Posted by Barton Lorimor (@bartonlorimor)
* The set-up (pun intended)…
Illinois State House members are advancing a bill that would devote $100 million toward a Barack Obama presidential library. The House Executive Committee meeting in Chicago today voted, by an official tally of 9-0, to authorize using state money for the library…Nine representatives were recorded as voting for the bill, even though there were five lawmakers in attendance at the hearing. That is because Rep. Bob Rita (D-Blue Island), who chairs the Executive Committee, employed a procedural move.
Rita used the attendance record from a previous hearing that occurred Wednesday as the vote for the presidential library cash. House Speaker Michael Madigan, who sat in on today’s hearing, clarified Rita’s maneuver, saying the attendance would serve as nine votes in favor of the library, even though the previous committee hearing was on a possible Chicago casino and not related to a presidential library.
No Republicans attended Thursday’s hearing on the presidential library.
This seems like a fair point…
Sullivan serves as the Committee’s Minority Spokesperson. Generally when the chairman asks for “Leave of the attendance roll call,” the question is posed to the person in that position. Sullivan did attend the committee’s previous meeting, which was not adjourned but simply recessed to the call of the chair. As you probably know, attendance is not taken at the start of a meeting when the previous meeting is recessed instead of adjourned.
Adding to the mixture is that committee chairs will often instruct clerks to mark committee members as being in attendance if they arrive after roll call. I haven’t spent nearly as many hours in committee as most of those of you likely to comment on this post, but I have yet to see a chairperson instruct a clerk to have someone removed from the roll call if they leave the room or are not present when a recessed committee resumes. That said, I have seen chairpersons exclude absent members from attendance roll call votes. Clearly that did not happen here, and it does not happen all of the time.
A full copy of House rules is here. Rule 21 starts on page 16.
More from the House GOP blog…
Under the rule of House Speaker Michael Madigan (D, Chicago), the House Rules committee often convenes throughout the legislative calendar to alter, change or suspend House rules to move various proposals. In this instance, even the stated rules appear to be violated.
Under current House rules, a committee cannot vote on measures unless a quorum is present and the proper posting requirements have been met. Under a parliamentary review, the following were violated: Rule 32 providing a majority of those appointed constitute a quorum of a committee, Rule 21 authorizing actions by recessed committees but requiring the House to be in session, and Rule 49 providing that no member of a committee may vote except in person at the time of the call of the vote.
From Dwight Kay…
“I’m not even a member of the Executive Committee and the Democrats chose to vote on my behalf, which is a blatant violation of House Rules,” said Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon). “This is typical Chicago politics at work. My constituents elected me to vote for them. They didn’t elect the Chicago politicians who stole my vote today.”
On Wednesday, April 16th State Representative Dwight Kay served as a temporary replacement on the House Executive Committee for a hearing in Chicago to discuss gaming expansion in Illinois. Rep. Kay participated in the hearing to express his opposition to an amendment which would exclude Fairmount Race Track from the proposed gaming expansion. After the hearing, Kay traveled back to his legislative district nearly 300 miles south of Chicago and was no longer a substituted member on the Executive Committee. Therefore, he was not present at Thursday’s recessed hearing to vote on the legislation to spend $100 million in public funds on the Obama Presidential Library.
Someone with more legal experience might be able to chime in, but I think technically since the Committee was recessed and Kay was not marked as being absent when it resumed, he would have still been a substituted member.
* Steve Brown on the whole matter…
A spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan said Democrats weren’t trying to approve the plan in secret.
“Obviously, if that’s a problem, the committee will reconvene and take another vote,” spokesman Steve Brown said.
* What’s really interesting about the whole situation is that none of this was included in the AP Wire Story. All that story said about the vote…
The committee voted unanimously Thursday following a hearing in Chicago.
I would be surprised if there were not updates to this post later.
* Illinois House approves $100 million for Obama library in Chicago
* Madigan wants city to unite behind location for Obama library
* Dear Mr. President: Pay for your library yourself