Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Reconvene the Senate Now

Cross posted from ICPR's blog, The Race is On:

To paraphrase President John F. Kennedy, Monday saw the most extraordinary collection of talent and knowledge gathered in one room since Thomas Jefferson dined alone. Now, it's your turn to take action. Please call Senate President Emil Jones and urge him to reconvene the Senate. Here's why:

At Monday's press conference in the James R. Thompson Center, those gathered at the podium included Comptroller Dan Hynes, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Lt Gov Pat Quinn, Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, Sen. Don Harmon, Sen. Debbie Halvorson, Sen. Terry Link, Sen. Susan Garrett, Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, Sen. Ira Silverstein, Sen. Kirk Dillard, Sen. Christine Radogno, Sen. Matt Murphy, Sen. Bill Brady, Sen. Pamela Althoff., former Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch, ICPR Director Cindi Canary, BGA Director Jay Stewart, Citizen Action Director William McNary, Citizen Advocacy Center Director Terry Pastica, Illinois PIRG Director Brian Imus, League of Women Voters of Illinois President Paula Lawson, and the Rev. Al Sharp, the Director of Protestants for the Common Good.

What brought all these people together was one simple idea: The Illinois State Senate must immediately reconvene to address HB 824, the pay to play bill. Now, not later. Not after the Election, and certainly not more than 15 days since the House sent HB 824 back to the Senate to override the Governor's veto.

Waiting invites legal challenge. The state Constitution says that if either chamber takes longer than 15 calendar days to act on a veto, the underlying bill dies. Senate President Emil Jones claims the 15 day clock does not start running until the Senate reconvenes, but that argument has never been tested in court, and we do not want the pay-to-play bill to become the test case. Why let reform be tied up in court for years? Indeed, why wait at all? The message that united all of those elected officials and public advocates was simply this: reconvene now.

Here's some press coverage on the conference, from Crain's Chicago Business, the Chicago Sun-Times, the
AP via the Tribune, and the
Kankakee Daily Journal. And some editorials, from Bloomington Pantagraph (Today) the Rockford Register Star (Today), the Chicago Tribune (Monday), the Belleville News Democrat (Today), and the Jacksonville Journal Courier (Today):

Now it's your turn. Please call the Senate President at either 217-782-2728 or 773-995-7748 and tell him to bring his chamber back into session. His members want it. The public deserves it. Why wait?

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