Watchdog group calls for veto of SB 3319
After Senate Bill 3319 was passed on the last day of the 99th Illinois General Assembly, the Edgar County Watchdogs called on Gov. Bruce Rauner to veto the measure, which it says violates the state's constitution.
The group wrote on its website that "the bill changes the timeline required for publishing a proper notice and applies that timeline to action that has already been taken and found improper. So by all indications, they passed special legislation and made it retroactive to an election already held."
Official notifications have been the subject of several articles in Illinois Leaks. The watchdog group pointed out in a Dec. 11 article that the DuPage Election Commission had violated the election code by publishing notifications more than 30 days before the election on Nov. 8.
While Election Commission Executive Director Robert Saar discounted the effect of the early notification, bond attorneys for two of the four taxing districts expressed concerns that the early notice could invalidate the successful bond measures.
Illinois Leaks pointed to the original text of Election Code 10 ILCS 5/12-5, "For all elections held after July 1, 1999, notice of public questions shall be required only as set forth in this Section or as set forth in Section 17-3 or 19-3 of the School Code. Not more than 30 days nor less than 10 days before the date of a regular election at which a public question is to be submitted to the voters of a political or governmental subdivision, and at least 20 days before an emergency referendum, the election authority shall publish notice of the referendum."
When interviewed by the Daily Herald on Dec. 8, Saar suggested two solutions to the issue: ask for legislation in the General Assembly to approve the early notification or ask a DuPage judge to make a judgment that no harm was done by the early notifications.
The watchdog group questioned the legality of both actions, calling retroactive legislation "crony legislation" and a declaratory judgment "judicial activism." After the third amendment of SB 3319 was passed, Illinois Leaks pointed out discrepancies in the proceedings.
"A bill shall be read by title on three different days in each house," according to the Illinois Constitution. "A bill and each amendment thereto shall be reproduced and placed on the desk of each member before final passage."
The watchdogs allege that the correct procedures were not followed. In addition, Speaker of the House Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) and Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) signed the bill, certifying that the procedural requirements had been fulfilled.
The Edgar County Watchdogs contended that the certification is defective and the bill is constitutionally unlawful, due to Article IV, Section 13 of the Illinois Constitution: “The General Assembly shall pass no special or local law when a general law is or can be made applicable. Whether a general law is or can be made applicable shall be a matter for judicial determination.”