The Illinois House Redistricting Committee held its first hearing last week on new congressional and judicial subcircuit district maps at the Michael Bilandic Building in Chicago. Another half-dozen hearings were scheduled for the following seven days to redraw the maps, which have to be reconfigured after each decennial census.

At the end of August, after the Illinois Senate had been unable to find a consensus on the massive climate/energy bill, and punted the issue to the House, I asked Senate President Don Harmon during a press conference why he hadn’t addressed Governor JB Pritzker’s list of problems, legal and otherwise, with the Senate’s proposal. “I don’t know if the governor’s team understood how fundamental some of those provisions were to getting the agreement among all stakeholders,” Harmon replied. That seemed to me to be quite an extraordinary statement about the governor and his team.

After well over a year of successfully fending off every legal challenge to his executive powers during the pandemic, it now appears that Governor JB Pritzker might have reached the limits of his authority.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul Schimpf has mostly followed Ronald Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment and avoided speaking ill of his Republican opponents. Until now. When a relative unknown named Jesse Sullivan jumped into the race earlier this month with a nearly $11 million out-of-state-funded campaign war-chest, state Senator Darren Bailey and businessperson Gary Rabine both called him a member of the San Francisco/Silicon Valley “élite” because that’s where his business was located and where much of his campaign money came from.

Robyn Gabel (second from left)

“This is what decentralized, collective leadership looks like,” declared House Speaker Chris Welch’s spokesperson Jaclyn Driscoll not long after the chamber approved the climate/energy bill on an unexpectedly lopsided 83-33 roll-call on September 9. The vote was without a doubt a spectacular victory, especially considering the Senate was not able to put together its own package that could pass both chambers and be signed into law.

While a huge cloud of coal ash exploded around Springfield’s coal-fired electric-power plant late in the afternoon, the state’s top three Democrats were huddled in a Statehouse conference room trying to find a way to slash electric power-plant carbon-emissions to zero by 2045. The irony was both unmistakable and irresistible.

The week of Governor’s Day and Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair is always packed with political events. And this year was no exception. It’s impossible to attend them all, so one has to pick and choose and go with the flow.

Illinois Senate President Don Harmon decided last week to join House Speaker Chris Welch in his decision to not participate in the Democratic Party of Illinois’ new “BLUE Committee” structure.

In the wake of last week’s Census numbers release, the news media has widely reported a seeming reduction in the number of white people, both nationally and here in Illinois. “Census shows U.S. is diversifying, white population shrinking,” the Associated Press reported. “Overall, in the five collar counties, the white population declined by 183,869 over the past decade,” the Chicago Tribune reported. But is that true?

When Governor JB Pritzker recently announced that state employees who work in congregate facilities would have to be vaccinated by October 4, the largest state employee union, AFSCME (or the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees), released a statement chiding the governor. “We strongly oppose any effort to define them as part of the problem,” the powerful union claimed on behalf of those workers. But Governor Pritzker also said that about 80 percent of new COVID-19 cases in those congregate facilities “have been due to infection among employees.”

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