Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Our state’s Legislature is good on any issue when it comes to delaying tactics

I think it’s now a safe bet, 100 percent guaranteed, to say that the Illinois General Assembly will not resolve the problem of how it funds pension programs it oversees anytime soon.

Because now, with Gov. Pat Quinn having used his amendatory veto powers to alter the concealed carry bill, the state Legislature’s membership is going to consider that issue to be a higher priority.

THEY MOST LIKELY will consider it their duty to push aside the pension funding issue – in part because Quinn has now given them a new issue with which to spite him.

Which is what is the real problem with our government today – way too many actions are dictated by someone’s spite for somebody else!

For the record, the Legislature was given a deadline of Tuesday by Quinn with which to resolve the pension funding problem. A conference committee of Illinois House and state Senate members theoretically is working to resolve differences and pass a single bill that Quinn can sign into law.

But Tuesday is also the date that the Court of Appeals for Chicago has given to Illinois to have a law on its books that permits people to carry pistols on their person for self-defense.

THE LEGISLATURE ONLY reluctantly passed such a law (at the insistence of the appellate court) at the end of their spring session (literally on its final day).

So for Quinn to act on this bill now (even though state law gave him until mid-August) means he put some priority on it. He did NOT drag his feet on the issue.

But while normal legislative procedure would have the General Assembly address the issue during their fall session (which is known as the veto session because it is for dealing with the bills that the governor vetoes, or alters), I really suspect we’re going to see the Legislature feel the need to call themselves into action much sooner.

Like perhaps turning the Tuesday get-together at the Statehouse in Springfield from a pension funding reform day to a dump-on-the-governor’s concealed carry alterations day!

THERE WILL BE arguments that the July 9 deadline set by the Court of Appeals is still in place, and that it would be irresponsible for the new concealed carry law to have to remain in legal limbo until November.

To do the legislative maneuvering that would be required to turn the special legislative day from pension funding to concealed carry is going to take a lot of time and focus. Which is why I’m convinced they can’t do both in the same day.

Particularly since as of now, the two sides aren’t any closer to agreement on pension funding than they were previously. Just this week, I overheard a state legislator making mocking comments about Quinn for expecting anyone to resolve the issue so soon.

Having an urgent need to deal with concealed carry will be the excuse needed to avoid dealing with the pension issue.

IT REALLY IS ridiculous for all this partisan rhetoric to thwart these issues. Particularly with concealed carry, which Quinn used his authority on Tuesday to try to make more strict against firearms than it was previously.

The biggest change was that the bill passed by the Legislature imposed standards by which restaurants serving alcohol would have to study how much of their business came from the sales of drinks – to determine if firearms could be banned from the premises.

Under Quinn’s vision, any alcohol sale is now sufficient for a firearms ban.

There also was a measure that said municipalities with home rule powers would only have 10 days from the date the law took effect to try to pass their own local bans. While Quinn would take away the ability of the state to restrict municipalities on this issue.

THERE ARE MORE provisions that Quinn altered, although the general tone of them is emphasized by the governor’s statement that, “there are too many provisions in this bill that are inspired by the National Rifle Association, not the common good.”

Which may be the problem. The “common good” is probably the last thing anyone in our state government cares about these days!


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