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items tagged with Michael Madigan

Battles Between Chambers Keep Tensions High
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-11-22 11:50:52

Earlier this month when the General Assembly was in Springfield, House Speaker Michael Madigan called Senate President John Cullerton six different times to ask him to move the child-care-program-restoration legislation once it passed the House.

Yes, six times. The man is most definitely persistent.

As you probably already know, the deal cut with Governor Bruce Rauner’s office by state Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields) and others to mostly restore the draconian Child Care Assistance Program cuts Rauner made this past summer involved not voting on a bill that would’ve fully restored the governor’s cuts.

Madigan wanted that bill to pass, however, and apparently believed through much of the day that his chamber would pass it, even though it seemed obvious that Representative Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) had once again jumped into the political bed with the GOP governor. Some House Republicans were talking about voting for the bill, though, and that kept Madigan’s hopes alive.

Because he thought it still had a shot, Madigan would not relent on Cullerton. And while the constant calls reportedly irritated Cullerton, they didn’t work. Cullerton backed up his member’s deal and the speaker was politely refused. Six times. The bill died in the House when all Republicans and Dunkin voted against the speaker.

Madigan’s pressure on Cullerton was ironic considering that the speaker is sitting on several Senate bills. Cullerton’s chamber has twice passed minimum-wage-increase bills that have gone nowhere in the House despite the fact that Madigan pushed a referendum last year to raise the minimum wage. Cullerton also passed a property-tax-freeze bill that provides more money for Chicago Public Schools and kills off the state’s ancient school-funding formula. But that hasn’t moved in the House, either.

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Script Gets Flipped on Speaker Madigan
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-11-15 11:39:32

“He seems so done with it all,” said one top Republican earlier last week about House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. “He hates this,” said a close Durkin pal not long afterward.

The overtime session’s constant battles with the House Democrats and super-strict marching orders from Governor Bruce Rauner were wearing Durkin down, said some folks who know him. “This summer was pretty nasty,” he admitted to reporters last week.

But that changed by Tuesday. Asked to describe the progress of the previous few days on a scale of one to 10, a cheery Durkin replied, “Eight, nine, 10.” He seemed back on his game.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Michael Madigan clearly had a very bad week.

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What’s Really at Stake in Public Meeting with Governor, Leaders
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-11-08 17:34:42

The concept of a public meeting on November 18 featuring the four Illinois legislative leaders and the governor sounds nice, but will it actually move the ball forward and break the months-long governmental impasse?

As you might know, a group of good-government types recently called on the state’s leaders to sit down and talk about solving the state’s budget issues. The four tops and the governor haven’t met as a group since late May.

House Speaker Michael Madigan quickly accepted and then suggested that the meeting be held in public. The move has quite a few people scratching their heads, because nobody expects anything will be solved while the public is looking on.

So why bother?

A big reason is that the Democrats want the public to see what they’ve been seeing with their own eyes for months. They say the governor walks in, exchanges pleasantries, and then repeats the same basic talking points that he’s been making since April.

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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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