By the end of 2020, most people assumed there were only three ways to get House Speaker Michael Madigan out of office, and none were going to happen anytime soon. Not one of those scenarios involved the Republican Party, the Chicago Tribune editorial board, the Illinois Policy Institute, or their fellow travelers and funders of the coordinated effort to dethrone the state’s Democratic king. Their constant attacks on Speaker Madigan only tightened the partisan and union support around him and strengthened his resolve to remain in office by any means necessary.

For what seems like an eternity, but probably just for the past year or so, infamous COVID attorney Thomas DeVore has been citing the first paragraph of Section 2 of the Illinois Department of Public Health Act to claim that only IDPH has the power to quarantine or isolate Illinoisans. And, indeed, the statute clearly states, at the top of Section 2, that IDPH has “supreme authority in matters of quarantine and isolation.” Those powers come with some strong individual-consent and due-process checks and balances, including the right to judicial review.

This entire controversy over Sangamon County Judge Raylene Grischow’s odd ruling earlier this month that statewide mask/vaccine/testing mandates at schools are a “type of quarantine” and therefore fall under the state’s quarantine laws (which include individual due-process protections) could’ve all been prevented with a simple bill last year.

I was a bit flabbergasted to see last week that Republican gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin told a blatant falsehood on a southern Illinois radio station. But what came after that helps us see how the Republican primary will play out for the next four-and-a-half months.

I think by now you can see why Governor JB Pritzker’s campaign spent so much money over the past month or so on TV and digital ads touting the state’s improved fiscal position.

I’ve been fascinated by election petition-gathering season this year because of the adjusted primary schedule, the crazy omicron variant, and the prevailing fear of crime, not to mention the awful weather. Petition season was always during the fall. But because the primary was moved to June 28, petition-circulators now have to get out there in the dead of winter, during the omicron and crime surges.

Richard Irvin is a Republican. Period. Irvin might not be enough of a Republican for the purists. And Democrats might want to weaken Irvin in the Republican primary for governor by pointing to some of the nice things he’s said about Democrats (including the governor) over the years. But Richard Irvin is still a Republican.

House Speaker Chris Welch marked his one-year anniversary as his chamber’s top leader with a series of news media interviews last week. One of the questions I asked was what his legislative district’s constituents were talking to him about the most. “The number-one issue in my district, and this is across the state, is crime,” Speaker Welch said.

The Illinois Senate’s COVID-mitigation protocols (testing, masks, and limited remote-voting) didn’t anticipate a partisan attempt to use a record-breaking virus-surge to shut the chamber down, but that’s what almost happened last week.

Matt Chapman, a self-described data nerd who runs a not-for-profit group called “Free Our Data,” recently filed Freedom of Information Act requests with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office. He wanted everything received by the Chicago Tribune this year via their FOIA requests.