* JB Pritzker…
“Bruce Rauner hijacked a commonsense gun safety bill that he could’ve signed into law to play politics. I disagree with repealing the ban on the death penalty, but we should be able to have that debate without derailing efforts to keep children and families safe from gun violence. Illinoisans need a governor who will put people over politics and work tirelessly to end the senseless violence in our communities. I will be that leader.”
* Chicago Tribune editorial…
Politicians up for election hunt everywhere for voter support, so very few proposals cause us to do spit takes. But Rauner’s bring-back-the-death-penalty cry comes close. The death penalty issue in Illinois was examined and debated for years in light of notorious incidents of wrongly convicted defendants sent to death row. In Illinois, the legitimate sentiment of many that certain heinous criminals should be put to death was weighed against the risk of errors, and the decision was made to end capital punishment.
Now comes Rauner, facing two political challenges: his governor’s race against Democrat J.B. Pritzker and his need to re-establish bona fides with disgruntled conservative Republicans. Maybe he hopes to attract some Democratic voters with elements of his hydra-headed rewrite, such as the waiting period for all firearms purchases. Meanwhile, the death penalty idea looks like a paean to conservatives. Rauner narrowly defeated a primary challenge from the right by Jeanne Ives, and he may never win those Republicans back on the issue of opposition to abortion, given his support for expanded abortion funding. So he’ll get tough on crime. That message will look good on a downstate billboard.
Rauner addresses the specter of executing an innocent person by proposing a higher standard of determining guilt in capital cases. A court would need to find the defendant guilty “beyond all doubt,” versus the standard determination of “beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said. Rauner’s proposal is a standard that’s been kicked around in the past and may have validity if the issue of juror certainty had been the narrow focus of the death penalty debate. But that’s not what ended the death penalty in Illinois. The crucial question was this: Could Illinois assure its citizens that the state would only execute the guilty?
The answer was no, and nothing has changed to make Rauner’s Monday announcement worthy of consideration. We hope the General Assembly will override his veto.
* And if you thought that was harsh, check out the Chicago Sun-Times editorial…
If some emotionally disturbed goof in Illinois buys an AR-15 rifle and turns around and shoots a lot of people, it’s on you, Gov. Bruce Rauner.
You had a chance to sign a bill creating a 72-hour “cooling off” period between the time a person buys a military-style assault weapon and when he or she can take it home. But on Monday you did your best to kill the bill.
We know, Governor. You didn’t technically kill the cooling off period. And when you campaign for reelection this summer among moderate suburban Republicans, you can say just that without strictly telling a lie.
But in your amendatory veto on Monday, you loaded up the bill with so many major new provisions that there is no way the Legislature will give it their seal of approval.
And you knew that. That was the game.
* Political expert: Rauner’s proposal to reinstate death penalty harks back to law-and-order era: “I think in some ways it harks back to the ’60s and ’70s, when political leaders at both the federal and the state level were rushing to make more and more things capital crimes … and all of that was part of the whole law-and-order era,” Jackson said.