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Keep veto power concealed

Illinois’ amendatory veto power turns the governor into a legislator, which puts the separation of powers in an imbalance. Gov. Pat Quinn’s latest use of the amendatory veto was unfortunate. He should keep that governmental weapon concealed.

Published: Friday, July 5, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

After watching Gov. Pat Quinn use his amendatory veto power the other day to rewrite the concealed carry bill, we wonder whether he’s in the right job.

Maybe his law-writing skills would be put to better use if he held a different elected position.

If he was state Rep. Pat Quinn, or state Sen. Pat Quinn, he could write all the legislation he wanted.

As governor, Quinn ventures into the law-writing business at his own peril.

Especially after a bill is passed by the House, 89-28, and the Senate, 45-12, as the concealed carry bill was.

It would take only 71 votes by the House to override Quinn’s amendatory veto, and 36 votes in the Senate.

Lawmakers appear intent on doing just that, as override sessions are planned in Springfield on July 9 – the deadline, imposed by a federal court judge, for the state to enact a concealed carry bill, as all 49 other states have done.

The concealed carry bill was the result of months of negotiations among all interested parties and hearings conducted before both chambers. State Sen. Tim Bivins, a Dixon Republican, was involved as the representative of the Senate’s GOP caucus.

That’s when Quinn should have become involved, offering his proposals before House and Senate members.

Instead, Quinn waited until well after the bill was approved to insert his ideas.

The bill as approved would allow qualified gun owners to obtain concealed carry permits for $150 if they pass background checks and undergo training.

Quinn made the bill significantly tougher, banning guns in places that serve alcohol; limiting a person to carrying only one gun at a time; restricting the number of magazine rounds carried to one 10-round clip; requiring that guns be completely concealed; and requiring property owners to post signs if they allow guests to carry guns.

Many lawmakers, even some of Quinn’s fellow Democrats, derided the governor’s amendatory veto.

Quinn made the announcement at a Chicago news conference, surrounded by supporters. He clearly played his populist card, in an apparent attempt to shore up his political base.

Illinois is one of the few states that grants a governor amendatory veto powers. Quinn’s former boss, ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, used it to the extreme one year with his “Rewrite to Do Right” campaign of rewritten legislation.

We believe in the separation of powers among the legislative, executive and judicial branches. However, the amendatory veto power makes the governor a legislator. The imbalance is not good for government.

After Quinn’s amendatory veto is overridden, the governor will still carry the amendatory veto power. He would be wise to conceal its use for the rest of his term.

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