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Federal judge rules more can marry despite state constitutional deadline

Monday, Dec 16, 2013

* A federal judge has issued a new ruling in the same sex marriage debate

U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin last month ordered Cook County Clerk David Orr to issue a marriage license to Patricia Ewert and Vernita Gray, who is battling terminal cancer. The couple’s lawyer argued that they deserved the license because Gray’s prognosis means she may not survive to marry when the law goes into effect. Orr, who supports same sex marriage, opted not to defend his office against the suit.

Today, U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman issued a ruling that will allow all same-sex couples facing life-threatening illness to apply for marriage licenses before the law kicks in on June 1, 2014. As part of the lawsuit, two couples — Elvie Jordan and Challis Gibbs, and Ronald Dorfman and Ken Ilio — were specifically granted license applications. Dorfman has been diagnosed with a heart condition, and Gibbs has cancer. The ruling creates a legal “subclass” of couples, who have an “urgent need” to marry before the effective date.

“Given the Illinois General Assembly’s enactment of Senate Bill 10, any erroneous decision here would only result in allowing a relatively few people to marry a short period of time sooner,” Johnson Coleman wrote in her ruling. “The harm to the putative subclass of medically critical plaintiffs, on the other hand, would be far weightier since a denial of relief could effectively deny them the right to marry at all if one member of the couple passes away before June 1, 2014.” Couples in the state seeking to marry immediately because one or both have a life-threatening illness must get a recommendation from a doctor. Couples must have a doctor complete this certification form, available on the Cook County clerk’s website. Once couples get a certification, they can continue through the standard process of obtaining a marriage license.

* From a press release

“When you have a terminal illness, every day is significant. Even though we know the freedom to marry is coming to Illinois, the default implementation date of the new law is too far away for these couples,” said Camilla Taylor, Marriage Project Director for Lambda Legal. “While no one should be told that they cannot marry for a period of months, for couples who are dealing with a life-threatening medical condition, the delay in implementing Illinois’ marriage law could turn out to be an absolute bar to being married at all. We thank the Court and the clerk’s office for their swift response to ensure that Illinois couples who are struggling with the challenges of a life-threatening illness will have a chance to be married.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      


Rauner’s pension defense

Monday, Dec 16, 2013

* Kurt Erickson talks about Bruce Rauner’s attack on public employee pensions

The ultra wealthy hedge fund manager who is running for the Republican nomination for governor wants to freeze state worker pensions at their current levels and switch everyone to a 401(k)-style retirement savings program.

This is ironic because Rauner became rich, in part, by investing and managing public pension funds, including the Illinois Teachers Retirement System.

While school teachers, prison guards, university employees and child welfare workers are staring at a revamped pension plan that will bite into their future earning power, Rauner is enjoying the fruits of his investments.

He reported earning over $100 million in the past three years alone. Reports indicate he has eight homes, including ranches out West, penthouses in New York and Chicago and a beach house in Florida.

Rauner’s handlers didn’t make him available to discuss the disconnect between Rauner’s riches and his position on ending pension plans for public servants.

But, Rauner’s campaign spokesman said Rauner’s investment firm GTCR delivered ample returns for the pension systems at a time when lawmakers and former governors were not sufficiently funding them.

“So on one side you had the politicians creating the problem and on the other you had GTCR and Bruce creating tremendous returns,” spokesman Mike Schrimpf said.

I suppose I can see the logic in that Schrimpf statement, but I’m not sure that it’s an easy argument to make, especially considering his great wealth.

I mean, $53 million a year is over a million dollars a week, which breaks down to over $200K a day for each work day. He’s making more in a day than most retirees will make in five, six or even more years.

And if you think pointing that out is “class warfare,” then what is Rauner doing?

Thoughts?

* By the way, Rauner disclosed another $100,000 in contributions this morning, including $25K from Contractors for Free Enterprise, which is the political arm of the anti-union Associated Builders & Contractors.

- Posted by Rich Miller   51 Comments      


A bit too much tinfoil, perhaps

Monday, Dec 16, 2013

* As we’ve already discussed, the Tribune sharply criticized Republicans who voted against the pension reform bill. Rep. Jeanne Ives responds

The Tribune may bend to the will of Mike Madigan and provide political cover to the same people who brought us the most unfunded pension systems in the country but I will not. Our party’s stance in the ILGA is to uphold fiscal responsibility and strong policy at every decision-point. Let’s not retreat from this mission.

