Byline: Leslie Hague Daily Herald Staff Writer
SPRINGFIELD - As lawmakers face continued obstacles to agreeing on a state budget, there are a few things they can agree on:
- Officially recognizing a visit by Beatle George Harrison to downstate Benton 40 years ago.
- Urging the United States Consumer Product Commission to ban the sale of yo-yo water ball toys.
- Congratulating the Bramley family on the ownership of their funeral home in Divernon, Ill., for 80 years.
Such declarations are commonplace in the General Assembly, as lawmakers try to recognize their constituencies and rally support for causes in which they are involved. In the past two years, lawmakers have introduced more than 1,800 of these resolutions, which are supposed to declare the opinion of the legislature and have no official legal weight.
But in the waning hours of the spring session last month, as legislative leaders were involved in budget talks, the resolutions pointed to rank-and-file members having little substantive work to do.
On June 1, they declared March as American Red Cross month - March 2003. Then they declared April of this year as Car Care Month.
Only the House offers congratulatory resolutions - commemorating someone's birthday, anniversary or accomplishment. House members pay $15, often from their office allowances, for them.
But other resolutions offered this year range from the comical to the controversial.
House members lifted the curse of the Cubs - though with little effect so far, it appears.
But they also expressed regret for the murder of Mormon leader Joseph Smith in 1844 and the expulsion of Mormons from the state. The resolution was changed from an outright apology to "official regret" after the sponsors decided it was inappropriate to offer an apology for something they did not participate in. …