The Illinois House made history today by impeaching the governor. Next week it’s going to do it again.
This session of the state legislature, the 95th General Assembly, will end Tuesday, well before the Illinois Senate will be able to conduct an impeachment trial. HR1671, as the House impeachment resolution is formally known, will then be flushed along with other unfinished business when the 96th assembly is sworn in Wednesday.
The new House, which will include rookie rep Deb Mell, sister-in-law of Governor Blagojevich, will then have to hold another vote on another resolution that’s identical to the one passed today, except that it’ll have a different number attached to the “HR” in its formal name.
Steve Brown, spokesman for House speaker Michael Madigan, says the impeachment resolution will be presented for a vote almost immediately after members are sworn in Wednesday. “We’ll validate the work that’s been done and the resolution passed today,” he said. “All of this was anticipated.”
Today’s vote wasn’t simply put off until next week, legislators say, because they wanted to send a message as soon as possible that they were ready to oust the governor and start addressing other substantial problems. “Before the governor’s arrest, the number one call I got was from day care providers and health care providers talking about shutting down because they hadn’t been paid by the state,” said state rep David Miller, who represents a south side and south suburban district. “In this economy, where people are trying to hold onto their jobs, we cannot afford to be losing day care providers…. Then the whole circus started—but those problems still exist. We had to at least make sure we could move forward.”
No one expects the outcome of next week’s vote to be any different–but it will once again be groundbreaking. As Miller noted: “He may be the first governor in history to be impeached twice in a week.”