Going into last week’s final round of the veto session, there were no guarantees of a vote on same-sex marriage.
The House sponsor, state Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, made some cryptic comments about things looking better for the bill, but would not say how many votes he had lined up or whether he would call the bill for a vote. Obviously, he did, and it was approved. Narrowly, but it was approved.
Some thought a vote would be delayed until after the filing deadline for legislative races, protecting incumbents who feared a primary challenge if they voted for the bill. So it was interesting to hear Rep. Sam Yingling, D-Round Lake Beach, give his assessment of how a vote on same-sex marriage might affect elections.
“What people need to realize is that LGBT issues are not issues that people vote on,” Yingling said, using the abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
“The fact that I was the first openly gay elected official from outside of the city of Chicago to be elected to the General Assembly sends a very strong message that voters are not interested in sexual orientation or LGBT issues as a whole. My election should put their minds at ease.”
Guess we’ll know soon enough whether Yingling’s assessment is correct.
Prank a dud
A group called Represent Us came to the House last week “calling for an end to the corruption plaguing government both in Springfield and nationally.”
Well, about five of them did. They stood in the House gallery and tossed play money on the House floor. The quote above is from their press release, issued in advance to ensure the cameras would be on hand to record this momentous event.
Lawmakers mostly ignored them, although the House sound system picked up some random comments.
One lawmaker joked that if the money was real, he wanted to pick up some of it.
Another wondered why all of the fake money was being strewn on the Republican side of the chamber.
Security removed the people, and that was the end of that.
OK, public corruption in Illinois is a serious and ongoing problem. Anyone who pays an iota of attention to what’s going on here knows that.
And anyone concerned about the problem knows that it isn’t going to be solved with high-school-level pranks. Apologies to high schools.
The Quinn administration declared the veto session a success.
One thing it pointed to, obviously, was approval of the same-sex marriage bill that Gov. Pat Quinn supported all along.
For now, we’ll ignore that it didn’t get approved until House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, stepped in to put the bill over the top, rather than Quinn managing to put it over the top.
The administration also crowed about how all of Quinn’s vetoes were upheld. This is one of those things that falls into the category of “yes, but … .”
There were five bills available that Quinn totally vetoed. Three of them were duplicates of other bills that he signed, so there was no reason for lawmakers to try to override the governor.
That leaves two total vetoes. Yes, lawmakers upheld Quinn’s veto of a bill that cut the number of free days offered by museums.
However, they didn’t even try to override him on his veto of a bill that raised the floor on contracts that had to be put out to bid by Chicago transit agencies. Given all of the lousy public relations they’ve had over the summer, it was probably wise to steer clear of that.
Quinn used his amendatory veto powers on two other bills, but probably better not to mention them. One was concealed carry, and lawmakers pretty much handed Quinn his lunch on that one last summer. That brings the average down a little bit.