Friday, September 4, 2015

Will political retribution be swift and merciless? Or long and drawn-out!

It wasn’t a surprise that Democrats in the Illinois House of Representatives failed to override the veto by Gov. Bruce Rauner – they have a veto-proof majority when EVERYBODY shows up and votes in unison.

DRURY: Dem with nerve to vote 'no'
But the absence of state Rep. Ken Dunkin, D-Chicago, when the Illinois House met on Wednesday literally left them short.

SO WHY WOULD Democrats and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, even bother with a vote?

There was a Friday deadline for action. But the vote is more about putting people on the record – legislators were forced to take a stand “aye” or “nea” with some wimpier-types deciding to vote “present” instead.

Democrats who want to continue to have the financial support of Madigan and the Illinois Democratic Party’s electoral apparatus had to vote for an override, while Republicans who want to have a chance at getting campaign cash from Rauner knew better than to vote against it.

The bill in question was a measure that would allow for labor disputes involving state government employees to be resolved by an arbitrator. Rauner hates that idea because he claims those arbitrators are not elected officials themselves.

HE’S RIGHT. THEY’RE not. They are experts in labor law who by not being beholden to electoral interests are capable of putting the issues of any particular labor dispute into their proper legal context.

FRANKS: A usual Madigan thorn
Which might not be something that Rauner would want because one of his priorities is undermining the authority of labor unions within state government. To the point where Rauner made it known prior to the vote that he was watching the votes of eight non-Chicago Democrats to see if they would stick with Madigan (five of them did, so now they’ll get GOP abuse).

Anyway, 68 legislators wound up voting “yea” – three short of the 71 needed to override Rauner’s objections. Dunkin, in his absence, was one of three Dems who didn’t back Madigan, as were Jack Franks, D-Marengo, and Scott Drury, D-Highwood.

Springfield-based legislators Poe ...
Franks voted “present” (he’s always a thorn  in Madigan's heel; it’s a wonder at times he doesn’t just become a Republican), while Drury actually had the nerve to vote “no.” He told reporter-types at the Statehouse he objects to the fact that the measure would prevent state workers from being able to go on strike – a right he called “sacrosanct.”

WHILE THE TWO representatives from Springfield – Tim Butler and Raymond Poe – both were the Republicans who didn’t back Rauner by voting “present.” Although that was more of a stance than that of state Rep. Terri Bryant of Murphysboro in Southern Illinois.

... and Butler didn't back Rauner
The Capitol Fax newsletter reported that she was in the House chambers at the time of the vote, but somehow didn’t hit the proper button that would have cast a stance.

Bryant herself is a former state employee and member of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, while Butler and Poe both have many, many members of that union who live in their district.

Voting for a measure that would be perceived as anti-union could wind up harming them when they have to seek re-election in the future. Not even Rauner’s campaign contributions might not be enough to help them prevail against a well-funded Democrat – which is something that Madigan might be able to find.

THEN AGAIN, WHAT will happen to the Democrats who didn’t back Madigan? The speaker himself refused to say this week that Dunkin was on his private “list” of persona non grata because he didn’t show up (Dunkin’s Facebook page had pictures of him in New York City).

DUNKIN: The 'no-show'
Although it was interesting to hear the boasts that if Dunkin had shown up, he could have twisted the arms of everybody in his caucus and got the 71 votes! From anybody but Madigan, I wouldn’t believe it. From “Mr. Speaker,” anything is possible.

So this issue moves forward, sort of. Because the end result is that the attempt by Democrats to claim they were making a concession to Rauner’s union opposition (the bill would have prevented strikes in the future) goes nowhere.

Which means nothing changes. Except that now, Madigan and Rauner can start punishing those people who wouldn't align with their view. Which means that we, the public, wind up losing!


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