WBEZ | barbara flynn currie http://www.wbez.org/tags/barbara-flynn-currie Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Longtime Madigan ally could get challenge from Bobby Rush's son http://www.wbez.org/news/longtime-madigan-ally-could-get-challenge-bobby-rushs-son-113810 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_110069437501.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)" /></div><p dir="ltr">The son of longtime U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago), Flynn Rush is considering getting into the family business. &nbsp;In what would be his first campaign for public office, Rush&rsquo;s son is considering taking on one of the most established Democrats in Springfield. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Flynn Rush recently <a href="https://www.elections.il.gov/CampaignDisclosure/CDPdfViewer.aspx?FiledDocID=591373&amp;DocType=Image">filed paperwork</a> with the State Board of Elections to run in the Democratic primary against State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, who has represented Chicago&rsquo;s Hyde Park neighborhood since 1979. She&rsquo;s the person House Speaker Michael Madigan often relies on for important legislation.</p><p dir="ltr">Flynn Rush didn&rsquo;t return WBEZ&rsquo;s calls for comment. But his uncle, Marlon Rush, did. Marlon said his nephew is still thinking about challenging Currie, and hasn&rsquo;t made a final decision. He said the younger Rush thinks not all people of the district have been represented during Flynn Currie&rsquo;s tenure in Springfield.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;He has a second nature to be concerned for all people,&rdquo; Marlon said of his nephew. He went on to say that Flynn Rush has worked on previous campaigns of his father, working in polling places and talking with community groups.</p><p dir="ltr">In a phone interview, Currie said that it&rsquo;s a free country if Flynn wants to run, but she and Flynn&rsquo;s father, Bobby Rush, have &ldquo;got along reasonably well, I would&rsquo;ve thought.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Flynn Currie said she&rsquo;s seeking her 20th term in office &ldquo;because I still have work to do.&rdquo; She said the state faces some &ldquo;knotty problems&rdquo; in finding enough revenue for Illinois to meet the needs of vulnerable populations.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 16:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/longtime-madigan-ally-could-get-challenge-bobby-rushs-son-113810 Sears, CME tax breaks on way to governor http://www.wbez.org/story/sears-cme-tax-breaks-way-governor-94871 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-13/3999360929_70a9e9f64d_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Two weeks after a tax-break bill went down in flames, legislation giving two Illinois companies relief is on its way to Gov. Pat Quinn.</p><p>The Senate passed a bill today giving Sears and CME Group tax breaks after they threatened to leave the state. Quinn is expected to sign it.&nbsp;</p><p>Lawmakers took two extra trips to Springfield and eventually split the bill into two parts in order to get it through. Low-income, working families also will get some relief through bigger tax refunds. The package will cost Illinois about $350 million annually.</p><p>House Democratic Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, who co-sponsored the bill, said as long as other states keep trying to lure-away Illinois business, companies will continue to ask for special tax breaks in Springfield.</p><p>"Do we respond or do we just say, good-bye? Or do we even call their bluff? I mean, sometimes I think we should start calling the occasional bluff and say wait a minute, is this for real because the costs of moving are certainly significant," she said.</p><p>Currie said the bill that helps Sears and CME includes accountability measures to make sure the companies only get the relief if they stay put.</p><p>For Sears, the extension of a special taxing district will continue for another 15 years. CME Group called for tax relief after lawmakers raised the corporate income tax rate in January.</p><p>Both firms said they would consider moving to another state if legislators couldn't strike a deal to keep them.</p></p> Tue, 13 Dec 2011 21:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/sears-cme-tax-breaks-way-governor-94871 Speed zone cameras move to House vote http://www.wbez.org/story/speed-zone-cameras-move-house-vote-93864 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-08/flickr kevinliuzzo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A controversial bill that would place speed cameras around Chicago school zones is heading to the Illinois House for a full vote.</p><p>State Rep. Dan Burke (D-Chicago) chairs the committee that voted Tuesday morning to send the bill to the full House. He said he wants the cameras because they make school zones safer.</p><p>"Those who raise the argument that it is strictly an effort to raise revenues for the city, they might have a legitimate argument there," Burke admitted. But Burke says the safety of kids trumps any concerns over why they are being introduced. He says he hopes the cameras are used to catch any other illegal activity in view, and that he'd like to see a camera on every corner.