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Should Illinois Lawmakers Wait For The New Governor?


Governor-elect Bruce Rauner met with the two top Democrats in the state legislature in Chicago yesterday. Once again he’s asking lawmakers to hold off on any major changes until he’s in office in January. Lawmakers are predictably split on that request heading into next week’s veto session.

Republican State Representative Bob Pritchard says he knows the governor-elect wasn’t talking to his party when he asked lawmakers to refrain from making any big decisions for now. It was a message for Democratic leaders.  

“What the governor-elect is saying is wait until the new administration comes in, and then let’s deal with these issues. He’d certainly like to have a voice in them, and it they’re going to have a long-lasting impact, I think that would just be the best for public policy. Because clearly, the citizens have spoken, and they’re not happy with the policies we’re following right now.”

State Representative Litesa Wallace says lawmakers can’t just put the people’s business on hold while they wait for a new governor to be sworn in. The Democrat from Rockford says that’s not what they were elected to do.

“We are held accountable to our constituency. And there are some issues we may face in veto and lame duck that will require some action.”

But Republican State Senator Dave Syverson, also from Rockford, says it’s time to listen to the voters who made their choice about the state’s direction during last week’s election.

“The idea of trying to handcuff the new governor or to pass something that couldn’t be passed during the general assembly, I think it would be a mistake.”

The two biggest issues that lawmakers could take up before the end of the year are a minimum wage hike and the expiration of the temporary income tax increase. It would take a super-majority of the legislature to move on those issues now, although they could tackle them in the first few days in January before Rauner is sworn in. Then it would only take a simple majority to pass legislation.

Susan is an award-winning reporter/writer at her favorite radio station. She's also WNIJ's Perspectives editor, Under Rocks contributor, and local host of All Things Considered.