Brian's Column 01-02-2015

In a few days, I’ll be heading back to Springfield for a special session called by Governor Quinn. The Governor wants the General Assembly to pass legislation to allow for a special election to replace Comptroller Topinka.  Here’s a little background: when Comptroller Topinka passed in December, Governor Quinn wanted the authority to appoint a person to finish off Comptroller Topinka’s current term and to replace her for the coming term.  When it was determined he did not have that authority but was only given power to appoint a person to finish off the current term, he decided a special session was in order so he could at least have some control over the fate of the comptroller position.

And now for the facts: my fellow Republican State Representative Robert Pritchard (R-Hinckley) said in an article he wrote for the Elburn Herald that this special session will cost the state around $50,000—money that could be better spent elsewhere and that for sure doesn’t need to be spent on a special session.  The proposed special election for comptroller would not happen until November 2016 in our next statewide election, so there isn’t an urgent need to do anything immediately.  Everything that could be done on January 8 can also be done when the General Assembly is called for our 99th Session after inauguration.

 In addition, the proposed special election will be unconstitutional—the constitution calls for vacancies to be filled by the governor’s appointment.  The General Assembly is not authorized, according to a statement from the House and Senate Republican Leaders, “to order a special election to fill a vacancy or replace a person who is appointed to fill a vacancy.” If the General Assembly passes a special election bill, the state will likely face litigation on the constitutionality of the bill.  The only way around litigation is to create a well-thought-out constitutional amendment and to allow voters to vote on it in 2016.

You may have heard the old proverb “haste makes waste,” or maybe you like William Shakespeare’s fancier version of the proverb from Romeo and Juliet: “wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.” In this case, both sayings hold true—the Governor’s haste to push through legislation creates an initial waste of $50,000 or more dollars.  On top of that, we’ll have potential litigation costs and perhaps the intangible cost of poorly-planned legislation.  All of these costs could be avoided if we simply waited a few more weeks to begin the process of creating and drafting legislation or a possible constitutional amendment.  Unless of course there is a hidden agenda of other legislation waiting to surface.  Stay tuned……  

As always, you can reach me or Sally at 815/232-0774 or email us at repstewart@gmail.com. You can also visit my website at www.repbrianstewart.com or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.

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