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Patience, please

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

* Before we begin, let us recall that Rep. Dunkin’s name appears twice on the “Century Club” trophy. He actually “won” the award three times, but since he did so twice in one year his name is only listed once. He’s the record-holder. And in case you don’t know what the Century Club is, it’s a trophy “awarded” to a House member whose bill receives at least 100 “No” votes.

Dunkin has grown in the past year or two, but I’m not sure he should be giving tactical advice

In the waning days of the legislative session, at least one Illinois House member is getting antsy over the lack of movement on gay marriage.

Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Chair Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) said he’s been urging the bill’s sponsor to call it for a vote.

“He needs to do something. The longer he waits, I believe, the less likely he’ll be to get a simple majority in our chamber. I also think he will pick up a few votes once people listen to the debate … This bill will be passed. There’s only 20 of us out of 118. It’s not a Black Caucus issue. The Black Caucus is not responsible for the bill not getting passed. This is Downstater’s issue, this is a rural area issue, a suburban issue.”

Rep. Greg Harris is the sponsor. He’ll move the bill when it’s ready.

And as far as the Black Caucus is concerned, yes, it is a problem. Just two BC members voted “Present” in the Senate, and another was absent due to a serious illness. The Senate’s Black Caucus was not an issue at all. It’s only now, when churches have ginned up the opposition, that the House Black Caucus is shying away from the bill.

The HBC has 20 members, but only a small handful have said they’ll vote for the bill. So, yeah, Chairman, the caucus is an issue.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 10:21 am:

    I love Ken. But he told this to me a month ago and it was no truer than then it is now. I’ll trust people like Greg and Kelly to know when it’s time to move the bill. Hopefully, the adoption of this in Minnesota may in some small way help.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 10:32 am:

    Which of these members of the Illinois General Assembly would you look to when asking about “head counts” or “lining up” votes?

    Ken Dunkin …Greg Harris

    And of the two, who has a record of shepherding very sensitive Bills that need exacting politcal acumen?

    This is “Oberweis” in reverse, as Dunkin blames downstate and others, and he is not looking internally, and not addressing the problems facing the Black Caucus, AND … the pressure they, as a Caucus, are facing, and THAT is more than a bit insincere.

    You can NOT ignore the challenges you are facing supporting something, be it a Bill, or something as simple as a Position on a Bill, and then point to other challenges the Bill is facing as “more” of a problem.

    It is the job of Rep. Harris to cobble his 60 votes, and Rep. Harris has shown he is up to the task, but for Rep. Dunkin, with his …um, ‘History”… in getting “votes on the record”, and those votes going South the way they have, I think Rep. Dunkin is not being fair to the “process”.

    Rep. Harris is in the middle of getting his support for the calling of the vote, and it is completely unfair in analyzing the “problems” as just downstate, and not looking at the Black Caucus having their own issues.

    The outside influences that the Black Caucus is facing is something others can NOT point to as “unrelated” as Harris is trying to cobble the 60 votes.

    When Rep. Harris moves the Bill, it will be ready to be moved, and not one minute sooner.

  3. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 10:50 am:

    If the leader of the Black Caucus wanted to show some leadership, he could certainly go to the church leaders and point out that they have a lot of good reasons to stand down their opposition and put their considerable influence to better use. He could even take them a list of bills that would have a more significant impact on the community.

    That’s what a LEADER might do.

  4. - Endangered Moderate Species - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 10:51 am:

    ===This is Downstater’s issue, this is a rural area issue, a suburban issue.”===

    Willy, It is not my intent to defend Dunkin, but I believe you may be misinterpreting his quote that this is a “Downstate issue”. I think he is trying to say this is an issue of the entire state and not just a Black Caucus issue. He just didn’t articulate this very well.

  5. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 10:59 am:

    - Endangered Moderate Species -,

    Wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong! Maybe I need to claify as well. My Bad.

    I think, no, I know, what I am trying to say still rings true.