…said the same state legislator who voted for Madigan’s very similar bill back in May.

Also, say what you want about the Chicago Tribune editorial page (and we all have), but its being in Mike Madigan’s back pocket is definitely not part of reality. I think we can all agree on that - at least, those of us who regularly inhabit this planet and not some alternate universe.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      


How could Durbin lose a clout fight for U of I grant?

Monday, Dec 16, 2013

* Good news

The new budget agreement making its way through Congress should have “significant benefits” for the University of Illinois and its researchers, its chief federal lobbyist says.

The two-year deal struck by Republicans and Democrats last week, and approved Thursday by the House, would provide partial relief for the cuts imposed by the budget sequester last spring and give federal agencies some certainty in budget planning, said Jon Pyatt, UI director of federal relations.

“We really see this as a positive sign. We’ve been lurching from crisis to crisis for the last several years,” Pyatt said.

* Bad news

University of Illinois Board Chair Chris Kennedy is sounding an alarm, worried a bid by the school and its partners for a $70 million federal Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute grant may be influenced by a senator’s clout — and end up in Huntsville, Ala.

Kennedy, noting the clout history of Illinois — harking back to the days when the late Rep. Dan Rostenkowki, D-Ill., could vastly influence decisions — told me Sunday, “there is a certain irony to the fact that we may lose a big federal grant to clout.”

More

“The university has lots of supporters, elected officials, government workers, and that network is providing us with feedback, and that feedback is indicating perhaps a certain United States senator is so focused on bringing home this grant to his Southern state that we may not get it,” Kennedy said.

The senator in question is Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee Defense spending subcommittee, and this is a Defense Department project. Durbin has written two letters to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to bolster the U. of I. bid, on Aug. 8 and Nov. 8. Durbin’s Nov. 8 letter was signed by a total of 16 senators, including Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill.

If Durbin gets outmaneuvered by Shelby on this one, then what good is he? I mean, the Senate is majority Democratic, he’s chairman of a powerful subcommittee and is the number 2 guy in Senate leadership.

C’mon, man.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** He knew it was illegal when he did it

Monday, Dec 16, 2013

* There’s little doubt that the US Attorney’s office did a really poor job at oral arguments last week in Rod Blagojevich’s appeal. Listen to the whole thing if you can…

That person just wasn’t prepared.

* AP

During an hour-long hearing that was sometimes contentious, three judges of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals frequently interrupted a prosecutor and pressed her to explain just how the 56-year-old Illinois Democrat’s actions had strayed into criminality. […]

Blagojevich’s attorneys want the court to toss his corruption convictions or at least agree to slash years off his 14-year prison term, which is one of the longest ever imposed for political corruption in a state where four of the last seven governors have ended up in prison.

In seeking a cabinet post - possibly as secretary of health and human services - in exchange for a Senate appointment, Blagojevich was merely seeking to further political causes he’d long championed, including health care, Blagojevich attorney Leonard Goodman told judges.

“Mr. Blagojevich’s defense is, ‘I thought this was (legal) political horse trading,’” said Goodman, adding that Blagojevich was an avid student of political history and was therefore conscious of not crossing that line. “This wasn’t some backroom deal.”

* OK, that’s total bunk. He knew that at least some of what he was doing could very well be illegal. How do we know that? The tapes.

From a December 4th conversation about appointing Jesse Jackson, Jr. to Obama’s Senate seat

ROBERT BLAGOJEVICH: Yeah. Well I would think if you do appoint him and I don’t know who the money centers are in the black community, but you gotta get me focused on them or somebody focused on them…

BLAGOJEVICH: What, here’s, here’s what you’ve got to do. You gotta talk to Raghu. You gotta call him and say hey, look. You know, Jesse Jr. you know, I think a Ro-, Rod’s meeting with him at some point. Very much a real-, a realistic, and you should just let him know, you know, the Durbins and the others behind the scenes, they don’t want him. They’re afraid.

“Raghu” is Raghu Nayak, a major fundraiser for both Jackson, Jr. and Blagojevich

Federal authorities alleged Nayak offered to raise up to $6 million in campaign cash for Blagojevich if he used his power to name Jackson as President Barack Obama’s replacement in the U.S. Senate after the 2008 election.

