Gov. JB Pritzker’s patience with the COVID-19 naysayers appears to be at an end.
With new cases setting records every day and pretty much every other measurement heading in the wrong direction, Pritzker gave an earful to the people who have done everything they can to continue business as usual.
“To those elected officials who have chosen to disregard public health guidance, those who have stood up at press conferences to question the data and fuel conspiracy theories, those who have taken their absurd crusade to the courts and lost nearly every single time, those who have flat out told the businesses in their communities to ignore what their local and state public health departments and experts, some of the best in the nation, are telling them, what is it going to take to get you to be part of the solution?” Pritzker said.
He went on for another couple of minutes, but you get the idea. There was a lot of frustration on display there and he didn’t ease up when he concluded with the idea that hospitals will get filled up and the sick and dying will have nowhere to go.
“I promise you, while you’ve failed to take responsibility for your city and your county, that day is coming closer and it will be on you,” he said.
His position seems clear enough.
Veto the veto session
It really shouldn’t have been too surprising that the Democratic leaders in the General Assembly decided to scrap the veto session this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Democratic leaders haven’t been willing to put people at risk by having the legislature meet in session in Springfield. You saw that earlier this year when the spring session was reduced to about four days in May, just enough time to pass a budget and a handful of other stuff mainly directed at coping with the pandemic.
There’s been some of the usual social media mockery of lawmakers being afraid to be in session and not earning their fabulous salaries. That overlooks the fact that to make the place work, it takes a lot of staffers who don’t make fabulous lawmaker salaries, but who would also be at risk of contracting COVID-19 if the session were attempted. Making sure they were protected was also part of the reasoning.
A productive new year
Was Pritzker just being optimistic about the future last week or did he drop a hint about what to expect in January?
As things stand now, there is every expectation that lawmakers will be summoned into session for several days after January 1, but before new lawmakers are sworn in January 14. A key thing to remember is that with the start of a new calendar year, bills that take effect immediately need only regular majorities to pass, not the super majorities they’d need now. The bottom line is that waiting a few weeks to return makes it a lot easier to pass bills.
When Pritzker was asked about the veto session cancellation last week, he added this to his comments, “We’ll be looking at trying to get more done in early January.”
That could be Pritzker being all rah, rah and saying lawmakers can return from the holidays refreshed and eager to tackle any of the state’s problems. Or it could be Pritzker suggesting now he’s got more time to work on, say, a revenue increase to fill the budget hole.
More as in a revenue increase of some kind, which is what a lot of Republicans already believe is in the works. Lawmakers were told the current budget has about a $4 billion hole in it and closing it with just budget cuts won’t be palatable to many legislators. That sort of narrows down the options.
Contact Doug Finke: firstname.lastname@example.org, 788-1527, twitter.com/dougfinkesjr
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November 13, 2020 at 01:07PM