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Greg Bishop and Dan McCaleb | Illinois News Network
The Illinois House on Wednesday voted to override several pieces of legislation vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Among the successful veto overrides was of a bill that seeks to mandate that Illinois’ public schools teach cursive writing to students.
Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch, D-Hillside, sponsored the legislation because he said knowing how to write cursive will help kids read historical documents, write their grandparents birthday cards and more.
Rauner vetoed it, saying it was another unfunded mandate by the state on local schools.
Rep. Grant Wehrli, R-Naperville, asked if there’s a law to mandate that schools teach keyboard or typing. Welch said lawmakers can consider that later.
Wehrli said schools are teaching cursive already without the mandate.
“Why does this have to be law?” Wehrli asked.
“It’s our job to pass good policy,” Welch said. “This is good, sound policy.”
The veto override passed 77-36. It now heads to the Senate, where a successful override will mean Illinois’ public elementary schools and high schools will be required to teach cursive writing.
Lawmakers voted, 80-33, to successfully override legislation that would prohibit businesses from asking applicants what they made in salary in previous jobs.
Supporters said the measure would help protect working women from pay discrimination that they claim is common in the workplace.
Rep. Norine Hammond, D-Macomb, opposed an override, saying the measure “opens our small businesses to more litigation, more and more fines.”
Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, also opposed an override, calling the bill onerous.
“We’re losing businesses all the time and when you look at the business votes in this chamber, most of you have failing grades on voting for pro business bills,” Ives said.
The override effort now heads to Senate.
Representatives voted, 79-36, to override Rauner’s veto of a measure that would forgive a 36-year-old, $20 million loan the state made to the Illinois International Port Authority
“A deal is a deal is a deal,” Rep. David Harris, R-Arlington Heights, said in opposition to an override vote. “We loaned them $20 million and they have to pay it back. Absent a public policy issue, the loan should be paid back.”
In supporting an override, Rep. Marcus Evans D-Chicago, said the port “could potentially bring in hundreds of millions of dollars to our economy. They have a plan.”
The measure now heads to the Senate, where a successful override would make it law.
On an 86-29 vote, the House overrode Rauner’s veto of legislation that would require small businesses to hire a licensed roofer to perform roofing or waterproofing work on a residential property that is being used as a business, preventing the business owner from using an employee to conduct the work.
Rauner vetoed the legislation, saying it was another example of the over-regulation of job creators in the state.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Daniel Burke, D-Chicago, said it’s a public safety issue.
“You can’t expect to hire your dishwasher to use a torch to fix your roof and expect you’re not going to have problems,” Burke said, pointing to a specific example of a non-licensed employee improperly using a torch on a roof in a Chicago neighborhood. “Our job in this body is to protect the public in any way we see fit.”
Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, said the bill overreaches.
“The problem is the representative doesn’t want people using a torch on a commercial roof,” Batinick said.
That may be a problem in Chicago, but it’s not in less dense locations throughout the rest of the state, he said.
“I just don’t understand why we don’t let those business owners replace shingle roofs on their buildings,” Batinick said.
It also heads to the Senate.
On an 86-29 vote, the House successfully overrode Rauner’s veto of House Bill 688, which would allow downstate firefighters to transfer up to 10 years of service in a downstate firefighter pension fund to the Firemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago.
Rep. Peter Breen, R-Lombard, opposed the override vote, calling it irresponsible.
“The transfer of credit will have an impact on the underfunded local pension systems of the state,” Breen said.
But Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, said “that the fund is willing to accept that outcome and adjust accordingly. There’s no impact, according to them.”
“The governor has properly vetoed this bill,” Breen said. “He has identified we have a real problem in this state, an issue we’ve talked about frequently, but it seems people are putting their heads in the sand waiting for it to boil over and take us down.”
The override measure now heads to the Senate.