</p><p>The bill would apply a speed zone to an 1/8th mile area around every Chicago school except for colleges and universities. Drivers caught going five or more miles per hour over the posted speed limit would face a $100 fine. The cameras would be in operation from 6am-8:30pm on school days.</p><p>Discussions continue over how the funds collected from cameras would be used. One option is to use a portion of it to fund after school programs and traffic safety.</p><p>The bill has passed the state Senate already. Burke says the bill could be up for a final vote in the House as early as Wednesday.</p></p> Tue, 08 Nov 2011 20:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/speed-zone-cameras-move-house-vote-93864 Redistricting no mystery to General Assembly scientist http://www.wbez.org/story/redistricting-no-mystery-general-assembly-scientist-89790 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-28/mike fortner.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Republicans are fighting in court against a new map of state legislative districts. And they've been relying on a physics professor for expertise in crunching the numbers. It helps that Professor Mike Fortner&nbsp; is also a colleague--a fellow lawmaker in the Illinois General Assembly.</p><p>If you close your eyes and imagine what a physics professor looks like, you might picture Mike Fortner.</p><p>It’s a&nbsp;sweltering afternoon at Northern Illinois University, and &nbsp;Professor Fortner, in a wrinkled shirt and glasses, is talking physics. Even his students wouldn’t guess he’s also a politician.</p><p>"He just seems like the straight-laced professor," one student said.</p><p>Fortner is one of 54 Republicans in the Illinois House. He’s the only scientist -- a numbers junkie surrounded by attorneys and business owners.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>His colleagues have depended on him more than usual this year – not because he’s an expert on particle collision, which he is – but because he’s an expert on redistricting.</p><p>"Mike is our party’s go to person in the caucus. He has a mind that thrives on mathematics and he enjoys that type of challenge, and I think that shows in the redistricting process," said state Rep. Dennis Reboletti (R-Elmhurst), one of Fornter's colleagues and a friend.</p><p>Their party filed a lawsuit recently challenging the new General Assembly map. They filed a separate lawsuit Wednesday against the congressional map. District boundaries change every 10 years based on population shifts.&nbsp; The party in control, in this case the Democrats, gets to decide where the new lines are drawn.</p><p>For Fortner, redistricting is where his worlds of politics and science converge.</p><p>"Obviously, it involves a lot of numbers. A lot of numeric data and being able to manipulate large volumes of numbers is something I do in my research and working as a physicist as well," Fortner said.</p><p>He showed that systematic approach during hearings this spring, quizzing Democratic Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie &nbsp;for hours about her party’s map proposal.</p><p>"He was using the playbook he was given, and that’s fair," Currie said. "I don’t think he laid a glove on our expert witness but I certainly understand why he was anxious to try to do so."</p><p>Fortner first got involved in politics in his home town of West Chicago.More than 20 years ago, he and his wife bought a house built in the 1800s. Fortner volunteered to serve on the town’s historic preservation committee. From there, he followed the path many politicians do: He served on a school board, followed by the city council and then in&nbsp;2001, he was elected mayor of West Chicago. Six years into that job, he ran for state representative.</p><p>One thing he’s heard over the years is that he doesn’t seem like a politician.</p><p>"I’ve had a lot of people mention that," he said. "I think they’re not used to scientists and physicist in particular being active in politics. They still don’t expect it. I think they picture all politicians are lawyers."</p><p>Lots of politicians are lawyers, but in the General Assembly they’re also farmers, teachers – even an embalmer.</p><p>When he’s not in Springfield or at the university, Fortner might be in Batavia at Fermilab hovering over a microscope.</p><p>"We were in my office one day after many of these hearings and I said&nbsp; what do you do for a hobby? And he looked at me and said that redistricting was actually a hobby for him," Reboletti said.</p><p>A couple years ago, Fortner entered a contest organized by good government groups in Ohio to redraw districts there.</p><p>He spent his weekends working on it. He won</p><p>"I got a nice certificate from Secretary of State Brunner," Fortner said.</p><p>The map he helped Illinois Republicans draw this year is part of the state redistricting lawsuit now making its way through court. His map also was in bill form this spring. It was sent straight to the Rules Committee, where House Speaker Michael Madigan is in charge.</p><p>There, it promptly died.</p></p> Fri, 29 Jul 2011 10:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/redistricting-no-mystery-general-assembly-scientist-89790 Praise and frustration after Illinois Dems release legislative maps http://www.wbez.org/story/praise-and-frustration-after-illinois-dems-release-legislative-maps-86881 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-22/photo 1.