* Rod knew this deal could be a very big problem. From the same conversation with his brother

BLAGOJEVICH: You understand? Now you gotta be careful how you express that. And assume everybody’s listening, the whole world’s listening.

ROBERT BLAGOJEVICH: Right.

BLAGOJEVICH: You hear me?

* From the very next morning, the same day the Tribune ran a story about how Blagojevich pal Wyma was cooperating with the feds

ROBERT BLAGOJEVICH: I got a meeting today at one

BLAGOJEVICH: Raghu.

ROBERT BLAGOJEVICH: Yeah.

BLAGOJEVICH: Yeah. I don’t know if you should do it.

ROBERT BLAGOJEVICH: Right.

BLAGOJEVICH: Yeah.

ROBERT BLAGOJEVICH: So is that a definitive no?

BLAGOJEVICH: Probably, yeah. Give me a little while, but I’m sure it’s a no. Just, you know, just re-, say we’ll see you tomorrow and Harish Bhatt and all that stuff, you know what I’m sayin’?

ROBERT BLAGOJEVICH: Yeah. (PAUSE)

ROBERT BLAGOJEVICH: Okay.

BLAGOJEVICH: Okay.

ROBERT BLAGOJEVICH: Alright.

BLAGOJEVICH: Yeah and I’m sure it’s gonna be a no.

ROBERT BLAGOJEVICH: Okay. Very good.

BLAGOJEVICH: In fact, just do it. Go ahead just call him and say, well, it’s too obvious right now ’cause of this story.

* Later that morning

ROBERT BLAGOJEVICH: Alright just to let you know what’s goin’ on today we got this Hispanic event.

BLAGOJEVICH: Yeah I know, I know all that. So, yeah, undo your Raghu thing.

ROBERT BLAGOJEVICH: Ah, done.

BLAGOJEVICH: Yeah.

ROBERT BLAGOJEVICH: Done.

* Back to Friday’s hearing

With some passion behind his remarks, [former chief judge of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the conservative Frank Easterbrook] asked if there was “any criminal conviction in U.S. history” other than Blagojevich’s in which a politician was convicted for trying to trade one job for another.

“I’m aware of none,” responded the government’s Debra Bonamici.

Her answer seemed to hang in the air for a bit as courtroom observers took that in.

Easterbrook described how in the run-up to the 1952 presidential election, then-California Gov. Earl Warren offered to use his post to “deliver California” for Eisenhower in return for a seat on the Supreme Court. It was a deal that Eisenhower eventually honored.

“If I understand your position, Earl Warren should have gone to prison, Dwight Eisenhower should have gone to prison,” Easterbrook implored. “Can that possibly be right?”

Her eventual answer was nuanced, including explaining the allegations included Blagojevich’s attempt to have a 501c (4) set up for him to head if he appointed Valerie Jarrett to the U.S. Senate.

I happen to mostly agree with Easterbrook here. But the prosecutor should’ve focused on some of the more clear-cut issues, like the shakedown of a children’s hospital for a big campaign contribution. He ordered a beneficial state rule held up until he got his money. That’s clearly illegal.

*** UPDATE *** Wordslinger blasts Easterbrook’s comparison to the Eisenhower situation…

That’s nonsense. Show me, in any written history, that Warren made such an “offer” and that Eisenhower agreed to “honor” it.

As it was, 77 of the 90-member California delegation voted for Warren at the convention, so Warren hardly “delivered” the state to Ike.

How the U.S. attorney could let that fiction slide just shows how unprepared the office was.

The facts:

In 1952, Gov. Warren ran as a favorite son, and thought he had the 90-vote California delegation sewn up. In truth, Sen. Nixon spent the train ride from Sacramento to Chicago picking off a handful of Warren delegates for Ike.

Because of this, in part, Ike’s biggest backers, Gov. Dewey and Gen. Clay, recommended him for VP. Nixon was also considered an attractive VP candidate for his youth, war service and for being from the booming West. In addition, he served as a bridge between the right-wing isolationists (for the Hiss case) and the moderate East Coast internationalists (for his support of NATO).

After Ike was elected president, he nominated Warren for solicitor general, with the idea of appointing him to the next open Supreme Court seat, which he did.

