Veto session 2017: What to watch for

Veto session 2017: What to watch for

Members of the General Assembly have already filed motions to attempt to override some of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s vetoes. Many of these are bad bills that will hurt taxpayers.

The Illinois General Assembly is set to convene Oct. 24 for veto session.

Veto session is held every fall and is the General Assembly’s chance to take action on bills the governor has vetoed. Illinoisans should keep their eyes peeled on several issues that may come to the fore over the next two weeks.

But first, a primer on how veto session works.

How veto session works

During regular legislative session, lawmakers attempt to pass bills through the legislative process. Once a bill has passed both the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate it is sent to the governor’s desk. The governor may then choose to sign the bill, in which case the bill becomes law. However, the governor may also veto the bill.

Total veto and amendatory veto are the most common ways the governor vetoes a bill. In a total veto, the governor chooses to reject the bill as a whole. In an amendatory veto, the governor vetoes a part of the bill and issues recommendations on how he would like lawmakers to improve the bill.

Bills that are vetoed in any way are returned back to the General Assembly during veto session. The sponsor of the bill then has the opportunity to accept the changes made by the governor, do nothing and allow the bill to die, or attempt to override the governor’s veto.

A supermajority of votes is required in both the Senate and the House in order to override a veto. A House supermajority is 71 votes, while a Senate supermajority is 36 votes. Currently, the Senate Democrats have a supermajority in their chamber, but the House Democrats do not. In order to override a veto in the House, some Republicans would be required to vote in favor of overriding the veto.

If both chambers successfully override the governor’s veto, then the bill becomes law.

Bills to watch for

Members of the General Assembly have already filed motions to attempt to override some of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s vetoes. Many of these are bad bills that will hurt taxpayers.

Criminalizing Right-to-Work ordinances in local communities       

Rauner issued a total veto of Senate Bill 1905, which would prohibit any unit of government from enacting a local Right-to-Work ordinance. It also creates a criminal offense for any local official who attempts to enact a Right-to-Work law. Not only does this bill tie the hands of local leaders who attempt to better their local economies, but it also sets a dangerous precedent of criminalizing policy ideas that run counter to privileged political interests.

On the first day of veto session, Oct. 25, the Senate successfully overrode the governor’s veto of SB 1905 on a 42-13 vote. The fate of local worker-freedom initiatives now lies with the House, where 71 lawmakers must vote to override Rauner’s veto in order for SB 1905 to become law.

State-run workers’ compensation company

Rauner issued a total veto of House Bill 2622, which would create a state-run workers’ compensation company. Proponents claim this bill would mitigate Illinois’ high workers’ compensation costs. However, this bill is not just costly to taxpayers, but it does nothing to address the actual cost drivers behind Illinois’ high workers’ compensation costs.

Business restrictions

Rauner also issued vetoes on various bills that would enact unnecessary and burdensome regulations on employers. For example, he issued a total veto of House Bill 2462, which forbids an employer from seeking wage and salary history from an applicant. This bill also creates provisions for a person to sue an employer if they feel the employer violates this act. Not only would this potentially disadvantage workers seeking employment, but it also would be harmful to business owners and employers.

Keeping eyes on the House

As Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton move to whip up override votes, taxpayers should pay close attention to a handful of lawmakers who could make or break the governor’s vetoes. Fifteen House Republicans who voted in favor of the income tax hike in July will likely be the key votes in deciding which of the governor’s vetoes will stand or fall in the upcoming session. And of those 15 Republican lawmakers, nine are not seeking re-election in 2018.

All eyes should be on those lawmakers.

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