Making "no" mean NO!

Making "no" mean NO!

Posted by JP on Fri, 05/09/2008 - 07:48
State Sen. Rickey Hendon made headlines for his comments about the latest recommended pay raises for lawmakers. Some colleagues want to vote to block the raises -- which are automatic enacted unless both the House and Senate take the exact same action to reject them. Hendon, a Chicago Democrat, took issue with state Sen. Susan Garrett, a Lake Forest Democrat, leading the opposition, calling the suburban lawmaker "filthy rich" and from "Richville." Hendon heads the committee that will decide if the pay raise rejection effort ever sees the light of day. He indicated Thursday it will not without a significant change. Here's the amendment Hendon would like to add. If you vote against the raises, you don't get them even if they ultimately go into effect. For instance, if the Senate vote is 58-1 in favor of the raises, that one "no" vote doesn't get to cash in like everyone else. OK, here's a problem. The raises in question become automatic unless lawmakers vote to reject them. The proposals at issue call for rejecting the increases. A "yes" vote is to reject the raises, a "no" vote is to support the raises. Under Hendon's concept, lawmakers would vote down the raise rejection (meaning the raises kick in) but somehow there'd be a new provision under which everyone who voted "no" wouldn't get the raise. Under what authority? There'd be no approved law or regulation for anyone to point to in trying to enforce the concept. That's not to say Hendon's idea is completely bad. It could be viewed as an attempt to put integrity into the legislative process. For instance, there's no shortage of lawmakers who vote against every tax or fee increase and budget plan and then whine whenever they perceive their area is somehow getting shortchanged. Hendon's position: if you don't take the tough vote, you shouldn't reap the benefits.
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