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*** UPDATED x2 *** That’s politics, baby

Thursday, May 27, 2010

* After zooming through the House, “The Worst Bill Ever” failed to get out of a committee this morning

Sales tax and revenue (STAR) bonds legislation failed to get enough support to move out of a state senate committee today, according to State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon). […]

“They didn’t call it because there weren’t enough votes to get it out of State Government (Committee),” McCarter said Thursday.

Ah, but have no fear, the bill was sent back to the Committee on Assignments, which reassigned the measure to the Senate Labor Committee. The chairman of Labor is Sen. Gary Forby, who is sponsoring the bill.

*** UPDATE *** It’s about to be called the “Worst Law Ever.” The bill passed 34-17-3 and is heading to the governor.

[ *** End of Update *** ]

* A few days ago, a House Republican campaign operative pointed out a story I had missed. The Rock Island County Board had voted for 12.7 percent pay raises over four years, with no pay raises the first two. Three days later, the county asked its union employees to take voluntary furloughs.

It’s relevant to me because Republican county board member Rich Morthland is running for an open House seat against Democrat Dennis Ahern. The Republicans think they have a shot there, and were thrilled to be handed the issue. Morthland is milking it for all it’s worth

County Board Member, Rich Morthland, calls this action “Immoral and unjust”. This is the time for the people of Rock island County to tell their elected officials that enough is enough. This is the time for us to take back our government and bring these people to account.

And they’ve completely integrated the local repeal effort into Morthland’s campaign

At the news conference [to kick off a repeal the raises petition drive], Morthland referred to a website asking for donations of $500 to $2,500 for the repeal effort.

Visitors who click on the site’s donation button are taken to a separate page, where they’re told the money is for the repeal effort but that it will go to Morthland’s campaign committee.

“In the event that all such contributions are not necessary to support the (repeal), remaining contributions may be used to directly support the Committee to Elect Rich Morthland,” the website says. […]

“I can’t have a separate campaign that also might benefit me not go through my campaign fund,” [Morthland] said.

Somebody else could’ve set up the campaign fund, but since Morthland’s campaign is running the whole show, he’s probably right.

Yesterday, the House Democrats stepped in. Rep. Mike Boland, who represents the county, filed a bill to freeze county officials’ pay at their current levels.

So, what happened? Well, the Republicans tried to nitpick the bill to death during debate. They pointed out that Boland had voted for or gainst this or that bill in the past to say he was a hypocrite, etc. Here’s one example


In the end, the bill passed with 70 votes. Republicans made up most of the “No” votes.

To sum up: The Republicans found a great campaign issue. The Democrats realized they had a campaign problem and moved quickly to address it via legislation. The Republicans pitched a fit because they’ve now lost a campaign issue. The Democrats, on the other hand, have set a pretty dangerous precedent by bigfooting the locals on what ought to be a county matter.

*** UPDATE *** Sen. Mike Boland, who also represents Rock Island County, took over sponsorship of the Boland bill today and apparently will sit on it

Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, suggested the measure may have a tough time getting a hearing in the chamber before lawmakers adjourn for the summer.

“I don’t know what business it is of the state to tell local governments how to balance their checkbooks when the state can’t balance its own,” Jacobs said.

[ *** End of Update *** ]

* The Democrats have pushed a bill this year that has the Republicans a bit freaked out

It includes several provisions, but the most controversial deals with its requirement that 12 separate counties, including Champaign, Coles and McLean counties in East Central Illinois, establish separate early voting and grace period registration sites on [college] campuses for the Nov. 2 general election only.

The GOP response is all about self-preservation, since college-aged people trend Democratic and several universities are represented by Republican legislators, not to mention the statewide race this fall…

Among those voting no was Sen. Dale Righter, R-Charleston, whose district includes the Eastern Illinois University campus.

“I think it’s inappropriate for Springfield to say we’re more worried about registration and early voting for college students than we are for seniors, individuals with disabilities, or racial minorities or whoever else may be served by that county clerk at all,” said Righter. “That’s what this bill does by saying you’re going to put an office on the college campus as opposed to anywhere else.”

The Democrat-controlled Senate is expected to pass the bill today.

* The House passed a bill not long ago taking away free rides for seniors. The bill ran into opposition in the Senate, which then sent the House a bill that reformed the free rides program by putting an income limit on it. The House adjourned today without taking action, so the matter is dead for now. But one Republican gave the Democrats some cover on the issue

A suburban lawmaker who pushed legislation to eliminate the controversial free rides for seniors program said she isn’t interested in supporting changes the Senate made.

State Rep. Suzie Bassi, a Palatine Republican, said the Senate version that would limit free public transit rides for single seniors making more than $41,515 wouldn’t save enough money over the long term.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

18 Comments
  1. - Captain Flume - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 2:02 pm:

    I had seen that issue yesterday and the movement on the bill. I think Rich is right that the Dems are really setting a dangerous precedent in the legislative action they took. I am not sure it works even in the short term. The Repubs can still spin the Big Brother-ness of the legislation and the arrogance of the original pay raise, if they stay on issue.


