SB 1229 officially dead: Madigan’s defeat is Illinois taxpayers’ victory

Heather Weiner

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

Heather Weiner
/ Labor
September 5, 2015

SB 1229 officially dead: Madigan’s defeat is Illinois taxpayers’ victory

On Sept. 2, the Illinois House of Representatives failed to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the government-worker union arbitration bill, and on Sept. 4, the deadline for doing so officially expired – a major defeat for House Speaker Mike Madigan.

On Sept. 2, the Illinois House of Representatives failed to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 1229, and on Sept. 4, the deadline for the override vote officially expired.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees had championed the bill, as it would have allowed government-worker unions to unilaterally take contract negotiations out of Rauner’s hands and delegate decisions worth billions of dollars to an unelected third-party arbitrator.

The governor vetoed SB 1229 on July 29, but the Illinois Senate voted to override the veto on Aug. 19. The House had until Sept. 4 to override the veto through a three-fifths vote by its members.

Rauner’s sustained veto is a substantial win for Illinois taxpayers, who deserve a seat at the table when billions of their tax dollars are at stake. They elected the governor as their representative, and this veto allows him to continue to fulfill his responsibility to negotiate with government workers on taxpayers’ behalf.

The battle over the arbitration bill revealed how beholden so many Democrats in the General Assembly are to government-worker unions and to House Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton.

Democratic state Rep. Carol Sente explained her support of the override despite her constituents’ opposition: “They are actually slightly in favor of the veto. However, they don’t have a reason. … So, for me on this bill, it’s more my investigation of the actual issue.” Sente admitted that Madigan, who has contributed $2 million in campaign funds to her during her time in office, had put pressure on her to vote for the override.

But the failure of the override vote also signaled the weakening of Madigan’s control over the House. In the end, Madigan could not hold his caucus together: Three Democrats did not vote for the override.

Illinois Policy Action supported Rauner’s veto of SB 1229 and ran a multifaceted campaign to defeat the override.

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