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November 7, 2009

Governor Quinn Signs Veto Override Bill
New Law Reforms Cook County Board Voting Practice

CHICAGO – November 7, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a law that reforms the Cook County Board’s veto override power by making it more responsive to the people and a stronger force for democracy.

The new law enables the Cook County Board of Commissioners to override a veto by a County Board President with an affirmative vote of three-fifths of its members, instead of the previous four-fifths necessary to override.

“The Illinois Constitution has a three-fifths requirement for the Legislature to override a veto of the Governor. It is standard in our constitution and in other constitutions,” said Governor Quinn. “I believe it is also a good model for Cook County.”

Cook County was the only county in Illinois to have the four-fifths veto override requirement. Indeed, the county’s four-fifths override rule dates back to 1870 when the requirement was written into the Illinois Constitution.

This new law eliminates that obsolete and extraordinary high vote threshold and is more reflective of the present Illinois Constitution, which was passed in 1970.

“We must have fair rules for everyone. That’s the basis of our democracy,” said Governor Quinn.

Among those joining Governor Quinn at the signing ceremony for HB4625 were the bill’s co-sponsors Senator Dan Kotowski of Park Ridge and Representative Mark L. Walker of Arlington Heights. The bill was passed by the Illinois General Assembly on October 29.

The new law goes into effect immediately.


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