Exit Gov. Pat Quinn. Enter state lawmakers. The merry-go-round known as the legislative process will soon shift back to the legislature. Lawmakers sent Quinn about 850 bills to sign or veto, and he's acted on virtually all of those. In about six weeks, legislators will consider the slate of bills he changed and rejected – including some important topics. This week's State Capitol Q&A takes a closer look at Quinn's bill action and what that means for the upcoming session.
Exit Gov. Pat Quinn. Enter state lawmakers.
The merry-go-round known as the legislative process will soon shift back to the legislature. Lawmakers sent Quinn about 850 bills to sign or veto, and he's acted on virtually all of those. In about six weeks, legislators will consider the slate of bills he changed and rejected – including some important topics.
This week's State Capitol Q&A takes a closer look at Quinn's bill action and what that means for the upcoming session.
Q. What were the highlights of Quinn's action?
A. Just as many governors before him, Quinn approved the vast majority of measures sent to him in his first session since replacing the impeached Rod Blagojevich.
Among those bills approved are measures that ban texting while driving as of Jan. 1, that make it illegal to hold and talk on cell phones in work and school zones and that let large trucks drive 65 miles per hour on rural interstates.
Those are now law and don't need any more action. For a few dozen others, it's back to the drawing board.
Quinn issued total vetoes, which completely reject the measures, on nearly a dozen bills. He used his amendatory veto power to change more than 50 other bills.
Q. What kinds of measures were vetoed?
A. They run the gamut from major legislation on ethics to more limited measures on health care and education.
The biggest piece affected is House Bill 7, which would have placed caps on campaign donations for the first time in Illinois. Quinn and legislative leaders initially touted the change as substantial reform but decided under pressure to take another crack at a stronger measure this fall.
He issued a total veto on that bill, so another new measure has to be approved.
Quinn in several cases delayed when bills take effect to next year or beyond because the state doesn't have the money to afford new or expanded programs and services.
Quinn changed a couple of bills to add in new language making it easier for voters to use ballot referenda to strengthen state and local ethics laws.
Quinn also changed several bills to take out language involving how rules to implement programs can be approved. Blagojevich and lawmakers feuded over how much authority the governor has to implement programs without legislative approval, but Quinn approved a law earlier in the year to settle that dispute.
Q. What's the next step on these bills?
A. Lawmakers return to the Capitol on Oct. 14 for the two-week fall veto session, spread across three weeks. That's their opportunity to decide whether to accept the governor's work or try to undo it.
If they agree with the total vetoes he issued, they'll take no action and the measures will die. If they don't, they'll try to override his veto with a supermajority three-fifths vote in both chambers.
The amendatory vetoes are a little more complicated.
They can accept his changes by a simple majority in the House and Senate and the bill with changes becomes law. They can override the changes with a three-fifths vote and their original measure becomes law. Or they can ignore what he did and everything – the original idea and his changes – dies.
Leaders promise they're committed to passing a new campaign caps bill in the two-week session. But it's a complicated issue with major political concerns at play, and it could take longer than that to come to an agreement.
Look for some political sniping if a resolution is delayed longer than the fall veto session, and that bickering will spill over into the February primary elections.
Ryan Keith can be reached at (217) 788-1518 email@example.com