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Why Illinois Republicans Want Gay Marriage to Pass PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 27 January 2013 05:54

Off the record, most top Illinois Republicans these days will tell you that they want a state bill legalizing gay marriage passed as soon as possible.

It’s not that they’re necessarily in favor of gay marriage. Many of them are publicly and privately opposed. Some of them do support it, even though they don’t feel they can vote for it because it might destroy their careers in the next GOP primary.

The reason so many Republicans would like to see the bill passed is because they know – with the huge new Democratic majorities in both state legislative chambers – that it’s eventually going to pass anyway, and they want to get this issue out of the way and behind them as soon as possible. The issue is trending hard against the GOP’s historical opposition, and they want the thing off the table before it starts to hurt them.

Will Bill Daley Finally Run for Governor? PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 20 January 2013 05:23

Bill Daley called the other day. We estimated that it had been about three or four years since we had last spoken to each other, which is par for the course.

Going back to at least 2001, Daley – the brother and son of former Chicago mayors – has mulled a bid for governor. The last time was in 2009, when he publicly considered challenging Pat Quinn in the Democratic primary. And now he’s talking about it again.

Before I returned Daley’s call, I wanted to check around and see what might be different this time.

Speaker Madigan Continues to Hold Out on Pension Reform PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 13 January 2013 05:45

“Frankly, I’m not sure they want it,” Illinois Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno said Tuesday about the Democratic legislative leaders and state pension reform.

It sure looked liked she was right last week, at least in the House, where Speaker Michael Madigan barely lifted a finger for any of the pension-reform bills that were on the table.

His top aides insist that he does indeed want pension reform. Madigan has said he wants a bill to pass. So what will it take to get him off the dime and start pushing for a solution?

Senate Democrats Miscalculate on a Group of Bills PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 06 January 2013 05:10

January 3 was not exactly a banner day for the Illinois Senate Democratic leadership. In high-profile moves, leadership’s attempts to pass a bill legalizing gay marriage stalled, as did bills on gun control. Even a much-needed spending bill was unable to move out of committee. Pension reform went nowhere. The biggest winners were cigarette makers, of all people.

The gay-marriage bill turned out to be a dud. Opponents pointed out some serious issues with the bill’s drafting, which, for instance, would have appeared to mandate that facilities owned by churches or religious groups allow same-sex marriage ceremonies. Proponents denied that, but they seemed to be on some shaky ground.

The measure was moved forward at the behest of some wealthy financial backers who appeared to dictate the timing, which is never a good thing in Springfield. Backers say that three senators who were supposed to vote for the bill were not at the Statehouse, and that kept them from passing it. But even if that were true, the drafting questions would likely have doomed the measure in the House. And the millionaire-funded media blitz just didn’t work. Media blitzes, no matter how awesome to behold, aren’t effective at the Statehouse if the actual bill is flawed and the votes aren’t there.

Despite Mass Murder, Stricter Gun Control Seems Unlikely PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 23 December 2012 05:41

It’s difficult to argue with a point by the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent shortly after news had broken of the mass murder at a Connecticut school.

“If today’s shooting doesn’t prompt action on guns,” Sargent wrote on his Twitter account, “then nothing ever will.”

You’d think that the shocking horror of 20 children and 6 adults murdered at that school by a crazed gunman using a semiautomatic assault rifle with high-capacity ammunition magazines would prompt some action, either nationally or at least locally.

But nationally the NRA has almost completely embedded itself within the Republican Party and allied itself closely with congressional GOP leaders. As a result, when one of its own members (Gabby Giffords) was nearly killed during an Arizona mass murder by yet another crazed gunman, the U.S. Congress did little more than applaud her return to the chamber.

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