State lawmakers trek back to Springfield on Tuesday, when they could decide whether to override dozens of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s vetoes before he leaves office or leave the issues for Democrat J.B. Pritzker to deal with when he takes over the office early next year.
The election results mean that Democrats led by House Speaker Michael Madigan will have boosted their numbers when a new General Assembly is sworn in next year. They could choose to ignore bills Rauner vetoed over the summer and send Pritzker new ones next year to give their governor some early wins.
Or lawmakers might not let go of their sometimes bitter feuds with Rauner and choose to override some of his dozens of vetoes from the summer.
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.
An ongoing Chicago Tribune investigation revealed that President Donald Trump’s political appointees at the EPA and Rauner’s administration were aware of risks posed by Sterigenics in December 2017 but failed to warn the public for eight months.
The Tribune also has reported that the Trump and Rauner administrations have done nothing to caution neighbors about abnormally high cancer risks from pollution emitted by Vantage Specialty Chemicals in Gurnee and Medline Industries in Waukegan.
That’s a lot to work on, and if the postelection hangover has hit lawmakers hard, it could all wait. They’re scheduled to be back in Springfield the week after Thanksgiving, and a new General Assembly will take the oath of office in January.
That’s when Pritzker will get started too. He’s appointed leaders for his transition effort and told reporters he’ll soon appoint a committee to focus on infrastructure. He didn’t say who would lead it.
A major capital construction bill is a big undertaking for any governor. For one thing, spending billions of dollars in state money to pay for new roads, bridges and schools lets a governor cut a lot of ribbons in front of a lot of cameras.
On the other hand, he’ll have to find a way to pay for it at a time when he’s trying to put a regular state budget together and Illinois already faces $7.5 billion in unpaid bills.
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November 12, 2018 at 03:45PM