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Illinois Supreme Court Sinks Pension-Reform Law PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 06 July 2014 05:30

In a 6-1 decision, the Illinois Supreme Court last week struck down an attempt to force government retirees to pay more for their subsidized state health insurance. And while nothing is ever certain when it comes to the judiciary, the court made it pretty darned clear that Illinois’ new pension-reform law is going to have real trouble passing constitutional review.

The court, led by Justice Charles Freeman, did not specifically rule on the pension-reform law, but declared “it is clear” that all pension benefits – including health insurance – are untouchable.

“We may not rewrite the pension-protection clause to include restrictions and limitations that the drafters did not express and the citizens of Illinois did not approve,” the court ruled.

If that isn’t a direct-enough message to lawmakers, the governor, and everybody else, I don’t know what is. Pension benefits “shall not be diminished or impaired,” the Constitution says, and the court said those words have a “plain and ordinary” meaning that does not allow them to be cut.

 
Poll Shows How Rauner Risks Being Trump-ed by Quinn PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 29 June 2014 10:03

It occurred to me when I was recently in Chicago that the media furor about Donald Trump’s insistence that he be allowed to hang 20-foot-high letters spelling out his name on his new skyscraper is pretty much the mindset behind Governor Pat Quinn’s campaign to tag “Billionaire Bruce Rauner” as a rich, out-of-touch, right-wing white guy.

So I commissioned a poll. While a majority actually agree that Trump had the right to hang his letters, he’s not popular here and voters don’t think that people like him can understand regular folks.

 
Media Ignore Real Problems with Remap-Reform Petition PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 22 June 2014 05:59

Almost 90 percent of the Yes for Independent Maps petition entries tossed as invalid by the Illinois State Board of Elections this month were for people who were either not registered to vote or weren’t registered to vote at the address shown on the petitions, official documents show. The group is attempting to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot to reform the state’s indisputably hyper-partisan legislative-redistricting process.

Yet the state’s media, led by the Chicago Tribune editorial page, have focused on problems with signatures that don’t match up to voter-registration cards. It’s either a gross misunderstanding of the situation or a deliberate deception.

 
Rauner Offers Magic Money Instead of Promised Savings PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 15 June 2014 15:14

“Today, I laid our more than $1 billion in structural reforms,” Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner boasted to his supporters via a blast e-mail last week.

Baloney.

Rauner’s press conference to announce a billion dollars in alleged budget savings was an almost total farce.

 
Legislative Session Produced a Few Winners PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 08 June 2014 05:56

There were lots of losers during the state legislative session that ended last month. But there were a few winners, so let’s take a look at them.

First up: Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner.

Never before has a political party nominated a gubernatorial candidate who had more impact on a legislative session than Rauner did this year. The gazillionaire’s unlimited supply of money and his constant threats to “shake up Springfield” clearly put legislators of both parties on edge all spring – even before he won the primary.

 
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