The Illinois AFL-CIO hosted its annual State Fair reception last week. The highlight was probably a speech by Governor JB Pritzker, who thanked his audience of union leaders for their support in the 2018 campaign and for their help passing an enormous amount of legislation during his first session of the General Assembly.

But there was also some real news. The event was the last time Michael Carrigan attended as the organization's president.

When Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan announced in February 2018 that he'd fired Kevin Quinn, the brother of Marty Quinn, Madigan's 13th-ward alderman and political general, he said he made the decision because of Quinn's "inappropriate conduct" with Alaina Hampton, a political consultant whom he called a "courageous woman." Hampton had come forward with allegations of sexual harassment by Quinn and retaliation by Madigan's organization.

Most state legislators don't have to worry about next year's general election. The combination of gerrymandering and the simple fact that many of the state's regions are dominated by one party or the other pretty much guarantees that all but a handful of incumbents will sail through on the November ballot.

"Sterigenics should be completely shut down until we determine it can operate safely," gubernatorial candidate JB Pritzker tweeted last October.

For the second time this year, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin has stripped one of his Party members’ access to a House communications staffer.

One of the points that Governor JB Pritzker has made since Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot began using the news media to ask for a multi-billion-dollar state-pension bailout is that other parts of Illinois are having the same problems as our largest city.

Governor JB Pritzker signed the $45 billion infrastructure bill into law last week during a three-day fly-around to several Illinois cities.

"We are so proud of what we've been able to accomplish this first legislative session of ours," Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton told a TV interviewer earlier this month. "We said that we wanted to think big for the people of Illinois. We said that we wanted to get Springfield back on the track of working families. And that's what we did."

Back when this state was fairly well-run – meaning, before Illinois voters elected three anti-Springfield "populist" governors in a row – the general rule of thumb was that for every two dollars appropriated to K-12 education, higher education received one dollar.

If you talk to the Statehouse old-timers, they'll tell you they haven't seen such a productive spring legislative session since Governor Jim Thompson's days.

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