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Gov. Pritzker vetoes four bills; Here’s what they would do and why they were vetoed

HENDERSON, Ky (WEHT) – Illinois Governor JB Pritzker vetoed four bills on Friday, including one that would remove the moratorium on construction of nuclear power plants and one that would require the Illinois State Board of Education to enter into a master contract to provide religious dietary options to all school districts.

Here’s what each of the bills would do, and what the governor wrote in his veto statements.

Senate Bill 76

Senate Bill 76 would remove the moratorium on new construction of nuclear power plants to allow for the construction of advanced and traditional large-scale nuclear reactors in Illinois. Governor Pritzker wrote in a statement the bill was vetoed because the vague definitions in the bill would open the door to proliferation of costly large-scale nuclear reactors. The governor also said the bill provides no regulatory protections or updates to address the health and safety of Illinois residents who would live and work around the new reactors.

“My hope is that future legislation in Illinois regarding [Small Modular Reactors] would address this regulation gap, and that Illinois will adopt standards that will have been reviewed by experts in the field along with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission or another similar review panel,” the governor wrote in his veto message.

House Bill 2507 – Amendatory veto

According to a release, House Bill 2507 addresses issues surrounding property taxes, including important tax relief for surviving spouses of first responders and other more technical changes that the Pritzker administration supports. However, the governor issued an amendatory veto on the bill due to a change that was added to give private nursing home owners in Cook County a property tax break.

“That change will have the effect of raising property taxes on homeowners who are already overburdened and risks driving some residents into foreclosure while simultaneously threatening local school funding. In the Southland alone, reducing property taxes on nursing homeowners will negatively impact other property taxpayers in the following communities: Burnham, Chicago Heights, Country Club Hills, Crestwood, Dolton, Flossmoor, Glenwood, Harvey, Hazel Crest, Homewood, Lansing, Matteson, Midlothian, Richton Park, Robbins, South Chicago Heights, and South Holland. In addition, the Villages of LaGrange Park, Chicago Ridge, Palos Park, and Barrington have also expressed concern about the potential negative impact this measure will have on their communities.”

House Bill 2878 – Amendatory veto

Pritzker said House Bill 2878 addresses procurement issues important to his administration, but because the bill allows for the creation of public private partnerships (P3) with counties, municipalities and any other unit of local government without proper oversight in place, the governor issued an amendatory veto. The governor removed the provision that creates a local pathway for private industry to enter P3 agreements that he says skirts transparency and anti-corruption requirements established in state statute.

“The potential in this bill for opacity and corruption is too great,” Pritzker wrote in his message. “In addition, the bill as written puts the state at greater risk of project failure because it decreases competition and reduces the opportunity for public input into project planning and implementation currently required for other P3 developments under state law.”

House Bill 3643

House Bill 3643 would amend the school code to require the Illinois State Board of Education to enter into a statewide education master contract to provide religious dietary options to all Illinois school districts. Governor Pritzker said the bill was vetoed because it required the State Board of Education to enter into a master contract they cannot execute because it is a local school district responsibility.

“Local school districts, not the Illinois State Board of Education, have the expertise and understanding of local needs required to enter into food service contracts. Districts are already responsible for all their food service contracts and will continue to have the capability to enter into contracts with meal vendors based on the unique cultural needs of the students in their communities. Local school districts currently already engage in this practice and do so based on federal USDA nutrition guidelines.”

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