Wednesday, June 20, 2007

End Pay to Play Already

HB 1, the pay to play ban, passed the Illinois House without dissent on April 25th -- 8 weeks ago today. Since then, Senate leadership has left the bill in Rules. And they haven't done much else. They filed, but did not adopt, alternative language as an amendment to HB 824 on May 31, 3 weeks ago tomorrow. In the meantime, the House again passed language banning pay to play in an amendment to SB 1305, on June 14, one week ago tomorrow. And still the Senate lets the matter lie.

While Senate leadership has done nothing, individual Senators have taken action. 45 of them have signed as co-sponsors of HB 1 (apparently, it's the other 14 who are blocking action). Newspapers have taken notice. Every large daily in the state has editorialized in favor of HB 1 (a partial list is on ICPR's homepage). Some more than once -- today's Chicago Sun-Times contains the Sun-Times News Group's third editorial on the subject in two months. Yesterday's Crain's noted that the current system is bad for business. What is it that those 14 Senators don't understand?

Senate inaction is frustrating, and continued foot-dragging may prompt more extreme measures. The Decatur Herald & Review today cites inaction over ethics and campaign finance reform as a reason to support the call for a state Constitutional Convention. Illinoisans want to see their public officials doing what needs doing. Inaction by officials may result in more than just frustration outside the Capitol.

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