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Behind the scenes on the governor’s veto

Monday, Jul 29, 2013 - Posted by Rich Miller

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

House Speaker Michael Madigan has always strongly guarded the powers of the General Assembly as a co-equal branch of government, so it was a little surprising when he appeared to support Gov. Pat Quinn’s line-item veto of legislative salaries back in mid July.

The governor vetoed the salaries in retaliation for the GA’s failure to pass a pension reform bill. In a press release the day of the veto, Madigan said he understood the governor’s frustration with the lack of progress, adding, “I am hopeful his strategy works.”

Behind the scenes, though, Madigan is said to be furious with the governor’s veto. Madigan’s legal staff has been meeting with other lawyers to set strategy to either get around the veto or oppose it. So far, they are not finding much in the way of non-court options.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan would have to defend the state in a lawsuit, so she’s reluctant to issue any sort of official opinion. Also, the attorney general long has maintained that checks can’t be cut without an appropriation or a judge’s order, logic that Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka used last week when she announced she couldn’t issue paychecks. And since the veto means there is no appropriation, a legal opinion wouldn’t give the comptroller any actual authority to cut the paychecks anyway.

The governor vetoed the individual salary lines (base House salaries and base Senate salaries, for instance), but didn’t veto the “total” lines (e.g. base House and Senate salaries combined). Could that be a loophole? Doubtful. An old attorney general opinion essentially ruled that the “total” lines aren’t actual appropriations. But why not go ahead and do it and then force Quinn to sue, some strategists have asked. The comptroller, who strenuously opposes the Quinn veto, reportedly refused because several lawyers involved with the discussions strongly opposed the idea.

So that could leave a court challenge by legislators, which may have been filed by the time you read this. The lawyers appear to have ruled out filing the case in Springfield, mainly because they don’t trust the Republican-leaning appellate district.

But a lawsuit would be a last resort. Obviously, such a challenge would be roundly attacked by the media and probably by a lot of Republicans as cowardly. Why not just pass a pension reform bill and then override the veto later?

Quinn’s legislative team has assured top Democrats that he would, of course, not oppose an override if pension reform is passed. But Senate President John Cullerton, for one, reportedly doesn’t want to give Quinn the ability to claim such a victory. And both he and Speaker Madigan are reportedly loathe to allow this veto to set a precedent.

What if, for instance, Quinn vetoes salaries again to prod the General Assembly to make the income tax hike permanent?

Or, what if Bruce Rauner is elected? The Republican gubernatorial candidate has pledged to wage an all-out war with Springfield’s entrenched interests, privately telling some House Republicans earlier this year that he would “bring Madigan to his knees.” So allowing him this veto power would set up a near certain annual battle.

State Sen. Kirk Dillard, another Republican gubernatorial candidate, has said he approves of Quinn’s veto. If Dillard is elected, would he use a similar action to force passage of what he considers to be a balanced budget, as he has implied?

And even though the legislative leaders, Topinka and even, reportedly, the attorney general all seem to be in agreement that the governor’s veto is blatantly unconstitutional, what if they lose in court? The veto was an unprecedented move, so nobody is absolutely certain that a court would rule in their favor.

Because the veto hasn’t yet been overridden, is it “ripe” enough for a court case? Or can they make the argument that their individual salaries are constitutionally guaranteed and set in statute and, therefore, they shouldn’t have to muster a three-fifths majority to receive them? Nobody really knows the answer.

A favorable court ruling, even a temporary one, could allow pension reform to move forward, top Democratic sources say. Again, the leaders are loathe to do anything unless and until they come up with a new pension reform plan, so even a temporary order to issue the checks might do the trick.

* Meanwhile, an op-ed by Michael J. Hayes has been published by several newspapers. An excerpt

In opining about the governor’s actions, some have pointed to a provision of the Illinois Constitution that prohibits changes to General Assembly salaries that would take effect during a member’s current term. Ironically, this section of the Constitution was intended by the 1970 Constitutional Convention to prevent legislators from giving themselves immediate pay raises.

But the governor’s action neither triggered nor violated this section of the Constitution. Acting within his authority to veto appropriations in whole or in part, the governor did not attempt to change the salaries nor did he try to alter the pay structure of the legislative salaries. Quinn simply exercised his ability to temporarily suspend payment to the General Assembly by vetoing that line item. The salary numbers established and set into law remain unchanged and in place.

The veto did not “temporarily suspend payment.” That argument assumes the veto will eventually be overridden. It may not be. A veto can also be permanent.

The argument also ignores the very real probability that the eventual lawsuit may not even be filed against Quinn. It could very well be filed against Comptroller Topinka, to demand payment of a constitutionally guaranteed salary.


  1. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 9:50 am:

    It’s wise to tread carefully here to determine the best way to prevent this stupid stunt from being used again.

    I wonder if Quinn has asked himself: “Why has no one done this before? Not even Blago?”

    He can search and search, but he won’t find an answer that reflects well on him.

  2. - Abe the Babe - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 9:50 am:

    I dont agree with the “temporaryily suspended payment” theory. Its only temporary if the veto gets overridden. However, the constitution says that salaries may not be changed during their term and in the same sentence says that “salaries must be provided for by law” which they are. But that law is different than the appropriation item which Quinn vetoed.

