* Rep. Greg Harris talks for about the first four minutes, then Speaker Madigan takes questions. Many thanks again to Greg Bishop for the video…
Madigan expressed his disappointment that this morning’s scheduled meeting with the other three legislative leaders was canceled and said he would still try to make it happen. He said he would meet with the governor if asked.
* In case you’ve been wondering, the ol’ blog is staying open every day of special session.
I may close comments during the weekend evenings, however. Back in the day, when I couldn’t shut down comments, some commenters would have a few cocktails on a Saturday night and write some things that they normally wouldn’t have said during the sober light of a weekday. I’d rather avoid that.
I’m not quite sure yet how much I’ll be posting this weekend. But the House just announced two more committees of the whole…
House Speaker Michael J. Madigan is offering stakeholders an opportunity to take part in the discussion on education funding reform and pension reform at two committee of the whole hearings this Saturday and Sunday.
Educators and advocates will address legislators at the committee hearing on Saturday about Senate Bill 1—an education funding reform measure that provides fair funding for all schools—which passed the General Assembly in May, and a recently introduced Republican funding bill which creates winning districts and losing districts.
Legislators will discuss pension legislation currently before the House with stakeholders at a committee hearing on Sunday.
Both hearings will convene at 2 p.m. in the House chamber.
Committee of the Whole on Education Funding Reform
When: Saturday, May 24
When: 2 p.m.
Where: Illinois House of Representatives
Committee of the Whole on Pension Reform
When: Sunday, May 25
When: 2 p.m.
Where: Illinois House of Representatives
Emphasis added because if the Democrats can prove that, it’s gonna leave a mark.
* There will also be a Capitol Fax published every day for subscribers, although it might not be posted until later in the morning because, well, I’d like to get a little rest, too. Dragging myself out of bed at 6 o’clock on Saturday and Sunday mornings is not my idea of “rest.”
[Gubernatorial candidate Tio Hardiman] said he blames both sides in the state’s two-year budget dispute. The Democrat said he blames House Speaker Michael Madigan for the budget impasse as much as Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.
“You have a clash of the titans right now, Bruce Rauner and Mike Madigan must take the blame for not passing the budget. Everybody points fingers at Bruce Rauner and I do believe Bruce Rauner is one of the worst governors that state of Illinois has ever witnessed; but at the same time Mike Madigan is really the unofficial governor. People don’t want to say that, he’s like the Godfather down there in Springfield and both those guys are stepping on the poor and working class people.”
But, what would he do in Rauner’s shoes?
He said the Govenor should just sit down with Madigan and work out a compromise, because “people are hurting out here.”
If it was that easy, they would’ve already done it.
WJBC: Well we have taken some calls in the last couple of days, actually over the weeks. But in the last couple of days, one of the calls that came in was one that you know, might be, it’s tough for me to ask and it’s probably going to be tough for you to hear. That maybe there’s an answer to it is someone had asked ‘Why do you think that our speaker, who has worked with other governors, Gov. Thompson, Edgar, Gov. Ryan, what is it about you that he has not wanted to work with you?”
RAUNER: Um, I really don’t know the answer to that.
Um, he has been very very focused on avoiding a balanced budget. If, if you look back over the years, uh, you can see that this isn’t inconsistent with, uh, the behavior with his majority.
He’s been in power for 35 years and when I’ve looked at the numbers Illinois has never had a true balanced budget during those 35 years. We have always just delayed pension payments, or not paid our bills, or borrowed in the bond markets to come up with what was then called about. The reality is the budgets have not been balanced for decades and it’s the reason that we have over $200 billion in debt today. This didn’t get accrued in the last year or two. This, this has been accrued for decades. And unfortunately, we’ve had failure within the government in multiple ways by multiple parties led by the speaker. He had control of the spending through the General Assembly majority for 35 of the years and there’s never been a balanced budget. And I have said, it’s critical for the people of Illinois that we have balanced budgets, that we stop the deficit spending, that we stop the borrowing. There’s a reason that we have fewer jobs today than we had 17 years ago in Illinois. Businesses see the deficit spending and it scares them away. There’s a reason that we have a brutally high unemployment rate, one of the highest in America. And there’s a reason we have the highest unemployment in America for African American families it’s because our jobs are leaving the state. Businesses won’t stay where they don’t have confidence in the fiscal responsibility of a government.
