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*** UPDATED x2 - Cassidy, Williams: “Ridiculous” *** A bit of logrolling?

Thursday, Dec 5, 2013

* In These Times

According to one campaigner for the recently passed marriage equality bill, [House Speaker Michael Madigan] demanded support for his pension bill from the major sponsors of the bill as a price for bringing it to the floor.

* By my count, of those who were around for both votes, 13 of the House’s Democratic gay marriage sponsors voted for Madigan’s pension reform bill back in May. Six voted against.

Just three of those previous “No” votes switched to “Yes” this week. One of those who switched was Rep. Lou Lang, a top member of leadership. He basically had no choice. The other two were Reps. Kelly Cassidy and Ann Williams, who explained her vote to constituents…

I have consistently voted against “pension reform” bills that I believed went too far; many took a punitive approach to addressing the problem. I understand that the public employees are not at fault here. On a personal level, this was the most difficult decision I have made as a legislator. But it is also unfair to continue the downward spiral of cutting programs and funding for our neighborhood schools, the mentally ill and disabled, and other critical human services.

While this bill is certainly not perfect, it is significantly improved from the previous version of SB 1, which I did not support. Over the past several months, I worked to make sure that whatever pension bill was passed would be the best bill possible. I pushed for a guarantee that the State will make its pension payment, so we don’t end up right back here in the future. This bill contains that. I strongly advocated for protections for the people at the lowest end of the income scale, and fought to ensure that any changes to COLA be tied to the CPI, to help pensions keep up with inflation. This bill does that. I asked that if benefits must be cut, then it only made sense for employees to contribute less. This bill does that. I believe the legislation that passed is better because of these efforts.

Cassidy was clearly upset when voting for the pension bill. I don’t doubt that something was up with both her and Williams.

But another Democratic gay marriage co-sponsor, Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, switched from “Yes” on pension reform in May to “Present” this week.

So, the net gain was just two votes. The bill passed with 62 votes, two more than needed.

Pressure? Probably. But it really didn’t matter in the end.

*** UPDATE 1 *** “I would never trade a vote like that,” said Rep. Williams, calling the allegation in the ITT piece “absolutely ridiculous.” She also said there were no conversations with Madigan about the bill.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Rep. Cassidy: “So much less than true it couldn’t be more ridiculous. [Madigan] never spoke to me about the bill once.” She also called the allegation “patent crap.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        


11 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:33 pm:

    Everybody likes a good bratwurst, but no one wants to see how it got to their plate. Same as it ever was.


  2. - Irish - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:36 pm:

    Those two votes for might have given a couple of Mike’s mushrooms the ability to vote no. One of our local Reps who is basically MJM’s lap dog is being challenged in the next election and this is a strong union area. He voted against the bill.


  3. - So. ILL - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:41 pm:

    It took you, another person, and then one more person to get to 62 math wiz. Without Mike Madigan, and _____________ and, _____________ pension reform wouldn’t have passed.


  4. - So. ILL - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:42 pm:

    Well never mind I guess it would have been 60 with just him and without the other two. Who’s the math and spelling whiz now.


  5. - reformer - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:45 pm:

    That payment “guarantee” that Williams hangs her hat on could be altered or repealed by a simple majority in a future General Assembly. The no unfunded mandates law, for example, is regularly lifted. I have no doubt that Gov. Rauner would make that his top priority


  6. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:46 pm:

    Felt like these two issues were linked back in the spring and they were fated to rise and fall with each other.

    Cullertons biggest legislative priority this session was gay marriage as shown by him calling it on Valentines Day.

    Madigans biggest priority all along was a pension deal the Civvies liked and the unions hated.

    Once Cullerton relented on trying to find a pension deal the unions didn’t hate, Madigan put his muscle behind the gay marriage bill.

    The end.


  7. - Al Haig - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 3:14 pm:

    The “campaigner for the recently passed marriage equality bill” is John Kohlhepp, who is trying to settle a score with Cassidy et al for calling him out as an incompetent. The guy almost derailed the marriage bill by needlessly ticking off Gordon-Booth and many others.


  8. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 3:43 pm:

    I don’t doubt Williams’ statement. The simple fact is neither she nor Cassidy are in districts where this vote will hurt them. That doesn’t mean it was an easy vote, I’m sure it wasn’t. It just means that there won’t be a political cost for voting yes.


  9. - walkinfool - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 6:53 pm:

    Williams and Cassidy sound completely truthful. Such a blatant trade between two crucial bills is not at all Madigan’s style.

    Amazing how reporters pass on “patent crap” from anonymous sources, without any checking at all.


  10. - Sparky - Friday, Dec 6, 13 @ 7:32 am:

    - walkinfool - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 6:53 pm:

    Williams and Cassidy sound completely truthful. Such a blatant trade between two crucial bills is not at all Madigan’s style.

    LOL


  11. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Dec 6, 13 @ 9:11 am:

    “I would never trade a vote like that.”

    So, how would you trade a vote?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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