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Democrats are defending the new boundaries they've proposed for state legislative districts.&nbsp;Two hearings on the maps were held over the weekend in Chicago.</p><p>Democrats hold the governor's office and both chambers of the legislature, putting them in control of the mapmaking. The lines are redrawn every ten years using new Census data.</p><p>House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, acknowledges the boundaries were drawn in ways that could help her party.</p><p>"While we believe this plan is politically fair, we don't deny that partisan concerns from time to time played a role," Currrie said at a Sunday hearing of the House Redistricting Committee, which she chairs.</p><p>State Rep. Mike Fortner of West Chicago, the top Republican on the committee, asked Currie for evidence that the map is, as she described it, "competitive" and "fair."</p><p>"Is there a general principal that you used or a particular standard in the data that you used?" Fortner asked.</p><p>"I don't have a standard to enable me to answer that question specifically," Currie replied. "But just looking at the map and looking at how the populations have shifted, and how the districts have shifted, my own sense is that it is a politically competitive map."</p><p>Meanwhile, some minority groups are split over whether to support the proposed boundaries. Martin Torres with the Latino Policy Forum told the committee that the Democratic map does not do enough to reflect his community's population growth.</p><p>"Our analysis indicates that Latino residents have been short-changed by the current proposal," Torres said.</p><p>Another Latino group is pleased with the plan.&nbsp;Juan Rangel heads UNO, the United Neighborhood Organization. He said the map strikes a balance among minority groups.</p><p>"It may be possible to draw even more Latino districts," Rangel testified. "However, we believe that that would come at the expense of African-American districts."</p><p>The state House committee, and its Senate counterpart, held more than two dozen public hearings around the state in recent weeks. After the draft maps were released late last week, three other hearings were scheduled - two this weekend in Chicago and a third on Tuesday, in Springfield.</p><p>Some people testifying on Sunday asked that a final vote on the maps be delayed. They noted that the proposed boundaries for U.S. House districts had not yet been made public. In a sharply worded statement to the committee, Whitney Woodward from the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform called that "inexcusable."</p><p>"In the spirit of transparency that this committee has said it seeks to embrace, ICPR asks...this committee and the General Assembly to release a draft of those districts and summary language, and hold another set of regional public hearings at least a week after the posting of that information," Woodward said.</p><p>A delay that long is unlikely, though, as top Democrats want the maps approved before May 31st. After that, the proposal would need Republican votes in order to pass.</p></p> Sun, 22 May 2011 22:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/praise-and-frustration-after-illinois-dems-release-legislative-maps-86881 State legislature may intervene in hospital fight http://www.wbez.org/story/state-legislature-may-intervene-hospital-fight-86784 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-19/IMG_3615.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>An Illinois lawmaker is trying to release Cook County from the authority of a state board, with the fate of a south suburban hospital hanging in the balance. House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie introduced an amendment yesterday to exempt Cook County from rulings by a board charged with regulating health facilities in Illinois. That board twice rejected a county plan to close Oak Forest Hospital and replace it with a regional clinic.</p><p>Rep. Currie, a Democrat, said the county isn’t legally obligated to provide health care at all. And furthermore, she said the county is a home-rule entity and should control its own fate.</p><p>"This is an amendment that would say the health facilities planning board cannot tell Cook County what to do when it comes to providing health care services to the residents of Cook County," she said.</p><p>The amendment has been sent to the House Rules Committee, which Currie herself chairs.</p><p>Lynda DeLaforgue of Citizen Action Illinois, who has been campaigning to keep the hospital open, is denouncing the amendment, as well as County Board President Toni Preckwinkle for supporting it.</p><p>"President Preckwinkle ran on a ticket of reform," DeLaforgue said. “Reform certainly [does] not mean that you should end-run a process when it doesn’t go your way – especially with last-minute legislation, like this."</p><p>The County had planned to shutter the hospital by June 1st. It’s still not clear what will happen on that date, as many staff positions there are only budgeted through the end of May.</p><p>Rep. Currie said she intends the legislation, if passed, to effectively throw out the state board’s decision and free the county to close the hospital. Health system spokesman Lucio Guerrero said that’s likely how Cook County officials would interpret it as well.