Category Archives: Springfield

Lame Duck Sessions Might Actually Be Good for Illinois

Want proof that politicians really do listen to you? Look no further than the Illinois General Assembly’s veto session, writes Reboot Illinois Chief Operating Officer Madeleine Doubek. Scared to death of casting a controversial vote, legislators often need the safety of lame duck status to make decisions that might draw their soon-to-be-former constituents’ ire. Even those who have been re-elected prefer lame duck sessions because they know they won’t have to face voters until nearly two years later.

Journalist Natasha Korcecki: “Blago was radioactive” but politicians dealt with him anyway

Jesse Jackson Jr. was part of “a whole cadre of politicians who knew Blagojevich was radioactive, but dealt with him anyway,” writes Natasha Korecki.  Korecki covered both Blago trials for the Sun-Times and had a ringside seat as prosecutors untangled the web of corruption that defined the Blagojevich administration. Her book, “Only in Chicago: How the Rod Blagojevich Scandal Engulfed Illinois; Embroiled Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel and Jesse Jackson Jr. and Enthralled the Nation,” details a dark chapter in Illinois’ political history.

Illinois General Assembly Described as “Death Grip”

“Democrat controlled” doesn’t quite describe the Illinois General Assembly these days. “For the next two years, that might have to be changed to Democrat death grip,” says longtime Statehouse reporter Doug Finke. But the legislative Dems “aren’t a monolithic bunch,” so don’t expect two years peace and harmony among them, Finke adds.

 

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SJR: With Supermajorities Comes Super Responsibilities

With supermajorities in the state House and Senate, Illinois Democrats now have super responsibilities, says Springfield’s State Journal-Register. They may have won the exclusive right to make some of the toughest decisions in state history — like reforming the pension system and figuring out how to pay $8 billion in unpaid bills on a $33 billion budget. And Dems alone may live with the consequences. “(I)f the GOP decides to sit out, the Democrats have earned the right and responsibility to make those decisions on their own, and whatever happens now will be on them.”

 

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Trib to Dems: “Don’t You Dare”

The Chicago Tribune editorial board has heard “scuttlebutt” that Democrats in the Illinois Legislature may try to make the temporary income tax increase permanent during the lame duck session in January. Most of the increase is scheduled to expire in 2015 — just after the next governor is elected. The Trib’s message: “Don’t you dare.”
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How Big is Illinois’s Lame Duck Class Going to Be?

With 30 of the state’s 177 legislators not seeking re-election and every House and Senate seat up for election today, the General Assembly could have a huge lame-duck class this year. It’s likely that critically important issues, like pension reform, will be decided with help from these lawmakers, who can vote without fear of voter backlash. Not an especially courageous or smart way to govern.

Money & The Map: Two Things Working Against the Illinois GOP

Republicans need to pick up six seats in the Illinois House and six in the Senate to gain majorities. With every seat up for re-election tomorrow and voter dissatisfaction in the Democratically controlled Legislature high, that would seem feasible. But two things are working against the GOP: money and the Democrat-friendly legislative map.

Confused About the Constitutional Amendment: Tune into WSIU this Friday at 7:30

Hey southern Illinoisans: confused about the constitutional amendment on Tuesday’s ballot? Tune into public TV station WSIU Public Television at 7:30 p.m. Friday for panel discussion on the topic.

The discussion, led by Jak Tichenor of WSIU-TV, includes State Representative Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro); Ed Caumiant, Regional Director for the AFSCME union; John Jackson, visiting professor at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute; and Amanda Vinicky, Statehouse Bureau Chief for Illinois Public Radio, who took part in the discussion from Springfield.

Derrick Smith Remains Optimistic on Re-election

The reelection campaign for State Rep. Derrick Smith will be a test of the iron-clad code of party loyalty for which Illinois politics is famous (or infamous). Facing trial for bribery charges and expelled from the House in August by his colleagues, Smith remains optimistic voters in his 10th District will return him to office.

Opposition to the Illinois Pension Amendment Forming Unlikely Partners

You don’t often see the conservative Illinois Policy Institute, the Illinois Green Party and the state’s largest employee union united for a cause. But when the cause is a constitutional amendment that may or may not have an effect on the state’s disastrous pension situation, their hands are joined in opposition. Derided last spring as an empty and meaningless gesture by the General Assembly, Constitutional Amendment 49 suddenly has become controversial.

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