After the Republicans lost complete control of the state legislature in the 1996 election, they rushed through several bills the following January, before handing the House gavel back to the Democrats. The state Constitution requires a three-fifths majority to pass any bills with immediate effective dates after May 31.
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is becoming way too predictable. Twice now, the governor has told a legislator that he's for a gaming-expansion deal, then his staff denies that the governor said any such thing.
Ten years ago, just before the 1994 Republican landslide, I thought that state Senator Patrick Welch (D-Peru) was in big, big trouble. The Republicans launched an expensive campaign against him, and they had a pretty good candidate.
It's understandable if Illinois Republicans feel a little panicky right now. Their party's U.S. Senate candidate, Alan Keyes, was wiped out in the biggest Senate landslide in Illinois history. And they were stunned when longtime Congressman Phil Crane lost his seat to a Democrat.
Women House members from both parties have stuck together like glue for the past few years, uniting to form the bipartisan Conference of Women Legislators (COWL). The group has become a powerful force at the Statehouse, successfully pushing several woman-friendly bills and budget items.
Since most of you probably had higher priorities last Thursday night than catching the debate between Barack Obama and Alan Keyes (such as watching the St. Louis Cardinals win the National League pennant), I figured I'd do my civic duty and tell you what I saw.
This is an election. It is not a meeting of a Sunday School class," Illinois State Bar Association President Ole Bly Pace told the Associated Press this week. Pace was referring to the Fifth District Supreme Court race as he made what could be the political understatement of the year.
Illinois Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn was threatened with political "divorce" not long ago by Governor Rod Blagojevich's office. Quinn has been a critic of the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority for years, but he was completely cut out of the governor's massive restructuring and reform plan.
This year's only Illinois Supreme Court race is just about the hottest political thing going. The Fifth District race pits appellate justice Gordon Maag (D-Glen Carbon) against trial judge Lloyd Karmeier (R-Nashville).
Up until last week the Statehouse had been one of the safest places in Illinois. No one had ever been killed there in its entire history. And then some unbalanced kid stops taking his meds and all hell breaks loose.