Download the 2011 Illinois General Assembly Legislative Vote Card: Mid Year Report here.
Policy changes lives. Legislation that lowers the cost of living and doing business in Illinois makes life better across the state. Legislation that gives children better educational opportunities can transform the futures of families and communities.
But legislation that increases taxes, drives up public debt or limits economic opportunity can destroy a family’s dream, even sending a family packing for another state.
The Legislative Vote Card is the Illinois Policy Institute’s attempt to shine a light on the votes in Springfield that matter most. This is the second installment of the Vote Card. In 2010 the Vote Card was launched as an annual report. Beginning in 2011, the Vote Card will hereafter be published twice a year. The first installment will be released following the conclusion of the Spring legislative session, to be updated after the conclusion of the General Assembly’s fall “veto session.” This is the first installment for 2011. Included are the most significant votes of the 2011 calendar year, as well key votes from the early January session of the outgoing 96th General Assembly.
Almost all state lawmakers discuss responsible spending, belt-tightening, creating good schools and restoring integrity to Illinois government. Votes should match the rhetoric. There are many lawmakers who champion job creation and the principles of liberty in their words and their actions. The 2011 Legislative Vote Card highlights the actions of Illinois lawmakers at the crucial moments when they are asked to vote.
This Vote Card assesses roll call votes on key bills that have an identifiable impact on job creation and liberty in one of the following areas: budget and taxes, government regulation, transparency and accountability, and education. Bills not related to the Institute’s mission were not included.
The 2011 Legislative Vote Card includes roll call votes on bills that received a recorded floor vote in at least one chamber. The Vote Card does not account for bill sponsorship or bills that did not receive a related floor vote For this reason, the vote tells an important but limited story about lawmakers in Springfield. Many of the most important policy proposals of 2011 have yet to receive a floor vote – bills to limit spending, cut taxes, reform government pensions plans and create school choice scholarships all have been held in committee or on the chamber floor. A strong record on this vote card does not necessarily suggest how a particular lawmaker will vote on those looming issues. Citizens interested in key reforms that the legislature will take up in the future can gauge a lawmaker’s positions based upon bill sponsorships, public statements, and direct communications with his or her office. Many key proposals under current consideration have been highlighted significantly in other Institute publications.
All bills herein were chosen for consideration based on their policy impact.
Reading the Legislative Vote Card
Legislative progress is not always easy to follow, especially for the vast majority of residents who do not prowl the halls of the state capitol on a daily basis. With that in mind, we present and elucidate each bill covered in the Vote Card before providing the results. Each bill’s background and relevance is explained, followed by a small synopsis of the “liberty” position on the bill, and an update on what ultimately resulted from the deliberation.
Each summary is intended to give a succinct illustration of the measure and how it impacts Illinois and its citizens. Following the bill descriptions is the bill-by-bill and cumulative voting record of individual members of each chamber.
The Vote Card is divided into two tables. The table beginning on page 9 of the report shows the roll calls for bills that received a floor vote in the Illinois State Senate. The table beginning on page 18 shows floor votes by the Illinois House of Representatives. In both tables, lawmakers are listed alphabetically by last name.
From left to right, the bills of focus are organized by issue category. The Vote Card lists budget and tax issues first, including two bills of enormous consequence that were voted on in the remaining hours of the 97th General Assembly. Education measures are listed second, regulation third, and transparency and accountability measures last. Other votes, such as absent and “present” votes, are indicated; they are not included in the cumulative result.
In the main body of the table, votes that align with the “liberty” position are marked by a check, while votes that do not align with the “liberty” position are marked with an X. Across the top of the table, a “Y” denotes that a “yes” vote on that particular bill is the proper vote. Likewise an “N” denotes the same if a “no” vote is a vote for liberty.
Download the 2011 Illinois General Assembly Legislative Vote Card: Mid Year Report here.2011 General Assembly Vote Card