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updated: 8/2/2013 9:23 AM

Quinn evokes opposite reactions for single-county laws

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  • Aaron Lawlor

      Aaron Lawlor

  • Dan Cronin

      Dan Cronin

 
 

It's a tale of two counties.

In one case, a suburban county board chairman welcomes Gov. Pat Quinn with open arms today for the signing of a new law that helps just his county give the ax to some government agencies.

In the other, another suburban county chairman is suing to block legislation Quinn signed that, in part, creates a new election commission for just his county.

Quinn plans to be in DuPage County today to sign a bill allowing Chairman Dan Cronin and his board to abolish up to 13 units of government. Republican Cronin cooked up the idea with Democratic state Sen. Tom Cullerton of Villa Park.

The new law would apply only to DuPage County, as statewide legislation aimed at consolidating government often grows too controversial and can't get approved in the General Assembly.

Supporters say this could be a test case for the rest of the state to see how transferring the responsibilities of, say, some local mosquito abatement districts to other agencies affects the work getting done.

"We will make sure it's done properly," Cronin told Daily Herald Staff Writer Robert Sanchez this week, "and we will be a demonstration model, hopefully, for the other 101 counties in the state."

What Quinn taketh ...

But earlier this week, a law signed by Quinn was challenged in court by Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor because of a provision that applies just to Lake County.

Lawlor argued the controversial law to strip election oversight authority from Lake County Clerk Willard Helander and create a new commission should be tossed out because it's special legislation affecting only that county.

Now what?

There's no way to know how a lawsuit will go, of course. But as this week shows, it's not necessarily uncommon that machinations in Springfield affect one part of the state and not others.

Even a law on Quinn's desk that would raise the speed limits on interstates and tollways to 70 mph allows suburban counties, for example, to opt out.

Family conflict

In DuPage County, the consolidation push is at least three years old. State Sen. Tom Cullerton, a Villa Park Democrat, talked to Cronin about perhaps abolishing Salt Creek Sanitary District at least three years ago when Cullerton was mayor of Villa Park and Cronin was a state senator.

"It's a journey," Cullerton said. He'll miss the bill signing today because he's at a family reunion in Montana he scheduled last year.

To boldly go

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam had a series of bills up in the U.S. House this week dealing with the IRS scandal from earlier this year, including one to try to limit the agency's conference costs.

The bills are at least partly in response to a Star Trek parody video made for a 2010 IRS conference. One measure that passed in the House is called the SPOCC Act, rhyming with everyone's favorite logical Vulcan. (It really stands for Stop Playing on Citizen's Cash Act.)

Roskam has also proposed legislation that would keep the IRS from asking a group about its politics or religious leanings in response to the news earlier this year that the tax-collecting agency had targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny.

Hatcher won't run again

State Rep. Kay Hatcher, a Yorkville Republican whose district includes parts of Geneva and Sugar Grove, announced on Facebook she won't run again in 2014.

"At the end of this term I will have dedicated nearly a quarter century to serving in local and regional elected office," she said. "I have always considered the opportunity to be a state representative public service, and never intended that it should be a career."

Bellock wants to stay in House

And state Rep. Patti Bellock, a Hinsdale Republican, said she plans to run for re-election in 2014, not for state Sen. Kirk Dillard's spot in the Illinois Senate.

State Rep. Dennis Reboletti, an Elmhurst Republican, is calling people about a possible bid to replace Dillard, and former Republican state Rep. Chris Nybo is considering it, too.

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