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New law? Time to change it

No permits yet, even as gun law faces alterations

Published: Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

So much for the notion of seeing how a law works before trying to change it.

Or, in this case, just because no one’s been issued a concealed carry permit yet is no reason to sit back and accept the status quo.

A number of bills have already been introduced to change Illinois’ new concealed carry law, and there’s still 3 weeks to go before the deadline for introducing legislation this year. Just last week, bills were introduced to allow concealed weapons at special events that serve alcohol, in medical facilities, and at certain public events.

On the other side, a bill was introduced last week reversing the concealed carry sign process, meaning places where concealed weapons are allowed would have to post signs rather than the other way around.

Just because the bills were introduced in no way means they will be approved or even get much of a hearing. In fact, after the tortuous process of approving concealed carry a year ago, legislative leaders may decide to just leave well enough alone until permits are actually issued and there’s a better sense of what might have to be changed.

In the meantime, lawmakers can still use their bill introductions in their campaign materials.

And speaking of what are sometimes called “brochure bills” around the Capitol, legislation has been introduced in the House to cut lawmaker pay by 10 percent and eliminate the stipends paid to committee leaders.

Here’s betting you won’t see either of those on lists of new laws passed by the General Assembly.

Eclectic list

of reformers

The folks promoting a constitutional amendment to change the way legislative district boundaries are drawn have a lengthy (and eclectic) list of supporters.

The list includes David Axelrod, a former adviser to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama; and Ron Gidwitz, a former GOP candidate for governor and currently finance chairman and co-chair of Bruce Rauner’s campaign for governor.

That’s covering quite a bit of ideological ground.

Interest groups supporting the amendment run the gamut from the Illinois Public Interest Research Group to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.

For what it’s worth, PIRG’s website includes the line “standing up to powerful interests.”

That’s exactly what all of these people and groups are doing, because there are some very powerful interests who are completely happy with the way legislative boundaries are drawn now. Currently, that means the Democratic Party.

However, there was a time when the Republican Party was able to draw the maps, and we don’t recall hearing any complaints about the process then.

Parsing Rauner’s anti-union rhetoric

There was an interesting line in a recent ad for Bruce Rauner, candidate for the Republican nomination for governor.

Rauner, of course, has repeatedly denounced the “union bosses” who, he says, actually run Springfield. This has given public employee unions ammunition to charge that Rauner will dismantle public employee unions if elected.

Plus, apparently concerned that Rauner could well win the GOP primary, unions are planning their own anti-Rauner media campaign, according to numerous news reports.

But a recent Rauner ad contained this line, “The problem isn’t government workers, it’s union bosses.”

Which is an interesting distinction. Particularly since most state workers, at least, belong to a union.

And the bosses of those unions fight to get raises for the workers and preserve their pension benefits.

You might recall that Rauner wants to freeze current pensions and move everyone into a 401(k).

Rauner may want to make a distinction between the union bosses and the union members, but it may not work.

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