Suscribe to Weekly Updates
* indicates required

View previous campaigns.

Given the Stage, Gaming-Board Chair Fails to Make His Case PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 14 April 2013 05:10

I’ve always believed that just because somebody claims to be a reformer, it doesn’t mean the person has the right solutions.

Many years ago, an activist named Pat Quinn came up with an idea to change the Illinois Constitution. He used the petition process to get rid of a third of Illinois House members in one fell swoop. This, Quinn said, would save money and make legislators more responsive to their constituents.

In reality, all that did was allow a guy named Michael Madigan to more easily consolidate his power. And one way he consolidated that power was by spending lots more money. Quinn’s plan backfired.

But even though this sort of thing has happened over and over again here, the media tends to give reformers a pass, almost no matter what.

So I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised when I read the major media’s news reports of last week’s Senate Executive Committee hearing. It wasn’t at all like the meeting I attended.

Admittedly, I arrived a little late and had to leave for a meeting before it was over, but from what I saw, Illinois Gaming Board Chair Aaron Jaffe’s years-old criticism of the General Assembly’s gaming-expansion bills was exposed as hollow and not entirely fact-based. He badly stumbled through his testimony, couldn’t directly answer questions, and – despite long-standing public criticisms, a notebook filled with thoughts, and a history as a state legislator himself – seemed woefully unprepared for the hearing.

GOP Positioning Shows Republicans Ceding Gay-Marriage Issue PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 07 April 2013 05:08

You can always tell when somebody is losing an argument because they are constantly backtracking and recalibrating. And it’s no different with gay marriage.

Back in January, for instance, newly elected state Senator Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) freely admitted that gay marriage was at the heart of his desire to oust state GOP Chair Pat Brady, who’d recently announced his support for a Senate bill to legalize same-sex marriage.

“I believe we have to have a meeting to ask Pat for an explanation, to modify his actions or get a new CEO,” Oberweis told the Kane County Chronicle back then. “Our CEO has taken very open, public action contrary to the organization, and that’s unacceptable.”

Immediately, however, more-moderate GOP leaders pushed back hard against Oberweis, saying that ousting the party’s chair over gay marriage would send absolutely the wrong message to the voting public, which was coming around fast to supporting the issue. Young people, in particular, counted themselves as strong supporters of the concept, so the old ways of staunchly advocating outdated policies would continue to stunt the party’s potential growth.

House Does Some Heavy Lifting (Finally) on Pension Reform PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 31 March 2013 05:26

As it turns out, Illinois House Democrats didn’t need Republicans to put 30 votes on a significant pension-reform bill.

There’s been worry for at least two years that the Democrats would have to rely heavily on Republicans to get anything out of the chamber and that maybe even 30 Republican votes – half the required 60-vote majority – wouldn’t be enough to pass a pension-reform bill.

But 41 House Democrats voted for a bill this month that severely whacked retirees’ annual cost-of-living increases. Just 25 Republicans voted for the bill – five votes fewer than they’ve repeatedly said they had for a significant pension-reform proposal.

The measure would cap annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) at $750 or 3 percent, whichever is less. That change has the impact of limiting COLAs to only the first $25,000 of annual pension income. Anyone who makes less than $25,000 would continue to receive compounded increases until the cap is hit.

The proposal also forces retirees to wait until they either are 67 years old or have been retired at least five years to receive their annual COLAs.

University-Trustee Battles Sap Energy from Important Efforts PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Monday, 25 March 2013 08:01

A recent meeting between Metro East legislators and Governor Pat Quinn’s staff turned heated at times, and as a result nothing was accomplished in the standoff over Quinn’s appointments to the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees.

The governor’s three appointments to SIU’s board were unanimously rejected by the Senate in late February – the first time anybody I’ve talked to can remember anything like that happening. But the governor has doubled down instead of compromising.

Quinn replaced three members with close ties to the university’s Edwardsville campus, which is near St. Louis. For years, governors followed a “gentleman’s agreement” that gave the Edwardsville campus three of the governor’s seven nominated members. That agreement has coincided with explosive growth at the formerly backwater campus, so locals are loath to go back to the old days of being treated as the redheaded stepchild of the Carbondale campus. Just one of Quinn’s new appointments had connections to Metro East, a complete unknown who applied for the trustee post on the Internet.

Business Opposition Torpedoes Viable Pension Plan PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 17 March 2013 05:51

“Pardon me,” said Ty Fahner to a nearby microphone that he had accidentally bumped during testimony to the Illinois Senate Executive Committee last week.

Fahner could probably be excused for apologizing to an inanimate object. The president of the Chicago-based, business-backed Civic Committee and self-styled pension expert had been forced to sit in the hearing room and wait for hours before testifying against Senate President John Cullerton’s omnibus pension-reform bill.

Cullerton was obviously furious with Fahner for helping organize the opposition to his bill, and he grilled former Illinois Attorney General Fahner mercilessly, tag-teaming with Senate President Pro Tempore Don Harmon, who picked apart the hostile witness piece by piece. Fahner tried to remain calm, but apologizing to the mic showed how much he was rattled.

<< Start < Prev 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 Next > End >>

Page 21 of 128