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Illinois GOP seeks to close appointment loophole

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 3, 2014 at 2:09 pm •  Published: April 3, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Senate Republicans crying foul after Gov. Pat Quinn used a rare procedural maneuver to try to aid the confirmation of two appointees announced several efforts Thursday to close what they described as a constitutional loophole.

State Sen. Tim Bivins' amendment would prevent an extension of the 60 session days of consideration the Senate has by law to confirm appointments made by the governor. Senate Republicans are also sponsoring a modification of the Senate rules, and have asked Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to issue an opinion on the current law.

"This flies in the face of the constitution and its intent," Bivins, of Dixon, said of Quinn's actions. He noted that under the constitution, "the potential exists to make all appointments in this manner."

Quinn faced opposition from the chamber's black and Latino caucuses over budget cuts and other issues in the reappointment of Julie Hamos as the director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services and in appointing Manny Flores as the head of the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

The governor's withdrawing the names of Hamos and Flores from consideration by the Senate and then moving to re-nominate them allows the time clock on the appointment process to restart, giving supporters of the an extra 60 days to secure votes in their favor.

Hamos, a former state lawmaker from Evanston and director of the agency since 2010, oversaw an overhaul of Medicaid that included $2.7 billion in cuts. Black and Latino caucus members had asked Quinn to replace Hamos, arguing that the cuts came down hardest on the neediest of their constituents. Republicans, at the same time, have criticized her for moving too slowly to implement Medicaid reforms.

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