But that was to keep Warren from being a primary rival in 1956 and to placate the liberal wing of the GOP, just as Lincoln did with Salmon Chase and the Radical Republicans in 1864.

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      


Rauner’s new TV ad focuses on term limits

Monday, Dec 16, 2013

* Rate it

Mentioning George Washington and Ronald Reagan was a bit much, particularly since Reagan wanted to repeal the 22nd Amendment

During his final days in office, President Ronald Reagan vows to continue speaking out on issues that concern him. Among other things, Reagan says he will push for repeal of the 22nd amendment that limits a president to just two terms in office.

But it’ll probably work very well with the tea party crowd.

* From the Rauner campaign…

Bruce Rauner’s campaign launched a new television ad focused on his push for term limits. Bruce is chairman of the Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits, which recently announced it has already collected more than half the signatures necessary to place a Constitutional amendment enacting term limits on the legislature on the November 2014 ballot.

Click the link to watch the ad: http://bit.ly/1bFYpl7

“Out-of-control spending, record tax hikes, terrible unemployment and a state government controlled by special interests - the career politicians are failing Illinois, and Pat Quinn is the worst of all,” said Bruce Rauner. “I’ll put an end to the self-dealing and drive results for taxpayers.”

“I’m running to create a booming economy, clean up state government, dramatically improve education and enact term limits,” Rauner said. “And unlike the career politicians running Springfield right now, I’ll make it happen.”

* I shouldn’t have to remind you, but support for term limits is almost off the charts in Illinois

When asked if they’d be more or less likely to support a GOP gubernatorial candidate “who supports a constitutional amendment limiting the number of terms state legislators may serve,” 76 percent of Republicans said they’d be more likely, while a mere 13 percent said they’d be less likely and 12 percent said it made no difference [according to a Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll].

And

The Paul Simon poll found 79 percent [of Illinoisans] favored term limits, a number consistent with previous polls.

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      


Ryan, Castro, Mandela and the death penalty

Monday, Dec 16, 2013

* The story

Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan says Nelson Mandela was instrumental in his 2003 decision to empty death row. […]

Ryan and Mandela met in 2000 on a trade mission to South Africa.

Ryan said Sunday to hearty applause that Mandela called him ahead of his decision to empty death row and it inspired him. Ryan drew national attention for emptying death row, which led to Illinois abolishing the death penalty in 2011.

* The back story

Back in 2000, staff members for then-Gov. Ryan tried to get a meeting with Mandela during the trip but were rebuffed, Ryan recalled.

“We were told that Nelson Mandela was a busy man and that he only met with heads of nations and world leaders,” Ryan told the mostly full church at 6430 S. Harvard in Englewood.

But then someone in the trade group had an epiphany. Ryan, who met with Cuban leader Fidel Castro the previous year, had maintained friendly enough relations with the communist dictator that his staffers were comfortable asking a favor of Castro, who was a close ally of Mandela’s.

“The staff I had called back to Cuba, to Fidel Castro, who had a long personal, affectionate relationship with Nelson Mandela over the years and asked if he could put in a good word,” Ryan said. “Don’t you know what happened? We had a meeting.”

* And then

Several years later, after Ryan had imposed a moratorium on the executions in Illinois, Mandela called him while Ryan was contemplating commuting the sentences of inmates on Death Row.

“I hadn’t decided what my decision was going to be, and Nelson Mandela called me from South Africa and asked me to do what I [eventually] did and it had an impact on my actions,” Ryan said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      


Digital-only application process riles some

Monday, Dec 16, 2013

* You’ll be able to begin the application process for a concealed carry permit with the Illinois State Police on January 5th, but only online. And that troubles some folks

“We want the ability to have a choice,” said state Rep. Brandon Phelps, a Harrisburg Democrat. “You’ve got people in some rural areas who don’t have access to computers or who might not understand the technology.”

But Illinois State Police officials say they’re not set up to process paper applications.

* More

Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said there is no procedure in place for applicants to send in a paper application.

“At this time we will only be accepting applications online,” Bond said. “It is more efficient, cost-effective and easier for other agencies to communicate throughout the application process.”

While Phelps said he understands the state police reasoning and agrees a paper application could slow the approval process, he said the option should still be available for people who don’t have computers or Internet access.

“It’s a big deal that needs to be addressed,” Phelps said.

