The Senate Democrats caucused by phone last week. Among other things, members heard updates about what is happening in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Senate President Don Harmon told members that he, the other legislative leaders, and the governor are working on a list of must-pass bills.

The Democratic primary opponent of State Representative Thaddeus Jones (D-Calumet City) recently ripped into the incumbent for his position on a bill last year to create a new state board that would have the power to cap some prescription drug prices.

Chicago's public radio station WBEZ recently published a story about e-mails between House Speaker Michael Madigan's former consigliere Mike McClain and top staffers in Madigan's office. Federal investigators raided the former ComEd lobbyist's home last year.

Former Governor Rod Blagojevich emerged from prison just like he went in: Defiantly proclaiming his innocence and ostentatiously displaying his carefully-coiffed victimhood.

If you were too young to know about Blagojevich or your memory is hazy, you're now getting a lesson in Rod 101. He knows what reporters want and he's more than happy to give it to them if it serves his purposes. He will say anything, literally anything, to stay in the public eye, no matter how far from the truth it may be. And reporters are eagerly obliging him.

All six Democratic candidates vying to replace former State Representative Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) gathered for a candidates' forum last week moderated by Laura Washington of the Sun-Times. Feigenholtz was recently appointed to the Illinois Senate.

I've read and heard a lot of commentary about what Governor JB Pritzker didn't say in his State of the State address last month. Some folks are still quite angry that he didn't address their pet causes.

"It's hard for me to swallow how [people] make so much off of you. Right? And I gotta do the work."

That's from the July 31, 2018 federal surveillance of now-former state Senator Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) complaining, according to media reports, to one of the founders of the red-light camera company SafeSpeed. Sandoval was bemoaning how he was killing and passing bills on the company's behalf while watching other people make bank off the red-light-cam industry.

Give new Illinois Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) some credit. He's made a few very solid moves since January 18, when he was elected to his chamber's top job.

Governor JB Pritzker regularly deflects questions about House Speaker Michael Madigan's future by saying he wants to let the investigative process work.

But during an interview with me to mark his one-year anniversary in office, the governor pointed to his reaction after Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) was indicted, now-former Senator Martin Sandoval's (D-Chicago) Statehouse office was raided, and now-former Representative Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago) was arrested. In every instance, he said, he called on the legislators to step aside or resign.

"He has kept his mouth shut on Jones' ghost workers, the rape in Champaign, and other items. He is loyal to the Administration."

That's from an e-mail sent at 2:04PM on July 31, 2012, by House Speaker Michael Madigan's consigliere and ultimate Statehouse insider Mike McClain to then-Governor Pat Quinn's chief legislative liaison, Gary Hannig, and Quinn's former chief of staff, Jerry Stermer. The message came to light after WBEZ reporters Tony Arnold and Dave McKinney filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for all e-mails between McClain and e-mail addresses for all gubernatorial chiefs-of-staff during the last ten years.

Pages