    PQ didnt change the level of their salary in the law (which is really what the con-con drafters were really trying to get at — a change in the amount of the salary…as set by law).

  3. - Skeeter - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 9:53 am:

    I see the question of ripeness as a major problem for a lawsuit.

    Courts don’t like to get involved if there is a reason to avoid doing so.

    I’m pretty sure a judge would boot this one unless there was a failed attempt to override.

  4. - the Other Anonymous - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 9:55 am:

    A thought occurred to me after reading Hayes’s op ed: if you follow his logic that the constitution requires an appropriations for legislative salaries, then it must also require an appropriations for the Governor’s salary.

    So are we now in a constitutional system where the Governor can pressure legislator’s by vetoing their salary and the GA can retaliate by not voting to appropriate the Governor’s salary? Or even possibly by voting to rescind the Governor’s current salary appropriation (subject to a veto which presumably can be overridden)?

    This is not a good path to start following.

  5. - OneMan - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 9:57 am:

    Could a citizen file suit?

  6. - RNUG - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 9:57 am:

    Fun times.

    The GA may be loathe to bring a lawsuit before pension reform due to the appearance to the public of selectively relying on the Constitution to protect the GA salaries while also selectively ignoring the Constitution’s protection of pensions. Even populist based hypocrisy doesn’t play well in the media.

  7. - Bill White - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 9:58 am:

    What Pat Quinn did is staggeringly subversive to representative government - cutting off salaries of legislators who don’t vote the “right way” undermines the basic premise of out system of government.

    The legal analysis also is is complicated and nuanced.

    The Governor has every right to veto whatever appropriations he or she wishes to veto and therefore I don’t see the veto itself as being illegal (albeit unwise and contrary to the spirit of representative government) however, the IL Constitution may very well provide that such a veto is ineffectual with respect to the Controller’s obligation to issue those checks.

    See the Jorgensen court decision.

    My preferred metaphor is a light switch disconnected from the wiring. The Governor has every right to flip the switch, however, that doesn’t mean flipping the switch turns the light bulb on or off. But it will take a court order to get those checks cut.

    = = =

    What Quinn’s veto does highlight is whether the General Assembly can refuse to appropriate funds protected by the IL Constitution, namely the pension benefits SB1 would reduce and diminish.

    Yes, Quinn’s veto is a dangerous, subversive stunt however we also have a former IL Attorney General bragging about “jawing down” the Illinois bond rating in order to achieve political objectives, another dangerous and subversive precedent.

  8. - Bill White - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:01 am:


    A lawsuit to compel the Controller to issue those checks, citing Jorgensen, should prevail. However, that decision would set precedent for a subsequent lawsuit if SB1 were to become law.

  9. - Loop Lady - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:03 am:

    Looks like Mike and John need to bury the hatchet and come up with something both chambers will pass, but this is unlikely because they want to deny Quinn a victory on this prior to 2014.

    Again, politics is trumping a pension solution, and I don’t think that the pay raise issue has slowed down progress on the issue one bit.

    You can’t convince me that if Quinn had not performed this “stunt” that the issue would have been resolved.

    MJM must be furious indeed. Looking forward to the lovefest at Dem day at the Fair.

  10. - Knome Sane - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:05 am:

    =Or, what if Bruce Rauner is elected? The Republican gubernatorial candidate has pledged to wage an all-out war with Springfield’s entrenched interests, privately telling some House Republicans earlier this year that he would “bring Madigan to his knees.”=

    This comment by Bruce Rauner proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he has no idea how government, especially government in Springfield, works.

  11. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:09 am:

    There are some “doors” you don’t want to walk through and Populist Pat Quinn used Goveror Pat Quinn to make a “stunt” policy, that even Rauner and Dillard think to now as an option in the already strong “Governor’s Arsenal”.

    Actually, looking back with 20/20 hindsight, and knowing Populist Pat Quinn, and the struggles Governor Pat Quinn has, you have to wonder more of “when” as opposed to “what” Populist Pat Quinn would try well beyond what Governor Blagojevich tried.

    Rod had allies(? - Ally) in the General Assmebly, and at least had Rod’s side of the equation heard on the floor(s) of the Chamber(s). Quinn has non of the … basic … tools necessary to BE governor in place.

    Therefor, in complete hindsight, and knowing Populist Pat Quinn is still lurking about, are we at all surprised at a “stunt” so over the top that Rod wouldn’t even “go there”?

    I am not say, AT ALL, that any or all of us, … including me,… should have seen this play coming down the Pike. No, I am saying, Pat Quinn is being Pat Quinn. There is no “long term effect of the move” seen by a Pat Quinn, its always about the “moment”, the “pulse of the people”, and “political survival”. Where o’ where are the rational folk in the Administration to say to Pat Quinn, “Governor, what you are doing, while it might be very popular, hurts the ‘Seperation of Powers’ in your beloved Illinois, putting the quetion to the validity of your move overshadowing what you hope to accomplish, and in the long term, damaging the balance of the Co-Equal Partnership the General Assembly and the Executive enjoy, but placing an extortion element that the Executive should not hold over its partner, the General Assembly. Please think, Governor Quinn, what you may be doing to Illinois Government long term and for always, as you decide this Veto.”

