Friday, October 28, 2005

All Kids, and Almost All Legislators

The governor's much trumpeted "All Kids" plan passed both Houses today, by a 32-23-2 margin in the Senate and a 79-28-9 margin in the House. It enjoyed the unanimious support of Democrats with the exception of Lou Jones, a sponsor of the bill, who was absent. Numerous House Republicans voted for the measure. Sen. Cheryl Axley, a newly minted legislator appointed to Sullivan's seat, was the only senate Gooper to do so. Dillard and Geo Karis cast the two "present" votes in the senate. Gubernatorial candidate Steve Rauschenburger, a longtime advocate for managed care, refused to bite the bullet and got a conspicuous "no vote" by his name(as in the absence of a vote, not as in voting no). In the House, Rep. Roger Jenisch, who is facing a contentious primary next fall, joined the ranks of the fence sitters, and Rep. Shane Cultra, as is his wont, took to his heels at the sight of a controversial bill and was absent. Rep. Phillip Ramey, still enjoying his first week with ILGA in session, voted no.

The House Republicans reaffirmed their reputation for independent thinking. Both camps cut across idealogical lines in their ranks, with Leader Cross and Ass't Min. Leader Patricia Reid Lindener and conservatives like Hultgren and Dunn, among others, voting no, while moderates and everyone from Saviano-who is chairman of the House Republican Organization-to Froelich and Coulson voting "yes."

Wrote a Senate Republican staff member on the subject, "You can expect it will go to the Governor's desk quickly so he can sign it at another campaign government rally....This may be "groundbreaking" legislation but the name, at least, has already been taken," a reference to a similar program already in place in Alabama.

The already eventful veto session will adjourn a week from today.

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