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items tagged with Michael Madigan

The Dueling Realities of the Budget Stalemate
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-07-13 15:56:58

After staring at my computer screen for more than an hour, I realized that my goal of providing a succinct and thoughtful analysis of what happened on a very weird day last week in Illinois government was impossible.

Instead, we’re going to have to take this in pieces.

The court case. C.J. Baricevic was one of the lawyers representing a host of unions in their successful St. Clair County lawsuit to force the state to pay its employees without a budget. The victory Thursday came just two days after a Cook County judge ruled that paying employees without an official state budget was a clear and total violation of the Illinois Constitution.

Why was St. Clair County’s ruling so different?

Well, Baricevic happens to be the son of the county’s chief judge, John Baricevic, who was once the county-board chair and is regarded as one of the most powerful Democrats in the region. The younger Baricevic is the local Democratic choice for Congress against freshman Republican U.S. Representative Mike Bost. According to Ballotpedia, the judge in Thursday’s case also appears to be up for retention next year in the heavily unionized county.

Hey, I’m not saying nothing bad about no judges. I visit that fine county every now and then. I’m even told the judge in the case isn’t the type to be sensitive to such pressures. “He’s just a pro-labor guy at heart,” explained one area politico, who added that I was “reading too much” into the local political angle.

I’m just saying.

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Dueling Messages Reveal Ploy to Work Against Madigan
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-06-28 14:27:09

House Speaker Michael Madigan likes to send “messages.” He doesn’t often explain what those messages are, but last week’s surprising defeat of a bill to give the Chicago Public Schools a 40-day extension on its $634-million pension payment due June 30 was most surely a message to somebody.

Despite his spokesperson saying the day before that Madigan was “prepared to be supportive,” it’s clear that Madigan did not work to pass the bill, which was being pushed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. His staff did not urge members to vote for it before or during the roll call.

Madigan himself said he did not ask Republicans for a specific number of votes for a structured roll call, which is another indication that he wasn’t ready to move the ball forward.

Madigan’s deputy majority leader, Lou Lang, presided over the proceeding. A newspaper reported that Lang voted “no” so he could file a motion to reconsider that would keep it alive. Okay, but if you watch the roll call, Lang pushed his red button right after the voting opened, which probably sent a strong signal to the rank and file.

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Rauner Ad Leaves Daylight for Deals
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-06-21 11:05:51

Governor Bruce Rauner’s much-anticipated TV ad isn’t as over-the-top negative as many thought it would be.

“Exactly,” was the response from a Rauner official I spoke with after watching the ad and making the above observation about its somewhat muted tone.

“There’s plenty of time for that if it’s necessary,” the official added.

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Democrats and Republicans Still Have Much to Learn About Each Other
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-06-07 11:34:02

After five months, you’d think that the warring parties at the Illinois Statehouse would have learned something about each other. Instead, last week’s bitter and divisive House overtime session showed that they still fundamentally misunderstand one another.

What follows are some questions I’m hearing and my own responses.

• From Republicans: Why would the House Democrats propose such a weak workers’ compensation reform plan last week when they knew Governor Bruce Rauner wants so much more?

The Democrats’ plan didn’t contain much real-world progress, and actually regressed in part. Unless you read between the lines. Workers’ comp insurance is essentially a no-fault system designed to keep disputes out of the courts. Republicans have for years attempted to insert “causation” into the system to weed out employees whose injuries are mostly not the fault of employers.

But House Speaker Michael Madigan’s bill used the term “causal” in relation to a certain kind of injury. This was a pretty good indication that after more than 30 years as speaker, Madigan is moving away from his complete opposition to causation standards.

The speaker appears willing to deal on this topic because he attached his language to a House bill that can now be amended by the Senate. If he’d used a Senate bill, it would’ve been “take it or leave it.”

So build on the causation issue and ignore his other items that set the negotiations back. It’s not rocket science.

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Why Is Madigan Refusing to Cast Votes?
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-04-26 20:39:50

A couple of weeks ago, I started noticing that House Speaker Michael Madigan wasn’t voting on most legislation during his chamber’s floor debates. Madigan was feeling under the weather that week, and was ill enough that a leadership meeting with the governor couldn’t be scheduled until a few days later, so I let it go.

But the pattern continued the following week. A spot check of roll calls showed Madigan was listed as present and accounted for but hadn’t voted for or against much of anything.

What the heck?

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