    Who would like to wager that A) that statement never happened, or B) it did, indeed, happen, and Populist Quinn chose the road we are on today by ignoring.

    Governors are better than this, Populist Quinn. Sometimes political points earned today, ruin a Government’s tomorrows. This move is ripe for a legacy that Quinn might be saddled with, far beyond being the “Man who was after Blagojecich”, and that is say alot too.

  12. - Rod - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:12 am:

    I have to assume Mr. Rauner is fully aware that the last Governor who attempted to bring the Speaker to his knees did not fare too well. Nor did the last attempt by Republicans in Illinois to run a campaign based on a Madigan dictatorship including posters comparing the Speaker to Stalin and Mao.

  13. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:14 am:

    If Madigan does actually support the veto, does that mean that he will be more amenable to SB 2404? His bill went nowhere, and based on past actions, may go nowhere in the future.

    If Rauner gets in and wages an all-out war against entrenched interests, does that mean he will also go after the Civic Committee? Or does Rauner believe that he and the Civic Committee are “outsiders?”

  14. - Stones - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:15 am:

    However this plays out, the Governor has opened a Pandora’s Box with this manuver. Article II, Section 1 of the Illinois Constitution discusses separation of powers. PQ’s statement that he is withholding the pay of another branch of government until a legislative issue is addressed arguably crosses that line. A dangerous precident to say the least.

  15. - A guy... - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:19 am:

    Any guesses about what the bills numbered HB1 and SB1 will address in the next GA?

  16. - Tom S. - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:19 am:

    The spin that the governor “temporarily suspended” pay was put out in his original press conference and, though false, has been regurgitated by the media ever sense. This attorney Hayes should know better…and he probably does. He’s just tossing out more Quinn spin.

    Though Skeeter is right — courts love to punt if they can — I don’t think they can refuse to take a case because they are waiting for action by the legislature that may or may not come. A law is either constitutional or it’s not…and the FY 2014 budget is now the law of the land, complete with Quinn’s line item veto.

    If they refuse to take the case on the basis of “ripeness,” they’re climbing on their own slippery slope. Couldn’t they refuse to hear a whole host of cases based on the chance the legislature might undo the law in question in the near future?

  17. - Bill White - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:20 am:

    I agree, Oswego Willy, and slapping down Pat Quinn for this stunt is a very necessary step to assure that future Governors - be they Dillard, Rauner or Daley - don’t use these same powers.

    However, Pat Quinn did walk through that door and a rung bell cannot be un-rung (to mix metaphors)

    To channel a previous OW post about the futility of hating on Madigan . . .

    Ranting about Pat Quinn’s stunt may be well be justified, and yet, what is to be done?

    To quote Shakespeare,

    “Nay, dry your eyes; Tears show their love, but want their remedies.”

    Richard II Act III, Scene 3

  18. - Small Town Liberal - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:20 am:

    - placing an extortion element that the Executive should not hold over its partner, the General Assembly -

    Yet they can simply override him or take it to court, they just don’t want to look bad by doing so. Is political pressure now extortion?

    I also struggle to have nightmares about the future of Illinois Government as a result of this action, just as I struggle to have nightmares about the countless other slippery slope arguments people make when they’re upset.

  19. - Stones - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:20 am:

    Pardon my typo above…precedent

  20. - langhorne - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:25 am:

    i see failure to pass pension reform as primarily due to a deep disagreement between madigan and cullerton. lack of pay wont get it done. and if they had something both chambers could pass, they in no way would postpone it til after the election. they are wearing the jacket on this and just look worse and worse as time goes on. self serving districts protect most of them, but everyone still looks bad.

    even if they agree on a legal strategy, or someone jumps the gun w a lawsuit, it should happen AFTER pension reform is passed. maybe not fully reviewed by the courts, but at least passed.

    glad to see the reference to rauner’s possible use of similar tactics. his disdain for law and the constitution could portend a great deal of nastiness.

    i look forward to creative, constitutional, painful payback for quinn on this stunt.

  21. - thechampaignlife - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:27 am:

    ===The veto did not “temporarily suspend payment.”=== Could it not be appropriated next FY or through a supplemental appropriation? Call it deferred compensation. They’re due the money, just when the check is cut is in question.

    ===What Pat Quinn did is staggeringly subversive to representative government=== I fail to see how this limits representative democracy. New Hampshire has a $200 per 2 years salary with no per diem. Do they not have a representative democracy?

  22. - Raising Kane - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:30 am:

    STL…I totally disagree with you on this one. These are two, co-equal branches of goverment. Would you think it ok if the General Assembly just stopped appropriating a salary for the Gov?

  23. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:31 am:

    Weren’t there a couple of years recently when the GA appropriated lump sums to the Governor’s rather than make line item appropriations, thereby letting, or forcing, the Governor to expend funds at his discretion. Were those a “stunts” by the General Assembly so that body did not have to make unpopular cuts to certain programs? Is the current dilemma an example of what goes around comes around?

  24. - PublicServant - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:32 am:

    No state checks, no problem. An Illinois credit union is offering zero percent loans to lawmakers.

