Suburban Democrats say they wouldn't be swayed on Rauner veto
Two suburban Democrats disagree with House Speaker Michael Madigan's suggestion that his party would have fallen in line to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of controversial union legislation if a Chicago lawmaker had shown up to the Capitol Wednesday.
Democrats fell three votes short of overriding Rauner on a proposal pushed by the state's biggest employee union that became a flashpoint for the conflict between the Republican governor and Madigan. Madigan needed all 71 Democrats in the House to vote for the override to succeed. But state Rep. Ken Dunkin of Chicago was absent and did not vote, perhaps offering some political cover for the two Democrats who did not vote to override.
Both Democratic Reps. Jack Franks of Marengo and Scott Drury of Highwood said they wouldn't have voted to override Rauner even if Dunkin had shown up.
"I make up my own mind," Drury, who voted against the plan, said.
Madigan told reporters after Wednesday's failed override attempt supporters peeled off because they knew the plan wouldn't succeed without Dunkin there.
"Had Mr. Dunkin been here, there would have been 71 Democrats voting to override," Madigan said.
Franks, who voted "present," also disagreed. He said he made no commitments on a proposal he considered "nakedly" political.
"I was very clear about that to everyone," he said.
Franks also argues Dunkin's absence pulled off a couple downstate Republicans, who might have been swayed to vote to override Rauner if the measure had a shot.
"The bill failed because of Republicans," Franks said.
Drury had originally voted for the proposal but said he changed his mind when he did additional research, which included talking to professors at both Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cornell University about a paper they wrote together about collective bargaining, arbitration and wages.
He said he wanted to do a lot of research because he knew how a vote either way would be heavily scrutinized.
"I wanted to make sure I was on solid footing," he said.
In the end, Drury said, the legislation's attempt to outlaw a strike took away a key power of union workers.
"There certainly wasn't enough discussion to not preserve it," he said.
After the vote, Rauner applauded lawmakers for upholding the veto.
Franks said the governor should take the victory and focus on crafting a long-overdue state budget with lawmakers. The state has operated without one since July 1.