District 15 candidate sees Illinois lawmakers usurping local control
A candidate seeking to unseat Rep. John D’Amico (D-Chicago) in District 15 has blasted legislators in Springfield for approving a bill that she says will usurp the power of local governments.
Amanda Biela, a former teacher at Chicago’s Curie Metropolitan High School, noted that Senate Bill 1905, which the legislature passed over Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto, prohibits “right-to-work zones.” Because Illinois is not currently a right-to-work state, local right-to-work zones would have offered new options to workers who don’t want to pay union dues.
But SB 1905 also goes further, actually criminalizing a local attempt to create right-to-work legislation in a municipality. Penalties for local leaders could include fines and even jail time.
Biela characterized the move by state politicians as a power grab.
"The American democratic system is built upon elected representatives at all levels serving in the best interest of their constituents,” Biela told Chicago City Wire. “This should be the case in Illinois, but recently legislators in Springfield are attempting to usurp the power of local municipality officials.”
Of course, Biela said, disagreements on legislation are commonplace.
“It's true, there are times the varying governing bodies of our state may not always see eye-to-eye,” Biela said. “Right-to-work regulation is one such area. Yet, these differences of opinion do not give the General Assembly the authority to threaten duly elected local officials with jail time if they pass local ordinances that the state lawmakers do not like. It's blatantly authoritarian and is taking power away from local municipalities who are closest to constituents and know what's best for their communities.”
Biela, who has criticized her opponent for practicing “establishment politics,” had pointed words for any kind of punitive action that sets state offices against local board members.
“I would expect this type of political intimidation in a 'Godfather' movie, not in our statehouse,” she said. “But that's the type of mafia tactics you get with Mike Madigan as speaker of the House and years of one-party rule."
Biela is a nine-year resident of the Edgebrook neighborhood, where she lives with her husband, Michael, who is the principal at Rickover Naval Academy, and their three children. They are members of St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in Park Ridge and also the Edgebrook Community Association.