Springfield, IL – Two northern Illinois Democratic state representatives foiled the party’s attempts recently to overturn the veto of a bill that would have protected union workers in contract negotiations.
Illinois AFSCME ran a strong campaign to overturn Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of House Bill 580, which would have allowed use of an arbitrator in deadlocked contract negotiations.
As happened several times before on labor-supported votes, the House Democratic majority had enough members but not enough votes. The vote on May 25 to overturn the veto was 69-47 with two abstaining.
The party, however, needed 71 votes to overturn the veto, and it has that many members in the House, but two chose not to support it.
One Democrat outright voted against it. Representative Scott Drury of the 58th District, which includes several suburbs north of Chicago, has a history of voting against working people.
In 2013, just after taking office, Drury joined those voting to reduce the pension rights of state employees – rights that were eventually upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court.
In 2014, Drury cast a key vote against the “millionaire’s tax” bill that would have shifted some of the tax burden away from working people and onto the wealthiest state residents, who benefit the most from tax breaks.
Last year, this Republican-in-disguise voted against the override attempt on Senate Bill 1229, essentially the same measure as the one in House Bill 580. That override bid failed by three votes.
The other Democrat to blame is Representative Jack Franks of Marengo, who represents the 63rd District, a suburban area in McHenry County near Rockford.
Franks voted “present” on the override, but by legislative math, that’s the same thing as voting against it.
Franks says on his website that he is for a “friendlier” business climate and lower taxes, sounding like a Republican. Surprise – he and Drury cast the two votes that killed the “millionaire’s tax” override attempt.
And while Drury is apparently unconcerned about how his votes will be viewed by the rest of the party, Franks doesn’t have to pay any attention whatsoever – he’s not running for re-election. Instead, he’s running, as a Democrat, for McHenry County Board chairman.
All the other Democrats voted for the HB580 veto override, including those from downstate Illinois, and even Ken Dunklin, the Chicago-area representative whose votes supporting Rauner led the party to run a candidate against him and beat him in the March primary.
News reports said Dunklin was surprised to hear he had supported the override effort. He meant to leave his voting device set to go against it, but it got messed up.
SOMETHING WE CAN DO
This problem could be solved if Metro-East area voters elect two Democrats running strong campaigns against incumbent Republicans this November. Mike Mathis of Gillespie is trying to overtake Rauner appointee Avery Bourne in the 95th District, while Katie Stuart of Edwardsville is running hard against veteran anti-worker Republican Dwight Kay in the 112th District.
“Our communities are home to many families who work hard to keep our state and our communities running. They care for the elderly, protect our children and keep our communities safe. They did not create the mess in Springfield, but some politicians appear determined to make them pay for it,” he said.
“By blocking legislation that would have kept state workers on the job and brought a fair, neutral arbiter to the table, Avery Bourne and Bruce Rauner are telling these hard-working men and women that the economic security of their families is not a priority.”