Se­nate Repub­li­cans defy gov in debt veto over­ride

Chicago Sun-Times - - POLITICS CITY BEAT -

Se­nate Repub­li­cans joined Democrats on Wed­nes­day in re­ject­ing Gov. Bruce Rauner’s de­nun­ci­a­tion of a debt trans­parency bill as a form of “po­lit­i­cal ma­nip­u­la­tion” by his Demo­cratic en­e­mies — over­whelm­ingly over­rid­ing the gover­nor’s veto.

The over­ride passed the Se­nate 52 to 3, with no de­bate. The three op­pos­ing the over­ride were Se­nate Repub­li­can Leader Bill Brady, his deputy GOP leader, Sen. Dave Syver­son of Rock­ford, and Sen. Jim Ober­weis of Sugar Grove.

State Comp­trol­ler Su­sana Men­doza, who backed the bill, said the over­rides by the Se­nate on Wed­nes­day and the House last month are hope­fully “a re­ally good in­di­ca­tor of bet­ter days to come of bi­par­ti­san co­op­er­a­tion amongst the rank- and- file mem­bers of the Leg­is­la­ture.”

“Truth­fully, we didn’t need the gover­nor at all,” the Chicago Demo­crat said after the vote. “We got trans­parency done with­out the gover­nor — in spite of the gover­nor.

“And it was thanks to Repub­li­cans and Democrats com­ing to­gether to try to get the state of Illi­nois on bet­ter fis­cal foot­ing.” The bill’s spon­sor, Sen. Andy Ma­nar, DBunker Hill, called it “a good step to slightly in a greater de­gree open up the books of state gov­ern­ment.”

The Debt Trans­parency Act would re­quire state agen­cies to re­port monthly the amount of bills be­ing held, li­a­bil­i­ties that are be­ing ap­pro­pri­ated and li­a­bil­i­ties that may have late in­ter­est penal­ties. State agen­cies cur­rently sub­mit their un­paid bills once a year in Oc­to­ber.

The state’s back­log of un­paid bills is cur­rently $ 16.7 bil­lion, Men­doza said. The law takes ef­fect Jan. 1. Two weeks ago, the House voted to over­ride Rauner’s veto by a 112- 0 vote.

De­spite that bi­par­ti­san re­jec­tion of his veto, Rauner late last month dis­missed the bill as the po­lit­i­cal hand­i­work of Men­doza and House Speaker Mike Madi­gan.

“That bill was re­ally pri­mar­ily about en­abling some more po­lit­i­cal ma­nip­u­la­tion by Speaker Madi­gan and Comp­trol­ler Men­doza on how they can pri­or­i­tize bill pay­ment,” Rauner said. “That’s re­ally what was be­hind that bill.”

Repub­li­cans dis­missed the gover­nor’s com­ments as sour grapes.

“This is an­other ex­am­ple of failed Gov. Rauner’s al­ter­nate re­al­ity,” state Rep. David McSweeney, R- Bar­ring­ton Hills, said at the time. “The gover­nor lost 112- 0 on the over­ride — no Repub­li­cans voted against the over­ride.”

Sun- Times Staff

State Comp­trol­ler Su­sana Men­doza and state Sen. Andy Ma­nar, D- Bunker Hill, praised on Wed­nes­day the bi­par­ti­san over­ride of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a debt trans­parency bill. | JOHN O’CON­NOR/ AP

Gov. Bruce Rauner

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