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It doesn’t get much stranger than this in the legislative realm. Last night, the House Youth and Family Committee took a Senate bill regarding legal procedures for court action after the defendant has died, and replaced the bill’s entire language with the “Civil Unions” language of HB 2234. The number of the Senate bill (SB 1716) remains the same, but the entire nature of the bill has changed since the Senate voted on it. Now the bill will be voted on by the House to determine if the legislators will support “civil unions.” If it passes in the House, it will go back to the Senate for another vote, and if they pass it, it goes before the Governor for his approval. Why are they doing it like this? Because they are running out of time to pass their bill in the House. If they stuck with the original HB 2234, it would have had to be passed in the House, then read on 3 separate days in the Senate before they could vote on it, and they could possibly run out of time since the legislative session ends May 31st.
So, with little time left, they conveniently emptied out a senate bill that had already been read three times, and filled it up with new language to legalize civil unions. Presto change-o! If the House passes it, they only have to place it before the Senate for a concurrence vote (not three readings), and they have met their time deadline. This stinks! It strikes me that the state constitutional requirement for 3 separate readings was originally designed to ensure full time for legislators to understand the bill as well as to provide the public with ample time to understand the issue and contact their legislators with their views. Last night’s approach completely violates the principle of democracy and is dishonest to its very core. Any legislator who votes for this new bill is voting to persist in “the business as usual” methods that anger Illinois citizens. If you have a legislator who has said they support civil unions, please contact them and tell them they can not use a dishonest method to force this issue upon the citizens of Illinois. To do so, would inflame voters’ disgust with the legislature overall and with their own legislator specifically.
Take ACTION: We can stand up to such dishonesty and protect our traditional values. Contact both your state senator and state representative to let them know that this latest maneuver is an outrage. Encourage them to vote NO on civil unions by any name or number. And, ask them to be honest in their treatment of Illinois legislative procedures. If you have a liberal legislator, now is the time to demand that they act honestly with integrity and respect for democracy and the procedures that are supposed to be followed in Illinois.
Please pass this on to others so that they too might know the underhanded means that are being attempted in Springfield.