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Letter: Amendment another case of bad lawmaking

Published: Monday, Nov. 5, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

On the ballot Tuesday is House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment (HJRCA) 49, a referendum to change the state constitution. I have read the proposed amendment as it is written on the ballot. It deliberately doesn’t make sense. It is an effort by the Legislature to make us believe that a “Yes” vote will address pension reform and state budget problems.

Groups on both sides of the issue acknowledge that because it is poorly written, the courts will have to figure it out. Again, more money spent because legislators haven’t done their job. Again, they have let the state become the laughingstock of the nation because they consistently refuse to do their job. Folks in other states breathe a sigh of relief that they live somewhere else.

As a recipient of a state pension, I wish I had the option to pay into Social Security. Then, as the old person that I am, I could sleep at night knowing my livelihood is secure. The state Legislature passed a $10 billion bailout of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange while putting teachers’ and other state workers’ pensions at risk. Where is the democratic principle in that? Of the people, by the people, for the people, or did “we the people” get that wrong?

Last year, legislation on pension reform was submitted under the signatures of the leadership of the House, Senate and a member of the Chicago Commercial Club, a business executive; not an elected official. You and I, “we the people,” must have missed the call asking for our signatures.

Let’s vote “no” on this amendment. And in doing so, tell the Legislature to write laws that can be understood by voters, laws that do not interfere with local government responsibilities, and laws that address the budget crisis. Vote “no” and reject laws pretending that moving money from one fund to another is the fault of workers. For in the end, this amendment is an attack on workers. Maybe not you this time, but do you believe they value your work or, for that matter, their word?

The Legislature refuses to honestly do the work of governing; it passes laws valuing corporate executives and lobbying buddies. We the people, the time is now. We are responsible for this Legislature.

Vote no on JHRCA 49.

Catherine Harned


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