Friday, November 21, 2003

Senate shoots down the bill! Maybe a new map is in the offing. . . .

I *wish* I had been in Springfield to see this!

The Senate shot down the "Accommodate Bush exploitation of 9/11 bill" by a vote of 23-27 (9 not voting).

The Republicans all voted no or didn't vote.

The following Democrats voted no or didn't vote (the equivalent of a no vote): Burzynski, Clayborne, Forby, Garrett, Haine, Obama, Ronen, Schoenberg, Silverstein, Sullivan, Welch. Right on, you guys.

The vote total is here (you can check if I missed anyone).

(And I should say the following House Dems voted no or present on the House side: Bradley, Chapa LaVia, Franks, Fritchey, Jakobsson, Jefferson, Joyce, May, Miller, Nekritz, Phelps, Ryg, Turner). That vote is here (I probably missed a few). Nice vote, House Dems.

So, the conservatives are saying that they shot down the deal -- permit the 9/11 accommodation in exchange for giving the State Board of Elections the discretion to waive or reduce fees, primarily assessed against Dems.

The Illinois Leader is (again) the first news outlet to publish the story in their (as always) well-written article here. (And no, I'm not saying nice things about the Leader just because they printed my letter to the editor this week -- which Rep. Ed Sullivan told me he read, which goes to show how smart it is to get a real state-based political online publication and why we progressives are again behind the conservatives when it comes to communication).

That's undoubtedly why the bill died, since it took 40 votes to pass in the Senate (they needed a 3/5 vote in veto session).

But why did the Senate Dems mentioned above shoot it down? That's why I wish I had seen the debate.

I hope it is because they decided that if the Bush campaign wants to intentionally break state law in order to exploit the 9/11 convention, then the Bush campaign is going to have to go to federal court to get on the ballot. And this gives the Dems a public opportunity to frame the 9/11 convention as a dishonorable attempt at exploitation.

This issue is, of course, going to be kicking over the next two months, and could end up being one of the first bills to fly though in the first few days of the regular session in January.

But. . . if there's a revolt among Democratic members of the House and Senate caucuses that demand a much better trade than giving the Board of Elections (a 3-Dem, 3-GOP board) the discretion to come up with a reasonable fee to assess against Jesse White and other Democrats who didn't comply with some disclosure laws in a timely fashion, maybe this bill will take longer to get worked out.

And maybe, just maybe, the Democratic members can push Madigan to accept a new congressional map (which is currently a 10-9 GOP delegation). Not an excessively partisan gerrymander that might result in a 13-6 Dem map (and yes, it is possible to draw such a map), even though that would be justified in light of the GOP redistricting in Colorado and Texas, and now perhaps in Ohio as well. But a fair, more neutral map which creates competitive districts instead of the incumbent-protection plan that currently creates 19 safe seats (so voters really have no say over the congressional delegation in Illinois) -- that should be something that Mike Madigan might support if his members and the Dem Senators demand it.

Hey, that's good government. Competitive congressional districts. Who could be against that?

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