* Those of us who looked at the past to justify a belief that Speaker Madigan would be cool to the idea of raising the minimum wage were just plain wrong…
In a sign Democrats are sticking to their 2014 election playbook, House Speaker Michael Madigan signaled Tuesday a minimum wage increase could be on the horizon in Illinois.
With President Barack Obama, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Gov. Pat Quinn all singing the praises of boosting the minimum wage above $10 per hour, Madigan — who is chairman of the Democratic Party in Illinois — suggested it might have the juice to move through the General Assembly’s lower chamber this spring.
“There’s strong support for the minimum wage in the House,” Madigan told reporters. “I think that it’s a matter of fairness, it’s a matter of equity.”
* Sun-Times has a great take…
Saying he was “adamantly, adamantly opposed” to increasing the state’s minimum wage, [Bruce Rauner] suggested rolling back the current rate in Illinois during a candidates forum in December.
In January, Rauner reversed course and outlined a scenario in which he could favor an increase in the wage, so long as it was paired with a series of business-friendly reforms in state workers compensation and tort laws.
“I think it’s a matter of fairness. It’s a matter of equity,” Madigan said. “I think you’ll find the opposition to raising the minimum wage comes from people who have done pretty well in America. For some strange reason, they don’t want others in America to participate in prosperity.”
Asked if he was describing Rauner, Madigan shot back a one-word response before walking away: “Who?”
* Meanwhile, I haven’t seen much conservative anger about this Madigan proposal, but maybe it’ll happen in time…
Current laws against discrimination aren’t good enough, says the speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) is sponsoring a constitutional amendment which today (Tuesday) unanimously passed a House committee. “Eight states have attempted to enact photo ID laws,” he told the committee.
“According to the Brennan Center, approximately 25 percent of eligible African-Americans and 16 percent of Hispanics don’t have photo IDs.” If both chambers approve, this would be a question on the ballot in November and could help turnout in a year that includes the race for governor.
* Again, let’s go to the Sun-Times…
David Morrison, policy advisor for government watchdog group, Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, testified on behalf of Madigan’s measure and said it would simplify the process to seek justice because aggrieved voters would be able to point directly to a violation of the state constitution.
“If anyone today did feel like there were an undue burden on their right to vote, this would give them a right to challenge it,” Morrison said. “Not only would get you a trial court action, but constitutional challenges are appealable directly to the Supreme Court.”
But Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove, who voted for the measure, questioned the need for Madigan’s change in the state constitution.
“Is there an instance of voter suppression or access denied to register or cast a ballot here in Illinois?” Sandack asked the speaker.
Madigan couldn’t cite an example but said he wanted to prevent potential examples from cropping up.
The proposal received unanimous support in the committee.
The measure seeks to counter a U.S. Supreme Court June 2013 ruling that dislodged part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and prompted eight states to attempt to restrict access to polling booths, Madigan said. States have required some voters to show photo identifications, a move that Madigan said has “disproportionally” impacted minorities and the poor.
If it makes the fall ballot and is approved, the amendment would prohibit both future General Assemblies and local election authorities from imposing various restrictions, the speaker said.