* More

National Rifle Association lobbyist Todd Vandermyde says he’s anxious the concealed carry rollout will mirror the Affordable Care Act signup mess. He’s pressing the state police to accept paper, as well as online, applications.

“There are people in this state who don’t have the ability to scan documents, who are over 55 and don’t live on a computer every day like the tech generation does,” he says. “We’re trying to make this reasonably accessible for everybody. But the state police seem to be in a very narrow mindset about that, and are trying to force everything in a digital model, which they don’t even seem to be able to get right.”

The story above also claims that this page isn’t working on some browsers. It didn’t work on one of my browsers last week, but it is working today. Does it work for you?

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      


Question of the day

Monday, Dec 16, 2013

* From the twitters


* The Question: Your birthday message to the governor?

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      


Durkin cuts off Caprio’s access to voter file

Monday, Dec 16, 2013

* Family-Pac’s Paul Caprio is upset that House Republican Leader Jim Durkin has barred Caprio’s group from using the Republican voter file to run candidates against Durkin’s incumbents in the Republican primary. That may sound like a no-brainer to you, but Caprio is furious and sent a letter to rank and file House Republicans last week

December 12, 2013
Dear Representative,

For the past decade, Family-Pac has had a cordial working relationship with the HRO.

Although we haven’t always agreed on the best Republican candidates in the primaries, I think Tom Cross would tell you that Family-Pac has provided key assistance to pro-family GOP candidates in many general election contests.

In return, the House GOP leadership has always allowed us use of the Republican Party voter file.

Unfortunately, under the leadership of Jim Durkin this policy was changed without notice. Family-Pac’s ability to use OUR voter file has been terminated by Durkin.

I asked the reason for the change and was told by an HRO political operative it was because Family-Pac was opposing two GOP incumbents in the upcoming March 2014 Primary who had supported same sex marriage.

Forty-four of you opposed same sex marriage (SB10) in support of your national and state platforms. Now Family-Pac is discriminated against for supporting your position.

If Jim Durkin wants to focus his campaign efforts on supporting these two candidates instead of recruiting strong candidates in target districts against Democrats, that’s his prerogative. However, to use the vote on same sex marriage to determine HRO’s relationship with a long-time ally like Family-Pac, I believe, is extremely foolish.

We view this as another effort to marginalize the conservative base which is so important to the success of the pro-family candidates. These continued insults are one of the reasons that the GOP finds itself in such a weakened position in Illinois.

Thank you again for your support of our common values.

Sincerely,

Paul Caprio

* Caprio also forwarded the letter to his allies with this e-mail…

Coalition Members:

I’ve attached a copy of a letter I sent yesterday to all Illinois Republican House members.

As you can see this is yet another effort to further close the Party to social conservatives.

I can assure you that this reckless action by Jim Durkin will not hinder our efforts to defeat GOP candidates who were the deciding votes to pass same sex marriage. GOP Primary decisions should be decided by individual voters, not dictated by would-be political bosses like Jim Durkin.

Paul

To me, anyway, this looks very much like the same fight that Speaker Boehner is dealing with in DC.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      


Don’t forget the toys!

Monday, Dec 16, 2013

* This is just a friendly reminder that if you’re planning to attend my City Club speech on Wednesday, we’re asking everyone to please bring a gift for kids in Lutheran Social Services of Illinois’ early childhood program.

The gifts should be for children ages 3-5. You can also bring a gift card from a store that sells stuff for kids.

The speech sold out pretty fast, but you can still get on the waiting list by clicking here. For those who prefer to take a more direct approach, call Paul Green and ask him if you can squeeze in.

If you can’t make it, you can always donate to LSSI by clicking here.

Thanks!

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      


Kim backgrounder

Monday, Dec 16, 2013

* The Kankakee Daily Journal has a bio piece on Steve Kim, who is Treasurer Dan Rutherford’s running mate

Kim is a successful businessman. An attorney, he advises companies on regulation and has offices around the world. He was a special assistant on international trade during the administration of Gov. Jim Edgar and sits on the advisory committee for trade set up by Sen. Mark Kirk.

Kim’s father, Kenneth, was a pharmacist in Seoul. He and his wife, Helen, might have settled elsewhere, but they ran out of bus fare in Illinois and remained here. His mother ran a dry cleaners in Skokie.