  2. - TaxMeMore - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 2:06 pm:

    College-aged people do trend more toward Democrats than Republicans, BUT these days they trend even more toward being indepndents, like everyone else sick of the two failure parties.

    I think the precedent was set long ago when the GA started saddling the locals with outrageously generous pension benefits.


  3. - Quad Cities - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 2:07 pm:

    Shame on the Rock Island County board. At a time when unemployment hovers around 10 percent, at a time when the average household income in Rock Island County is $46,000, these folks should not be raising their salaries to hit the $91,000 level.


  4. - Quad Cities - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 2:13 pm:

    What is Boland’s bill number? Has it passed in the Senate yet?


  5. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 2:17 pm:

    It’s linked.


  6. - VanillaMan - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 2:30 pm:

    The GOP response is all about self-preservation, since college-aged people trend Democratic and several universities are represented by Republican legislators, not to mention the statewide race this fall.

    The Democratic response is all about self-preservation, since college-aged people trend Democratic and several universities are represented by Republican legislators, not to mention the statewide race this fall.

    That is also true.


  7. - John Bambenek - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 2:38 pm:

    I’d support early registration on campus if they’d support legislation requiring college kids to vote at home where they really live.


  8. - Ghost - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 2:52 pm:

    “requiring college kids to vote at home where they really live…”

    Yeah, your residency should be the place you spend the least amount of time a year….

    How dare people who spend at least 9 months or more a year for 4 or more years think of that location as their home…. not to mention that election days come up when they are located on campus.

    after all JB, you dont want to apply common sense…. in fact lets mandate that people can only vote in the city of their birth…


  9. - BloomingtonDem - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 2:53 pm:

    The bill to allow voting on college campuses is a test to see how it impacts participation. It will sunset in the spring of 2011.

    Let’s look at numbers. Let’s say that at UIUC there’s 50,000 potential voters (counting students, staff, and faculty) that either reside on campus, near campus, or in the surrounding parts of Champaign County. This is larger than many towns and cities in the state. Is it so unreasonable for early voting to take place at a population center like this?


  10. - Nikoli - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 3:03 pm:

    From BloomingtonDem “The bill to allow voting on college campuses is a test to see how it impacts participation. It will sunset in the spring of 2011.”

    Of course its a bill to test how it impacts participation… conveniently in a year when the GOP is trending well and the Dems are running scared in a multitude of races! They’re using this as a way to drum up some last minute support in a year they desperately need it.


  11. - Worst Bill Ever - AGAIN - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 3:26 pm:

    Somebody needs to start floowing “the money” on the Star Bond legislation ! Judo’s to Rich and Capital Fax for staying on this. The next show on this nightmare taxpayer scam might be 60 Minutes.


  12. - agree with flume - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 3:29 pm:

    “The Republicans made up most of the no votes” But certainly not all of the Republicans. Fourteen R’s voted for this bill. If it is in fact a great issue for the Republican candidate, they should all have voted no. Also, where is the Republican reverence for local control? Why should legislators be telling the Rock Island County Board how to compensate their county officials. And the precedent is terrible. Now that STAR bonds is on the ropes, maybe this could become the next “Worst Bill Ever.”


  13. - CircularFiringSquad - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 3:33 pm:

    Fire.Aim, Ready
    We did we do a good job on back-to-back days. First our very skillful voter suppression arguements and then letting Ds get top hand on ROck Island pay hike issue.
    Good Job One and All


  14. - CircularFiringSquad - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 3:36 pm:

    Opps
    Forgot the Trifect of direct hits.
    NoTaxBill is back worst bill ever too


  15. - BloomingtonDem - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 4:35 pm:

    Nikoli said “Of course its a bill to test how it impacts participation… conveniently in a year when the GOP is trending well and the Dems are running scared in a multitude of races! They’re using this as a way to drum up some last minute support in a year they desperately need it.”

    I think this bill is going to help both parties, though it may benefit the Democrats slightly more. I would argue that for the regionally based schools, like EIU or WIU, Republicans would also benefit because of the conservative nature of the areas surrounding the school.

    On a partisan note:Increased participation of young voters should not scare the GOP. Are they really that far out of touch with young voters that they feel the need to push them out of the process? Who’s running scared now?


  16. - Benjamin "Ben" Dover - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 7:13 pm:

    The Star/Holland Bonds have no businesses, no plan, no idea of what they are doing but lets give them this big piece of “candy”


  17. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 9:06 pm:

    - I’d support early registration on campus if they’d support legislation requiring college kids to vote at home where they really live. -

    You’re really all about saying ignorant things, huh John? I lived in Champaign about 80% of the time while attending UIUC, and you’re saying that wasn’t where I really lived?


  18. - IFG - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 10:26 pm:

    Props to Rich Miller for actually covering Rock Island County ergo Western Cook County.

    Sadly, if Morthland didn’t bring it to light, nobody would have…


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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