‘Rewrite to do Right’ campaign is wrong

By Daily Illini Editorial Board

After months of fighting about a budget that ultimately came out unbalanced, Illinois felt the first casualties when Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced that he was laying off 325 state workers.

According to reports, the Department of Children and Family Services will lose 179 staffers, the Department of Human Services will lose 73, the Department of Natural Resources is losing 39 and 34 people will be fired from the Historic Preservation Agency.

This means that not only will some Abraham Lincoln historical sites be forced to close months before the state plans to honor our 16th President’s 200th birthday, it means that children in foster care and those most in need of assistance like food stamps and health care will be the ones to most suffer from lawmaker’s squabbling.

But at least these laid-off state workers will be able to voice their opinions and monetarily support political candidates that oppose the governor and his policies. Because if Blagojevich has his way, new ethics legislation will ban local or state government employees from giving money to any state officials.

It should be noted that donation provision wasn’t in the ethics bill the legislature sent the governor. That bill was designed to stop people with state contracts from making political donations to the government official who controlled them. That practice has been a hallmark of Blagojevich and has garnered the embattled governor millions of dollars in campaign contributions.

These highly controversial changes to bills are being done by Blagojevich as part of his “Rewrite to do Right” campaign. In non-PR terms, that means that the governor is using his amendatory veto power to make changes to legislation after it’s already been passed by both the Illinois House and Senate. And if lawmakers don’t accept his changes, the entire bill dies.

If that practice sounds unconstitutional to you, never mind the idea of banning state employee donations, some lawmakers with legislation currently awaiting the governor’s pen agree with you.

It effectively makes the governor an imperial entity that can pass laws that he makes up on his own. And in doing so, he jeopardizes legislation that was properly heard and debated by our representatives. Even in the embarrassing absence of a capital construction bill, Blagojevich is saying his way, or the highway.

The governor can call his actions “Rewrite to do Right” or whatever else he wants. To many Illinoisians, it’s obvious what it should really be called: “Abuse of Power.”