State lawmakers return to Springfield on Tuesday for the first day of the annual veto session.
Similar to four years ago legislators return with the prospect of a different governor being sworn in just over two months from now. Unlike four years ago, the new governor will be a Democrat who will be working with Democratic majorities in the House and Senate that grew even larger on election day.
There are plenty of items on the agenda including raising the minimum salary paid to school teachers and possibly raising the age to legally purchase tobacco to 21.
Lawmakers say the change to the governor’s office will alter the atmosphere at the capitol.
State Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, said the change coming to the governor’s office alters the atmosphere for this veto session.
“A lot of this stuff might get pushed off until (next year),” Butler said. “I do not see where we have any huge pressing issues that are going to be taken up in the veto session.”
Butler said avoiding an override vote would be particularly true for bills that didn’t get supermajorities when they passed the General Assembly. They could be reintroduced next year, and sponsors would hope for a different outcome with a different governor.
Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, said circumstances may also have changed since lawmakers were last in session, leaving some sponsors to rethink their bills. […]
“I think the transition to the new administration is going to require much attention not just from the incoming administration, but from legislators as well,” Manar said. “I think, at this moment in time anyway, it is taking up much of the oxygen in the room.”
State Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, who serves as the Senate president pro tempore, said with all the challenges facing the state, he doesn’t think there will be gloating during the veto session.
Harmon said Rauner’s loss takes away his leverage in trying to keep Republicans from supporting bills. Aside from “counting noses” on bills to see what measures have enough support for an override, some may consider holding off until next year, he said.
“I think members will also look at their bills and then decide or consider ‘what compromises did I make to pass this bill in a bipartisan environment where we knew we needed a Republican governor to sign it and when I do things differently if I need only a simple majority and have a friendly governor,’ ” Harmon said.
[State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet] expects Democrats to pass a few bills over Rauner’s veto.
“And then close up shop early and just wait to get their complete all-Chicago, all-the-time domination back,” Rose said.
Among some of the proposals Rauner nixed: eventually raising the minimum salary for teachers to $40,000 per year, taking Illinois out of a controversial multistate voter database, and expanding voting rights to people who have been incarcerated but not convicted.
Pritzker has told reporters he expects lawmakers to override Rauner’s veto of the legislation about jailed voters. It was carried by his running mate, state Rep. Julianna Stratton.
Lawmakers also could push ahead with new proposals, including dueling plans aimed at companies emitting dangerous ethylene oxide gas such as Sterigenics in west suburban Willowbrook.
Separate proposals from House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs and Democratic state Rep. Sam Yingling of Grayslake would limit and eventually ban use of the chemical in Illinois. The legislation, which is set for a Tuesday committee hearing, is intended to pressure hospitals and sterilization companies to switch to safer alternatives.