News Release: Governor Vetoes Senate Bill 0669, preserving local control on the election of the County Board Chairman

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Lake County Banner/ Standard

August 21, 2017

Governor Vetoes Senate Bill 0669, preserving local
control on the election of the County Board Chairman

Calling it an “inappropriate interference” to county government, Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed Senate Bill 669 late Friday afternoon. The legislation sets a separate process for electing the County Board Chairman in Lake County and requires a local referendum be held in 2018 to seek approval on electing the board chairman directly by voters countywide versus by the members of the county board.

“Current law already allows for a sufficient process by which Lake County can change its selection process. This issue should be resolved at the local level instead of pursuing a change of state law that addresses a highly political local issue to create a new process for a single county,” said Governor Rauner in his veto message to the Illinois legislature.

The Lake County Board has consistently and strongly opposed SB669 since its unanimous vote against the legislation in January.  In opposing the bill, county board members called it inequitable, unfair and costly to Lake County voters and taxpayers.

“Governor Rauner’s veto allows Lake County to be treated like every other Illinois county and keeps this decision in the hands of voters, not Springfield power brokers,” said Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor. “I urge the members of the Illinois House to vote in favor of the governor’s veto and preserve local control of local and county government.”

SB669 now returns to the legislature where a three-fifths majority is required to override Governor Rauner’s veto and enact the legislation. The override vote will first take place in the Senate where it was introduced by Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan) and passed 33-18.  Then it will move to the House where it was sponsored by Representative Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan) and passed with 61 votes, 10 votes less than is required to override Governor Rauner’s veto.

Lawlor added, “Springfield continues to be known as a place for stalemates instead of solutions. Legislators seek a safe re-election instead of bold reforms. And, struggling Illinois families and retirees are voting with their feet and leaving their home state in record numbers. It is our time to lead the innovative reforms that make a difference in people’s lives. Together, we will make Lake County a model to help fix our broken state.”

Earlier this year, Chairman Lawlor and the county board formed the Lake County Commission on Government Reform and Accountability to study issues like those presented in SB669 and provide leaders and community members with the opportunity to propose their own reform initiatives.  The Commission is charged with evaluating and making recommendations on: if and how to implement a countywide elected board chairman, implementing independent redistricting reform for county board districts, reducing the size of the county board and soliciting reform ideas from leaders and community members.

The Commission held its first meeting in May 2017 and is expected to deliver a final report to the county board by the end of the year. 


Jennie Vana

Communications Manager

Phone: 847-377-2154