SB600 Update: In Da House

-By Warner Todd Huston

I have been a steady advocate for SB600 for the past year or so, now. SB600 would provide for Illinois Republicans to be able to elect their own state Republican committeemen by vote (as Illinois Democrats already do). Currently the people that guide the Illinois GOP are selected by other party operatives instead of the voters. Many feel, me included, this leads to a closed system of party bosses and insiders that is resistant to change and new ideas and is too far removed from the voters.

The bill passed the Senate earlier in the year and now needs a nod from the House of Representatives. If it doesn’t get passed by the House before January 12, 2011, then this bill is dead and would have to go through the entire process all over again to become law.

January 12 is coming very quickly, of course, and many might think it is too late to get this one done. But it’s not all bad news. If the bill is brought to a vote it will likely pass as it did in the Senate. Doug Ibendahl has some other positive news on the bill’s status.

Recall that SB600 got a vote on the floor of the House in October of last year – over the shrieking protests of Tom Cross. Thank the Democrats and a handful of Republican State Representatives for that. They heard from enough of their Republican constituents and decided a vote was warranted. Some real leaders decided to ignore Tom Cross’ childish games for once.

There were 59 YES votes and just 47 NO votes. But as that October 2009 vote was during veto session – a three-fifths majority (71 votes) was required for passage.

More good news – SB600 wasn’t recorded as failing. Instead a bill sponsor asked for “Postponed Consideration.” That means the bill was tabled and it can be brought back to the floor at any time.

Still more good news – Republican Mike Fortner had an excused absence the day the vote was taken in October 2009. Mike is a co-sponsor of SB600 in the House. He’s another definite “yes” vote.

Plus, Republican Jim Watson told us earlier this year that if SB600 gets another vote, he’ll support it this time. Jim had been a “no” vote.

So adding-on Fortner and Watson, there should be at least 61 votes in favor. In other words, if all the other votes from October 2009 held steady – SB600 passes with one vote to spare.

Check Doug’s post to see all the finer points on the bill.

For sure if you support this bill you should contact your representatives and tell them that you want them to take up this bill before this year’s session is over. Ibendahl has a very handy webpage with all those that need to be contacted to support the bill. See that list HERE.

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