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items tagged with Michael Madigan

Delayed Session Illustrates Do-Nothing Status Quo
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-10-04 11:26:10

The Illinois Senate had been scheduled to return to Springfield on October 6 after not being in session since September 9. But last week, the Senate President postponed session until October 20.

The reason is pretty straightforward.

The Senate has overridden several gubernatorial vetoes. It’s pretty easy for the majority party because the chamber has 39 Democrats, three more than the three-fifths required to override a veto.

The House has 71 Democrats, the exact number of votes required to overturn a veto in that chamber. So the Senate Democrats can be missing a few people or have some folks who don’t want to go along and still override the governor on partisan votes. But the House Democrats need every member in town, and they all need to be voting the same way for that chamber to succeed.

Because of that tight margin, and because the Republicans have marched in lockstep with their party’s governor, the House has only overridden one veto this entire year: the Heroin Crisis Act.

And the House was only able to override that bill because Governor Bruce Rauner allowed House Republicans to vote against his amendatory veto, which stripped out state Medicaid funding for heroin-addiction treatment. Rauner now gets to portray himself as fiscally conservative, while the Republicans got to do the right thing and make the much-needed criminal-justice-reform legislation an actual law.

To date, the governor and his staff have successfully fought off 62 override attempts, mainly in the House.

So much for Speaker Michael Madigan’s much-vaunted veto-proof House majority.

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Survey, Speech Make Negotiations Harder
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-09-27 11:08:25

A poll and a speech might have hardened positions even further on both sides of the highly partisan and bitter state-government impasse.

The speech, by Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich, you likely already know about. The survey, taken by Governor Bruce Rauner’s pollster, you probably don’t. So let’s start with the poll.

Basswood Research, which has done extensive work for the Rauner campaign, surveyed 800 likely Illinois general-election voters September 14 and 15 and found quite a bit of support for Rauner and a whole lot of opposition to House Speaker Michael Madigan.

The poll, which had a margin of error of 3.5 percent, found that 45.5 percent approve of Rauner’s job performance, while 40 percent disapprove and 14 percent don’t know. Not great.

But a whopping 71 percent agreed with the statement “Bruce Rauner is trying to shake things up in Springfield, but the career politicians are standing in his way,” while just 21 percent said that wasn’t true.

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Failed Overrides Might Teach Democrats a Lesson
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-09-06 11:05:45

There was a reason why state Representative Esther Golar (D-Chicago) showed up late for session last Wednesday: She’s been quite ill.

Golar was brought into the Statehouse on Wednesday afternoon via wheelchair. With a weak and halting voice, Golar asked for assistance putting on a light jacket while chatting with a smattering of well-wishers before walking to her seat on the House floor.

She told friends that she hadn’t eaten solid food in three weeks, although she didn’t say what had made her so ill. In desperate need of intravenous fluid, Golar eventually had to be taken to a Springfield hospital.

Through it all, the six-term South Side legislator said she absolutely had to attend session because she knew it was important – not just to help override the governor’s veto of AFSCME’s now-infamous “no strike” bill, but to have her say on all the other overrides and important measures.

A whole lot of bills went down in flames last Wednesday because Representative Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) decided not to cut short his trip to New York and skipped the session. Numerous override motions failed by a single vote, as well as a bill designed to reverse the governor’s 90-percent cut to child-care services.

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Veto Override Could Mean War – or a Way Out
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-08-23 11:28:50

I think on August 19 a new and brief window of opportunity opened that might finally help wrap up this long and drawn-out state-legislative overtime session.

But that window will only be open for 15 calendar days – the time the state Constitution gives each legislative chamber to vote on a veto override.

Allow me to explain.

I spoke with some Rauner folks last week and, man, are they ever on the warpath about the Senate’s August 19 override of the governor’s veto of the AFSCME bill – legislation that would prevent a strike by or lockout of state workers and would instead require binding arbitration after an impasse is reached. The House has 15 days from that date to take its own action.

Even though AFSCME has never invoked its binding-arbitration power with state corrections officers (who cannot strike by law), the governor and his people clearly see this bill as an intrusion on executive-branch powers.

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Chicago Mayor Will Likely Facilitate End of State Stalemate
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-08-16 11:54:17

The absurd facade of this long-running state-government impasse might best be summed up with two brief statements.

(1) Governor Bruce Rauner to Democrats: Just support my plans to eviscerate organized labor and I’ll give you the rare privilege of voting to raise everybody’s income taxes.

(2) Democrats to Rauner: Just accept our piddly little workers’ compensation reforms and we’ll let you put all Republican legislators on an income-tax-hike bill, which you can then, of course, gleefully sign into law.

Those two statements bring to mind a long-ago description of the play Waiting for Godot. It was, the reviewer wrote, a play in which “nothing happens, twice.”

Ain’t that the truth. Neither of these things will ever happen.

I have heard some portray this standoff as something like a religious war, in which each side is so wedded to their own core belief structures – particularly when it comes to labor unions (Rauner against, Democrats for) – that all rapprochement is impossible.

But as hard-line as the summer has most certainly appeared, I am increasingly convinced that this overtime session isn’t quite as simple as either of those comparisons.

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