Oh my! What a three-ring circus in the Illinois General Assembly. Here’s the latest*: Kathleen Willis didn’t call her SB1966 today in the Illinois House because she didn’t have the 60 votes necessary to pass it.
Yes, Kathleen Willis is now in the leadership of the Illinois House, albeit in a minor position. Yes, Kathleen Willis almost certainly assured House Speaker Michael Madigan that she had the votes to pass this bill way back when this whole fetid saga began. However, with each passing day, the pro-gun lobbyists erode her support base, angering her greatly.
At the same time, this isn’t the first time she’s assured Madigan’s people that she had the votes to pass gun control and then failed. In fact, she’s cementing her reputation even among her fellow Democrats of her willingness to twist the truth to serve her interests. (Indeed, people who live in flyover country call that lying.)
She might have had the votes at one time, especially if she assumed the Black Caucus would be onboard. However, for law-abiding constituents of the Black Caucus, getting treated like criminals just to exercise a Constitutional right didn’t go over well with them. And then there’s the whole issue of pricing the exercise of a fundamental constitutional right outside of their reach.
So, what has crazy cat woman done? Well, she got Accurate Biometrics to support her initial bill. Surprisingly, Jan Starr from Accurate Biometrics filed a witness slip supporting Willis’ Amendment #2 which set the fingerprint pricing at $30. Given that is likely below the cost of LiveScan providers including Accurate Biometrics, their continuing support suggests there’s a sweetheart deal somewhere.
Willis and crew have also hired convicted criminal Donne Trotter to lobby on behalf of her bill, especially with the Black Caucus. Trotter worked himself into a sweetheart plea deal for bringing a .25 caliber pistol loaded with six rounds past a TSA airport checkpoint.
And then there’s the FBI investigation of a $2,000 “bribe” involving Trotter. And the investigation of the security firm he allegedly worked for which allowed him to carry a gun without a carry license (at the time of his arrest at the airport).
And a separate state probe has been launched to determine if the Southeast Side security firm has acted as a “front” to procure firearm control cards for people who are not employed as armed guards, according a source close to the investigation.
Yes, this guy with a very checkered background (we’ll stop short of calling him a fringe criminal) is out there lobbying legislators to support more gun control for their inner-city constituents.
Yes, fears of constituent anger trump pressure from House leadership for Democrats.
On the positive side, House Republicans continue to stand firmly opposed to Willis’ gun control schemes.
So there you have it. Willis needs more votes and she has about 72 hours to get them. Otherwise her FOID bill is dead. Because if she can’t get 60 votes now, she won’t be getting 71 votes after May 31st when bills require a 3/5ths majority to pass.
Meanwhile, over the Illinois Senate, Willis has other issues. Senate President John Cullerton is less than excited to bring Willis’ bill up because he has some downstate senators who may face tough races in 2020. And this bill won’t help their chances.
For instance, Peoria’s Sen. David Koehler has pulled his name off as a co-sponsor.
Keep watching this space for more on this bill. Willis really wants this and she’s promising people the moon for their votes. The only problem for her is that even her own caucus knows her reputation of lying to people’s faces and they don’t trust her.
* courtesy of Rich Pearson at the Illinois State Rifle Association and John Weber at the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. And a couple of state reps who shall remain nameless.