Kotowski: Veto Override Law Restores Democracy to Cook County

PARK RIDGE— On Saturday, Governor Pat Quinn signed into law a measure that will make it easier for the Cook County Board to override the board president’s veto.

“This is a great day for Cook County,” said State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge), the new law’s sponsor.  “The balance of power on the Cook County Board has been restored, and the board president is now more accountable to the people. As a result the people of Cook County have the voice in government that they need and deserve.”

Kotowski has been pushing to lower the Cook County Board’s absurdly high veto threshold since February.  Under the new law, the number of votes the board needs to override the president’s veto has been lowered from a nearly unattainable four-fifths majority to a much more reasonable three-fifths majority.  This change brings the Cook County Board’s veto override procedures in line with those of the General Assembly and all other Illinois counties.

“The lower veto override threshold is fairer for county voters and taxpayers,” Kotowski said.  “We’ve seen the county board fail to override the president’s veto by a single vote so many times this year.  We needed reform, and we’ve finally got it.”

Kotowski introduced a number of versions of the bill in an effort to ensure its passage and find the most reasonable and immediate way to restore democracy to the Cook County Board.  The final version that made it to the governor was House Bill 4625.

“This new law takes effect immediately,” Kotowski said.  “That’s one of the provisions I really fought for.  The lower veto override threshold should allow the Cook County Board to revisit some of the tough issues they’ve faced this year, like the unpopular sales tax increase.”

"I am going to be able to go back to my constituents and report the good news that there's an opportunity ahead in the near future to perhaps the repeal of that sales tax," said State Sen. Michael Noland, a co-sponsor of the legislation.

Kotowski and Noland joined the governor at the signing ceremony Saturday afternoon.

“I urged Governor Quinn to sign this legislation quickly, and he has,” Kotowski noted.  “I’d like to thank him for his quick action.  I think a lot of the residents of Cook County will soon be thanking him, too.”