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 19 May 2011 20:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/state-legislature-may-intervene-hospital-fight-86784 Illinois House formally enters redistricting game http://www.wbez.org/story/barbara-flynn-currie/illinois-house-formally-enters-redistricting-game-84549 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//statehouse-Flickr_2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated at 5:54 p.m.</em></p><p>The Illinois House has formed its own redistricting committee, a few days after its state Senate counterpart got started with public hearings. The committees are tasked with taking public input, and then drafting new boundaries for legislative and congressional districts based on the recently released Census data.</p><p>State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, a Chicago Democrat and House majority leader, will chair the panel. The other Democratic members include Reps. Frank Mautino of Spring Valley, Lou Lang of Skokie, Karen Yarbrough of Maywood, Marlow Colvin of Chicago and Edward Acevedo of Chicago. Mautino is the only Democrat on the committee who lives outside the Chicago area.</p><p>The Republican members are Reps. Mike Fortner of West Chicago, Jil Tracy of Quincy, Chapin Rose of Mahomet, Jim Durkin of Countryside and Tim Schmitz of Geneva.</p><p>Currie, who chaired a similar panel during the redistricting process ten years ago, said that 15 committee hearings are scheduled, with more likely to be added. The first three will take place on April 16th in Champaign, Cicero and McHenry.</p><p>At the meeting this week of the Senate's redistricting committee, several speakers argued there should be time allotted for public comment before the General Assembly signs off on a map proposal. They want a week delay between whenever the draft map is made public, and when lawmakers vote.</p><p>"That would be dandy if we have time to do that," Currie said. "A lot of people kind of work up to deadlines."</p><p>The deadline in this case is May 31, the last day Democrats will be able to pass new legislative and congressional maps without Republican votes. The vote threshold moves from a majority to a super-majority when June begins.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.ilhousedems.com/redistricting/">House committee</a>, like the <a href="http://ilsenateredistricting.com/">Senate</a> one, has set up a website for Illinoisans to check out the census data.</p><p>Democratic Sen. Kwame Raoul of Chicago chairs the Senate redistricting committee. That panel next meets on April 6 in Springfield.</p></p> Thu, 31 Mar 2011 18:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/barbara-flynn-currie/illinois-house-formally-enters-redistricting-game-84549 The Election File Voting Guide: A Blagojevich-inspired constitutional amendment http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/election-file-voting-guide-blagojevich-inspired-constitutional-amendment <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2010-October/2010-10-26/quinnblagoweb.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-October/2010-10-26/quinnblagoweb.jpg" style="width: 420px; height: 315px;" /></p><p>Yesterday we looked at those often-overlooked <a href="http://wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/election-file-voting-guide-should-i-%E2%80%98retain%E2%80%99-these-judges-or-boot-them">elections for judges in Illinois</a>. Today we look at a question on the ballot that&rsquo;s also flown a bit under the radar this year: recall.</p><p>Voters are being asked whether they want to amend the Illinois Constitution to allow governors to be recalled &ndash; that is, removed from office before their terms are up. We delved into this issue in a recent <a href="http://www.wbez.org/Content.aspx?audioID=44776">radio story</a>, but here are the basics:</p><p><b>The question</b></p><p>This is how the recall amendment will show up on your ballot:</p><blockquote><div style="margin-left: 0.5in;">The proposed amendment, which takes effect upon approval by the voters, adds a new section to the Suffrage and Elections Article of the Illinois Constitution. The new section would provide the State's electors with an option to petition for a special election to recall a Governor and for the special election of a successor Governor. At the general election to be held on November 2, 2010, you will be called upon to decide whether the proposed amendment should become part of the Illinois Constitution.</div><div style="margin-left: 0.5in;">&nbsp;</div><div style="margin-left: 0.5in;">If you believe the Illinois Constitution <u>should be amended</u> to provide for a special election to recall a Governor and for a special election to elect a successor Governor, you should vote &ldquo;<b>YES&rdquo;</b> on the question. If you believe the Illinois Constitution <u>should not be amended</u> to provide for a special election to recall a Governor and for a special election to elect a successor Governor, you should vote &ldquo;<b>NO&rdquo; </b>on the question. Three-fifths of those voting on the question or a majority of those voting in the election must vote &ldquo;YES&rdquo; in order for the amendment to become effective.