“Their dream was the American dream,” he said. “Work hard. Save. Own your own business. Send your children to college.”

Kim is a graduate of Loyola Law School. He and his wife, Misuk, live in Northbrook. They want a good life for their son, Lincoln, 19 months. “For Christmas we got him a stuffed elephant,” Kim said.

* A photo from his event…

Caption?

And, I know I don’t have to say this, but just in case some stupid yahoo stumbles in here, any attempt at racial humor will be met with a highly unpleasant response from me.

Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      


After years of not caring, Madigan tries to improve his image

Monday, Dec 16, 2013

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

House Speaker Michael Madigan’s spokesman said last week that his boss’ statement opposing further corporate “handouts” basically “speaks for itself.” But does it?

Madigan invoked the populist gods last week as he called for an end to the “case-by-case system of introducing and debating legislation whenever a corporation is looking for free money from Illinois taxpayers.” Companies requesting the tax breaks, Madigan said, “pay little to no corporate income tax to the state, contributing little or nothing to help fund the very services from which they benefit significantly.”

It would be much easier to believe Madigan had he not just last month pushed a bill over to the Illinois Senate which would give Univar a tax break to help the west coast corporation move its headquarters to Illinois. Not coincidentally, Univar has an existing facility just next door to Madigan’s House district.

The Senate refused to pass the stand-alone Univar bill, opting instead to include the Univar break in a wider package benefiting OfficeMax and ADM. That bill cruised through the Senate, but Madigan didn’t allow it to be called in the House after the pension reform proposal was approved.

So, Madigan’s infamous transactional nature and the traditional tension between the two chambers both appear to be playing into this.

Contrast Madigan’s statement about corporate “handouts” with Senate President John Cullerton’s staunch defense of his chamber’s passage of the tax breaks. “We’re not giving any money to corporations, we’re bringing jobs to Illinois,” Cullerton said. “These specific bills that we passed, they are new jobs that are being added. So we’re not taking any money away from anybody or giving money to corporations, we’re adding jobs that aren’t here now.”

But even Cullerton whittled down the list of companies seeking government assistance. Zurich North America wanted a tax break to help it with its already announced headquarters move from one part of Schaumburg into another, but it was left out of the final deal. Suburban video game developer High Voltage Software has asked for assistance dealing with overseas competition, but it was also removed from the Senate’s package.

Several other corporate execs have also quietly reached out to inquire about tax incentives, insiders say, so the relative trickle could become a raging flood very soon. Madigan appears to have wanted to stop this trend before it got out of hand.

There is also some continuing tension between Madigan and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who refused to publicly endorse a specific ADM tax break bill. Emanuel wants Decaturbased ADM’s new “world headquarters” to be located in Chicago, but hizzoner never publicly requested the subsidy the company wants, and Madigan didn’t want his members taking heat for “corporate welfare” while Chicago’s mayor benefitted without cost.

This move also has a macro side. Madigan has never really cared much about the publicity he gets, but after he was publicly singled out by gay marriage proponents as the main impediment to the bill’s passage, Madigan helped push the legislation over the top and then took credit in an unusual post-vote press conference with the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Greg Harris

Madigan then gave himself full credit for passage of the pension reform bill, claiming that the bill couldn’t have passed without his own leadership. His statement blatantly ignored the undeniable fact of Senate President Cullerton’s massive policy shift on pension reform, which was what really led to the bill’s success. More importantly, though, the Speaker’s statement signaled yet again that he wanted praise for his accomplishments - something he’s never asked for in the past.
And now this move designed to curry favor with the vast majority of voters.

After years of not caring, why does he care now? One obvious reason is the upcoming gubernatorial election.

“Dealing with Madigan” has already become the most important issue in the Republican primary, with Bruce Rauner regularly denouncing Madigan and all four candidates claiming they’re the right guy to bring the most powerful Democrat in Illinois’ history to heel.

It’s highly doubtful that Madigan’s PR ploy will work. The media and the Republican establishment have been blasting Madigan for over thirty years. A sustained attack like that simply cannot be effectively countered in a few months via media coverage alone.

Madigan, at the age of 71 with almost 43 years in the House and close to 29 years as Speaker, is also undoubtedly taking stock of his legacy and has apparently decided that he’d better get his, um, house in order. This state has suffered badly. And while he shouldn’t get all the blame, he has to know that he will anyway.