  25. - Bill White - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:33 am:

    === I fail to see how this limits representative democracy. New Hampshire has a $200 per 2 years salary with no per diem. Do they not have a representative democracy? ===

    The New Hampshire legislature voluntarily chose this level of compensation. Therein lies the difference.

  26. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:34 am:

    - Bill White -,

    Great post on the “hating on Madigan”, and the parallel with that, and this “hating on the Pat Quinn Veto.” I see it.

    The difference for me is that while you have to “beat Madigan” and stop whining about it is the answer, the crux of the Pat Quinn move and the answer to counter this unprecedented move is that the remedy is there to change the outcome, but will someone go to court to seek relief? Will the General Assembly seek relief in an Override?

    Finally, the manner by which any governor looks at the powerful levers they wield, will this “lever” be seen the same again, or further, would any governor after Quinn look beyond the option again, never seeing the Co-Equal partnership as …Co-Equal?

    Populist Pat Quinn has indeed opened “Pandora’s Box” of the arsenal of the Office of the Governor. While the whine might be the same about MJM and the Quinn move here, the governmental ramifications and the “simple” solutions have put the state, its government, and the ideals of the seperation of powers in a peril that goes beyond a t-shirt, or a coffee mug, and the “hate” of being in the minority party.

    With respect, - Bill White -, and some good points you address too.

    As an aside, - Bill White -, appreciate the Shakespeare, nicely placed.

  27. - Bill White - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:37 am:

    Oswego Willy,

    I too am appalled at Pat Quinn’s line item veto of those salaries. It’s a move that is deeply subversive of representative government.

    And yet, many of the loudest critics (not you) themselves applaud other moves that are deeply subversive of representative and constitutional government.

    Reminding me of that famous scene from Casablanca. “Gambling? Rick, I shocked!”

    Or maybe “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

  28. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:44 am:

    - Bill White -

    On Point. That is what is great about this place. Here is where discussions can go beyond the hypocricy seen, and discussed what IS happening, and WHY some might be singing a different toon, even when the game might be the same as it was before…

    The discussion is important, getting beyond the hypocricy is even more important.

  29. - Bill White - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:44 am:

    PS . . .

    I also agree that the General Assembly and the Courts MUST take this power away from the Governor. But will they?

  30. - thechampaignlife - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:45 am:

    ===The New Hampshire legislature voluntarily chose this level of compensation. Therein lies the difference.=== That is a difference but not one that subverts the level of representation. Until my elected representative is denied entry into the chamber, I think I’m fine with my representation regardless of salary. That’s not to say that I think what Quinn did was wise, that it was effective, or that anyone who works a job for an expected pay should be denied that. There’s a host of reasons to chastise Quinn, I just don’t see diminishment of representation as one of them.

  31. - Skeeter - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:51 am:

    Tom S.,
    The distinction between “could potentially have new legislation” and this is that there is a set procedure in place to handle situations like this.

    Courts require parties to exhaust other remedies. Here, the remedy is clearly in place. If they take no action, they can’t ask the court to do so.

    Any judge would ask “State Rep. X, you are asking me to take action. Why don’t you take action yourself?”

  32. - CharlieKratos - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:51 am:

    In the next budget proposal, I’m sure they will put the GA salary appropriations in an area that cannot be vetoed. But what to do for now…

  33. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:53 am:

    ==I also agree that the General Assembly and the Courts MUST take this power away from the Governor. But will they?==

    It is not a question of “will they” but “can they.” It would require a constitutional amendment to do so.

  34. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:58 am:

    Submitted previously but not posted.

    I believe the GA appropriated lump sums to the Governor’s office a few years ago rather than make line item cuts to various programs and allowing, or forcing, the Governor to make the expenditure decisions. Was that a “stunt” by that tactic a “stunt” by the General Assembly? Co-equal branches equals co-equal gamesmanship.

  35. - Norseman - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:59 am:

    Another great column by Rich.

    There is no need for me to rehash a lot of the points so adequately addressed by Rich’s column or other commenters. I do want to put my 2 cents in on the ripeness issue. I believe it becomes ripe when the Solons miss their first check.

    I would also argue that to pass pension reduction before resolving the salary issue would be viewed as rewarding the Governor for his abuse of power. Folks have been arguing that this may harm the legislators politically, I don’t see it. The institution isn’t well liked, but most of the individual legislators are personally popular. Presumably, the GOP is the group that will likely make it a political issue. I don’t think this short-sighted tactic will have any great effect on raising the number of GOP members in the General Assembly.

    *** Oswego Willy for Governor - He wasn’t Rod Blagojevich’s Lt. Gov. ***

  36. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 11:07 am:

    - Norseman -

    You are pressing the right “buttons” on this issue. The only long term harm, be it to people in the General Assembly, or to the person who is governor, is the harm it may cause to the balance of the Co-Equal branches of government, and to the way Populist Pat Quinn tries to run “Governor Pat Quinn” in the Primary and the General Elections.

    Breaking it dwon to the state Rep. in the “119 House District” or the state Senator in the “60th Senate District” is not going to be in play for them, but will be seen as a “whole”, not by the parts that make it whole.