</div></blockquote> <div><b>How it would work</b></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>If the proposed amendment passes, this is how the recall process would work:&nbsp;</div> <blockquote><ol type="1" start="1" style="margin-top: 0in;"><li>A citizen or group of citizens gets mad and decides to try to recall the governor.</li><li>The recall proponents get 10 state senators and 20 state representatives to sign on to an affidavit in support of recall. This needs to be a bipartisan effort, with no more than half the signatures from members of any given party. The affidavit is then filed with the state board of elections.</li><li>The circulators have 150 days to collect what will amount to several hundred thousand signatures. The exact number is 15-percent of the total votes cast in the previous election for governor. To ensure geographic diversity, the petition will need at least 100 signatures from each of at least 25 Illinois counties.</li><li>Within 100 days after the petition is turned in, the election board must determine whether enough signatures were collected. If all is good, the state has another 100 days to hold a special election for the recall of the governor.</li><li>Candidates for governor will appear on the ballot at the same time voters decide whether to recall the sitting governor. This will act as the primary election.</li><li>If the governor is recalled, the lieutenant governor will take over, and an election with the primary winners will be held within 60 days. The winner serves out the remainder of the recalled governor&rsquo;s term.</li></ol></blockquote> <div><b>The proponents</b></div><p>Gov. Pat Quinn often touts the recall proposal among his accomplishments during the &ldquo;year of reform&rdquo; he says occurred following Rod Blagojevich&rsquo;s arrest. On the evening that the verdicts were returned in the Blagojevich case, Quinn laid out his argument in favor of the recall amendment:</p><blockquote><div style="margin-left: 0.5in;">We must be vigilant. We must make sure that we strengthen the people. That&rsquo;s why I believe in the power of recall. That voters, when they see a public official &ndash; such as a governor &ndash; betraying the public trust, that the voters have the power by petition and recall referendum to remove that person from office before his or her term is up. We will have on our ballot in Illinois this year a chance for the voters &ndash; for the first time in our history &ndash; to vote for a recall amendment in our constitution. I believe in recall. I think that the events of the past years, the past decade, underline the need for recall in Illinois.</div></blockquote> <div><b>The critics</b></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Some critics &ndash; although on this issue there are <a href="http://ilga.gov/legislation/votehistory/96/senate/09600HC0031_10152009_001000T.pdf">not</a> <a href="http://ilga.gov/legislation/votehistory/96/house/09600HC0031_05302009_050000A.pdf">many</a> in the General Assembly &ndash; object to the very idea of recall. State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie is the second-ranking Democrat in the House. Currie has a long list of the problems she thinks recall could bring to Illinois:</div> <blockquote><ul type="disc" style="margin-top: 0in;"><li><i>Recall efforts could be launched by special interests: </i>&ldquo;Millionaires or deep-pocket special interest groups are usually the ones that spearhead the idea of putting a recall motion on the ballot.&rdquo;</li><li><i>Recall efforts could be launched by political losers:</i> &ldquo;It really gives a second bite &ndash; or maybe a third or a fourth bite &ndash; at the apple to the people who lost the last time there was an election.</li><li><i>Politicians could become more poll-driven:</i> &ldquo;If you're worried about recall, and you would be if recall is an option, you might be more driven by public opinion than by the backbone that the people hope you will show when you are in office than otherwise.&rdquo;</li><li><i>Reasons for recall aren&rsquo;t fully spelled out in the amendment:</i> &ldquo;You can recall someone because you don't like the way he brushes his hair.&rdquo;</li><li><i>Governors already face regular elections every four years: </i>&ldquo;By the time you get around to counting a recall, the chances are good it&rsquo;s time for another election.</li><li><i>Governors can already be removed:</i> &ldquo;In cases of serious abuse, serious violations of the public trust, we have impeachment,&rdquo; which Currie calls &ldquo;a faster solution than recall ever would be.&rdquo;</li></ul></blockquote> <div style="text-align: center;"><img height="300" width="300" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-October/2010-10-26/general assembly.png" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>There are others, like state Rep. Dave Winters, who support the idea of recall, but think the proposal on the ballot is so watered down that&rsquo;s it&rsquo;s not even worth it. Winters (who voted for the bill in the Illinois House, but now says he&rsquo;ll vote against it at the polling place) objects to the requirement that a bipartisan group of state lawmakers sign on to the recall proposal. He also thinks voters should have the option of recalling all statewide officials and members of the General Assembly. &nbsp;&ldquo;I don't really think it moves the state very far forward,&quot; he told me. &ldquo;If this fails, it gives us the opportunity to come back and hope that we can get a stronger recall amendment in the next General Assembly.