Monday, October 21, 2013

What’s more important to the political people; gay marriage or re-election?

Something I have learned over and over about the Illinois General Assembly is that it is a legislative body that likes to do things on its own time-clock and resents it whenever it perceives that someone is trying to rush them.

A house of inactivity??!?
Heck, one of the reasons that the last-minute bill back in 1988 that approved the funding for construction of a new stadium for the Chicago White Sox was controversial was that it got rammed through the legislative process when many political people would have just as soon put the issue on hold for a few years.

KEEPING THAT ATTITUDE in mind, I’m not going to be surprised if Illinois House of Representatives officials wind up doing nothing in coming weeks with the issue of gay marriage.

The bill that would allow same-gender couples to have legally legitimate marriages already has Illinois Senate approval, but has yet to come up for a vote in the Illinois House.

Back in May, state Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, implied when he didn’t push for a vote on the issue that it would be something that would come up in the fall Veto Session.

Well, the Veto Session is scheduled to begin this week (although the substantive work by the General Assembly won’t take place for another couple of weeks).

DOES THIS MEAN we’re on the verge of a measure being sent to Gov. Pat Quinn for his approval? He has said he’d sign it into law the moment he gets ahold of it.

I was amused by reading the advance stories on this issue published by the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times – both of which seem to be as skeptical as I am that anything will happen.

Will we get an Illinois House version of this roll call?
The Tribune emphasized the Veto Session’s time proximity to the upcoming election cycle. Candidates for the March primary would have to submit their nominating petitions to get on the ballot by early December.

Meaning anybody who’s determined to keep the homophobic viewpoint as a part of Illinois would have an incumbent legislator’s “yes” vote fresh on the electorate’s mind. There’d be time to get themselves on the ballot and stir up resentment toward an incumbent legislator.

ALTHOUGH I WAS intrigued by a mention in the Sun-Times report, which says that some of the financial types whose cash props up political campaigns are eager to have a vote on the issue even if it winds up failing.

This rhetoric will rise!
Because they want it on the record who would vote “no” on the gay marriage issue – so they can start providing the funds to political challengers who could possibly defeat them!

The point of all of this is that no matter how someone votes, there will be someone else who will become offended. There likely will be somebody who loses their legislative post because of their vote on this issue – regardless of how they actually vote!

All of which makes me think the legislative leadership will take the politically cowardly (they’ll say they’re just being safe) stance of doing nothing. The bill likely will not get called up before the Illinois House.

AFTER ALL, THE point of the Veto Session is for the General Assembly to consider the bills that the governor spent the summer months vetoing. Other issues are supposed to wait until the spring. It is their chance to either override his intent, or decide that it’s not worth fighting for and they go along with it.

Will the next step take place this week?
For now.

This same attitude may well apply to the pension funding problems our state government faces. Nothing will happen because nobody can agree on what should be done.

Considering that Quinn has said he wants action on that issue before he’s willing to do much of anything else (particularly those tax breaks soon-to-be-formerly-of Archer Daniels Midland wants to stay in Illinois instead of moving to a place like Dallas), this veto session could be a whole lot of nothing.

PARTICULARLY SINCE THE one controversial amendatory veto by Quinn has already been dealt with – the General Assembly couldn’t wait until October to dump all over the governor when it came to the issue of “concealed carry” of firearms. They reconvened in special session during the summer.

That was more about the Legislature asserting its own self-interest. Which, sad to say, is the usual motivation for any time the General Assembly gets off its collective keister to do anything!


No comments: