Lawmaker moves to put Rauner’s death penalty veto plan under microscope
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A north suburban legislator on Wednesday said he filed a motion to accept a controversial amendatory veto penned by Gov. Bruce Rauner — which includes reinstating the death penalty for cop killers and mass murderers — because he doesn’t want to “let the governor end debate by forcing a political stalemate.”
While a motion to accept the veto has been filed, there’s still a long trek for it to be passed, and a vote in the Illinois House would force legislators to be on record on both gun control and death penalty elements within the sweeping veto.
But there’s a possibility it won’t even make it out of a House rules committee. State Rep. Jonathan Carroll on Wednesday said he hadn’t been in contact with Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan about when or if his motion would make it to committee. And Democrats have said the governor’s veto may not pass constitutional muster since it pertains to several issues that are unrelated to the initial gun control measure.
“The governor basically hijacked my bill, and as far as I’m concerned I don’t feel the process was fair,” the Northbrook Democrat said. “We want to make sure that there’s a fair process. … We’ll see where it goes focusing on process. How do you take one issue and turn it into six issues? Let’s talk about these things.”
Carroll in a statement said he filed the motion to accept the veto because he wants a full discussion of the issues at hand: “I will not let the governor end debate by forcing a political stalemate.”
Madigan spokesman Steve Brown offered few details about Carroll’s motion, but said Carroll would be able to file a motion to override the veto should his motion fail on the House floor.
The many options show the uphill battle Rauner’s veto faces. Even if it makes it to the floor for a vote, the amendatory veto would put some vulnerable lawmakers on record with some unpopular votes that they’ll have to explain on the campaign trail. And many Republican voters weren’t on board with the initial concept of the measure, enacting a 72-hour waiting period for the purchase of assault weapons. Rauner’s veto included changing that language to include all gun purchases. That would undoubtedly face resistance from the National Rifle Association, which didn’t support the initial measure.
There are six elements to Rauner’s veto, which essentially put on record a package of public safety reforms that he can tout to voters ahead of a heated November election. They include reinstating the death penalty provided the suspects in police killings and mass murders are found “guilty beyond any doubt;” extending the 72-hour waiting period to all gun buys; banning bump stocks and trigger cranks; using restraining orders to disarm dangerous individuals; making judge and prosecutors explain why charges are reduced in plea agreements for violent gun offenders; and the use of revenue to add school resource officers and mental health workers when needed.
Rauner called the plan “thoughtful” and “comprehensive.” And the governor’s office on Wednesday said he is urging lawmakers to support his “broadened public safety package.”
Meanwhile, despite the political dance surrounding the veto, the Illinois Senate on Wednesday cleared another measure that would require the Illinois State Police to license gun dealers throughout the state. It would also require gun dealers to safely store firearms at all times; require dealers to make copies of Firearm Owner Identification cards and attach them to documentation detailing each sale and require employees to undergo annual training about the law and responsible business practices. The bipartisan bill was crafted in response to Rauner’s veto of a similar measure, which he deemed too “bureaucratic” and doing little to help public safety.
Senators also passed legislation deemed the “Waffle House” bill that would increase oversight whenever a family member takes possession of a firearm from someone who is deemed not qualified to possess the weapon. It would also make it a Class 4 felony for someone to transfer a firearm without first checking to see if the recipient has a valid FOID card.
Four people were killed and four others were injured in a Tennessee Waffle House shooting in early April after a gunman opened fire. Police said the suspect had displayed signs of mental illness before his FOID card was revoked last summer. The guns were transferred to his father, who then allegedly returned them to his son, who lived in Downstate Tazewell County.