will continue to have a split speed limit after the state’s House
of Representatives fell short in an attempt to override the governor’s
veto of HB1186.
vote was 69 to override, 39 supporting the veto and 6 abstaining
or not voting. The bill needed 71 votes – two more than it received
– for a successful override.
spokeswoman for the House said that since the override attempt failed
in the House, the bill will not be reconsidered in the Senate.
would have cut provisions in Illinois law that set up a slower speed
for vehicles with a gross weight of more than 8,000 pounds traveling
on rural interstates. The limits now on those highways are 65 mph
for cars and 55 mph for trucks. The bill passed both houses of the
state’s General Assembly by wide margins earlier in the year. However,
Gov. Rod Blagojevich – citing “serious safety concerns,” a spokeswoman
said – vetoed the bill July 28.
and other trucking industry officials have fought for the bill’s
passage. They cite federal statistics showing that split speed limits
lead to more accidents. However, a number of other groups, including
the AAA Chicago Motor Club, fought the bill, often pointing to the
long-expected battle for the override started when Illinois state
Rep. Dan Reitz, D-Sparta, the primary sponsor of the bill, filed
a motion Nov. 4 to overturn the governor’s veto.
disappointed we weren’t able to override this measure, but I’m not
all that surprised in the people who changed their minds,” Reitz
said. “The governor’s veto articulated that there was a AAA study
that said there were more severe accidents when trucks were traveling
at a higher speed. We had used a AAA study earlier to say that it
was safer to have uniform speed limits.
had a lot of urban legislators who aren’t directly affected by it
who changed their minds because of the governor’s veto,” he said.
“Everyone downstate, everyone with rural interstates supported the
received 89 yes votes when it passed the House, 18 more than needed
to override, and 20 more than it received when the override failed.
In the Senate, it received 45 votes when it passed, nine more than
were needed to reverse the governor’s action.
the Nov. 6 vote, 18 House members switched from voting yes on the
bill to no, and seven other legislators who had previously voted
yes did not vote on the override attempt. A far smaller number of
legislators changed from voting no the first time to yes on the
said the bill’s supporters had the 71 votes necessary for an override
lined up. However, during a procedural maneuver in which the votes
were verified, two of the legislators voting yes were not on the
floor of the House, leaving the count at 69 – two short of what
said he planned to introduce the bill again next year.
sure we will,” he said. “This is the closest we’ve had – but we
weren’t able to follow through and get it enacted into law.
need to get all of our information together,” Reitz added. “Forty
other states have uniform speed limits, which is a very good reason
[to change], and the trend is more and more states are moving to
uniform speed limits. I think the more education we can get to the
General Assembly, the better.”
gave an example. During the debate on the bill, one of the bill’s
opponents said that the state was sixth in the nation in the number
of truck accidents.
after the debate, Reitz talked to the legislator.
basically said if there’s 40 other states that have uniform speed
limits and we’re sixth in the number of truck accidents, then that
should be an argument for uniform speed limits,” he said.
think it’s just really an education process. We just need to continue
that,” he said. “We’ll just revisit this again next year, and hopefully
we’ll be able to pass it.”
Mark H. Reddig, associate editor
Reddig can be reached at email@example.com.