He went on and on for a while longer. There was no follow-up to try to get him to actually answer the question.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday accused Gov. Bruce Rauner of government by anger for opposing a 28.2 percent telephone tax hike that will free up money the city hopes to use to shore up the Laborers Pension Fund “well into the next decade.”
The mayor noted that the tax was tucked into a statewide telecommunications bill that got 51 votes in the Illinois Senate and 81 votes in the House.
“It affects downstate communities [and] the whole state. That’s why it received overwhelming, bi-partisan votes across urban, suburban [and] rural areas,” the mayor said.
“Somebody needs to give the governor crib notes on how that works. But he clearly, as a rookie governor, doesn’t get it….Even when something that is essential for downstate, for every community as it relates to public safety and an overwhelming bi-partisan vote, he’s gonna veto it.” […]
“This is a person [who] has to understand that you do not negotiate with people who agree with you, as Shimon Peres used to say. You negotiate and work with people who don’t agree with you. And he has to understand, as a leader, he should actually start governing on building and pushing Illinois forward—not through his anger at everybody else….It’s hard to make somebody happy who will never take ‘yes’ for an answer.”
* Moments later, Speaker Madigan issued this statement…
“President Cullerton and I met earlier this morning to discuss a way to end the Rauner budget crisis. We were scheduled to meet together with Leaders Radogno and Durkin. We were deeply disappointed that both Republican leaders chose to cancel their participation in our meeting, rather than sit down with us and work to advance a balanced budget. It is difficult to move forward on a bipartisan budget when both Republican leaders refuse to meet.”
* But Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno’s office issued this statement…
“In deference to Leader Durkin, he needs the opportunity to negotiate with Speaker Madigan in the House chamber, just as Leader Radogno and the Senate President do in the Senate. We continue to focus on making progress toward a comprehensive solution. We hope we see progress in the House. Leader Radogno has always believed engagement from the House Speaker is what’s been missing all along.”
* And this is from House Republican Leader Jim Durkin…
“The focus on the budget is rightfully before the House. I believe the model initiated by the Senate leaders was positive and where we need to be. A four leaders meeting is premature in light of progress being made in the House.”
That’s fine and all, but the question I asked was “did the governor ask/tell the GOP leaders not to attend a meeting with Cullerton and Madigan?”
*** UPDATE 1 *** In a follow up chat, Durkin’s spokesperson made it clear that Durkin chose to opt out of the meeting on his own.
Also, notice in Radogno’s release that she said she deferred to Durkin.
[ *** End Of Update *** ]
* Statement provided on background from “a top GOP official”…
This is an absolute fabrication, an obvious attempt to create an alternative universe to deflect from doing nothing with seven days left to get a budget to the governor’s desk. Leader Durkin is meeting with Speaker Madigan now to negotiate on his compromise — perhaps the Democratic leaders are afraid that the Speaker is finally in the hot seat to do a deal or let the state collapse.
Let’s hope this isn’t the start of a March 1 repeat.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Press release…
Illinois will never lift itself out of the state budget crisis if the governor and legislative leaders can’t get in a room and talk to each other about their differences, Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said Friday.
“Gov. Rauner has made it clear that he is the only one with the authority to convene meetings of the governor and the four legislative leaders. He has not called one since Dec. 6,” Manar said. “These five leaders who control the budget negotiations have not been in a room together in nearly 200 days. It’s no wonder we haven’t resolved the budget crisis.”
Manar called on Gov. Rauner to meet with the four leaders every day for the remaining days of the legislative session until a budget deal is complete. He added that the best place to start discussions is with the balanced budget and reform package the Senate already passed. Those bills all are in the House awaiting action.
