* Ali Rasper with Quincy Media…
House Republicans said Thursday morning that Democrats constantly ignore the need for reforms in Illinois.
They claim more than 600 House bills have passed out of the committees since January. Of those proposals, Republicans say 82% have Democratic sponsors while only 18% came from their caucus.
Rep. Amy Elik (R-Alton) recalled when Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch took office with a pledge to keep his door open and have accessibility for members from both parties. She noted that the Hillside Democrat explained all lawmakers could work together to solve the issues facing Illinois. However, she feels Welch hasn’t lived up to that promise.
“Here we are, with 45 days until session adjournment and the Democrat-controlled legislature has failed to put forth any meaningful or substantive legislation dealing with fighting corruption, providing tax relief, and unfortunately no plan put forth to adopt a balanced budget,” said Elik.
Republicans argue ethics reform and property tax rates are the largest issues facing Illinois. Rep. David Welter (R-Morris) explained it’s been months since the Com-Ed scandal implicating former Speaker Mike Madigan.
* From Speaker Welch’s spokesperson Jaclyn Driscoll…
Bipartisanship has been an integral part of Speaker Welch’s legislative career, and it remains a top priority. Republicans should work across the aisle and come to the table to discuss bills that will help build a better future for the people of this state. Unfortunately, many of their bills are designed to eat up precious time during a pandemic on issues that voters have already rejected at the ballot box
*** UPDATE *** From Rep. Mark Batinick in response to Welch…
“From the Speaker’s statement, it is clear that the Democrats have no interest in addressing our state’s most pressing issues if bills on ethics reform, pension reform and property tax reform are considered a ‘waste of time’ to their caucus. The only issue Illinois voters have rejected at the ballot box is the Democratic-led graduated income tax that was resoundly dismissed by voters of all parties.
* Derek Cantù at NPR Illinois…
Tensions over the legislative process boiled over on the House floor on Thursday. State Rep. Dan Brady (R-Bloomington) expressed cynicism with the upcoming discussion over the consent calendar — a list of bills and resolutions that are deemed non-controversial and do not warrant lengthy debate.
“There’s quite a bit of apprehension from many of us on this side of the aisle, and I think understandably so, after a letter came out taking off of the consent agenda close to a dozen bills of House Republicans with no explanation, no insight, no discussion from our side of the aisle that we’re aware of,” Brady said.
State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) responded that his side of the aisle has been focusing on Democrats’ priority legislation and “working on a balanced budget.”
“We will be continuing to have meetings on rules in the future, and we will certainly notify you when those discussions happen,” he said.
Brady spoke up after the Democrats abruptly stopped debate on what was supposed to be an agreed bill because Rep. Sonia Harper (D-Chicago) had registered a complaint. The Republican-sponsored bill, designed to bring natural gas service to the impoverished mostly Black community of Pembroke Township, was eventually put back on the floor and passed 88-14.