Murphy pushes bill through Senate to ‘fix’ Secretary of State Library appointments

Niles-Maine District Library

A day after Tuesday, Nov. 15, the start of the Illinois General Assembly’s fall veto session in Springfield, a bill introduced by State Senator Laura Murphy (D-28th) to “repair Legislation it passed last spring allowing Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White to fill extended vacancies on library district boards has been passed by the Illinois Senate.

“I commend Senator Murphy for her leadership on this issue,” White said.

Niles-Maine District Library Administrator Olivia Hanusiak resigned from the library board in August 2021, leaving the board with two evenly divided three-member voting blocks unable to reach an agreement on the replacement by Hanusiak.

Last spring, Murphy, who is the Deputy Majority Leader in the Senate, pushed through legislation through the Illinois General Assembly giving nominating power to whites when library districts have vacancies on the library board. administration for 90 days. Murphy said that while her bill applies to other library districts, she wrote it to fill the long-standing vacancy at the Niles-Maine District Library.

“The board’s failure to make an appointment, and then subsequent actions by some to challenge the appointment of the state librarian, bring library operations to a standstill,” Murphy said in a written statement. “It is time for council to set aside differences and prioritize the needs of the community.

The relevant portion of the original bill to amend the Illinois Public Library District Act stated, “Vacancies must be filled within 90 days of the declaration of a vacancy. If the Trustees do not appoint a new member within 90 days of the declaration of a vacancy, the State Librarian shall appoint a person to fill the vacancy within 60 days of the Trustees’ failure to fill the vacancy. If the State Librarian fails to fill the vacancy within 60 days after the trustees have failed to fill the vacancy, the vacancy will be filled at the next regular election.

Murphy’s language introduced and passed by the Illinois Senate on Wednesday reads, “Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, if a vacancy arose before May 27, 2022, and such vacancy has not been filled by the Trustees prior to the effective date of this Amendment Act of the 102nd General Assembly, the State Librarian (White) shall fill the vacancy within 60 days of the effective date of this amending Act of the 102nd General Assembly.

Murphy said White’s office and the Illinois attorney general both made significant contributions to the bill’s revisions.

The bill passed the Senate by a 48-2 vote on Wednesday, was sent to the Illinois House and placed on the House calendar to agree with what passed the Senate. Murphy said state Rep. Marty Moylan (D-55th) will sign on as co-lead house sponsor.

The two no-votes were former Republican gubernatorial candidate State Sen. Darren Bailey and State Sen. Jil Tracy, who is the Senate Minority Whip.

In September, as White-appointed Umair Qadeer of Maine Township was about to be sworn in to fill the vacancy in Niles-Maine, a temporary injunction was granted by a Circuit Court Judge of Cook County ending the swearing, which was later made permanent. .

In court documents filed in September, attorneys for trustee Joe Makula argued that the 90- and 60-day clocks referenced in the new law should have expired in February 2022 directly after Hanusiak resigned in August 2021, before the law gives White the power to make these appointments. has been presented.

Qadeer recently announced his candidacy for the Niles-Maine District Library Board with Trustee Becky Keane, Jason Trunco, and Roberto Botello on the committee-supported Reclaim Our Library list to save the committee from Niles-Maine District Library Political Action.

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Norman D. Briggs