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Rauner urges quick approval of amendatory veto — Dems favor override

Gov. Bruce Rauner with Hegewisch Business Community leaders after a roundtable on keeping jobs in Illinois in June. File Photo. | Brian Jackson/ For the Sun-Times

Democratic leaders on Wednesday inched toward a vote to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s amendatory veto of a school funding measure — as the governor urged them to do the reverse, and do it quickly.

Lawmakers are not expected to uphold the changes the governor made with his amendatory veto, but he is pushing for them to do just that, despite lingering uncertainties.

Rauner has been asked to explain why he didn’t discuss his proposed changes earlier. For weeks, he toured the state urging Democratic leaders to send him the education bill, so he could issue an amendatory veto. He didn’t specify what changes he wanted to make, but repeatedly blasted the existing bill as a “Chicago bailout.”

On Wednesday, reporters asked the governor whether it was a mistake to not have publicly discussed changes earlier — especially since an analysis by the Illinois State Board of Education is being re-tabulated based on a data error. State aid payments to school districts were to be sent out on Aug. 10 — but the state needs an “evidence-based” school funding formula approved before it can release those funds, per an agreement Democratic leaders inserted into a budget package.

“I’ll never claim to be a perfect person. Never have been, never will be. I don’t know anybody who is perfect,” Rauner said. “We can all try to do better. But let’s be clear. There is no legitimate reason for the General Assembly to have sat on that education bill for two months doing nothing. No excuse. From here we need to try to move quickly,” Rauner said, urging lawmakers to uphold his amendatory veto.

The Illinois Senate will return to session on Sunday, with Senate President John Cullerton saying the purpose is to “take action on education funding.” He also voiced hope for a compromise based on ongoing bipartisan negotiations.

The Illinois House will reconvene next Wednesday, also with action on the override expected.

Also on Wednesday, the Illinois House held a lengthy committee hearing in Chicago on an amendment that replicated Rauner’s amendatory veto. That was filed in order to have public hearings about the changes. And Democrats may choose to vote on that amendment next week. If it fails, it would show that lawmakers don’t support Rauner’s changes.

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