    You can NOT point to others and claim its “their” issue, and not say its an issue for “you” when clearly, it IS an issue for the Black Caucus, otherwise, there would be no pressure ON the Black Caucus one way or another.

    Looking for “cover” so you can easily vote “no” and pointing to other areas of “interest” to focus blame is a bit sneaky, if the intent is to blame “others” for Rep. Harris not getting 60 by now.

    Thanks, - Endangered Moderate Species -, for helping, you are right to call me on it.

    I think my thoughts still have “smidge” of truth as to where I think Rep. Dunkin is going with all this. I needed to clarify as well. I apologize.

  6. - Wensicia - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:06 am:

    He wants it both ways. Protect the Black Caucus in their stand against gay marriage by blaming someone else, while asking for a vote, now, when there may not be enough votes to get it passed.

  7. - too obvious - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:12 am:

    It’s fascinating seeing black Democrats allied with conservative Republicans on this issue.

    First, argues against Pat Brady’s shtick that GOP must support gay marriage to grow. GOP has huge problem with black voters, and here is an issue where there is apparently common ground - at least in some of the community.

    Second, and more interesting, I wonder how many of these black Democrats know just how nasty many their new GOP conservative allies have been in opposing the first black president. If they did (check out some of their facebook pages for example), would the black Democrats really want to give the GOP right a big win?

  8. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 11:42 am:

    –If they did (check out some of their facebook pages for example), would the black Democrats really want to give the GOP right a big win?–

    If that would be “a big win,” it would be the very definition of Pyrrhic victory. As Rich has pointed out, some GOP members who publicly oppose gay marriage privately hope it passes and just goes away. They know the train’s left; they just don’t want to get run over by it.

  9. - too obvious - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 12:01 pm:

    “….some GOP members who publicly oppose gay marriage privately hope it passes and just goes away.”

    I’m not talking about GOP elected officials, I’m talking about the conservative GOP base.

    But I will agree it’s Pyrrhic in the sense it’s just a matter of time. If IL doesn’t get gay marriage this year it’s likely to happen next year. But delay this year will certainly be declared a victory by the GOP base. They have to cite “wins” where they can. If the bill is delayed this hear it’s only because black Democrats saved the behinds of mostly ineffective GOP conservatives.

  10. - reformer - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 12:06 pm:

    A three-time trophy winner. That’s impressive!

  11. - Nick - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 2:35 pm:

    I don’t understand why they don’t just have a roll call vote already to get the Representatives on record. If it passes, great. If it fails, it can still be brought back up for another vote later on and in the mean time the vote can be used against opponents in 2014. Why do they have to have all 60 votes assured before the voting begins?

  12. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 15, 13 @ 4:14 pm:

    ===Why do they have to have all 60 votes assured before the voting begins?===

    1) If you want to make sure you bill passes, you get the number of votes needed the 1st time, so you don’t have to go back to those on the fence again after it fails. Why waste the “political capital” on a Bill that isn’t going to pass? Use the “capital” once. After the 1st time, all that “politcal capital” looks weak and desperate.

    2) See “Vote Countula”, and SB10, and how that all worked out when the seante failed to … sorry … “Vote Countula” … failed to count to 30 for a 1st run at passing in the Senate. It took twice the work the 2nd time, had they known NOT to run it and having it fail, then there would not be the need to work so hard the 2nd time.


    3) Sensitive Bills have sensitive voting fingers. Give a Mushroom another chance to change their mind, …then the Mushroom gets “cold feet”… and then Mushroom will take a “pass” more often than not, if given that “pass” is given. Sometimes you get “one bite at the …apple”, and although the Speaker has been known to like an apple…on occasion… this is the type of Bill that may/may not have multiple bites at passing.

    Rep. Harris has a history of knowing the timing, and how to count noses, and when an “apple is ripe.”

    What’s the rush, if you know taking ONE bite means passage.

  13. - Maurice - Thursday, May 16, 13 @ 7:34 am:

    What happen to the main issue for the BC, school closings?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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