Kane lags behind legislation
By Matt Brennan For The Beacon-News September 24, 2012 2:58PM
Updated: September 26, 2012 7:46PM
Thousands of bills are introduced in the state legislature in a given year. Of those, hundreds could potentially impact Kane County.
And the county’s Legislative Committee, which helps Kane take positions on potential legislation, has a tough time keeping up, according to committee Chairman Jesse Vazquez.
The committee is composed of people who have other careers, and it meets only once a month, he said Monday. “We don’t have time 24/7 to watch legislation,” Vazquez said.
The county depends on the reports from its lobbyist, Andy Raucci to sort out what is important, so that they can act on upcoming bills. When it comes to prioritizing Raucci’s reports of pending legislation, and prioritizing the impact of upcoming legislation, the county could benefit from dedicating full-time staff to these pursuits, Vazquez said.
“If we ever looked at a county administrator, that’s something that could benefit us,” Vazquez said.
The Legislative Committee met with Raucci on Monday to discuss upcoming legislation, and determine what is working for the county. Raucci monitors activity in Springfield and sends Legislative Committee members extensive e-mails detailing the state’s activity. “We put in hours and hours and hours to put those things together,” Raucci said.
The spring legislative session poses a particular problem in communication.
“When that rush happens in the spring, I think this committee needs to meet more than just once a month,” committee member Melisa Taylor said.
Vazquez said that he currently seeks the input of committee members and staff in determining what legislation should be placed on their agenda. For several meetings, the agenda has been vague, only stating that the committee would discuss pending legislation.
That vagueness is the result, in part, of having no one to evaluate the upcoming legislation before the meetings, Vazquez said.
A recent law from the state requiring more detailed information on local government agendas may force the committee to become more specific.
Vazquez said that any item requiring an official stance from the committee would be placed on the agenda.