By ADRIANA COLINDRES (email@example.com)
THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER
The Illinois House spent much of Friday bickering along partisan lines over separate proposals to delay the Democratic governor's yearly budget speech and change the way some top Republican officials are chosen.
In the end, both pieces of legislation stalled, failing to attract the 71 votes needed. They could resurface later.
House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, told House members she had no problem with granting Gov. Pat Quinn's request to delay his budget presentation until March 24, 2010, because he recently hired a new budget director, David Vaught.
"We want to give that guy as much time and as much information as he feels he needs," Currie said.
The governor is supposed to present his proposed budget by the third Wednesday in February.
Some Republicans complained the delay until late March appeared political because Quinn faces a tough February primary fight with Comptroller Dan Hynes for governor. They contended waiting that long for the governor's budget plan would hurt lawmakers' efforts to put together a budget by the end of next May.
Democrats said they simply were trying to give Quinn enough time to figure out this year's budget problems and make the best estimate possible for next year.
The vote on Currie's proposal, House Bill 1409, was 66-49.
The House also rebuffed a plan to change the selection process for members of the Republican state central committee.
Under Senate Bill 600, which the Senate already approved, voters from each congressional district would choose two members of the committee. At present, other GOP leaders select members of the state central committee.
House Republican Leader Tom Cross accused Democrats of interfering with the Republican party's inner workings.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Lou Lang, disputed that assessment.
"This is not a Democratic plot to take over the world," said Lang, a Skokie Democrat
The House voted 59-47 for the bill.
Friday's political infighting capped the first half of the General Assembly's fall veto session.
The scheduled six-day session began Wednesday and picks up again on Oct. 28-30. After that, lawmakers aren't expected to return to the Capitol until January.
Members of the General Assembly made progress this week on some issues and left others unsettled.
Lawmakers gave Quinn an extra $205 million in spending authority for the Monetary Award Program, which provides assistance to needy college students. But it's not clear how those additional dollars will materialize.
The Illinois Senate approved a recall option for future Illinois governors. Because the proposal already passed in the House, voters will decide in the November 2010 election if they want the power to oust a sitting governor from office.
An Illinois House committee advanced an updated version of a campaign finance reform plan, crafted after Quinn vetoed a different proposal during the summer. Critics say the measure is flawed because it doesn't limit how much money political parties or legislative leaders can contribute to candidates.
Lawmakers also are still contending with Senate Bill 2090, which deals with how much they get paid. The Senate overrode Quinn's amendatory veto, sending the matter to the House.
The bill would require lawmakers to directly vote yes or no on a pay hike.
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