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After Madigan’s election, Republicans move on to Madigan’s rules

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* From the ILGOP

Will House Democrats Bow to Mike Madigan Again This Week?
Decision to Enact Madigan’s Rules Expected This Week; Would Give Madigan “Total Control”

“House Democrats voted less than two weeks ago to give Mike Madigan an unprecedented 17th term as Speaker. This week House Democrats must decide whether they will give Madigan even more power by adopting Madigan’s Rules, which would give him total control of the legislative agenda of the General Assembly.” - Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Aaron DeGroot

Background:

After the inauguration of a new General Assembly every two years, members of the Illinois House of Representatives adopt the little-known rules package that governs how their legislative body hears, debates, and votes on pending legislation.

For decades, House Speaker Mike Madigan has used the Rules of the House of Representatives to control the legislative agenda of the General Assembly according to his personal whims and political strategy. Speaker Madigan rules the Illinois House of Representatives and determines what legislation lives and dies.

“The way our House rules operate, I think they are more restrictive than any other legislature in the country and create a lot of control in the speaker.” – State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, October 2013

The House based its rules on the Senate’s rules back when the Republicans had control of both chambers. The Senate’s rules are still pretty close to the House’s rules, yet nary a peep about that chamber.

But, then they couldn’t tweet stuff like this…


This week, @housedemsil must decide whether they will make Mike Madigan a king by giving him TOTAL control over ALL legislation. #twill pic.twitter.com/htl0oTk8eb

— IL Republican Party (@ilgop) January 23, 2017

* Even so, I’ve been railing against these rules since Pate Philip first unveiled them. They’re undemocratic and they should be changed.

Committee chairmen and minority spokespersons should be elected by their caucuses, not appointed by the leaders. Committee staff should report to and be hired by chairmen/spokesmen and not the leaders.

I’d hesitate to bring back floor amendments, which long ago could be filed on bills without first having to clear the Rules Committee as long as they were related to the underlying subject matter. Back in the old days, Madigan would simply refuse to move any legislation at all to the floor that could be amended with hostile language to his favored constituencies (like trial lawyers). And the House Republicans tried one year to essentially shut down the chamber’s operations by filing a couple of hundred floor amendments to a bunch of bills on the floor. The old rules required taking action on all those amendments before the underlying bills could be advanced.

Also back in the day, the House Rules Committee only really met to enforce a chamber rule that limited legislation in even-numbered years to appropriations bills and “emergency” (I think that was the term) legislation. The Rules Committee decided what could be considered an emergency under the rules during election years (a very handy power). Now, Rules controls everything all the time. It should be reined in.

* Anyway, that’s a few points for starters. Y’all have any other ideas?

posted by Rich Miller
Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 12:29 pm

Comments

  1. “Committee chairmen and minority spokespersons should be elected by their caucuses, not appointed by the leaders. Committee staff should report to and be hired by chairmen/spokesmen and not the leaders.”

    Exclude the current seniority rules and I’m with you on this.

    Eliminate the “substitution rule” in committees unless that member is absent for that hearing. Absent should be defined as a member notifying leadership of a conflict in advance of a hearing and that a substitution would be necessary. (Takes away the pulling of members to protect them from voting.)

    Comment by Louis G. Atsaves Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 12:40 pm

  2. ==The Senate’s rules are still pretty close to the House’s rules, yet nary a peep about that chamber.==

    And, I might be wrong, but didn’t the Senate just approve their rules last week with unanimous GOP support?

    Comment by Roman Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 12:40 pm

  3. First thoughts?

    Elections have consequences.

    You reap what you sow.

    Someday you’ll have to live under the rules imposed on your opponent.

    Seriously, there needs to be a middle path between today’s rules and wide open. Maybe a simpler way to force the discharge of a bill.From the rules committee. Maybe allow amendments but streamline a process to dismiss them if just used to disrupt the process. Maybe a rule any amendment has to be both relevant and make substantial changes, other than the often required technical language changes. I’m not a legislative process person, so I’m sure others here can come up with better ideas.

    Comment by RNUG Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 12:42 pm

  4. Did MJM just try Imperial Margarine?

    On a serious note, how does the ILGOP’s tweet move us any closer to a package involving revenue and cuts?

    Comment by Jocko Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 12:49 pm

  5. Has Durkin offered an alternative set of rules?

    Comment by walker Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 1:00 pm

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