ILLINOIS — The 100th General Assembly has passed only one bill to the governor’s desk after nearly four months in session.
It’s unlikely Governor Bruce Rauner will sign that bill as it would effectively tie his hands and reduce his own executive power. Lawmakers only came together to pass Senate Bill 19 in a span of nine days after Governor Rauner announced plans to outsource the jobs of prison nurses to a private contractor.
While lawmakers applauded the hasty approval of Republican Senator Sam McCann’s measure to save 124 prison nurses union jobs from the governor’s outsourcing, the legislature has passed zero bills yet this session to improve the lives of the other 12.8 million residents of Illinois.
During that same time, the House and Senate have combined to mourn the deaths of 368 people, some of them not even Illinois residents. Lawmakers have also designated, congratulated or recognized some person, place or thing 519 times, commemorating Taylorville for it’s outstanding bowl of chili and dubbing cycling as the official state exercise.
Chicago resident Aaron Stewart traveled down to tour the empty statehouse with his wife and two sons. He says he’s concerned about gridlock and complacency in the state capitol and expressed concern that it might negatively impact his own family.
“Everything is being affected by a lack of progression, a lack of urgency in regards to passing certain legislation to get the bills paid,” he said.
Stewart supports the idea to withhold lawmaker’s paychecks until they pass a full budget.
“There was some kind of talk about not paying [lawmakers]. Maybe the way of getting them to move on things is to not get a paycheck,” he says. “I think that’s an excellent idea.”