Some Illinois House Democrats got a bit of a shock during a private caucus meeting held not long after the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) filed its proposed redistricting plan with a federal three-judge panel the other day.

Governor JB Pritzker told reporters not long ago that he was worried about the plateauing COVID-19 hospitalization rate and said he wouldn’t yet lift his statewide mask-mandate. But the governor told me something around the same time during an interview that he hasn’t yet said publicly: He’s most concerned about what may happen in January and February and upbeat about the spring and summer.

California Governor Gavin Newsom soundly beat back a recall effort in September partly by trumpeting his proud record battling the COVID-19 pandemic. Virginia’s Democratic governor also ran on his robust anti-COVID program and lost last week to a Republican who opposed mask- and vaccine-mandates. That same Republican ran as unabashedly pro-life and blasted the incumbent pro-choice Democrat for being against “parents’ rights.”

The current topsy-turvy political landscape was on full display in the Illinois House and the Senate last week as the chamber debated and passed a bill to slightly narrow the scope of the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act.

It has been a foregone conclusion since the official US Census numbers were released in August that the first state legislative-redistricting plan passed back in May would be ruled unconstitutional. And the inevitable happened last week when a federal court tossed out the General Assembly’s spring plan.

Catholic priest and Chicago community activist Michael Pfleger has now twice called on Governor JB Pritzker to declare a “state of emergency” over his city’s notorious gun-violence problems.

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.

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