Cook County drinking water bill fails to override governor's veto
The state Senate during the Nov. 27 House floor session failed to override Gov. Bruce Pauner's veto of a bill that would have created the Cook County Water Infrastructure Fund to help pay for water-system upgrades in the county.
Senate Bill 2376 was introduced in January and passed the House and Senate in May. Rauner vetoed the bill in August.
A motion to override the governor's veto failed. It needed 71 votes to pass and only received 68. In order to override the governor's veto, a bill must receive the majority of votes of at least 71.
Rep. Shawn K. Ford (D-Chicago) asked senators to override the veto during the Nov. 27 session.
"It's a mechanism to assist communities in Cook County that have major infrastructure problems with their drinking water systems," Ford said.
Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard) said he noticed when the bill came through the House the first time, it got the bare minimum of 60 votes to pass.
"Have you found another 11 representatives to support it? Because I haven't heard about it," Breen said.
Ford said there was confusion about the bill the first time around and that he hoped others would realize it is not a bad bill.
The bill provided that in making grants from the Cook County Water Infrastructure Fund, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency must prioritize water-infrastructure projects in non-supplying municipalities in Cook County over water infrastructure projects in supplying municipalities in Cook County.
"The governor's veto motion is accurate," Breen said. "The Illinois EPA already provides low-interest loans for infrastructure, but it's for everyone throughout the state, not specifically for one area like Cook County. The idea that somehow we would be paying for local water infrastructure in Cook County with taxpayer dollars from the rest of the state just doesn't make any sense."
Breen said such a fund should be applicable to everybody or nobody.
"I would urge a no vote," Breen said.
In order for an override of the governor's veto, the bill needed 71 votes to claim the majority.