Rauner called a 10-day special session of the General Assembly, which costs taxpayers roughly $48,000 per day. The special session began Wednesday and ends June 30, the final day of the current fiscal year.
“Gov. Rauner used his power to get lawmakers back to Springfield to work on a budget. With seven days left until June 30, the best way to finalize a budget now is to work with the balanced budget and reform package that the Senate passed and sent to the House in May,” Manar said. “I’m urging the governor convene leaders’ meetings – every day for as long as it takes for the next week – so that they can begin negotiations and together steer our state out of this mess.”
Cullerton told reporters Friday that special sessions are a “political stunt” to offer the governor political cover. Cullerton says the budget the Democrat-controlled Senate approved draws on Rauner’s ideas.
*** UPDATE 4 *** Gov. Rauner was asked by reporters about Cullerton’s claim that he pulled Republicans out of the scheduled leaders’ meeting. “That’s not true,” Rauner said.
Leader Durkin then chimed in and said it was his idea not to attend the meeting, claiming he and Speaker Madigan have achieved a “break-through” on workers’ comp reform.
A live Asian carp has been discovered in a Chicago waterway about nine miles from Lake Michigan — well beyond an electric barrier network designed to prevent the invasive fish that have infested the Mississippi River system from reaching the Great Lakes, officials said Friday.
The silver carp was 28 inches long and weighed about 8 pounds, officials with the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee told The Associated Press. It was caught by a commercial fisherman below the T.J. O’Brien Lock and Dam.
* From Henry Henderson, Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Midwest Program…
“Asian carp are like cockroaches, when you see one, you know it’s accompanied by many more you don’t see. This is a nightmare scenario for anyone concerned about the health of the Great Lakes and its economy.”
“We have had fifteen years to deal with this slow motion tragedy. Perhaps this finding, along with the discovery of another species of Asian carp in the Illinois River, will convey the urgency of threat to the Great Lakes.
The Trump Administration cannot delay for one minute more the release of a taxpayer funded study detailing how to deter the carp invasion. Illinois and Indiana, which have been blamed for obstructing action to address the issue, must join Great Lakes states to push for faster, stronger and more aggressive action. Giant jumping fish at Oak Street Beach will not help Illinois’ tourism economy.”
Just this week, members of Congress introduced legislation to force the Trump administration to release a plan outlining technologies to be employed at a key choke point in the Asian carps’ path towards Lake Michigan and the entire Great Lakes ecosystem. That plan would likely take decades to deploy, while Great Lakes conservation groups have called for faster solutions that would address movement of invasive species from both the Great Lakes and Mississippi River system through Chicago’s waterways.
We’ve compromised relentlessly for two years. And we’ve backed off on so many things.
Right now there’s a proposal put forth by lawmakers. It’s a reasonable compromise. It moves on every regard. None of it is exactly where I think it should be. But it’s a good step in the right direction. It’s being criticized by the left, it’s being criticized by the right. That’s by definition a compromise. By definition it’s somewhere in the middle.
And what we’ve gotta do is get a balanced budget to my desk. These guys have gotta do their jobs. A balanced budget proposal is on the table. If somebody doesn’t like that, so be it. Put a balanced budget on my desk so I can sign it.
He’s obviously still having trouble with the concept of “compromise.” Backing off demands like “right to work” that can in no way ever become reality isn’t compromising, it’s recognizing harsh reality. And a Republican budget plan isn’t “by definition” a compromise.
Also, putting a balanced budget on his desk is about the easiest thing the House could do. It’s all the other stuff he wants before he’ll sign the budget that is the main holdup here.
The “Get Along” Shirt is an oversized t-shirt that is meant to be worn by bickering children as a disciplinary method. The humorous concept gained much of its momentum after a photograph of two children strapped together by a t-shirt reading “The ‘We Will Get Along’ Shirt” was posted to Reddit in November 2012.
Yesterday, JB joined protests against the GOP Senate health care bill that would strip insurance coverage from millions of Illinoisans. The protest was organized by Indivisible Chicago, a grassroots movement that formed after the 2016 election to resist Donald Trump.
