SPRINGFIELD, IL (IRN) – State senators found plenty not to like about a bill that would have allowed a private company to discriminate by not hiring smokers. They upheld the governor’s veto of the bill, which was intended to benefit one company, Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
“Already, not-for-profits like American Cancer Society – it’s interesting how non-profits can do this now, but companies for profit aren’t allowed to do that because somehow it’s unconstitutional,” said the bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington).
“One company is going to win from this legislation, and the others will lose,” said State Sen. Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign). “Is it safe to say we’re picking winners and losers?”
“The smokers of this state have taken it on the chin enough now, already,” said State Sen. Shane Cultra (R-Onarga). “You can’t smoke in buildings. You can’t smoke in restaurants. And now we’re going to not employ them simply because they smoke?”
“This is an invasion of privacy of the highest degree,” said State Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest). “It is Big Brother.”
“Maybe we should look at the campaign finance records for the ‘Cash and Carry’ Treatment Centers of America,” said State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston), his voice rising. “How they have showered tens of thousands of dollars, not just on the sponsor, but …to one particular party because they need to have their special break that, by the way, takes away their employees’ rights and liberties.”
Records show Cancer Treatment Centers of America has donated thousands of dollars to Republicans, including a recent $10,000 to Duffy.
The Senate failed to override the governor’s veto of SB 2945, 24-31.