* But it’s a good one…
The Illinois House unanimously passed Senate Bill 1933 to create automatic voter registration (AVR) on Monday, to applause from backers in the Just Democracy Illinois coalition of civic and voting rights groups.
“We are thrilled that automatic voter registration passed the House today with broad, bipartisan support,” said Andy Kang, Legal Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago, and a Co-Coordinator of Just Democracy Illinois. “We urge Governor Rauner to sign automatic voter registration into law and create a more modern, secure, and accurate voter registration system for Illinois.”
SB1933 reforms current registration laws so that whenever an eligible Illinois resident applies for, updates or renews a driver’s license or state ID, he or she will be automatically registered to vote or have their registration updated, unless they opt out. It also creates a similar program for other state agencies, such as the Department of Human Services and Department of Natural Resources.
The achievement of bipartisan agreement on legislation dealing with elections is remarkable in the midst of partisan tension in Springfield. The legislation passed the Senate on May 5th with a 48-0 vote, with 22 Republicans and 26 Democrats voting in favor. In the House, the AVR bill was cosponsored by members of both parties, and passed 115-0. Representative Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago) was a Chief Co-Sponsor and sponsored the final amendment to the bill.
“Automatic voter registration, as passed this year, will allow technology to help make our elections more secure, more efficient, and more open to all citizens of Illinois,” said Rep. Fortner. “This bill will create a seamless process for citizens to register and keep their registration up-to-date as they move. At the same time, it respects the privacy of those in the system and those who choose not to participate.”
* From the Paulick Report…
The Illinois Senate passed a wide-ranging gambling bill, SB7, earlier this year. It would allow for six new full-scale casinos, including one in the city of Chicago. It tosses a meatless bone to racetracks, permitting them to finally conduct what every corner bar in the state now enjoys: video gaming.
The measure is too little, too late to help breathe life into a once-proud industry. Where racing once had to fight casinos with both hands tied behind their back, it now would have one hand freed if this bill is passed by the House in the next few days. That’s not enough.
Only by permitting Illinois racetracks to compete freely and openly, with slots and table games, will the state’s racing and breeding industries come back to life – with thousands of additional jobs and millions of dollars in purses and tax revenue to the state.
* Press release…
It’s not the most provocative topic at the Statehouse, but the process for determining how new laws will be implemented by state agencies briefly took center stage in the Senate Thursday afternoon.
Legislation sponsored by Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) seeks to correct a few problems that have arisen in the General Assembly’s bipartisan rule-making review process, which is carried out by a 12-lawmaker panel known as the Joint Commission on Administration Rules – or JCAR.
Harmon is a co-chairman of the commission. He said the legislation is a response to actual problems the commission has encountered, not a backdoor attempt to hamstring any governor – an accusation levied by at least one senator.
But Harmon added that the commission wants to demand accountability of state agencies and increase efficiency and transparency in the rule-making review process.
“There is nothing saucy here. These are ministerial and mundane things. This is simply an attempt to help us maintain balance between the executive and legislative branches,” Harmon said.
* From the Illinois Policy Institute’s totally unbiased news service…
A bill likely to land on the governor’s desk within the next few days would prohibit the establishment of right-to-work zones, a blow for those who believe such zones could help recoup thousands of jobs lost to neighboring states in recent years.
A veto also is likely, as right-to-work, or “empowerment” zones, are a concept that Gov. Bruce Rauner has championed since taking office in 2015.
As Illinois’ Republican governor and Democrat-controlled House and Senate continue to spar over the best way to kick start jobs growth and pull the state back from its multibillion dollar budget deficit, the state’s black community suffers with the highest unemployment rate of the nation. New Bureau of Labor Statistics data show Illinois tied with Nevada at 12.7 percent for black unemployment.