While a handful of U.S. senators were huddling in secret this week in Washington to draft legislation repealing Obamacare, grassroots activists across the Chicago region and Illinois were working hard to bring as much public attention – and public outrage – to the issue as possible.
That includes shining a light on the inaction of Governor Bruce Rauner – who has not spoken out as other Republican governors have – and on Republican members of Congress who have avoided public engagement on the issue.
The Senate Republicans released their health care insurance draft bill on Thursday — the House version to overhaul Obamacare passed in May — and once again, GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner isn’t doing much to make sure the final measure is good for Illinois. […]
Rauner is abdicating his responsibilities to the people of the State of Illinois by his silence…
“Bruce Rauner has no principles and no courage in his spineless failure to protect Illinoisans from TrumpCare,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “In maintaining his cowardly silence, Rauner is siding with Trump and radical Republican Senators over the people of Illinois. Millions of Illinoisans could lose their health care if this bill passes. It is imperative that the governor of this state stand up for them, but Bruce Rauner is once again nowhere to be found.”
A core element to GOP proposals is to shift to states the authority to reshape health insurance rules: for those who get it through employers; via Medicaid, the state/public plan for the low-income medically needy; or through the exchanges established under former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
Governors become far more important in the GOP vision of how health insurance should be delivered in this nation.
In Illinois, the politically explosive issue of rising premiums will become the fault of the governor and Illinois General Assembly — not Washington, if the GOP state-centric Obamacare overhaul plans become law. […]
Obamacare requires coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, with caps on how much they could be charged. The Senate bill would allow a state to limit the benefits allowed for someone with a pre-existing condition.
Would Rauner want to change current rules concerning capping coverage costs and for people with pre-existing conditions? Should any benefits be reduced?
At present, Obamacare mandates coverage for 10 essential benefits. The Senate bill allows for states to apply for a waiver so an insurance plan could offer less. That may impact the price.
What is the Rauner view when it comes to the essential benefit current package? Should it be cut? Stay the same?
* From Adam Collins in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s press office…
Five simple questions for Gov. No
As near as I can tell it’s been about two weeks since the Governor has taken a single question from the press. With the state of Illinois now one week away from entering a third consecutive year without a budget there are, of course, many questions for the Governor. In that spirit, here are five fairly fundamental questions the Governor has not answered - and perhaps cannot answer.
2) Your office said yesterday the Mayor’s offer - to meet your original request on the Thompson Center as long as you agreed to sign the city’s pension reform plan - wasn’t a fair deal. While you might not favor the City of Chicago’s plan, it would have no cost - $0 - to the state of Illinois. Given that the state could desperately use $300 million, why would you say no to that offer?
3) You previously said that in order to get the most money from selling the Thompson Center, you needed the city to guarantee maximum density for the site - something they were reluctant to do. Their offer meets your original request. How can anyone believe you have the ability to reach a budget agreement when you can’t even say “yes” to your own plan?
Republican lawmakers Thursday put forward a new plan to overhaul the state’s education funding system and send less money to Chicago Public Schools than a competing proposal from Democrats, who are unlikely to approve it. […]
Sen. Jason Barickman, a Bloomington Republican, on Thursday laid out what Rauner’s side would consider a satisfying compromise on the education funding issue. The proposal would provide about $323 million less to Chicago Public Schools compared to a competing proposal that was passed by Democrats in late May and has yet to be sent to Rauner’s desk.
Barickman said the Republicans had picked up where negotiations had stalled in late May.
“We looked at where we were then and we asked ourselves, how can we close the gap here to reach a meaningful compromise with the Democrat majority that allows us to produce a fair and equitable funding formula,” Barickman said.
But the proposal eliminates hundreds of millions of dollars that Democrats had insisted on providing for CPS, including $215 million for the district’s teacher pension fund — CPS is the only district in the state that pays for its own teacher pension system — and $202 million in special grants that the district has historically received from the state.
All Chicago Democrats are needed for any tax hike floor vote, and this school funding reform bill will require new revenues, meaning a tax hike is necessary. You can’t ask Chicago legislators to raise taxes and whack their public schools and expect them to merrily comply.
