It was probably no accident that Governor Rod Blagojevich chose a Naperville school last week to unveil his proposal to criminalize the sale or rental of violent and sexually explicit video games to minors. If he had used an impoverished inner-city school as a backdrop, the assembled parents might have asked him about the real-life violence that their children face every day.
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is widely believed to be the teachers' unions' best friend. Madigan passed the "temporary" income-tax surcharge years ago, which earmarked half of the new money for schools.
The dust isn't even settled yet from the 2004 campaign, but candidates are already lining up for the 2006 race. You and I might be sick of campaign news, but to these people the game is just beginning. Joe Birkett, the DuPage County state's attorney who narrowly lost the 2002 attorney general's race to Democrat Lisa Madigan, sent a letter to Republican leaders late last month telling them he is looking forward to being on the statewide ticket.
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.