Legislative action during the first week of the Fall Veto Session included votes on several vetoed bills, a Senate committee calling for an end to a suburban environmental crisis, and Senate Republicans unanimously electing State Senator Bill Brady of Bloomington as Senate Minority Leader.
The second week of the Fall Veto Session is scheduled for November 27-29.
Senate acts on Governor’s vetoes
The Senate acted during the week on several of Governor Bruce Rauner’s vetoes.
On November 14, the Senate voted 40-12 to override Governor Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 34, which sets a deadline of 90 days for police agencies to sign the paperwork necessary for immigrants to apply for visas and avoid deportation. Explaining his veto, Governor Rauner noted local law enforcement lacks the resources to meet a hard deadline, which could result in inadvertent errors.
Senators also voted 36-19 to reverse the Governor’s veto on Senate Bill 2332, which prohibits the sale of tobacco products to individuals younger than 21. Opponents of the legislation note that people who are of age to vote and serve in the military should be allowed legally to make their own decisions about using tobacco products.
The Senate also voted 39-12 to override the gubernatorial veto of Senate Bill 2641, which requires peer-to-peer car-rental businesses to ensure participating vehicles meet the same safety standards and pay the same taxes as traditional rental-car companies, and voted 46-8 to override the veto of Senate Bill 2481, which increases the damage award limit in lawsuits against the state to $2 million, up from $100,000.
All of these bills now move to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The Senate did, however, fail to remove Illinois from a multistate voter registration system, falling one vote short of the 36 needed for an override. Senate Bill 2273 would have removed Illinois from the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program that is intended to flag duplicate voter registrations across state lines. In explaining the veto, Governor Rauner stated the need to fight vote fraud by checking voter information from other states.
Bill Brady elected Senate Leader
Senate Republican caucus members voted this week to retain State Senator Bill Brady as Senate Republican Leader. In a statement, Brady commented on the vote:
“I am humbled and honored to have the full support and confidence of my Senate Republican colleagues. A leader is only as strong as the team around him, and I’m truly fortunate to have such a talented and hard-working caucus supporting me,” said Senator Brady (R-44th District). “As we prepare for a new General Assembly, with a newly-elected Democrat Governor, Senate Republicans are willing to work in collaboration with the other side of the aisle on the important issues facing Illinois families. However, collaboration should not be confused with capitulation. Senate Republicans will continue the fight for reforms that attract businesses and jobs, and we will continue to stand up for the hard-working, over-taxed, residents of Illinois. We can move Illinois forward if we work together to find common ground.”
Committee calls for action in suburban environmental crisis
The Senate Environment and Conservation Committee met November 14 for a subject-matter discussion on the current ethylene oxide emission crisis facing Willowbrook and surrounding communities. While no votes were taken, the committee hearing focused on two pieces of legislation introduced in response to reports detailing the risks of ethylene oxide emissions from the Willowbrook Sterigenics facility.
Senate Bill 3640 aims to improve and protect air quality by denying renewed permits for companies found to be emitting ethylene oxide that exceed state and federal levels. This legislation also works to prohibit the use of all ethylene oxide in Illinois by 2022. A second bill, Senate Bill 3630, would put in place stronger protections for residents and communication requirements in cases of a hazardous air emission leak.