* Some commenters gave Rep. Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake) a lot of heat yesterday for announcing that he’d introduce legislation to require those fleeing Wisconsin and Indiana Democratic state lawmakers to pay income taxes to Illinois while they’re here.
The announcement was, in my opinion, basically an attention-grabbing stunt and mostly a joke. But, overall, Tryon is one of the more thoughtful House members. He has several good bills in the hopper to make government run better. For instance…
Creates the Long-Term Accounting Act of 2011. Provides that the purpose of the Act is to improve transparency and accountability during the State budget process
Amends the Legislative Information System Act. Requires, for the 98th General Assembly and thereafter, the Legislative Information System to make available on the General Assembly’s website each vote taken on a bill in any committee of the General Assembly showing, in searchable form, each committee member’s vote, Representative or Legislative District, and political party.
He’s also a co-sponsor of a bipartisan resolution calling on the governor to rescind his zeroing out of substance abuse treatment programs.
But all that will be ignored while the media includes Tryon’s new bill in its national feeding frenzy…
Tryon said he opposed a 2007 bill that extended the 5% Illinois tax to temporary workers — including professional athletes and movie stars. But if it’s on the books, the Wisconsin senators should pay, Tryon said.
“We believe they are working because they are on TV saying they are working,” he said.
Tryon’s maneuver, essentially, is all for political show since there is virtually no chance Illinois’ Democratic-led House will allow the measure to move, particularly given how the state budget meltdown is first and foremost on the legislative agenda.
“We’re dealing with a huge budget problem in our state,” said Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo), whose legislative district has hosted the Wisconsin legislative delegation. “I know we can have some fun with this … but we have to be very focused on what we’re doing. We have plenty of problems in Illinois, more than most states do.”
When Jack Franks whacks you for showboating on a tax issue, you know you’ve gone too far. [/Snark]
Tryon’s bill has been filed, but yesterday was the filing deadline, so LIS is behind. I’ll link to it later today, but here’s the text…
(v) Compensation paid to nonresident state legislators.
The Illinois source income of a nonresident individual who is a member of a state legislature other than Illinois includes the portion of the individual’s total compensation for services performed as a legislator when: (a) the legislator is physically located in Illinois; and (b) the legislator is in Illinois for the purpose of denying a quorum to the legislative body of which the legislator is a member.
Illinois source income shall not count as income any segment of a legislator’s total compensation for services covering time periods when the legislator is in Illinois for reasons of legitimate legislative business, other than denial of a quorum, or for the purpose of receiving required health care or assisting a member of the legislator’s family to receive required health care.
* Meanwhile, it’s turning into somewhat of a circus in Urbana, where several Indiana Democratic legislators are holed up…
Anyone looking for a quiet getaway with no distractions at the Urbana Comfort Suites this week may be out of luck.
And for a group of Indiana Democrats seeking asylum from voting on what they call a radical bill, the cat’s out of the bag.
A group of Tea Partiers today are rallying outside the hotel on North Lincoln Avenue – they are telling the Indiana state legislators to go home. Across the parking lot driveway, another group – mostly University of Illinois students – has gathered to counter the Tea Party rally and to tell the legislators and passing cars that they are happy to give shelter to the out-of-state representatives.
The Democrats have left Indianapolis to block a vote on a Republican-supported “right-to-work” bill that prohibits union membership from being a condition of employment.
The paper has even compiled a tongue in cheek list of things to do while the Indiana Democrats are in town…
1. Meet the mayor: You have a lot in common with Laurel Prussing, Urbana’s two-term mayor. She’s a Democrat and she was an Illinois House member in the 1990s.
* The Indiana House adjourned yesterday with no end in sight to the stalemate…
Indiana House Minority Leader Patrick Bauer said Thursday he’s not sure whether boycotting Democrats will return to the Statehouse on Monday because so far “nothing’s changed” as House Republicans refuse to negotiate or drop contentious labor and education bills from their agenda.
Most Democrats have fled to Illinois in an effort to derail legislation they consider an assault on the working class. Republicans who control the House adjourned until Monday after Democrats said they won’t be back this week.
Bauer, D-South Bend, said Democrats won’t return from Urbana, Ill., where they fled Tuesday, until House Republicans are willing to negotiate their agenda. He said he would like to meet with Wisconsin Senate Democrats who also have fled to Illinois to block GOP-backed legislation that would strip public employees of most of their collective bargaining rights. Bauer said such a meeting would be like a pair of crime victims meeting to talk about their attacker.
And Gov. Daniels is turning up the heat…
Gov. Mitch Daniels signed into law Thursday a plan aimed at fixing Indiana’s debt-ridden unemployment fund that labor unions had opposed because it will reduce jobless benefits for some people while softening business tax increases.
* The national fight over labor rights has moved to another neighboring state. Iowa…
Despite 15 hours of debate and delay by Democrats, Republicans in the House Labor Committee were finally able to pass a bill Friday morning that would weaken collective bargaining rights for Iowa’s public employees.
Democrats offered 48 amendments, starting at noon Thursday and culminating in a 9 to 5 party-line vote around 6 a.m. Friday morning. The bill – House Study Bill 117 — was left unchanged and will now go to the full House.
The legislation makes numerous changes to collective bargaining laws, ranging from allowing the legislature or governor to veto decisions made by an arbitrator to denying unions the ability to negotiate their health insurance or retirement plans. Restrictions or limitations on outsourcing would be lifted, and unions would no longer have any say regarding layoffs. The bill also allows employees to become “free agents,” who can negotiate their terms of employment directly with employers even if they are in a union shop.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs) said Thursday: “Make no mistake, it repeals collective bargaining rights, plain and simple. And that’s all it seeks to do.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told the paper that his Democratic members wouldn’t be fleeing, however, so we can breathe at least a small sigh of relief.
* But the problems persist in Wisconsin…
Democratic state Sen. Robert Jauch, a longtime Wisconsin lawmaker, said Thursday that despite rumors that some of his colleagues had returned to the state, “everybody is outside of Wisconsin . . . all of us.”
Jauch criticized what he called the “police state mentality” of Republicans in the Capitol and took issue with Walker’s assertions that Democrats who had fled the state were abandoning their duties.
“I’m doing more from the Land of Lincoln to communicate with citizens in my district than he is,” Jauch said, adding that the Senate Democrats talk regularly and are “trying to reach out through back channels to see what the solution could be. This governor has dug himself in - that’s very clear.”
* And Wisconsin Democrats have changed tactics on their meeting places to avoid protests like the ones in Urbana…
A week after leaving their home state, at least five Wisconsin state senators met Thursday in a private residence in Woodstock. […]
Several senators had met Monday and Tuesday in a Harvard hotel conference room, but said the have not returned to that hotel since a group of local tea party protesters showed up at the hotel. It is unknown when the group began meeting at the Woodstock residence, but neighbors said they had seen large groups of cars with Wisconsin license plates showing up to the home for three days.
* Also, a rally has been called for tomorrow at noon in Chicago. From a press release…
Across the country, tens of thousands of people are gathering on Saturday to show their solidarity with Wisconsin and Indiana public employees. Hundreds of people will gather in Chicago to demand an end to the assault on organized labor. In Chicago and across the country, union and non union residents have come together to stand up to the corporate greed and conservative ideology that is trying to strip away protections for all workers in America.
The Thompson Center rally is sponsored by Moveon.org, Citizen Action/Illinois and AFSCME Council 31.