The legislation Gov. Pat Quinn mocked as “Smart Greed” has advanced despite his remarks that lawmakers are only interested in lining their pockets. The House and Senate have overridden his veto of legislation passed last spring. They’ve also passed a follow-up bill intended to ease concerns about the original bill. The package allows the big utility companies in Illinois, ComEd and Ameren, to raise rates as they improve their infrastructure.
Sponsoring State Rep. Kevin McCarthy (D-Orland Park) says he is not worried about the AARP’s threats to endorse the opponents of any lawmaker who voted for Smart Grid, saying he is an AARP member himself, and people should appreciate legislation which, he says, does more to ensure reliable electricity and create jobs. Besides, he says, the efficiency of “smart meters” will help offset increased rates for consumers. At a news conference Tuesday, Gov. Pat Quinn said the lawmakers have “three loaves of bread under each arm,” a tone McCarthy called “despicable.”
In the Senate, sponsoring Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-East Moline) again faced suggestions he is only following his dad’s orders. Denny Jacobs is a retired senator who lobbies for ComEd. Sen. Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington) was admonished to contain his remarks to the subject of the bill. As the session was adjourning in May, Jacobs and another senator, Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon), nearly came to blows over the subject. While the original bill has been overridden, the trailer bill awaits the governor’s final action. If he doesn’t sign it, he’ll be left with a bill he apparently dislikes on its own even more than the whole package.
SB 1652 (original Smart Grid bill) survived the governor’s veto 36-19-2 in the Senate and 74-42 in the House.
HB 3036 (trailer bill) has passed the Senate, 37-20, and the House, 91-24.