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Rauner complains about House vote to block consolidation order

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

* Press release…

Despite more than 1,000 cases pending with an average wait time of four years to hear a discrimination case, the Illinois House voted [yesterday] to block the consolidation of the Illinois Human Rights Commission (HRC) into the Illinois Department of Human Rights (DHR).

“Madigan’s legislators have once again put politics ahead of policy blocking this consolidation,” Rauner spokeswoman Eleni Demertzis said. “Justice delayed is justice denied, and Madigan’s legislators want to maintain the current broken system that can delay justice for years.”

Governor Rauner issued Executive Order 17-02 to expedite anti-discrimination cases brought to the HRC. The commission currently has a backlog of more than 1,000 cases. Due to the current structure, the average case takes more than four years from the initial filing to case resolution, with some languishing for more than seven years.

“The Illinois Human Rights Commission has a pending caseload of 1,000 Requests for Review with some serious cases lasting as long as 7 years within our system,” said HRC Chair Rose Mary Bombela-Tobias. “By blocking the Executive Order, the General Assembly has blocked a plan that would have allowed us to effectively utilize our shared resources by eliminating administrative redundancies between the Department and Commission, focusing resources on the backlog while keeping the independence and integrity of the system.”​

The two agencies will be able to both investigate and address legal proceedings more quickly through consolidation. The consolidation would also preserve the independent appellate process set by the current statute by maintaining the functions of the Senate-confirmed HRC Commissioners. The City of Chicago, New York City, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Minnesota all use a similar structure. Additionally, this consolidation will save taxpayers half a million dollars in the first year alone.

“Blocking the Governor’s consolidation of DHR and HRC will continue to delay the independent investigative and adjudicatory process under the Illinois Human Rights Act and fails to offer any solutions to reduce the unacceptable backlog at the Commission,” said IDHR Acting Director Janice Glenn. “Maintaining the status quo of backlog and inefficiencies is a disservice to those who are seeking timely justice from unlawful discrimination.”

The Rauner Administration shared its intent to consolidate HRC into DHR with all four legislative caucuses, including the House Democrat Caucus, for feedback before issuing the Executive Order. House Democrats never addressed any concerns the caucus has now raised.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

17 Comments
  1. - PublicServant - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 9:50 am:

    Governor Helpless whines again. #BTDT


  2. - Ducky LaMoore - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 9:52 am:

    Crisis creates leverage, Bruce. I thought you knew that….


  3. - Mr. K - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 9:54 am:

    Rauner’s repeated impotence is staggering.

    Can this governor get anything done?

    Cripes, Rauner: if it’s blocked, try something else. Negotiate maybe. But stop whining.


  4. - unspun - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 9:58 am:

    As in the Thompson Center and procurement issues, send the GA language from which it may work. Or, if you REALLY want to be Governor, negotiate a bill with give and take. Otherwise, unless you can get 30 and 60, you settle for that which is served to you. If you want your veto and your $ to be your only weapons, well, you’ve got them.


  5. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 9:58 am:

    Focused.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 10:03 am:

    I’d be more upset but I remember Ken Dunkin and that leverage to continue hurting the state as leverage, done at Rauner’s behest.

    So, there’s that.


  7. - G'Kar - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 10:36 am:

    Serious question: Why are the Dems doing this? Is it really just politics, or is there a legit reason to keep these two agencies separate?


  8. - Nick Name - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 10:45 am:

    G’Kar: it possibly violated the restrictions on executive orders in the state Constitution?

    Article V, Section 11:

    SECTION 11. GOVERNOR - AGENCY REORGANIZATION
    The Governor, by Executive Order, may reassign functions among or reorganize executive agencies which are directly responsible to him. If such a reassignment or reorganization would contravene a statute, the Executive Order shall be
    delivered to the General Assembly. If the General Assembly is in annual session and if the Executive Order is delivered on or before April 1, the General Assembly shall consider the Executive Order at that annual session. If the General Assembly is not in annual session or if the Executive Order is delivered after April 1, the General Assembly shall consider the Executive Order at its next annual session, in which case the Executive Order shall be deemed to have been delivered on the first day of that annual session. Such an Executive Order shall not become effective if, within 60 calendar days after its delivery to the General Assembly, either house disapproves the Executive Order by the record vote of a majority of the members elected. An Executive Order not so disapproved shall become effective by its terms but not less than 60 calendar days after its delivery to the General Assembly.
    (Source: Illinois Constitution.)


  9. - JS Mill - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 10:51 am:

    =I’d be more upset but I remember Ken Dunkin and that leverage to continue hurting the state as leverage, done at Rauner’s behest.=

    What ever happened to that Dunkin guy? /s


  10. - Carpe Diem - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 12:31 pm:

    This is yet another example of the Democrats chewing off their own limbs to try to make an example of the Governor. The consolidation was never intended to be political, but rather an attempt to reduce a bonafide backlog. When Candidate Pritzker reared his head and proclaimed it could not be done, things digressed. As former Chairman of the Illinois Human Rights Commission, he knows full well the delays in resolving discrimination complaints. Well done, Democrats, you have let vulnerable communities down…again.


  11. - phocion - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 12:34 pm:

    Nick Name, the way I read that constitutional provision, the Governor followed the law and delivered the Executive Order to the GA because the reorganization was beyond the scope permitted without legislative review. The GA decided not to allow the consolidation of the agencies. That’s their prerogative, apparently. But it would be nice to know why they refused to allow it. The Governor put out his side of the story - efficiency, eliminate backlog of cases. What’s the General Assembly’s excuse for blocking it?


  12. - PS2 - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 1:59 pm:

    This Executive Order would not have worked. DHR and HRC perform completely different functions and some of it is for checks and balance. Part of that checks and balance is to oversee some of DHR’s work. How can this review be objective if HRC becomes part of DHR?


  13. - Nick Name - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 2:05 pm:

    “What’s the General Assembly’s excuse for blocking it?”

    Maybe consolidation requires a budget? Look, I’m just guessing here, but the long and the short of it is, just about anything a government wants to do, including consolidating agencies, requires a budget.


  14. - Carpe Diem - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 2:42 pm:

    PS2, your talking points are falling on deaf ears. Investigative and adjudicate evidence functions exist in plenty of other governmental agencies as the press release suggests, City of Chicago Commission on Human Relatuons, Cook County Department of Human Relations and Ethics, Michigan Departmebtbof Human Rights, Massachusetts Commission Against Duscrimination, etc. etc. All that the consolidated agency would have to do is ensure that staff is appropriately screened off from one function or another, which is quite easy to do. Just ask the Illinois Department of Labor and Illinois Department of Employment Security. Any legislator or advocacy group who raised this argument had been misled.


  15. - walker - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 3:29 pm:

    Consolidation is primarily to reduce redundancy and staff. If the goal is to move cases more quickly, remove unnecessary steps and add staff. Manage better, rather than wait for legislation.


  16. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 4:20 pm:

    On the checks and balances question: It’s not up to Commission staff to review the Department. That falls on the Commissioners, who are paid full time wages to maintain checks and balances. That system was maintained in this system.

    Oddly enough, the Dems are pushing a bill that would cut back on checks and balances as a way to “fix” the problem. What are they trying to preserve here?


  17. - PS2 - Tuesday, May 30, 17 @ 8:46 pm:

    Carpe Diem — Perhaps the real issue should be to properly staff an agency so that they can effectively do their work without having to be “screened off”.
    Walker - Both agencies do different work and there are little to no redundancies. Just have a look at the HR Act and each of the agency rules to have a better understanding of their functions.


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