* Kurt Erickson believes it was all about the “optics”

I prefer to think that Madigan was just trying to avoid the bad optics first floated in a story I wrote back in late September.

Here’s the first paragraph of the story:

“At the same time Illinois lawmakers are expected to debate a plan to strip retirement benefits from teachers, prison guards and university employees, they also may take up a proposal to deliver tax breaks to one of the state’s biggest corporations.”

Flash forward from September to December and that was exactly the scenario facing lawmakers in the House as they voted to approve a plan to reduce pension benefits for tens of thousands of workers and retirees.

What would it have said had they then turned around that same day and gave away millions of dollars in tax breaks to a successful company like ADM so its top brass could be closer to a large international airport?

Except the Senate did just that, overwhelmingly passing the bill with the support of Republicans like Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard. Just five Democrats voted “No.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      


Your chance to weigh in

Monday, Dec 16, 2013

* I told you about this late Friday afternoon, but you didn’t get a chance to comment, so

The governor collected more than $70,000 in uncashed paychecks held since last summer by Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka at his request in a move originally intended to show his commitment toward solving the state’s $100 billion pension crisis.

And in one other bit of end-of-the-week housekeeping, Quinn dropped his appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court in his dispute with House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, and Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, over whether he had the authority as governor to withhold legislators’ paychecks to drive a legislative bargain on pensions.

“We are moving forward. Illinois is moving forward,” Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      


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        * White Sox introduce Adam LaRoche and their plans for him
        * White Sox plan for contention a work in progress
        * White Sox officially announce LaRoche deal
        * Red Sox seize offseason driver's seat with signings
        * White Sox officially announce LaRoche deal
        * White Sox land LaRoche with two-year deal
        * Family adversity didn't deter prospect Danish

        ...............


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        * BC-AP Sports Digest..
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        * Canucks honor late coach Pat Quinn before game..
        * Food manufacturer expands in Chicago suburbs..
        * 2 credit houses take no major action on Illinois..


        * Deere dips on shaky outlook for fiscal 2015
        * Chicago airports expect more holiday travelers
        * Illinois hunters kill 52,000 deer in weekend
        * Man undergoes evaluations in Illinois arson case
        * Protests against Ferguson decision grow across US
        * Ferguson protesters leave Chicago mayor's office
        * Trial set for Chicago man accused of killing son
        * Washington still focused on tornado recovery
        * 2 credit houses take no major action on Illinois
        * Illinois man pleads guilty in child porn case

        * State begins accepting fracking applications
        * Debt rating agencies weigh in on state pension ruling
        * Lisa Madigan to ask Illinois Supreme Court to consider pensions
        * Rauner tackles transition agenda
        * Attorney general warns of immigration scams
        * State pension changes ruled unconstitutional; appeal to Illinois Supreme Court next
        * State to refund $60 million in retiree health care money
        * State pension changes ruled unconstitutional; appeal to Illinois Supreme Court likely
        * Illinois pension case likely headed to high court
        * Judge: Pension ruling to come Friday

        * Ferguson protesters leave Chicago mayor's office
        * How Brad of Brad's Deals became the king of e-coupons
        * Bin 36 leaving River North after 15-year run
        * Watch Hebru Brantley paint an exclusive commission for Crain's 2014 40 Under 40
        * Obama's remarks about Ferguson


        * Obama guidance, press schedule Nov. 26, 2014. Turkey pardon
        * Off Message: Chicago election preview
        * City needs to put its house in order in protecting tenants
        * Rauner getting a fixer-upper: governor’s mansion
        * Obama and Cupich meet for the first time, discuss immigration
        * ‘Porgy’ star: Opera is fini if fat lady keeps singing
        * Obama in Chicago: On Ferguson, Immigration. Transcript
        * Finding food for hope in Ferguson
        * City needs to put its house in order in protecting tenants
        * Emanuel, Claypool heap each other with praise at City Club


        * Police search for missing South Shore man last seen month ago
        * 4 men hurt in separate shootings
        * City Hall sit-in morphs into march along Michigan Avenue
        * Former Chicago-area homebuilder gets prison for failing to pay taxes
        * Obama visits Chicago to tout immigration action, cites Ferguson controversy
        * FAA studying military-style air-traffic backup system, Sen. Kirk says
        * Bartlett man says at sentencing hearing he shot at car to protect family
        * Metra trains stopped in Aurora because of suspicious package
        * DuPage Co. OKs budget that reduces spending