  37. - Demoralized - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 11:09 am:

    ==The governor vetoed the individual salary lines (base House salaries and base Senate salaries, for instance), but didn’t veto the “total” lines (e.g. base House and Senate salaries combined). Could that be a loophole? Doubtful. ==

    Totals have no force of law. They are not appropriations.

  38. - Small Town Liberal - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 11:09 am:

    - Would you think it ok if the General Assembly just stopped appropriating a salary for the Gov? -

    I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. If they think it’s warranted, go for it. The Governor has tools to deal with that, just like the GA has tools to deal with the AV.

  39. - Downstater - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 11:10 am:

    Glad to see Quinn take this step, against a bunch of legislators, who operate in an incompetent way.
    Some of these legislators rely on this, as their primary source of income. Stop the paychecks to them and they cave in and the people of Illinois benefit. The people of Illinois couldn’t give a dam about all this inside politics discussed on blogs. They just want results.

  40. - Anon. - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 11:15 am:

    Bill White is 100% correct about Jorgensen, and Michael Hayes should be embarassed with his legal “analysis.” The Donnewald case challenged the validity of the Compensation Review Act, under which the Compensation Review Board recommended a salary for the GA members, and the salary would go into effect unless the both houses voted to reject it. The Act specifically provided that changes would take effect only after terms ended, so changing salaries in the middle of a term was never an issue that the Court could have considered. What it did say about appropriations was:

    “The plaintiffs say that the recommendations’ taking effect upon the legislature’s decision not to reject the report violates these provisions [requiring majority votes and signature by the governor for an act to become law], because, they assert, there is no provision for approval by both houses and a presentment to the Governor. As we observed above, the Act established the procedure followed here. The Act itself was, of course, passed by a majority of both houses of the General Assembly and was presented to the Governor for his possible veto. Too, the appropriation bill was passed by a majority of both houses and presented to and approved by the Governor. Thus, the requirements of article IV, section 8(c), and article IV, sections 9(a) and (b), have been satisfied. The defendants observe further that the effect of any recommendation the Board may make is restricted by article IV, section 9(d), which gives the Governor the ‘item-reduction veto,’ whereby the Governor may reduce or veto any single item within an appropriation bill, subject, of course, to an override by the legislature.”

    This says nothing about what would happen if there were a conflict between an action that followed these procedures and the prohibition against changing salaries in mid-term.

    Jorgensen, on the other hand, considered this very issue, where the judges’ salaries were increased by a COLA, but the Governor reduction-veoted out the amount of an appropriation necessary to pay the COLA. In reaching that decision, the Supreme Court specifically rejected the argument Hayes is making.

  41. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 11:22 am:

    - Downstater -,

    How about this …

    You are in a job, and a Equal Co-Worker, who has the end game of doing a job with you just decides…

    “You know what - Downstater -, we are equal, but the people who hired us both gave me a lever to stick it to you for BOTH of our failure, so I am goig to make YOU work … but make sure YOU don’t get paid for the project WE are suppose to complete… and … even though we both are equal in power and blame, k?”

    Now, make that your government …now make that your defined Consittutional Powers of “spereate but equal” branches of government.

    Hate on the legislature, hech, hate on YOUR legislator … but to see this, and applaud this “3rd World Circus Stunt” as a way to …run … a atate…because its popular and fun to cheer … is disappointing and sad …

    And your crutch that “inside politics” is playing a role in this backlash against Quinn is sad as well,…

    …considering we ARE talking about the Illinois Constitution, the move by Quinn, how governors may decide to govern in the future, and the simple structure of our state …other than that, its just politcs as usual, like you say …right?

  42. - Demoralized - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 11:22 am:

    ==In the next budget proposal, I’m sure they will put the GA salary appropriations in an area that cannot be vetoed. ==

    How would you suggest they do that? The answer is that they can’t.

  43. - Demoralized - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 11:24 am:

    ==Glad to see Quinn take this step, against a bunch of legislators, who operate in an incompetent way.==

    The pension problem has been festering for years and you think the great solution is to blackmail the legislature into acting right this second just so you can say that they did something? That’s a great way to govern. Does it need to be dealt with? Yes. Is this the way to do it? Absolutely, positively not.

  44. - A guy... - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 11:25 am:

    The concept of a co-equal, 3 branch system of government is not to create a series of “ties” all around, it is to offer each branch a clear victory of policy that has remedies which can rebut the action. The Governor did it. The Legislature is not choosing (at least now) to pursue a remedy by legislative override or in the judiciary. Why? Because the people of Illinois kind of like (at least the perception of) the Governor holding the legislature accountable to get important work done. Simple as that. The electorate is a sleeping tiger that lays dormant until it doesn’t. You wake it up and you pay with your career. The GA doesn’t want to wake it up. There will be a remedy in the next GA that prevents the Gov from taking this action or presents him a budget in a format that raises the price of trying this again. That’s how checks and balances work. Co-Equal is not an endless checkers game, it’s a series of games where there are winners and losers and no draws.

  45. - Old and In The Way - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 11:35 am:

    Some very good comments on this. On both sides I might add. However, I am left with one question, is there any action or reaction that PQ might engage in that Small Town Liberal would be willing to admit was just plain stupid? Come on be just a little critical of this Dufus.

