* Senate President John Cullerton was at the Union League Club of Chicago today and talked about various stuff, including this…
Bruce Rauner says he’d use executive orders to shake up Springfield, but Cullerton said when Rauner and his team check the state statutes and constitution they’ll find there’s not a lot he could do by executive order.
* Full quote…
“Mr. Rauner should read the Illinois Constitution as to what powers are for the governor in terms of executive orders; they’re somewhat limited. He’s probably not aware of that.”
* And Public Affairs Reporting Program Director Charlie Wheeler, while speaking on a different topic, nevertheless made an interesting point to a reporter this week…
The Illinois governor has no ability to unilaterally rewrite the statutes,” Wheeler said. The only way a governor could undo a state law was by the same way it was done in the first place: with the approval of a majority of state Senators and Representatives.
The closest an Illinois governor can get to ruling by fiat is an executive order, Wheeler said. But the Illinois Constitution only lets governors use that power to reorganize parts of state government, not to magic away laws they dislike. And even then, the legislature can overturn an order.
But that doesn’t mean governors haven’t tried.
When former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was impeached by the Illinois House in 2009, the charges against him weren’t limited to the corruption that would later send him to prison. Buried in the laundry list of Blagojevich’s misdeeds was Article 9, which accused him of “utter disregard of the doctrine of separation of powers” when he unilaterally expanded a state healthcare program that the legislature rejected.
Just in case a new governor might be thinking about pushing the envelope a little too hard, he ought to read that last paragraph a few times first.