David Daleiden, the antiabortion activist who mounted a hidden-camera investigation targeting Planned Parenthood, turned himself in to authorities in Texas on Thursday morning, a week after he was indicted by a Harris County grand jury.
Allow me to give you one example of where the Illinois Act helped small business. A few years back, disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich, our fourth governor in prison, issued a rule that every pharmacy in the state had to give out pills that may cause early abortions. This was considered by some people of faith as a direct participation in abortion, ordered by the governor.
* So, yeah, while Rep. Breen made a very good point about doing non-budget stuff yesterday (and, in my own opinion, he’s turned out to be a pretty good legislator), it was likely no accident that the gentleman spoke up during that particular resolution about Planned Parenthood.
The bill got caught in the middle of the ongoing war between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Rauner, which spiked up yesterday over the sale of the Thompson Center in exchange for the governor signing some city-backed pension bills. From Crain’s yesterday…
Rauner aides are now actively pushing the argument that Emanuel ought to lean on Democrats to send to him a bill boosting penalties for certain repeat gun offenders if he wants a Thompson Center deal. But the measure was one of Emanuel’s top priorities, and Springfield sources say it’s a case of needed paperwork still being done and that no one has a hold on the bill.
“The mayor doesn’t want the gun crimes bill sent to the governor because it would disprove his argument that the governor can’t get bipartisan deals done,” Rauner spokesman Lance Trover said.
The Senate tends to wait the full 30 days it has after approval before sending the bill. Sponsoring Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, said he wasn’t asked by the governor’s office to make an exception, but he’ll speed up the process now.
Rauner aides had argued Thursday evening that Emanuel didn’t want the gun bill sent to the governor because it would disprove the mayor’s argument that the governor can’t get bipartisan deals done.
State Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, sent the bill to the governor’s office Thursday, saying he wasn’t interested in having it caught up in a political game.
“I want it done not for politics sake, not for anybody claiming a win, not even for me,” Raoul said. “Because, as far as the crime is concerned, this is only a piece of the puzzle. And so I don’t even claim it as a win. We have a lot more work to do on that front.”
…Adding… Media advisory…
What: Governor Rauner Signs Compromise Legislation to Increase Penalties for Repeat Gun Offenders
Who: Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and State Sen. Kwame Raoul
If Madigan calls [Rauner’s] bluff, he’s in a real trick back. Because if he signs what Republicans have proposed as their compromise budget with those massive tax increases, he’s done and so are Republicans for another generation. […]
Rauner’s focus is wrong, it continues to be wrong. He’s playing the inside game with the political ruling class and the elites which prop them up… The play is for the 95 percent of families that are not in the public sector, that are financing all of this… and receiving very little in return. That is his universe. He should speak to that universe. Yesterday he spoke to the political class.
My goal is to stop this massive tax hike and I’m going to try to get as many Republicans to come along with me as possible. It depends on what Speaker Madigan wants to do. I’m gonna argue that he needs to put every single Democrat vote on this budget before any Republican should get on it. If he takes his targets and says, ‘Oh, I don’t want them voting for a tax hike,’ I don’t think any Republican should vote for it.
Yeah, that’ll be the structured roll call split. Right.
Madigan, Cullerton Continue to Stall
When will they debate, vote on compromise budget and reform plan?
It’s day three, and all signs point to another day of stalling from Mike Madigan and John Cullerton.
With the eyes of the state on them, Madigan and Cullerton have so far let down the public, choosing to hold sham hearings and barely show up.
Madigan’s House convened special session for just minutes yesterday, while Cullerton’s Senate adjourned in 10.
Instead of working on a budget, Madigan’s House voted on a series of “trivial matters”, and rehashed a well-worn workers compensation debate.
And in the Senate, lawmakers barely showed up.
The Chicago Tribune editorial board called it a “sorry little spectacle”.
It’s time Madigan and Cullerton get to work and hold votes on a detailed compromise budget and reform plan.