  46. - Tom S. - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 11:40 am:

    – Skeeter — legit point. As such, maybe a private citizen will bring the challenge.

    – thechampaignlife — be careful making comparisons to the New Hampshire legislature…not sure we want to emulate them. They have 400 House members — that is not a typo. Every New Hampshire member represents just over 3,000 citizens. If Illinois had a similar constituent-to-rep ratio, we would have about 4,000 House members.

  47. - Small Town Liberal - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 11:40 am:

    Thanks Old, but I sleep just fine without your approval of my opinions.

  48. - Raising Kane - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 11:41 am:

    STL…no, the Gov does not have the tools to deal with it….he could veto the appropriations bill but if they override him he is out of options.

  49. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 11:42 am:

    - A guy… -,

    Good points, but let me ask you this;

    While this game of checkers, the “checks and balances” part of the Co-Equal branches … how does extortion play into the checkers and chess, because to take on the personal payment of those in another branch to have them yield to what another branch is requiring… that seems a bit more extreme than you paint of just one side winning or losing …

    I do get, 100%, you take on the voters/electorate and not waking them, which is what a lawsuit WOULD do, and an Override MIGHT do… but do we want our game of checkers, with winners and losers in our Co-Equal branches of state government measured in wins and loses with extortion as the lever to gain an advantage?

    With respect …

  50. - In the know - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 11:47 am:

    I continue to think that until sine die, a lawsuit regarding the salaries is not ripe. Payment of the salary in monthly installments is not constitutionally guaranteed. IF the GA members gets paid their full salary on the last day of the GA, have they been legally harmed? I think the supremes would not weigh in the midst of this tug-o-war unless there were no other choice and until sine die, there is still a choice. Then my question is whether the remedy is the court of claims or a mandamus action to secure payment. The Governor’s actions are unconscionable, but until sine die, it is not clear to me that they are unconstitutional.
    And there is precious little Illinois law to guide us.

  51. - Downstater - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 11:49 am:

    =“You know what - Downstater -, we are equal, but the people who hired us both gave me a lever to stick it to you for BOTH of our failure, so I am goig to make YOU work … but make sure YOU don’t get paid for the project WE are suppose to complete… and … even though we both are equal in power and blame, k?”=
    What you unable to grasp is what has been going on isn’t working for a variety of reasons. Drastic action and out of the box action is needed. Other “BLUE” states have made some hard choices and “got it done”. Your example, doesn’t make sense, since the two parties, the Governor and the “individual” legislators are NOT equals. No individual legislator has the same power, as the Governor. What would I do under your example? Either resign and get another job or stay and come to a real solution quickly so I could get paid.

  52. - lake county democrat - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 11:53 am:

    How about we see how this stunt plays out in terms of governance before we pass judgment?

  53. - Bill White - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 11:55 am:

    === The Governor’s actions are unconscionable, but until sine die, it is not clear to me that they are unconstitutional. ===

    Yes, the Governor’s actions are indeed unconscionable, but it is far from clear to me that they are unconstitutional. Quinn had every right to sign that line item veto.

    However, I also believe the IL Constitution (per Jorgensen) requires that the line item veto be ignored. The appropriate remedy is to declare the line item veto to be a nullity without telling the Governor what can and cannot be vetoed.

    Which means Rich Miller is exactly right by suggesting that the appropriate defendant is the Controller, not the Governor.

  54. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 11:56 am:

    - Downstater -

    Um, the General Assembly IS the Co-Equal partner, not the state Rep from the “119th District”.

    It a medaphor, the “partner” is the entire GA, not one individual state Rep.


    Further, the Conference Committee is working on a solution, and the governor had staff even testify, but to extort 1/3 of government for political points, claiming the timetable of Populist Quinn needs to be followed for Governor Quinn to be happy is a bit like a 3rd World “Leader” standing on a balcony firing its elelcted leaders so new ones will just vote the way he/she wants and calling that democracy.

  55. - Raising Kane - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 11:59 am:

    In the know….the fact that he line-itemed them out means there is no appropriation to pay the GA so I do not believe they have to go sine die. But to your larger point, a lawsuit may not be ripe until the veto has been read into the record and the requisite number of days have passed without action, so as to allow veto to stand.

  56. - thechampaignlife - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 12:12 pm:

    ===be careful making comparisons to the New Hampshire legislature=== I wouldn’t go so far as 1-to-3000 but we could stand to at least double the number of representatives. Heck, if we’d go back to pre-Cutback days of 177 representatives and then combine the chambers into one, that’d give us 1-to-55000 which isn’t as low as the 1870 constitution set it (and 18x higher than NH) but gives much better representation.

  57. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 12:12 pm:

    I think some should disabuse themselves of the notion that Quinn’s actions were meant to “influence” the process.

    Governors have a lot of tools in the box to influence the process.

    This was raw, red-meat politics — a race to the cellar on who can demagogue the worst on a complex issue that impacts everyone some, and a subset of citizens critcally.

    Tribbies, Ty, Bruce — there’s a new sheriff in town.

