* Special sessions: A job or a joke?
By refusing to meet at the time set by the governor, the lawsuit says, “in theory, Madigan would possess the unilateral authority to wait 10 years, if he so chooses, to convene a special session proclaimed by the governor for tomorrow.” It says a ruling from the court is imperative because “the governor intends to call additional special sessions in the near future to address significant issues facing the state. . .”
* State power struggle spills into third branch
In the lawsuit, which was filed by Blagojevich’s general counsel William Quinlan, the governor asks for a court order compelling Madigan to convene a special session with enough members present to vote on legislation on any date or time specified by the governor. Blagojevich also asks the court to order Madigan to follow the governor’s special session proclamations in the future.
Though Madigan has not challenged the governor’s authority to convene a special session, he has said the governor cannot compel attendance on any specific date or time.
In the lawsuit, Blagojevich claims he does have that authority, pointing to a state law that says the governor shall file any proclamations for a special session with the secretary of state, who “shall take whatever reasonable steps necessary to notify members of the General Assembly of the date and time of the special session.”
* Blagojevich sues Madigan
The House and the Senate did not conduct any substantial business during the 16 special sessions Blagojevich ordered this summer.
Madigan spokesman Steve Brown derided Blagojevich for exploiting the purpose of the original intent of special sessions: to deal with emergencies. Brown noted that the House had met every day — although not necessarily at the specific time — that Blagojevich had ordered.
“He’s making a farce of the special session process,” Brown said.
* Illinois governor sues over special sessions
The schism between the two and the showdown over the special sessions had an oddly unifying effect as Democrats and Republicans in the House lined up against the governor.
Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, a 12-year veteran of the Legislature, said there’s little disagreement even among his fellow Republicans about which of the two Democratic leaders is at fault in the conflict.
“I’ve been called into special session by (former Gov. Jim) Edgar, I’ve been called in by (former Gov.) George Ryan. And we always knew we were there for a real reason,” said Bost. “It wasn’t about personality issues.”
But with Blagojevich, “there was no need for any of these special sessions,” Bost said.
* Blago sues over special session fiasco
* Governor sues the Speaker
* Bethany Jaegar: Blago sues
* Rep. Fritchey: On the governor’s latest move
* Editorial: Blagojevich making a joke of government