Checks and Balances
My thanks to Eric Zorn for shining some attention on a press conference that I did last week with Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley announcing legislation that I will be filing to reduce the majority vote of the County Board needed to override a presidential veto from the current four-fifths to three-fifths. You can read the entire press release here.
The present four-fifths requirement is the highest in the country and is a throwback from the previous board structure that was designed to keep Chicago commissioners from having too much power on the board. Since the 1994 restructuring of the Board, however, there is no basis for maintaining the four-fifths requirement, and reducing it should serve to enhance the power of the commissioners in an equitable manner.
All other counties in Illinois have a three-fifths override rule as does the General Assembly. Congress and the Chicago City Council both maintain a two-thirds override requirement.
Regardless of who wins the Board presidency in a few weeks, I think that this is an idea whose time is overdue. To his credit, Todd Stroger has already come out in support of this measure. I would hope that Tony Peraica will do the same.