Home > Uncategorized > Veto Session and Election Recap

Veto Session and Election Recap

Lawmakers return to Springfield tomorrow for the first three days of what looks to be a particularly uneventful veto session. Considering however that there were so few bills that passed this last Session, the few bills that actually made it through were pretty well vetted. With an heavy election right at their door step, many legislators kept their distance from more risky votes and controversial bills. With the campaign season finally over we can expect a much more active legislature come January.

The 2012 Election was a big one for a number of reasons. First, it was the election immediately following a legislative redistricting period. All of the boundaries that divide up our state into its voting districts were reset and are then typically manipulated (gerrymandered) to give the majority party an advantage. This is done by redrawing those districts to include or exclude the known political leanings within various communities or by grouping currently seated members of the opposition together and forcing them to run against each other. This process takes place every 10 years following the Federal decennial census, it is a highly political process, and both parties in every state use it to their own advantage.

Secondly, this was the first year following the landmark January 2010 Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which permits corporations and unions to make political expenditures from their treasuries directly and indirectly through other organizations. 2012 saw over one billion dollars spent from independent expenditures–twice as much money as the 2010 and 2008 elections combined (source: opensecrets.org).

In Illinois, Democrats now have the largest margin in the Legislature since 1920. The Senate is down to only 19 Republicans, and proportionately the House isn’t that far off either. Speaker Michael Madigan was once quoted to say that his worst experience at the Statehouse was when he was in the minority party, but his second worst was when he had a veto-proof majority in his chamber. Historically, there is a paradigm shift within the legislature once a party nears super-majority status. Individual members and small caucuses tend to start pushing harder for their personal projects because “the time is now.” Also, people are sometimes less likely to want to stick their necks out for really controversial votes since there is a belief that someone “less vulnerable” should have to step up instead. So with Illinois looking at everything from a budgetary disaster and pension shortfalls, to health care implementation and gay marriage, no one is quite certain what the next two years may hold.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. November 30, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Rob, thanks for your insights on the election cycle. From a chiropractic viewpoint, I’ve been surprised a few times over the past year at what has happened in Springfield, such as the loss of chiropractic from the state Medicaid budget. At the time (and still) this decision seemed surprising, since the state’s cost for chiropractic was so self-evidently minimal compared to other health care professions (and especially emergency rooms, which are now one of the only recourses for Medicaid musculoskeletal complaints). Now political competition is at a lull, the same people are in power, and healthcare implementation is about to take place on a grand scale. I probably won’t be surprised anymore: anything can and will happen. Keep up the good work, and keep fighting the good fight. Thanks!

  2. November 30, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Thanks Doctor. I do my best on your behalf down here in Springfield. I expanded upon this post for my article in the upcoming December issue of the ICS Journal. You can also expect to see me post more frequently in general now that the new year is approaching and session will be back in full swing.

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