting Committee hastily called meetings to hear from the public and community witnesses to get their input on the new gerrymandered maps. Several problems were imminent from the outset. First, the hearings were announced on such short notice that witnesses weren’t able to attend due to a lack of time to prepare. Second, many groups are ill-equipped to process this amount of data on such short notice. Finally, and most egregious, was the fact that the actual maps were not available for witnesses to comment on. The hearings were a sham from the get-go and truly showed how disingenuous the majority party has been throughout this process.
Fast forward to Tuesday night, and we saw a repeat of the spring process. The Democrat sponsor struggled to answer basic questions on the process they used. Hiding behind half-answers and mistruths, the Democrats passed new maps while patting themselves on the back for how good and righteous they are. Meanwhile, Republicans and various community groups were left asking in the dark about the process utilized to draw the new maps, with questions unanswered. This is not the process the State of Illinois needs.
My full statement from Tuesday can be read here.
The Illinois Senate took time this week to try and move talks on energy negotiations, and the Senate eventually passed Senate Bill 18 to the House for further talks. This new bill is a replacement vehicle for the old HB3666 which failed to garner enough support from environmental groups.
This will be an issue to keep an eye on due to the proximity of Prairie State Energy Campus outside of Marissa and the potential jobs lost if environmental groups have their way.
During the spring session, the General Assembly voted on and passed SB539, which instituted new ethics language for lawmakers and constitutional officers. Pritzker offered an amendatory veto of the legislation regarding the office of the executive inspector general. After passing the Senate, the veto language stalled in the House as Republicans, including myself, pulled support. While the original bill was better than nothing, the governor’s changes, along with the fact he didn’t take any Republican suggestions into account, and concerns surrounding former Legislative Inspector General Pope’s resignation, were enough for our caucus to pull support. While this good faith effort has failed, for now, we must not forget that Illinois must pass stronger, improved ethics reform. The rot of corruption goes deep in Illinois.
Governor’s Pritzker’s veto of a bill that removes non-emergency ambulance services from Medicaid managed care and returns it to fee-for-service was overridden by the General Assembly.
The General Assembly also accepted an amendatory veto from the governor concerning contraceptive care and reproduction health bill which fixed a technical issue from the original legislation.