HB 580 fails: Illinois House Democrats lacked votes to override Rauner’s veto of union arbitration bill

Heather Weiner

Heather Weiner is formerly the Illinois Policy’s Government Affairs Staff Attorney.

Heather Weiner
/ Labor
May 25, 2016

HB 580 fails: Illinois House Democrats lacked votes to override Rauner’s veto of union arbitration bill

Illinois House Democrats failed to muster the 71 votes needed to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of HB 580, which would have allowed government-worker unions to remove the governor from labor contract negotiations and replace him with a panel of unelected arbitrators.

On May 25, the Illinois House of Representatives failed to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of House Bill 580. Sixty-nine representatives voted “yes,” 47 voted “no,” and one representative voted “present” – this was two votes short of the 71 required to override.

The bill would have allowed government-worker unions to unilaterally take contract negotiations out of Rauner’s hands and delegate decisions worth billions of dollars to a panel of unelected, third-party arbitrators who are not accountable to taxpayers.

This legislation has been a critical component in the battle between Rauner and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which has made contract demands that would cost Illinois taxpayers an extra $3 billion over the next four years. Despite having signed a tolling agreement with the governor in September 2015 – which is still in effect – outlining a procedure to resolve contract disputes and promising to negotiate in good faith, AFSCME pushed for this unfair bill, which would have allowed the union to circumvent that very agreement. HB 580’s failure means the agreed-to process can continue.

The governor vetoed HB 580 on May 16, and the House had 15 calendar days to take the override vote, according to the Illinois Constitution. A three-fifths majority in each chamber would have been required to make this bill law by overriding Rauner’s veto.

Today’s vote is a substantial win for Illinois taxpayers, whose voice would have been removed from negotiations over the state’s largest government-worker contract had the governor been removed from the bargaining table.

Illinois Policy Action supported Rauner’s veto of HB 580 and ran a multifaceted campaign to defeat the override.

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