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Why rejecting Stroger could be easier

Thursday, April 02, 2009
Daily Herald
by Dan Cardin

SPRINGFIELD - Todd Stroger could see some of his power as Cook County Board president reduced if a measure making it easier for the county board to overrule his decisions becomes law.

The measure, approved Wednesday by the Illinois Senate, reduces the number of commissioners needed to override a veto to three-fifths from four-fifths. There are 17 members on the board and currently 14 members must approve to override a veto. If the law is changed to three-fifths, 11 commissioners could override the board president.

A four-fifths requirement is almost unheard of in American government. The U.S. Constitution requires a two-thirds majority in Congress to override a president's veto. In Springfield, state lawmakers only need a three-fifths majority to override a governor's veto.

Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley has been pushing for the veto override change for the county board since 2003, but only state lawmakers have the power to actually change the rule.

The plan was approved by the state Senate 57-0, with state Sens. Kwame Raoul, a Chicago Democrat, and Martin Sandoval, a Cicero Democrat, voting present. It must still be approved by the Illinois House and Gov. Pat Quinn in the coming weeks to become law.



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