Murphy Pushes Through Senate Bill To ‘Fix’ Secretary Of State Library Appointments

Niles-Maine District Library

One day after the Tuesday, Nov. 15, start of the Illinois General Assembly fall veto session in Springfield, a bill introduced by State Sen. Laura Murphy (D-28th) to “fix” legislation she passed into law last spring allowing Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White to fill extended vacancies on library district boards passed the Illinois Senate. 

“I commend Sen. Murphy on her leadership moving forward on this issue,” White said. 

Niles-Maine District Library Trustee Olivia Hanusiak resigned from the library board in August 2021, leaving the board with two equally-divided, three-member voting blocs unable to reach an agreement on Hanusiak’s replacement.

Last spring, Murphy, who is the senate deputy majority leader, pushed legislation through the Illinois General Assembly giving White appointment power when library districts have unfilled board vacancies for 90 days. Murphy said although her bill applies to other library districts, she wrote it to address the long-standing vacancy at the Niles-Maine District Library.

“The failure of the board to make an appointment, then the subsequent actions of some to challenge the state librarian’s appointment, is putting the operations of the library at a standstill,” Murphy said in a written statement. “It’s time for the board to put differences aside and prioritize the needs of the community.”

The relevant portion of the original bill amending the Illinois Public Library District Act said: “Vacancies shall be filled within 90 days after a vacancy has been declared. If the trustees fail to appoint a new member within 90 days after a vacancy has been declared, the State Librarian shall appoint an individual to fill the vacancy within 60 days after the trustees have failed to fill the vacancy. If the State Librarian fails to fill the vacancy within the 60 days after the trustees have failed to fill the vacancy, the vacancy shall be filled at the next regularly scheduled election.”  

Murphy’s language introduced and passed through the Illinois Senate Wednesday, says, “Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section, if a vacancy occurred prior to May 27, 2022, and that vacancy has not been filled by the trustees before the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 102nd General Assembly, the State Librarian (White) shall fill the vacancy within 60 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 102nd General Assembly.”

Murphy said both White’s office and the Illinois attorney general’s both offered significant input on the bill revisions.  

The bill passed the Senate by a 48-2 vote Wednesday, was sent to the Illinois House, and placed on the house calendar for concurrence with what was passed in the senate. Murphy said State Rep. Marty Moylan (D-55th) would sign on as a chief co-sponsor in the house. 

The two no-votes were former Republican gubernatorial candidate State Sen. Darren Bailey and State Sen. Jil Tracy who is the senate minority whip.  

In September, as Umair Qadeer of Maine Township, appointed by White was about to be sworn in to fill the Niles-Maine vacancy, a temporary injunction was granted by a Cook County Circuit Court judge halting the swearing-in, which was later made permanent. 

In September court filings, attorneys for Trustee Joe Makula argued the 90- and- 60-day clocks referenced in the new law should have run out in February 2022 directly after Hanusiak’s August 2021 resignation, before the law giving White the authority to make those appointments was introduced.   

Qadeer recently announced his run for the Niles-Maine District Library Board with Trustee Becky Keane, Jason Trunco, and Roberto Botello on the Reclaim Our Library slate supported by the Committee to Save the Niles-Maine District Library Political Action Committee.

The post Murphy Pushes Through Senate Bill To ‘Fix’ Secretary Of State Library Appointments first appeared on Journal & Topics Media Group.

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November 17, 2022 at 02:30PM

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