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House Shoots Down Blago's Amendments

By Kevin Robinson in News on Sep 11, 2008 1:00PM

2008_9_statehouse.jpgIn swift order Wednesday afternoon, the Illinois House shot down Governor Rod Blagojevich's amendatory veto to a major ethics bill. House Bill 824 bans campaign contributions from people and businesses that have at least $50K worth of contracts with the state. The bill applies to all state officials, although it is aimed largely at Blagojevich, who raises large sums of money from state contractors.

Blago made several significant changes to the bill, including extending the ban to lawmakers and to party leaders, prohibiting lawmakers from holding most other government jobs while in the General Assembly, (known as "double-dipping"), and requiring lawmakers to disclose outside lobbying interests. He also changed the way lawmakers vote on raises; under the current system, a "no" vote supports a pay raise, but the governor wants a "yes" vote to signify support for a pay raise. "Through his amendatory veto, the governor isn't trying to clean up Illinois," Rep. John Fritchey , the bill's chief House sponsor, told the Sun-Times. "He's trying one last, desperate attempt to prevent this bill from becoming law." Blagojevich took a preemptive swipe at the vote at a press conference yesterday morning. Double-dipping by lawmakers is a "glaring conflicts of interest that add to the corruption tax people are paying across Illinois everyday because too many elected officials are in it for themselves and in it to protect each other."

The bill now goes to the State Senate. If they don't also reject the amendatory veto in the next 15 days, the bill dies. [Trib]