Otherwise, Madigan and Cullerton will continue to receive headlines like these:
Chicago Tribune: Editorial: Madigan and the Do-Littles
Here’s the remarkable part: Madigan’s Democratic members — all of whom, unless they retire to Pensionville, have to ask voters to re-elect them next year — don’t seem to mind.
You would think if they genuinely were frustrated by the lack of a state budget, as they ceaselessly pretend, they would protest. You would think these lawmakers, whose role as public servants is to put the interests of the state ahead of their own and their party’s, would confront Madigan for snubbing every budget proposal out there, including the one from their Senate colleagues. You’d think they would be staging a coup, determined to put a stop to the nonsense and the inaction that threatens their political futures and, more important, Illinois’ future.
They’re not. No urgency. They go along with the silliness and the cynicism. They went along, again, on Thursday.
… What a sorry little spectacle in Springfield.
WSIL: Instead of budget, Illinois lawmakers vote on trivial matters
Instead of voting on a budget, lawmakers in the Illinois House renamed a road, talked about the importance of the upcoming bicentennial and designated June as “Immigrant Heritage Month.”
The series of votes on resolutions, which are ceremonial, caused tempers to flare.
During a debate on a resolution, which called for Congress not to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, State Rep. Peter Breen, R-Lombard, stood up and shared his frustration.
“We are 700 days without a budget. What the hell are we doing voting on these resolutions? Why are we not doing the budget?” Breen yelled, before sitting down so the resolution votes could continue.
The Illinois Senate seemed even less productive than the House.
Fewer than 20 of the 59 state senators even bothered to show up to the chamber on Thursday.
The Senate adjourned after just 10 minutes.
The complaint, in part, requested (1) defendant, Lisa Madigan, in her official capacity as Attorney General of the State of Illinois, be enjoined from representing CMS before the Workers’ Compensation Commission (Commission) on cases involving “personal assistants,” based on her refusal to defend CMS’s determination that a personal assistant was not a State employee for purposes of the Workers’ Compensation Act, and (2) a special assistant Attorney General be appointed to represent CMS. That same month, the Attorney General filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to section 2-615 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Code), alleging the complaint failed to state a legally valid cause of action. In May 2016, the trial court granted the motion to dismiss with prejudice.
CMS appeals, arguing the trial court erred by dismissing its complaint for failure to state a cause of action. We affirm. […]
The motion to dismiss alleged (1) the Attorney General had the exclusive constitutional authority to represent the State, including its officers, employees, and agencies, when the State is the real party in interest in litigation and allowing CMS to choose private counsel would cause “chaos”; (2) the Attorney General was “vigorously defending” these workers’ compensation cases; and (3) the Commission had repeatedly rejected the very argument CMS sought to raise and ruled that personal assistants are employed by the State.
Like it or not, and the Rauner administration clearly does not, the attorney general is the state’s chief legal officer.
Is there room for another heel in the Illinois governor’s race?
Former pro wrestler Jon “The Illustrious One” Stewart says yes — and he’s looking to put his rivals for the Libertarian Party nomination in a half nelson, then body-slam Bruce Rauner and whoever the Democrats select in the general election.
“Politics is wrestling with suits and ties on,” Stewart, 50, told Chicago Inc. “I’m comfortable on a mic, and I’m not afraid to tell the truth.”
It isn’t The Illustrious One’s first run for elected office. Back in 1997, he unsuccessfully ran as a Republican for the state House on the North Shore — with a little help from President Donald Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway.
“I was her first political client,” said Stewart, who lives in Deerfield and now runs his family’s used-car dealership. “She’s probably one of the smartest people I’ve ever met so I’m not surprised she has got to where she is.
* Let’s welcome him to the race with a caption contest, shall we?…
Also, click here for a wrestling promo video where he describes himself as a “son of a millionaire.”
Stewart is pro-Trump. The governor has spent the better part of two years running as far away from Trump as he possibly can. So, it’s possible that Stewart could give him some troubles with the base. Remember how some trade unions (particularly Local 150) backed the 2014 Libertarian Party candidate? Hmm.