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Votes Show Pension Reform a Long Way Off PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 10 March 2013 05:40

House Speaker Michael Madigan was hoping on March 7 to avoid the same results as the previous week.

Back then, one of his pension-reform proposals received just one vote – his own. None of his other pension amendments received more than five votes.

That wasn’t supposed to happen. Members of his leadership team thought some of those amendments would get at least a few dozen votes. Oops.

Making matters worse, the House Republicans refused to even participate in the process, with not a single member voting up, down, or “present” on Madigan’s amendments.

Asked about the GOP refusal to vote, Madigan on last Wednesday’s Illinois Lawmakers television program said he believed the Republicans had made a “mistake.”

“They’re elected,” Madigan told host Jak Tichenor. “And their electors tell them to come here and vote. They don’t tell them to come here and not participate.”

 
Master Madigan Botches His Attempt at “Leadership” PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 03 March 2013 05:16

Nobody ever really knows what’s going through the head of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan except for Madigan himself. So the actual purpose behind last week’s highly choreographed gun-control and pension-reform debates – ordered up by Madigan – wasn’t completely clear to anyone.

That’s by design, of course. Madigan prefers to keep people in the dark until he’s ready to make his final move.

But I did hear one theory from a Democrat that made quite a bit of sense – at least for a while.

 
General Assembly Faces Difficult Questions on Concealed Carry PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 24 February 2013 05:04
Illinois House Democrats were told during a private caucus meeting in Springfield last week that, despite what Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez says, inaction on concealed carry would have very serious consequences.

A federal appellate court has given the General Assembly until June 8 to pass a new law allowing some form of public carrying of loaded weapons. After that deadline, Illinois’ laws against public carrying would be struck down. Illinois is the only state in the nation that totally bars concealed or open carry by citizens.

However, an aide to Alvarez told the House Judiciary Committee last week that the federal appellate ruling means nothing to the state.

 
Governor’s Bad Week Includes Horrible Polls, Key Departure PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 17 February 2013 05:39

“Off topic? I can’t imagine what that would be,” cracked Governor Pat Quinn last week during a press conference. Just hours before, his lieutenant governor had announced that she would not be his 2014 running mate.

Quinn usually does a pretty good job during his press conferences of convincing reporters to wait to ask off-topic questions until all questions about the subject at hand have been asked. Last week was no exception.

Quinn was holding a presser with U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss her conditional approval allowing Illinois to move forward with an online health-insurance exchange – a major step toward implementing the president’s national health-care plan.

“You could get caught by stray bullets,” Quinn jokingly warned the folks who had gathered with him to make the announcement. “You don’t have to be part of the firing squad,” he added with a laugh.

He knew what was coming. Earlier in the morning, the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute had released a poll showing that Quinn was badly trailing Lisa Madigan in a hypothetical primary matchup. By mid-morning, the late Senator Simon’s daughter, Sheila, had announced that she wouldn’t be running with Quinn again. Simon’s aides said she didn’t know about the poll from her father’s think tank, but the irony wasn’t lost on those of us who watch these things.

 
The Fallacy (and Challenge) of “Our Illinois” PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 10 February 2013 05:39

Governor Pat Quinn used the phrase “our Illinois” (or a variation) almost 30 times last week during his State of the State address

“In our Illinois, everyone should have access to decent health care.”

“In our Illinois, working people find good jobs not just for today but for tomorrow.”

“In our Illinois, we find a way to get hard things done.”

In our Illinois, we are a “community of shared values.”

While the phrase was mainly just a rhetorical device for a constitutionally mandated annual address, it is important to point out that Illinois isn’t really “one” and doesn’t have all that many “shared values.”

“Our Illinois” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

Imagine trying to govern a state so diverse that it included both Boston, Massachusetts, and Richmond, Virginia.

 
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