LEGISLATURE EXPECTED TO OVERRIDE AMENDATORY VETO ON RIGHT-TO-CARRY
As was widely anticipated Governor Pat Quinn used his amendatory veto power to rewrite House Bill 183, a bipartisan measure that gives the citizens of Illinois the right to carry concealed firearms. Immediately lawmakers, including Senator Brady, began to take the necessary steps to override the governor’s amendatory veto.
Legislators will return to Springfield July 9 to act on the Governor’s action on the Right-to-Carry legislation. They must act quickly because Illinois is under a federal court order to adopt legislation by July 9 legalizing some form of concealed carry. In May, lawmakers of both parties overwhelmingly approved HB 183 after extensive negotiations. It lets law-abiding Illinois citizens apply for and receive permits to carry a concealed firearm after undergoing extensive training.
While it was no surprise that Quinn, a longtime opponent of Second Amendment rights, altered the legislation, many legislators have expressed frustration that the Governor chose to wait to spell out his proposed changes until after the bill had been passed, instead of being a part of the process. Illinois had been under the court order since December giving the governor plenty of time to be engaged in the collaboration and negotiations on the concealed carry bill.
In choosing to wait until after the legislation had been approved, Quinn's action left lawmakers with an "all or nothing" choice. The legislature cannot approve some of the Governor's changes and reject others, but must take a single vote on all his recommendations. However, after overriding the Governor's changes, lawmakers are likely to review his recommendations and consider modifications to the legislation that could be added to another bill.
The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling Dec. 11 to end Illinois’ status as the lone state in the nation to deny residents the right to carry a concealed firearm in public.
The Court initially gave Illinois until June 9 to implement a concealed-carry plan, but extended the deadline for a month to allow the Governor more time to review the legislation.
CONFERENCE COMMITTEE CONTINUES WORK
As a member on the Conference Committee on Senate Bill 1, Senator Brady joined his committee colleagues in Chicago this week as members from both chambers of the General Assembly work to seek a compromise on much-needed pension reforms at a meeting on July 3. The Committee has scheduled its third meeting for July 8 in Springfield.
As was the case with the first hearing, the bulk of the July 3 meeting was taken up with various interest groups promoting their own ideas for pension changes.
Following the Wednesday hearing, the Conference Committee split into two groups for closed-door caucuses.
BILLS SIGNED INTO LAW
Several of the bills approved during the spring legislative session were signed into law this week including one, co-sponsored by Senator Brady that allows primary voting for 17 year olds. Others included a bill targeting grant abuse and school shooting drills, and several new laws that will help military veterans.
Primary Voting for 17 Year Olds: Governor Quinn signed several measures into law, including a bill giving 17 year olds the opportunity to vote in spring primaries, if they will be age 18 by the time of the general election. House Bill 226 seeks to give young voters a chance to help pick the nominees who will be on the general election ballot when they turn 18.
Grant Abuse Prompts Legislation: Another measure signed into law was House Bill 2, which creates the Illinois Single Audit Commission. The Commission would be charged with making recommendations to adopt uniform standards of grant administration in the state.
State grants have been a regular source of controversy throughout the Blagojevich and Quinn administrations. For example, a CNN investigative report revealed that millions in taxpayer dollars had been misused by Gov. Pat Quinn’s Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI) grant program. The investigation revealed state grant funds were used to pay teens to march in a parade with the Governor, hand out flyers promoting inner peace, take field trips to museums, and attend a yoga class.
School Shooting Drills: The Governor also signed a bill to better prepare school districts and law enforcement to react to the threat of school shootings. Senate Bill 1625 requires that school safety drills incorporate a possible shooting incident. It would require the on-site participation of local law enforcement during the drill and also adds "suspicious persons" to the reasons to have a school evacuation drill. Currently only "suspicious items" are specified as a reason to have a drill.
Veterans' Legislation: Three measures intended to assist military veterans were signed into law on July 4. Senate Bill 204 allows honorably discharged veterans as well as members of the Illinois National Guard or other reserves to substitute some overseas service for the collegiate educational requirements to become an Illinois State Police trooper. Applies to persons awarded service medals for Southwest Asia, Kosovo, Korean Defense, Afghanistan, Iraq, or Global War on Terrorism.
House Bill 3186 recognizes a candidate's military emergency medical training, emergency medical curriculum, and clinical experience when applying to be licensed as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
The third measure, House Bill 2563, waives the State's Commercial Drivers License skills test requirement for those with military commercial motor vehicle experience. Applicants must still comply with all federal requirements.