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><b>The rebuttal</b></div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div>Quinn, long a supporter of recall, dismisses the complaints. He says the requirement that a bipartisan group of legislators sign a recall affidavit is part of a &ldquo;reasonable process.&rdquo;</div> <blockquote><div style="margin-left: 0.5in;">By no means is it a majority of legislators, as it would be in a process like&hellip;impeachment. It&rsquo;s a more political process, where&hellip;the voters decide the final verdict. However, I think the proposal that is going to be on the ballot makes sure that recall will be used seriously and not frivolously. It should be only used in those dire circumstances where there&rsquo;s a real question whether the incumbent is betraying the public&rsquo;s trust. It should not be used as a political tool against somebody.</div></blockquote> <div><b>But is it an <em>unconstitutional </em>constitutional amendment?</b></div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div>The ACLU of Illinois says it started looking at the proposed amendment a few weeks ago when it started getting calls. Turns out, the ACLU argues, this proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution actually violates the U.S Constitution.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The group&rsquo;s legal director, Harvey Grossman, says he has no problem with recall in general. But he says the way Illinois&rsquo; proposed amendment is written, it would give more of a say to voters in less-populated counties. That&rsquo;s because of the bolded portion (below) of the amendment:</div> <blockquote><div style="margin-left: 0.5in;">The recall of the Governor may be proposed by a 15 petition signed by a number of electors equal in number to at 16 least 15% of the total votes cast for Governor in the preceding 17 gubernatorial election, <b>with at least 100 signatures from each 18 of at least 25 separate counties.</b></div></blockquote> <div>Grossman says that requirement is &ldquo;unconstitutional and unfair.&rdquo;</div> <blockquote><div style="margin-left: 0.5in;">The [U.S.] Supreme Court long ago established the doctrine of &lsquo;one person, one vote.&rsquo; But in Illinois, under that proposed constitutional amendment, voters who live in less-populous counties will have their signatures on a petition for recall count more than persons who sign and live more populous counties.</div></blockquote> <div>Grossman explains further that the 24 most-populous counties in Illinois make up about 84 percent of the registered voters in Illinois. But they alone couldn&rsquo;t advance the proposal without 100 signatures from one of the 78 smaller counties. Meanwhile, those 78 counties, representing far less of the state&rsquo;s population, could advance a recall without any support at all from the most-populous 24 counties. Bottom-line, Grossman says, &ldquo;84 percent of the electorate in 24 counties can&rsquo;t do &ndash; under the signature requirement &ndash; what 16-percent of the voters can do in 78 counties.&rdquo; And that, he says, is unconstitutional.</div><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="225" width="300" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-October/2010-10-26/franksweb.jpg" /></p><div>I called the sponsor of the recall proposal to see what he thinks of the ACLU&rsquo;s concern. State Rep. Jack Franks, a Democrat from Marengo:</div> <blockquote><div style="margin-left: 0.5in;">I&rsquo;m not sure they&rsquo;re right. Then again I&rsquo;m not sure they&rsquo;re wrong. And I&rsquo;d hate to see a court have to decide that. Nonetheless, I&rsquo;m encouraging everyone to vote for it. I think the voters need to be heard &ndash; the citizens need to be heard &ndash; that we need a recall amendment. And my goal all along was to have a much broader recall amendment - one that included all the constitutional officers as well as all the members of the General Assembly. So I think if we have a resounding &lsquo;yes&rsquo; vote on this, it would give me more power in the General Assembly to pass a more sweeping recall bill that we can put on the ballot next time, as well. So I&rsquo;m asking people to vote for it to show their support for recall.</div></blockquote> <div><b>The newspaper editorial boards are split</b></div> <blockquote><ul type="disc" style="margin-top: 0in;"><li><i>Chicago</i><i> Tribune</i>: <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-10-11/news/ct-edit-recall-20101011_1_lawmakers-amendment-election">Yes on recall</a></li><li><i>Chicago</i><i> Sun-Times</i>: <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/elections/endorsements/2821762,CST-EDT-edit21.article">Recall amendment more harm than good</a></li><li><i>Daily Herald</i>:<a href="http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20101013/discuss/710149879/">Recall:Approve it and rarely use it</a></li></ul></blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 27 Oct 2010 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/election-file-voting-guide-blagojevich-inspired-constitutional-amendment