Governor Rod Blagojevich received a resounding “no confidence” vote in the Illinois House of Representatives Tuesday, with the 105-4 vote overriding his politically-generated line item vetoes of $463 million.
All but $39 million of the items Blagojevich vetoed were restored, and those were for projects he had originally requested for his office and staff.
But the Illinois State budget is still hanging in the balance, as Senate President Emil Jones, who has allied himself with the Governor, has said repeatedly that he will not permit the override to come for a vote on the Senate floor.
Ever since the Governor sent his line item veto to the House on August 14, political infighting among the Democrats holding both the General Assembly and the Governor’s office has been bitter.
Blagojevich filed suit against the House Clerk in Sangamon County Circuit Court on September 2nd, claiming that the House had failed to fulfill the requirements of the Illinois Constitution by not immediately entering his vetoes into the record.
Most political observers considered this an obvious attempt at forcing the exhausted members of the House to return yet again to session, after working nearly round the clock since July in emergency session to get the appropriations bill passed. Blagojevich’s heavy-handed attempt at political maneuvering quickly failed. The action was dismissed on September 19 by Circuit Judge Patrick Kelley, who called for a stop to the “Hatfield-McCoy” atmosphere permeating Illinois government.
Blagojevich continues legal against Madigan for Madigan’s refusal to call the House into special session to consider Blagojevich’s pet projects, while the House already in emergency session in an attempt to keep Illinois government from being shut down. Madigan in his response to the law suit has called the Governor’s action an attempt by Blagojevich to usurp the Constitutional authority of the Legislature.
House Speaker Michael Madigan and other House leaders held public hearings all over the state in September, seeking input from citizens and civic leaders on how they wanted the House to proceed. Overwhelmingly, the speakers at those eleven events spoke out against the cuts, and called for the restoration of programs, including the puzzling veto of the Tax Increment Financing district in rural Villa Grove, which had zero impact on the actual spending of the state.
The Governor’s office held conferences in each of the same cities on the same days. They were mainly attended by members of the press, and were poorly attended by the general public.
Eyes in Illinois now turn to the Senate, to see if any of the Senators will challenge Jones on the floor, and call for a roll call vote, a right guaranteed in the Illinois Constitution if two Senators out of the 77 members support the action.