Illinois Governor Pat Quinn sent back a bill passed with overwhelming majorities in both houses of the State Legislature, amending it to buy himself more time to replace political appointees.
The bill, called SB 1, is intended to clear the decks of hundreds of appointees whose terms have expired months or years ago. As of now, the governor often simply ignores their term limits, in the hopes of avoiding a potentially arduous confirmation hearing in the Senate.
But Senators, unsurprisingly, want their share of the power back. They passed the bill unanimously, and it went through the House with very little resistance as well, the State Journal-Register reports.
On Tuesday afternoon, Governor Quinn announced that he was using the "amendatory veto," a process wherein a governor can reject a bill and simultaneously return it to the legislature with modifications as he sees fit.
In this case, Quinn asked to buy a little more time. As it was written, the bill would have taken effect shortly after its passage. Instead, Quinn suggested this language be added, according to the Capitol Fax:
The provisions of this Section pertaining to a salaried office apply on and after July 1, 2011. The provisions of this Section pertaining to an office other than a salaried office apply on and after October 1, 2011.
According to his veto statement, Quinn wanted the bill to "give citizens ample time to apply for a vacant position and allow a reasonable amount of time for identifying and recruiting qualified candidates."
A three-fifths majority in both houses could override the AV, and given the huge majorities it passed with, it seems likely that legislators could muster those numbers with little difficulty. The question is whether they care to. According to Chicagoist, a spokesman for Senate President John Cullerton would not comment on plans, saying only that the chamber is "going to study the governor's action to see if it complies with the constitution.”