Saturday, May 11, 2013

No rushing the Illinois Legislature on anything. It acts when/if it feels ready

My memories of covering the Illinois Legislature taught me one lesson that prevails over all – the Legislature will act on any given issue whenever it feels ready to do so.

QUINN: It's time, ...
Imposing deadlines on the Legislature (such as has been tried in recent years with regards to pension funding reform)? Pointless. Just look at how long issues such as casino gambling and a new Chicago-area airport have lingered at the Statehouse.

SO WHEN I learned about how Gov. Pat Quinn is trying to put the pressure on the Illinois House of Representatives to act NOW with regards to gay marriage, I couldn’t help but chuckle.

If anything, the only effect that Quinn’s comments will have is to make the representatives even more lethargic when it comes to taking some action.

There are those legislators who disrespect Quinn’s image so much that they openly look for ways to snub him. They gloat over the various polls showing Quinn with low levels of support – while ignoring the fact that other polls show that people think equally little of legislators as they do their chief executives.

Falling short of final passage on this particular issue would fall into that category – as well as appease all those pastors who are going about these days trying to show off who can sound like the most intolerant nitwit in Illinois.

THERE IS NO pushing the Illinois Legislature, which always seems willing to put off until tomorrow something that probably was needed yesterday.

... but will legislators listen?
Some might say our elected officials are merely being cautious. What is really amounts to is that they’re being cowardly – they’re desperately afraid of taking a vote that will come back and bite them on their collective behind!

Of course, by their inaction they risk having that come back to kick them in the butt! But these are the kind of people who will argue about the significant difference between voting “present” and not voting at all.

Even though many people will equate such actions as having the same end result as a “no” vote.

IF ANYTHING, ON the gay marriage vote the legislators probably will have to be shamed into taking action. Something is going to have to happen to make them feel like they risk being the 50th (and final) state to approve such a measure – making them the equivalent of the Boston Red Sox and their first black ballplayer in 1959 (some 12 years after one J.R. Robinson joined the Brooklyn National League ballclub).
Baseball equivalent of Ill. gay marriage?

Do we really want our state’s gay marriage measure to be the equivalent of Elijah “Pumpsie” Green?

I have that thought because it ran through my mind when I learned earlier this week that Delaware managed to approve the issue and sign it into law. We got beat by Delaware! Somehow, the idea that we’ll probably beat Mississippi and Alabama to the punch on this issue just doesn’t sound that encouraging.

The issue in Illinois has been on hold, for all practical purposes, since Valentine’s Day – the date on which Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, got cute and staged the vote of approval nearly three months ago.

I COMPREHEND QUINN’S frustration. He has made it clear from early on that he wants to approve this overdue ideal into law. He wants the moment of glory when he can have a bill-signing ceremony, while also sticking it to the conservative ideologues who are always on his case because they couldn’t defeat him at the polling place back in 2010.

But in hearing Quinn say, “It’s time to vote,” I can’t help but also hear in my mind the Legislature saying “We’ll say when it’s time to vote.”

Which will probably be slipped into the Legislature’s final day of action on May 31 before they take a summer break – probably slipped in between other controversial issues out of some delusional hope that nobody will notice what they wind up doing.


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