Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Simple Ethical Elegance: Senator Toi Hutchinson

Hutchinson’s statement was originally printed on John Dillon’s Blog:

Read below the full text of Senator Toi Hutchinson’s (40th District) statement before the Black Tuesday vote on SB1 that will, if approved legally, strip the benefits of active and retired public sector workers in Illinois, despite Constitutional protection.  Please call her office to thank her.  This is an honorable legislator in Illinois.

“Because this is a heart-wrenching decision, and because I have so much respect for how much work has gone into this by so many people, I'm not going to stand here and use a whole lot of hyperbole to talk about the people who are going to vote yes on this bill.

“I'm standing here because I'm going to vote no on this bill, and it's really simple.

“During the 1970 Constitutional Convention, the delegate that carried this - her name was Helen Kinney - and she specifically said that the intention was simply to give public employees a basic protection against abolishing their rights completely or changing the terms of their rights after they'd embarked upon employment...or lessening them.

“That was why the phrase was included.  That was why it was debated as much as it was.  That is why it is in the same Constitution that I raised my right hand and swore to uphold along with the United States Constitution. 

“I cannot abrogate my responsibility for that here today.

“If this were only about picking the bill that saves the most money, we'd all pick the bill that saves the most money. We'd all do that. 

“But it's not.

“It's about taking people's retirement benefits right when they need them the most, after they have worked hard and earned those benefits. 

“They earned those benefits.

“And if we do not respect the basic modicum of contract law, then we have a whole lot of other problems that we have to solve. 

“Maybe we could just rewrite all those underwater mortgages? Those are contracts.  Last time I checked, banks and Chambers didn't want us to do that because those are contracts. 

“Those contracts are sacrosanct; this one is not.  I have a problem with that.

“This, for those people who say, ‘We're not constitutional lawyers.  We don't know what's going to happen...’  I'm not a constitutional lawyer; I'm really not, but I can read.

“And it's in the Constitution. Please vote no.”      

Senator Toi Hutchinson
217-782-7419 – Springfield
708-756-0882 – Chicago Heights

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