Legislators are preparing to head back to Springfield for the Fall Veto Session, which is scheduled for October 24-26, and November 7-9. Veto Session is the time when legislators can act on items that received full or partial (amendatory) vetoes from the Governor. As the Senator for the 45th District, I look forward to representing the values of Northwest Illinois families during the upcoming veto session.
During the spring 2023 legislative session, more than 550 bills were approved and sent to the Governor, and all but six were signed into law. Of the six, three received total vetoes and three received amendatory vetoes.
Legislators can override a full veto with a 3/5 vote in the House and Senate. If a vetoed bill is not called for a vote, the veto stands, and the bill dies. For bills that received amendatory vetoes, the Legislature can either vote to approve the Governor’s amended bill language with a simple majority vote, or lawmakers can override the amendatory veto with a 3/5 vote to approve the original bill. It’s up to the leaders of the majority party to decide if these bills will be called for reconsideration. The Legislature could take all, some, or none of them up.
The Governor’s full veto of Senate Bill 76 is arguably the most controversial veto of the 2023 spring session. This bill, which had more than 20 Republican and Democrat sponsors in the Senate, would have removed the decades-old moratorium on the construction of new nuclear reactors and provided a process for the construction of smaller “advanced” reactors. It was widely supported on a bipartisan basis and received a 36-14 vote in the Senate and an 84-22 vote in the House of Representatives.
SB 76 would go far in addressing Illinois’ energy needs with clean-sourced affordable energy. As coal-fired energy plants are forced to go offline, existing wind and solar cannot keep up with demand, so small, safe, advanced nuclear reactors would help fill energy gaps while assisting with the state’s clean energy goals.
In addition to dealing with gubernatorial vetoes, veto session has traditionally also been utilized to address other legislative items that weren’t completed or didn’t come up during the spring legislative session. Topping the list of items that should have been dealt with but weren’t during the spring session is the repeal of the December 31, 2023, sunset date on the Invest in Kids program. This tax credit scholarship program provides privately funded scholarship opportunities for low-income families to get their kids out of failing schools and into a better academic setting. The program is set to expire at the end of the year if no legislative action is taken.
Over $308 million has been donated to the Invest in Kids Scholarship Fund since its inception, including over $581,000 that was donated by those living in the 45th Senate District. Over 38,000 scholarships have been awarded statewide to children through this program. That’s 38,000 opportunities extended to families that want the best for their children. Sadly, it is the majority party that is blocking this program’s continuance. While many of these legislators send their own kids to private school because they can afford it, they seem all too willing to close the door on that option for families in their districts who cannot afford private school tuition. It’s shameful.
Additionally, some City of Chicago officials have asked that state lawmakers look at potentially shifting existing state budget allocations toward additional migrant-related appropriations for Chicago. I oppose this shift of state budget dollars. It remains to be seen if legislation of this nature will be brought forward during veto session.
I always welcome your comments and opinions on legislation and other matters of interest to you. Whether it pertains to the upcoming veto session, the approaching 2024 legislative session, or a non-legislative issue here at home, I welcome your calls and emails. My legislative office can be reached at (815) 232-0774 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.