* 1:42 pm - The governor just held a press conference with three of the four legislative leaders (Madigan was not there, of course) to demand passage of the capital plan. From his pres release…
The Governor and the three legislative leaders called for passage of the plan prior to the scheduled legislative adjournment date later this week. […]
“Senate Republicans have been a clear and consistent voice for a responsible capital program. There are so many needs across the state – roads, bridges, schools, universities, airports – the list goes on and on. The infrastructure needs of this state must be addressed. We have the opportunity to address those needs, capture federal money that’s available and create jobs that are sorely needed in Illinois,” said Sen. Watson.
“Because of the great needs for roads, bridges, mass transit and school construction in this state, I support the Hastert/Poshard infrastructure plan. For us to not give full consideration to this well thought-out plan put together by these two respected individuals would be an enormous mistake,” said Rep. Cross.
* 1:45 pm - No year-round betting at the State Fairgrounds yet…
A bill to expand harness racing at the Illinois State Fairgrounds stalled in a Senate committee Wednesday, making it unlikely the bill will pass this year.
Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, who is sponsoring the bill in the Senate, asked the Executive Committee to delay acting on it. He made the request after senators from both parties raised questions about how the plan would work. Republican senators in particular said the bill appears to give control of the fairgrounds racetrack to a locally appointed board rather than the state Department of Agriculture.
* 1:46 pm - Blagojevich won’t tip his hand yet on the budget…
Gov. Rod Blagojevich isn’t ruling out using his veto pen if he doesn’t like the budget plans currently being considered by Illinois lawmakers.
As Democrats in the House and Senate work to craft a spending proposal by a midnight Saturday deadline, the governor said he hopes whatever arrives on his desk ‘’does good things for people.'’
But, as he entered the State Capitol building Wednesday morning, he said he hasn’t agreed to sign off on any of the spending blueprints.
‘’I'm not going to prejudge anything, I haven’t seen anything,'’ Blagojevich said.
He also said he would be in no rush to sign a budget when it arrives on his desk.
‘’I'll take my time and deliberate and do the right thing,'’ Blagojevich said.
* 2:09 pm - If you’re rooting for on-time adjournment, then this is fairly good news. If you want a capital bill passed right away, it’s not…
Blagojevich say he isn’t linking the two issues [budget and capital bill] but believes they can both get done by this weekend. He wouldn’t say how that might happen.
* 2:18 pm - So, a half hour ago we were told that the Rezko jury had sent another note to the judge. Don’t get all tingly. Here’s part one…
“Can I get a new verdict form, today spilled coffee on the old one,” the note from the foreperson read.
And remember how they left early this week but promised to stay late today and tomorrow?
Well, the second part of their note indicated the panel would leave at 4:30 p.m. instead of 5:50 p.m. as they previously said.
It’s like a country club over there.
* 2:27 pm - Frustrated by the slow pace of negotiations, AFSCME is planning informational pickets at several locations tomorrow. The full press release is here.
* 3:10 pm - More capital bill stuff from the AP…
House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie says House Democrats are still willing to talk about [the capital bill] but sees the chances of it happening as — quote “somewhere between little and nil.”