  58. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 12:40 pm:

    If this extortion was meant to “work” to motivate, and seen as a tool TO motivate the GA to getting this done, the Conference Committee would be working “Day and Night” to get this done …

    The Committee, its Chairs and Members, the General Assembly as a whole, none of them are taking this more than what it should be taken as;

    Populist Pat Quinn inserting Governor Pat Quinn in the discussion by extortion, but the lever, while seemingly forceful, and does have the mechanism to stop the payments, has yet to yield any movement that Governor Quinn to point to as an effect of the move orchestrated by Populist Pat Quinn.

    Great polling move, but very weak in the “delivering the desired result” move.

    Continue your work Conference Committee, under your timetable, and continue to NOT yield to Populist Pat Quinn on the balcony of a 3rd World Republic under HIS timetable.

  59. - Madison - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 12:47 pm:

    For the record… a Governor can veto a line item in a budget. Then the budget goes to the legislature, which may or may not override those items; however, how does he or she rescind same action? Can the hapless Quinn simply “un-veto” a bill no longer under his or her possession when the legislative branch “behaves” in accordance with the executive branches wishes? Or is the bill gone for good and the only remedy is an override?

  60. - Downstater - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 12:53 pm:

    @Osewgo Willey Your comment above including the term “dope” pretty well sums up you discussion skill level. Once, someone turns to name calling, they are no different than small children.

  61. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 1:00 pm:

    - Downstater -,

    You took it upon yourself to chastise me, for a metaphor it seems was lost on you. Further, taking a shot at the “inside politics” here, while we are all guests here added to the thought…

    “What are you trying to say, as you chastise me for your lack of understanding my medaphor, and also taking shots at all of us commenting, while you comment here too?”

    You can’t have it both ways, commenting here and then chastise us as how YOU see us, and then not understand a post and chastise it all in the same breath.

    I think I stand by my post.

  62. - Tom S. - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 1:02 pm:

    – Skeeter — thought it over some more. What if the hypothetical rep bringing the suit answered your hypothetical judge’s question on “ripeness” this way?

    “Your Honor, under the General Assembly’s rules, only the sponsor of the vetoed bill may initiate override procedures. The sponsor of the bill in question is Speaker Madigan. Not only has he failed to initiate an override, the Speaker has made public statements in support of the governor’s action. As such, I have no recourse other than this suit. Further, the damages incurred by individual legislators is not prospective. It has already occurred…it is immediate. Which is why I seek immediate relief from the court.”

  63. - Harry - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 1:03 pm:

    Besdies all the separation of powers issues, which I agree are dreadful, I will observe that the impulse to try to get anything passed in a big rush, before it is well understood, is a large part of why we are in this mess in the first place.

    To my knowledge, Quinn was absent on pensions throughout the Spring Session–yes, a couple of times he said he wanted a bill, but he never got out there and clearly said “THIS is what I want and here’s why”. He just wants someone else to wear the shirt, now and forever.

    And to downstater, you remind me of how my son characterizes much of our political class:

    “This is a crisis, something must be done!!”

    “Here’s something; we don’t know what it is, but is is ’something’.”

    “‘Something’ must be done.”

    That’s Quinn–he wants reform but won’t say what reform consists of–”All hat and no cattle” as they say in Texas.

    And that the media and public fall for it is NOT a good sign.

  64. - Downstater - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 1:11 pm:

    Oswego Willy- You seem to be overly sensitive to any comments of criticism direct at your postings.
    As I stated resorting to name calling is much different than criticism. Look it up!

  65. - Norseman - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 1:15 pm:

    Gee Willy, I was hoping that Downstater would coordinate the southern Illinois campaign.

  66. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 1:18 pm:

    ===What you unable to grasp is what has been going on isn’t working for a variety of reasons. Drastic action and out of the box action is needed. Other “BLUE” states have made some hard choices and “got it done”. Your example, doesn’t make sense, since the two parties, the Governor and the “individual” legislators are NOT equals.===

    No, I welcome criticism, I like the back and forth banter of ideas. What leads me down the road with your posts, is me “unable to grasp…” and yet, you are unable to grasp my point…as you tell me I am uable to grasp what is going on…


    If you want a discussion on the merits of what I post, understand what I post and we can discuss it, but to say I am “unable to grasp”, while you use an example of younot able to grasp my point, leads to my post.

  67. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 1:24 pm:

    - Norseman -, you do crack me up, Bud!

    - Downstater -, you like the Quinn move, I get it, I don’t like the Quinn move, it’s all good. I gave you an example, you misintrepted it, while trying to teach me. You have yet to say, “I missed that,” but focused on the name…If you want to argue the merits of my re-explained medaphor, cool.

  68. - facts are stubborn things - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 2:04 pm:

    This whole mess — veto of saleries and pension overhaul — goes to show what happens when you go down the road of ignoring the rule of law. The law is clear that pensions can not be diminished and I beleive just as clear that the Gov. can not veto current legal saleries fo the legislature. How simple, pay employees the pensions they have earned and pay the legislature their saleries. Once you decide those two things are legal and proper, then set out working with all the legal options to solve the pension issue. The problem of course with doing that is the legislature would have to take responsability for the pensions mess.

  69. - Jack - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 2:51 pm:

    I wonder if the GA can change an approp after it becomes law. For example, zero out the 5.5 million for 310 - Governor and transfer that to the pension funds.

