Governor’s veto may not kill plastics bill

Both sides ready for fight over veto override vote

August 27, 2012

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Even after Illinois Governor Pat Quinn vetoed a bill that deeply displeased Illinois environmental groups, the fight over how to keep plastic bags and film material out of landfills will likely continue this fall. 

Senate Bill 3442 would require plastic bag manufacturers to collect their used products and plastic film, and recycle them. But it also forbids local governments from banning or imposing fees on single-use, plastic, carry-out bags.  That compromise was brokered by the bill’s sponsor, State Senator Terry Link (D-Lake Bluff), in order to wrangle enough votes to pass the measure.

Now, it looks like the fight may be gearing up for a second round. Because the bill preempts home rule when it comes to regulating the use and distribution of these plastic materials, it needed a three-fifths vote in both houses of the General Assembly — the same number required to override a veto.

“Right now I’m probably leaning towards the override,” said Link, “but we’re going to sit down and look at this in the near future.” Link says he likely won’t start talking to legislators about a possible override vote until after the election in early November. The override session starts in late November.

But Champaign Mayor Don Gerard doubts that there’ll be enough votes this time around to override the veto.  He says he expects some legislators no longer support the bill after the public backlash. “It’s really an issue of giving the power to the people to choose, instead of putting it at the state level and creating another state program,” said Gerard.