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Giannoulias on House floor while bill goes down

Wednesday, May 29, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I was distracted and forgot to post my weekly syndicated newspaper column yesterday

I’m not sure I’ve seen a stranger roll call than last week’s House vote on Senate Bill 2978. The data privacy bill is an initiative of Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, and he was on the House floor during the debate.

The far-right ginned up social media opposition to the bill by claiming that it would allow non-citizens to vote. More than 1,400 electronic witness slips have so far been filed in opposition.

Groups like the Illinois Freedom Alliance and the Illinois Conservative Union claimed on Facebook the bill would “interfere with verification of citizenship of voters.” The Illinois Family Institute went even further in a recent email blast, claiming, “As it is written, this bill will likely be used to allow non-citizens to vote in our elections.”

Accusations from the far-right that Democrats will use the votes of undocumented residents to “steal” the 2024 election have gained significant national traction over the past months. Usually, no evidence is presented, and you can chalk up this latest freak out to yet another misunderstanding of the basic lawmaking process.

The offending language is actually already in state statute, an official with the secretary of state’s office explained during a House Executive Committee hearing last week. The bill drafters simply “recodified” it. A search of state statutes shows those claims to be accurate.

The official also said the secretary of state voter registration system “does prevent anybody that is not provided citizenship information from being transmitted to register to vote.”

But the loud, conspiracy-minded opposition stampeded Republican committee members away from the bill, and so it passed the committee on a partisan roll call.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois is also strongly opposed to the bill but for an entirely different reason.
The civil liberties group claims the measure “could be read as permitting data-sharing with federal or out-of-state law enforcement who are investigating or enforcing laws that criminalize abortion or gender-affirming care in other jurisdictions.”

“We believe that the bill should be amended to be clear that our data should not be used to identify people seeking, providing, or assisting with reproductive or gender-affirming care — health care Illinois has made a policy decision to protect,” the ACLU of Illinois continued. “This could be accomplished by enacting protections similar to last year’s automated license plate reader bill.”

Giannoulias never convinced the group to drop its opposition.

Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), a legislative leader on abortion and trans rights, rose in debate to point out, “Indiana law enforcement could ask the secretary to provide information related to an Illinois license plate on a car used in connection with an Indiana resident accessing abortion care in Illinois.”

Cassidy also objected to the bill by noting it does not have the same standard language inserted “several times” in other bills to make it “explicitly clear that the data would not be used to identify people seeking, providing or assisting with lawful health care.” She also said she was “deeply concerned” the data could be sold, “given that that’s allowed as well.”

In a shocking defeat, the entire Republican caucus and three House Democrats voted “no,” while numerous other Democrats skipped the vote. The bill wound up with 57 votes, three shy of passage, as Giannoulias looked on. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a legislative chamber reject a bill supported by a statewide officeholder while that official was standing among the members.

The sponsor, Rep. Margaret Croke (D-Chicago), put it on what’s called postponed consideration, meaning she could bring the bill up for a vote again. Some House Democrats were legitimately absent, but this bill needs to be retooled.

       

17 Comments
  1. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:11 pm:

    Another “Giannoulias is not (and maybe never will be at this point) ready for prime time.”

    He should have known that it would fail, pulled it, and work out a win later down the road. Did he think that this was his only time to pass it ever? Instead, all he got out of this vote was embarrassment.


  2. - Todd - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:15 pm:

    Rich— you forgot the re-write of felony UUW when george ryan showed up on the floor in special session and Pate killed his bill with George sitting next to him and Pate was senate President


  3. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:18 pm:

    George knew it was happening. Alexi did not.


  4. - Jerry - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:22 pm:

    As always the ACLU, who are consistently True Conservatives in the United States of America, have the correct view on this issue.


  5. - Macon Bakin - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:25 pm:

    Unironically all executive branch heads need to be let in like the governor is during the state of the state, not just voluntarily be let in. I’m tired of this tradition that spits in the face of separation of powers.


  6. - Dirty Red - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:27 pm:

    I am confident the new additions to the Secretary’s legislative affairs shop will help circumvent future episodes such as this.


  7. - Almost the Weekend - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:30 pm:

    I’m shocked Alexi’s penchant for going viral on social media, couldn’t help get this bill across the finish line.


  8. - Hannibal Lecter - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:40 pm:

    === I am confident the new additions to the Secretary’s legislative affairs shop will help circumvent future episodes such as this. ===

    Who did they hire?


  9. - that’s bettor - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:41 pm:

    = voluntarily be let in.=
    I’m pretty sure it’s his building being the SoS and all.


  10. - Um, no - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:41 pm:

    Should have taken his shirt off . . . . . .


  11. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:45 pm:

    ===I’m pretty sure it’s his building===

    The chambers belong to the GA.


  12. - that’s bettor - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:50 pm:

    Learn something new everyday.


  13. - Sonny - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:59 pm:

    Maybe Alexi should have taken off his jacket and dosed himself in water while on the House floor. Wouldn’t have been the first time he tried to use a little beefcake to his advantage.


  14. - Rudy’s teeth - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 2:21 pm:

    Alexi made quite an impression in last year’s Chicago Pride Parade. Oh, the wet tee shirt.


  15. - TJ - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 2:50 pm:

    Alexi is little more than eye candy. He was part of a failed bank and somehow lost a US Senate race in 21st Century Illinois as a Democrat. Not sure why anyone expected competence with that resume.


  16. - Du Sable - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 4:06 pm:

    The Haterade is flowing heavily on this thread.


  17. - charles in charge - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 4:25 pm:

    ==I am confident the new additions to the Secretary’s legislative affairs shop will help circumvent future episodes such as this.==

    Let’s hope they advise him to start with some better bills next time.


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