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Pritzker sends budget back for proper effective date


Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued an amendatory veto of the state’s spending plan lawmakers passed just two weeks ago because it doesn’t have the proper effective date.

In a message to the Illinois Senate, Pritzker said he’s returning Senate Bill 2800 “with specific recommendations for change so that the various sets of appropriations included in the bill will take effect at the necessary time.”

“It is evident that the errors and omissions in the effective date provision of Senate Bill 2800 were inadvertent as all appropriations bills traditionally have effective dates that align with the language of the appropriations,” Pritzker said in his veto letter. “I believe that the legislative intent for Senate Bill 2800 was for new appropriations for Fiscal Year 2022 to have a July 1, 2021 effective date and for supplemental appropriations for Fiscal Year 2021 to have an immediate effective date. Without this amendatory veto, many of the appropriations in the bill would not take effect until June 1, 2022, eleven months into Fiscal Year 2022.”

Last week, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle suggested the budget would have to be fixed, and that was a symptom of how quickly the budget was revealed and then passed.

Errors are likely when the budget process is behind closed doors with one party looking it over, said state Sen. Steve McClure, R-Springfield.

“When you don’t have the give and take, and when you don’t have both [party’s] staffs analyzing things, mistakes happen,” McClure said.

State Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, agreed that lawmakers need to collaborate better.

“We have to make sure that we have a process where we don’t have a budget that is filed last-minute where we’re spending billions of dollars with very little time for members to review,” Ford said.

Ford advocates for a full week of review to allow for amendments before final passage.

“I think that it’s important that we as legislators step up and we talk to the Speaker [of the House] and the [Senate] President and say ‘look, we want to make sure that rank-and-file members, people that are not on the budget team, really get an opportunity to review these budgets before they are voted on.”

Pritzker changed the affected article in the amendatory veto he sent back to the Senate.

“With this change, Senate Bill 2800 will have my approval,” Pritzker said. “I respectfully request your concurrence.”

The Senate concurred on the governor’s changes Tuesday afternoon.

Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, said it was a “scrivener’s error.”

State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, said on countless occasions Republicans have called for more input for the legislative process. He criticized majority Democrats for operating in the “dark of night without any transparency.”

“That results in things like this, chaos,” Barickman said.

Barickman further criticized the governor saying he could have line-item vetoed things like the legislator pay raises or the $1 billion in pork spending for Democratic districts.

“But yet again the governor caved to the political class to help out the majority,” Barickman said.

Harmon responded with a vocal exhale.

He said they recognize their mistakes and will learn from them.

The amendatory veto now heads to the Illinois House, which is in session Wednesday. House members are expected to be able to vote remotely.

“Allowing for remote participation is a temporary change,” said House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch’s spokesperson Jaclyn Driscoll. “By no means is this option encouraged nor preferred, but it was a decision the Speaker’s Office came to after consulting staff and members.”

“Some members have flagged urgent family or medical emergencies and cannot leave their loved ones or put them at risk, particularly since we cannot assure all members of the House have been vaccinated,” Driscoll said. “While we are in Phase 5 of our state’s reopening plan, we are still very much in a pandemic that requires precaution. This is a sound option for a one-day session and we look forward to getting these final-action items across the finish line quickly, efficiently, and safely.”

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