        * Pension Ruling "Credit Negative," But No Ratings Change
        * Phoenix Center Strives To Connect With Transgender Community
        * Tim Landis: Foreclosure Sales, CIPS Icehouse and Heritage River Trail
        * Part Timers & Manufacturing in Illinois Feeling a Slow Economic Recovery
        * Notes From Ferguson: A QA With St. Louis Public Radio's Rachel Lippmann
        * Notes From Ferguson: Q & A With St. Louis Public Radio's Rachel Lippmann
        * Disbelief in Hammond after accused cops are reinstated
        * Disbelief by some in Hammond after accused cops are reinstated
        * Grand jury: No indictment for Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson
        * Madigan Says Court Could Rule On Pensions In January


        * Michael Gerson: The big ‘but’ on immigration
        * Quote of the Day: Nov. 26, 2014
        * State begins accepting fracking applications
        * Debt rating agencies weigh in on state pension ruling
        * Our Opinion: Another big weekend for football fans
        * Mary Auchstetter: The true story of Grain Belt Express
        * Quote of the Day: Nov. 25, 2014
        * Lisa Madigan to ask Illinois Supreme Court to consider pensions
        * Quote of the Day: Nov. 24, 2014
        * Our Opinion: Illiana project too risky for tapped-out Illinois


        * Parks available for new high school?
        * GOP backs Kibler for county board chair
        * Bad situation gets even worse
        * Racist tweet puts school on high alert
        * Murphysboro candidates gearing up for April election
        * Area history, Nov. 26, 2014
        * Flick: The epic of a changing Thanksgiving -- what's NOT open?
        * Artist draws more international acclaim, this time for 'Computers Watching Movies'
        * John Frayne: Baroque music invades Smith Hall
        * Tom Kacich: Expert offers opinion on Lincoln museum: Make it separate


        * 'Penguins of Madagascar' hatch kid-friendly plot
        * Suburban police take lessons on diversity, communication from Ferguson
        * Tip, 'thank you' note lead to drug charges against man
        * Medical marijuana dispensary moves forward in Rolling Meadows
        * Dawn Patrol: Thanksgiving travel tips; Man gets 24 years in fatal crash

        * US Republican congressman to work for bipa...
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        * US Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) to Serve as Vi...
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        * GOP lawmaker: Obama has 'gone rogue' - The...
        * Could anyone beat Hillary Clinton? Yes, of...
        * Clinton: Obama immigration effort 'histori...
        * There must be 94 ways to fix the budget, p...
        * Hennepin Steel Mill finally sold - SteelGuru
        * Climate deniers need the boot - Idaho Moun...

        * Durbin, Reed Lead 40 U.S. Senators In Back......
        * U.S. Senate to Hold Civil Rights Hearing A......

        * FAA studying military-style air-traffic ba......

        * Google Maps Says Avoid Driving Wednesday Before Thanksgiving
        * Q the Eye/11.26.14
        * Kelly to get more attention as observer than he would have got as candidate
        * Alright back to #Ferguson
        * Workers protest unfair wages at CD One Price Cleaners
        * Activists End Peaceful City Hall Sit-In
        * The Plot to Burn Chicago
        * How the Civil War Created Thanksgiving
        * Supreme Court fills two vacancies in 1st Subcircuit
        * My experience at the DMV


        * Governor Quinn Statement on Abner Mikva Receiving Nation’s Highest Civilian Honor
        * Department of Insurance Announces Multi-State Settlement with Symetra Life Insurance and Symetra National Life Insurance Company - Illinois will share part of a $1.2 million penalty against Symetra Life regarding Life Insurance policies
        * Avoid Foodborne Illness This Holiday Season
        * Dept on Aging Observes Family Caregivers Awareness Month by Reminding about Resources to Assist - Administers the Family Caregiver Support Program
        * State Seeks Public Input on Strategy to Reduce Phosphorous and Nitrogen Pollution in Mississippi River Basin - Draft Strategy Aims to Have Agricultural and Municipal Interests Work Together to Improve Water Quality




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