Cook County commissioners to take more time before voting

In a bit of a legislative rebuke to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, commissioners Wednesday voted for a new rule requiring that nearly all new ordinances or amendments get sent to committee for consideration before a full board vote.

The new rule, proposed by Commissioner Larry Suffredin, D-Evanston, was a reaction to how quickly Preckwinkle and Commissioner John Fritchey, D-Chicago, pushed through a new ordinance banning the sale of commercially bred puppies, kittens and rabbits at pet stores.

In April, the puppy mill legislation was approved unanimously by the board about a week after Fritchey first surfaced the idea. Since then, some commissioners have proposed amending the ban, saying it went too far and could harm pet stores that get animals from commercial breeders who are treating animals humanely.

People who might have wanted to speak out on the proposed ban, or try to get it changed, had about three days’ official notice that the subject was on the board’s agenda, Suffredin said. If it had been sent to committee, a practice followed by the board until recently, people would have had weeks to weigh in.

“The whole idea here is to give the public notice when we’re changing substantive laws,” Suffredin said. “This is a way try to have transparency, so the citizens can know what’s going on.”

There is, however, a way around sending new ordinances and amendments to committee under the new rule. A majority of commissioners could vote for immediate consideration.

That exemption is designed for emergency situations, Suffredin said, and commissioners would be forced to explain why they wanted immediate consideration. “We needed some kind of a safety override, and we put that in,” he said.

Preckwinkle later said she believes most items should go to committee, but she made it clear that would not always be the case.

“It’s a good idea to introduce things and send them to committee and have them come back out, but I’m sure there will be occasions when the board will determine that time is of the essence and immediate action is required,” she said.

Twitter: @ReporterHal

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Bold predictions for Lolla 2015

    Bold predictions for Lolla 2015

    The Lolla schedule is sort of like the NCAA tournament: there are millions of possible combinations, and it’s anyone’s guess what the winning picks will be. With that in mind, we make some bold predictions about how this year’s fest (returning to Grant Park Fri.-Sun.) will turn out. Breakout artist...

  • 2010 killing of Chicago cop detailed at trial; man claims self-defense

    2010 killing of Chicago cop detailed at trial; man claims self-defense

    The man on trial in the killing of Chicago police Officer Thor Soderberg hated police and surprised the officer as he changed out of his uniform at shift end and placed his duty belt down, a Cook County prosecutor alleged Monday.

  • Aldermen to hold hearing on untested rape kits

    Aldermen to hold hearing on untested rape kits

    Chicago aldermen on Monday called on police officials to provide information on how quickly rape kits are being tested by the state crime lab, part of a largely symbolic effort to determine whether a large backlog is hampering work to apprehend rapists.

  • Alderman's 'Chi-raq' criticism falls flat

    Alderman's 'Chi-raq' criticism falls flat

    A South Side alderman's effort to tweak filmmaker Spike Lee for using "Chi-raq" as the title for a movie about Chicago violence fell flat Monday with his colleagues.

  • ComEd to hold energy fairs to help low-income customers

    ComEd to hold energy fairs to help low-income customers

    Commonwealth Edison will hold energy fairs at satellite locations across the region Monday in order to get money to thousands of people struggling to pay their electricity bills in northern Illinois.

  • PAWS Chicago "Muttshots!"

    PAWS Chicago "Muttshots!"

    These adorable pups are on the loose looking for a place to call home. They have a warrant out for their arrest. Their crime? Being irresistibly cute and cuddly. If you're interested in adopting any of these dogs, please visit for more information.