By State Rep. Jeanne Ives -
It is difficult to fend off the cynicism that runs rampant during the last few days of the legislative session in Springfield. Any half-baked idea can pop up at a moment’s notice, major issues are debated within hours of being introduced, and anxiety-inducing rumors swirl through the Statehouse regarding legislation that might come up on the floor. One last minute piece of legislation, introduced and passed with only Democrat votes showed up only a few hours before adjournment and radically changed voting regulations for the 2014 election – a temporary election bill good for only 5 months to get past November 4th. It’s hard not to be cynical about that.
The bill requires Illinois public universities to set up same day voter registration and voting through the close of the polls in “high traffic” areas of certain public universities. It is tempting to give in to the cynicism and suggest that the best high traffic area may just be on the sidewalk outside the bar. While students are in the que to enter, they can register and vote. If underage students just want to vote – no ID required, but of course, they will need one to enter the bar.
I would argue that accurate observation or critical thought on the subject of legislation that ignores procedure, and is little more than a get out the vote drive for Democrats, is far less cynical than the legislation itself. Per the legislative calendar, bills must meet deadlines each month in order to move to the next phase towards consensus and passage. The election bill only met these deadlines technically by being attached as amendments to an already passed bill. Passage this way violated the spirit of public notice on legislation and defied common sense - and this bill wasn’t an outlier. Three times alone this session, we were presented with budget bills, hundreds of pages long, only to have hours on which to vote on them.
Intentionally rushing through the bill process makes a mockery of the entire session’s work. Why hold full committee hearings so interested parties can weigh in on important matters? Why seek input from opponents or proponents or have knowledgeable folks in to testify when you can simply pass anything you want at the end without going through the normal process?
The families, taxpayers and businesses of Illinois expect well thought-out legislation; not political games that have become the status quo in Illinois. They were cheated out of a fair and transparent process at the end of May as the voting played out.
These games invite chaos, not bi-partisanship; cynicism, not trust; and reward power over process and policy. If we truly want to see our state returned to prosperity and push back the cynical and destructive legislation that has created the economic crisis in this state, then we all must embrace this responsibility in the voting booth and defend it with the courage it deserves.
Below are the roll calls.
HB 105's House sponsors are all Democrats - Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie - Mike Smiddy - Christian L. Mitchell - Naomi D. Jakobsson - Kelly M. Cassidy, Michael J. Zalewski, La Shawn K. Ford, Cynthia Soto, Maria Antonia Berrios, Elizabeth Hernandez and Fred Crespo
HB 105's Senate sponsors are also all Democrats: Sen. Don Harmon - Michael W. Frerichs - Jacqueline Y. Collins - Mattie Hunter - Kwame Raoul
The House vote on Senate amendment consensus HB 105:
The Senate roll call on the amended HB 105: