It is still about three months and a presidential election away, but the veto session is shaping up to be a potentially busy time in Springfield.
This considering there were (and still are to some degree) people whispering that the veto session will be canceled. The basis of that is there are literally no vetoes for lawmakers to consider and with the coronavirus pandemic continuing, it will still be difficult to convene the General Assembly in a safe manner. There are also people pushing the idea that the Democratic leaders don’t want to convene with the questions hovering over House Speaker Michael Madigan and the federal investigation into Commonwealth Edison.
Counter that, though, with the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus saying last week that they fully expect the veto session to be dominated by their efforts to pass criminal justice and social justice reform legislation. They made it clear that they intend to move while there is a national focus on those issues. Or as Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, said, "The Black agenda cannot wait."
The Black Caucus is a significant force in the Democratic Caucus making it improbable they will be told to wait until later by the Democratic leaders.
There’s also the issue of ethics reforms, something Democrat and Republican lawmakers have been demanding be passed. There was supposed to have been something for lawmakers to consider last spring, but that got delayed by pandemic disruptions. The latest target is the veto session, which is no guarantee something will happen, but it might be a good idea to at least put forth some effort.
The point is either of those issues could dominate a regular spring session and the potential is there for both to come up during an abbreviated veto session. And now, all of that will occur against the backdrop of a House committee looking into Madigan’s activities, something he has labeled a political stunt.
And you were thinking the fall was going to be dull around the General Assembly?
"We have the opportunity to leverage this unique moment in time to do good." Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, chair of the Black Caucus, on plans to address issues that combat racism during the veto session.
While it may not always seem that way to everyone, the Illinois economy is slowing rebounding from its initial nosedive at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
At least, that is the conclusion of the University of Illinois Flash Index which measures economic activity in the state. According to the latest reading, the Flash Index rose from 93.9 to 94.6 in August. The good news is that it went up rather than down which shows the economy is coming back. The bad news is that it is still way below 100 which is the dividing line between economic growth and decline.
"The Illinois and national economies are still in a potentially volatile condition, balanced between the hope of continued progress on the virus with the possible development of a vaccine and the threat of a resurgence of the pandemic," said J. Fred Giertz, a U of I economist who prepares the Flash Index for the Institute of Government and Public Affairs.
He said a hopeful note is the stock markets that "have registered surprisingly strong gains" in recent months. He also noted that Illinois’ unemployment rate has dropped, although it remains significantly higher than it was a year ago.
The Index has now shown increases in each of the last three months. It was sailing along nicely at 105.7 in February before the pandemic knocked a hole in the economy. It hit a low of 92.8 in May, but has been slowly inching up since then.
Contact Doug finke: email@example.com, 788-1527, twitter.com/dougfinkesjr
via Lincoln Courier
September 5, 2020 at 09:13PM