Senate overrides Rauner's amendatory veto of school funding bill
Senate Democrats voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s amendatory veto of the state's school funding bill despite opposition from Republicans and Rauner, who had urged Senators to either pass the bill as amended or present viable alternatives.
“I hope they vote to support our plan and help us change how we fund our schools for the better; help us finally make education fair and equitable for all our schools,” Rauner said before the Senate vote. “It’s time to act. If lawmakers refuse to support the numbers and our changes, then let’s come together to find another solution, quickly. Let’s get a compromise quickly. If they will not support our amendatory veto, then let’s come together. Our children need action. They deserve so much better than what we currently have. This is too important to let partisan games get in the way.”
Rauner issued an amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1 on Aug. 1, after the bill had sat idle in the Senate since May despite passing both chambers. His veto removed certain provisions that would allocate more funding to Chicago Public Schools and its pension system.
Almost two weeks after the amendatory veto, the Senate met Aug. 13 and voted 38-19 to override Rauner's veto.
Sen. William “Sam” McCann (R-Jacksonville) was the lone Republican senator who voted against his party and with the majority Democrats on the override. McCann said the only thing worse than a one-party majority “is one-man control,” referring to Rauner. McCann is said to be considering running against Rauner in 2018.
Other Republicans expressed disappointment at a lack of compromise on school funding.
“We came to the table; we brought some ideas we thought were good options for compromise, and there was virtually nothing offered in return in writing,” Sen. Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorne Woods) said. “We got some verbal comments at the time … and then here we are today. So, I am very disappointed to be here today. I also urge us to come back to the negotiating table. I believe this is something that we can actually do in a good-faith effort on a real bipartisan basis and that we could do so quickly.”
McConchie called the override an act of “unnecessary” partisanship, suggesting negotiations could have continued instead of the passage of what many Republicans call a Chicago bailout.
Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) also urged more negotiations.
“SB1 does not represent the solution that our state and our schools and schoolchildren need because it does not address the inequities that could be addressed through a bipartisan solution to this issue,” Barickman said.
Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) echoed Barickman.
“We want every child of this state to be adequately and fairly funded,” Brady said. “SB1, in my opinion, doesn’t do that. It gives an advantage to Chicago students at the cost of students throughout the rest of the state.”
Sen. Chris Nybo (R-Elmhurst) said in a statement that he could not support SB1 because of its failure to treat students equally.
“It should not matter where a child is born; every single student has an equal right to earn a quality education,” Nybo said. “The governor’s amendatory veto made changes to the school funding bill that were both fair and equitable to all 852 school districts in Illinois, and does not unfairly tip the scale toward Chicago schools at the expense of every other school district – like has been done in years past. SB1 was not the product of bipartisan negotiations, and that is extremely unfortunate because I truly believe good-faith negotiations and bipartisan progress were possible.”
SB1 then moved to the House, which was scheduled to reconvene Aug. 16. The original version of the bill passed the House on a 60-52 vote in May, but 71 votes are needed to override Rauner's veto.