Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Dateline Springfield: Somebody put a tent over this circus

Maybe someone can explain this logic.

Until midnight, your party is running the show. So you've got the last day (May 31st) to get your bills out before the Republican caucus, with increasing solidarity, gets dealt in since the requirement to pass a bill raises from 50% to 60%.

So on the last day with lots of bills that the Republicans have (wisely or unwisely) chosen to oppose, what do you do?

I know: not pass any of them.

You, instead, putz around all day, and when you get to business at 8 at night, then you debate a budget bill for three hours that -- get this -- can't pass the House since they've adjourned.

Leaving you no time to pass any of the bills, and giving the Republicans a veto over all legislation.

That is what happened tonight.

The grace period legislation might have died. It should have passed the Senate. It didn't. Why not?

You tell me.

They just didn't get around to it.

Sloppy and disorganized.

The problem is that the bill got sucked out of the regular legislative process of getting assigned to a substantive committee, getting a hearing, getting voted onto the floor, etc. Instead, Speaker Madigan decided to put all election-related bills into an omnibus election bill, SB 955.

And that didn't pass the Senate tonight.

The grace period voter registration bill did pass the Senate back in March, but Speaker Madigan decided not to let it follow the regular course. Instead, it stopped in the House Rules Committee. That bill is SB 2133.

So now, June 1st, Senate Republicans have a veto over passing any legislation, and they have shown no interest in the grace period. It's perceived as a Democratic bill. That assumes that Republicans don't work to register voters, but hey, maybe they're right. Democrats sure seem to like the bill more than Republicans, so maybe they're on to something.

I'm just flabbergasted.

This has to be considered a major screw-up. Not just my little bill that I worked on. The fact that Democrats dealt in the GOP into this budget (because they sure didn't pass a budget) is a massive screw-up.

With no good excuse.

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