SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — On the eve of the start of the Springfield veto session — the first meeting in four months for state lawmakers — the race is on to determine what, if anything, legislators can pass.
But several controversial topics and another election around the corner could halt action at the Capitol.
What they’re likely not going to act on, according to a top Democrat, is an extension of a controversial tax scholarship program and supplemental money for communities struggling to deal with the influx of migrants.
“The General Assembly will not do a supplemental budget to fund anything that will support ongoing funding for the migrants in Chicago,” said State Rep. LaShawn Ford.
MORE FROM TAHMAN BRADLEY: Illinois Congressman rips Texas governor for ‘man-made’ migrant crisis
Ford says if state money is going to flow, it will have to come from funds that Illinois Governor JB Pritzker can use at his discretion. Finding additional cash in the budget is not sustainable.
“This is almost like spending money at a hotel until you could find another place,” Ford said.
On the Invest in Kids program, which provides tax incentives for scholarships to certain children who want to attend private school, Republicans back an extension; Democrats are divided.
“This program has fallen very, very short of Black and brown individuals having access to this option,” Ford said. “If we took a vote today, this bill that’s going to be filed or is filed would fall short of the votes necessary to extend it.”
Last week, Pritzker, who campaigned on repealing it, said he’s open to an extension.
“I will support it if it comes to my desk,” the governor stated.
With Democrats holding a supermajority, Republicans must wait to see what’s on the agenda. But the House GOP Leader Tony McCombie wants Springfield to pass a resolution expressing support for Israel.
“What happened on Oct. 7 is just horrendous and it shouldn’t be political,” McCombie said. “I really am shocked at the lack of support for something as simple as supporting Israel in this situation.”
Democrats say a resolution is unlikely.
Lawmakers must decide if they will try to override Governor Pritzker’s veto of legislation to eliminate Illinois’ moratorium on constructing new nuclear power reactors. The governor has said he will sign a bill that limits new construction to only small modular reactors.