  70. - Sad bubs - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 3:33 pm:

    Looks like there is a lot of sympathy for the legislature among the commenters here. A lot of venom directed at Pat Quinn.

    Hope all of these emotions can be redirected toward fixing the state’s bad problems some day.

  71. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 3:47 pm:

    –Hope all of these emotions can be redirected toward fixing the state’s bad problems some day.–

    What emotions are those, Sad Bubs? I see arguments regarding the Constitution and law.

  72. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 3:54 pm:

    - Sad bubs -,

    If your “take” is that I am sympathetic to the GA, and directing venom at a Pat Quinn who is innocent in this entire fiasco, you need to wrk on some reading comprehension.

    I read over some after your post, and I didn’t read any “O woe is the the GA”.

    I read about a Populist trying to act like a governor, and the GA, through the Confernece Committee, trying to work beyond the limits and grandstanding that a Populist puts up as … “incentives”… do both their job as legislators and the Governor’s job, since Pat Quinn would rather do anything to solve the problem but act like a Banana Republic Leader…

    If I were you, I would hope, like the rest of us, that the Conference Committee returns a Constitutional answer to the problems in the Pension Crisis that Populist Pat Quinn can try to incorporate into his “Squeezy” comic book series to sell, before all the Comic Con Expos end.

  73. - Sad bubs - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 4:00 pm:

    Looks like anger to me. Ref. “stupid stunt” and “deeply subversive” language. Hard to escape emotion in this divisive arena, but it should be acknowledged.

  74. - Sad bubs - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 4:01 pm:

    Willy, did I strike a nerve?

  75. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 4:03 pm:

    lol … first it was “sympathy” and “venom”, not its “anger” …

    Look, in your “drive by” commments … do everyone a favor and pick a lane.

  76. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 4:09 pm:

    Nah, if you struck a nerve, I am sure I would tell you about it.

    It just gets tired and “played”, all the “drive by, if you take a half a second to look what you are saying is not what others are saying” posts.

    “sympathy” and “venom not become with some reflection …”anger”…

    Also, use a turn signal if you decide your “drive by” comment gets called out and you need to regroup.

  77. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 4:15 pm:

    I think most people can be quite rational and unemotional and still recognize “stupid” and “subversive,” as well as “smart” and “constructive.”

  78. - Small Town Liberal - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 4:39 pm:

    - Conference Committee returns a Constitutional answer to the problems -

    I sure hope so.

    We’ve seen the GA head for home several times over the past 2 years without fixing the problem. If they come back soon and get it done, I’d say the “stunt” was worth it.

    And I know, I know, everyone likes to complain that the committee was already making progress, etc.

    Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard that before out of the GA. So, with the utmost respect, I’m not changing my mind on this one.

  79. - Norseman - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 5:03 pm:

    Bubs, sorry if you’re worried about Pat’s feelings. But the issue being discussed here is the democratic principle of separation of power among the branches of government.

    Being a Pat fan you should know that while being wrong he’s actually making brownie points for his re-election bid.

    I’ll admit that I’m angry, but my anger is directed at the attempt by both the Governor and members of the General Assembly to unconstitutionally diminish my pension benefits. Emotionally, I would love to see both of these groups deprived of their paychecks for a long long time. However, I also have a respect for the process and know the Governor’s action is wrong in principle as well as constitutionally.

    So Bubs, try to argue the merits of the question instead of using your emotion.

  80. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 5:27 pm:

    - STL -,

    Much respect, as usual, and I appreciate the “take” of your post. Two things;

    You recognize the Governor’s move as a “stunt”, and if it works, fine. I get it, fro your point of view. Wouldn’t it been easier had Quinn led the way, all the way, as opposed to trying a “stunt” that may call into question a legal fight or an override that was not necessary?

    And …

    We can agree, there have been too many times any number of the General Assemblies left town without the work getting done. Great point. I wish Quinn would have focused on the the aspect of working either of the 2 Bills, or if the governor introduced “Quinn” Bill that was his alone, and worked it like other governors, then we might have more than the hope you and I share … that somethng might get done soon, and Constitutionally sound work at that.

    Will the “Conference Committee” invite Pat Quinn to the announcement of such an agreement? Interseting thought to ponder, I think.

    - Norseman -,

    Very eloquent. Well said as to what is the discussion, how your position personally factors in to conflicting trains of thought and your well expressed conclusion on what this matter is. I enjoyed reading that, and it makes me hopeful that a “stunt” like this will not be rewarded, when the heavy lifting is finally done.

  81. - Reformed Public Servant - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 8:47 pm:

    This new weapon unleashed on Springfield will be used again more frequently in the future. This will not end well, and I am reminded of Robert Oppenheimer’s quote:
    “We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.”

  82. - wishbone - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 8:53 pm:

    “…they’re climbing on their own slippery slope.”

    Nah, I think they are sliding down their own mixed metaphor.

  83. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 29, 13 @ 10:27 pm:

    RPS, I’m down on the Quinn stunt, but it might not reach the level of weaponizing the atom.

  84. - Bill White - Tuesday, Jul 30, 13 @ 8:19 am:

    I’m now thinking I need to brush up on Marbury v. Madison - - not merely John Marshall’s decision but the historical context for that controversy.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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