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House GOP battle livens up late summer

Rescheduled meeting leads to Durkin triumph

Thanks to the Illinois House Republicans for providing a little intrigue to liven up the late summer doldrums.

To recap: House Republican Leader Tom Cross is stepping away from the post to run for treasurer. Hence, the need for a new leader. Rep. Raymond Poe of Springfield and Rep. Jim Durkin of suburban Western Springs were the leading contenders.

House Republicans were polled on a good time to meet. The date selected was Sept. 12. But then more than 15 House Republicans signed a letter calling for a meeting Aug. 29. Can’t wait a second longer to get the caucus back on track, the letter said. Under House GOP rules, the meeting was rescheduled to the 29th.

Alas, a number of Poe’s supporters couldn’t attend Thursday, and the rules don’t allow for attendance by conference call. Inevitably, Poe didn’t have enough votes at the meeting to win, so rather than risk a divisive fight, he backed out in support of Durkin.

Both Poe and Durkin thought they had the 24 Republican votes needed to win. However, that adds up to at least 48 and there are only 47 Republicans in the House. We’ll never know now how close the vote was because there was no vote.

Sit back for a second and replace Democrat with Republican in this episode. A meeting is scheduled to select a new leader, then gets rescheduled, which effectively torpedoes one of the candidates for the job. You can imagine people saying “typical Democrats.”

Done with bills

Gov. Pat Quinn finished up his work last week on the nearly 600 bills that lawmakers sent him this spring.

Mostly, he signed them as is. The final tally was five bills totally vetoed. Of those five, three were vetoed because they were duplicates of other legislation that Quinn signed.

Basically, lawmakers won’t face a particularly arduous veto session, if you look only at vetoes. But at the rate it’s going, a pension reform bill won’t be ready until then, so there’s still a chance for some excitement.

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