Ives, Breen accuse House Democrats of playing games with K-12 funding
Reps. Peter Breen (R-Lombard) and Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) took House Democrats to task on Wednesday for calling a vote on an amendment to SB1947, a bill addressing chronic school absenteeism, rather than taking up the state's public education measure, Senate Bill 1.
The amendment, presented to the floor by Rep. William Davis (D-Homewood), incorporated many of the changes Gov. Bruce Rauner made to SB1. Davis said he hoped the chamber would discuss Rauner’s changes, but many Republicans accused the Democrats of stalling.
“This is vote is high jinks meet hijacked,” Breen said. “It’s the first day of school. The state is a week late in sending money to its school districts. Instead of working on a bipartisan compromise, the Democratic majority is again playing games. You just heard it here. The Democratic funding bill SB1 is not being brought for a vote. The reason is because there is not sufficient support in this chamber to override the governor’s veto.”
Democrats have largely kept SB1 on hold after its passed the General Assembly in May. It wasn't until July 31 -- the last day of a special session Gov. Bruce Rauner called -- that it was sent to him. He immediately issued an amendatory veto on Aug. 1 to strip the bill of additional money for Chicago Public Schools, which he deemed unfair, and sent the bill back to the Senate.
On Aug 13, the Senate voted to override Rauner’s veto, 38-19. Many expected the House to vote on SB1 on Wednesday.
“You just keep playing with people’s lives,” Ives said. “Deciding that your time frame on when you’re going to do this [is more important]. What a joke. I find it really rude to pull people down here, pretend like you’re going to vote for an override and then not do it. Not even put the bill up. You don’t even have the guts to put the bill up and see where the votes fall.”
Calling the motion a scam and charade, Ives expressed disappointment by what she saw as a lack of true reform to help the state’s education system.
“If you’re serious about wanting to get schools open and fund education, you’d put up that override vote right now,” Ives said. “You’ll pull this from the records, and you’ll put it up. But you know this is all playing to the media, playing to your base and playing to the superintendents. That’s what this is about. This is not about solving education funding problems.”
Breen urged his fellow Republicans to vote “no” on the amendment or simply vote “present.” The amendment failed on a vote of 0-60, with 33 members voting "present" and 25 not voting.
The House has until Aug. 29 to override Rauner’s veto of SB1, pass SB1 as changed, or let it die. Rauner has asked Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), Speaker of the House Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) to come together on Friday to reach a settlement but has not indicated whether he would be part of the discussion.
The original version of the bill passed the House on a vote of 60-52 in May, but the chamber would need 71 votes for an override.