* 2:24 pm - Let’s start a new thread, shall we? That other one is getting long. The governor, legislative leaders and about 40 or so rank and file state legislators are still meeting on the 2nd floor of the governor’s mansion.
House Speaker Michael Madigan informed reporters a few minutes ago that he has twice told Gov. Rod Blagojevich to stop calling him a Republican.
“Knock it off,” Madigan claimed to have said. Madigan made his comments as he exited the building, but he said he would be back later today for the rest of the meeting.
Gov. Blagojevich came down briefly to see if reporters wanted anything to eat or even a tour of the mansion. He didn’t answer many questions, but he said he would be more forthcoming after the meeting ends.
One of the questions the governor dodged was about Rep. Mike Bost’s suggestion that the House look at the impeachment option.
Blagojevich also didn’t answer a question about Rep. Joe Lyons’ comments to several reporters earlier today. Lyons (D-Chicago) reportedly called Blagojevich a “madman” and said the governor was “insane” while the House debate raged this morning.
* 2:46 pm - A large number of legislators, mostly Republicans, just walked out of the leaders meeting. Both House GOP Leader Tom Cross and Senate Republican Leader Frank Watson talked to the press afterwards and basically called today’s discussions a total waste of time.
The group broke for lunch and then the governor wanted to talk about pension funding, which is when the exodus reportedly began. Some legislators, like Rep. Bill Black, were upset that the governor was making available a pension expert this afternoon whom he had refused to provide to the House this morning. Others were just tired of the exercise.
The governor and a much smaller group of legislators remain on the 2nd floor of the mansion. Senate President Emil Jones has already left (out a side door, away from reporters) and Speaker Madigan left earlier.
* 3:13 pm - The governor will apparently be taking Madigan to court over the Speaker’s refusal to call special sessions at the date and time specified in the guv’s official special session proclamations. It just gets weirder and weirder by the minute around here. More later.
* 4:53 pm - Audio files…
* Gov. Blagojevich didn’t say much to reporters, said he had to return to the meeting, promised to come back and talk to reporters, then didn’t. Surprise, surprise…
* Speaker Madigan. This is where Madigan talks about his “Knock it off” comment to Gov. Blagojevich…
* GOP leaders Cross and Watson. Harsh rhetoric about the guv…
* The governor’s lawyer talks about a possible lawsuit against Speaker Madigan for convening special session four hours before the governor called the meeting…
* The governor’s spokespersons deal with the press at the very end of the day…
* 4:57 pm - Here are the Constitutional and statutory provisions cited by the governor’s lawyer in the audio above with a bit of commentary at the end from the guv’s office…
Constitutional Provision- Article IV, section 5(b):
“(b) The Governor may convene the General Assembly or the Senate alone in special session by a proclamation stating the purpose of the session; and only business encompassed by such purpose, together with any impeachments or confirmation of appointments shall be transacted. Special sessions of the General Assembly may also be convened by joint proclamation of the presiding officers of both houses, issued as provided by law.”
Special Session Statute- 25 ILCS 15/3:
“Sec. 3. Nothing in this Act affects the power of the Governor under Article IV, Section 5 of the Constitution of Illinois (1970) to call a special session. The Governor, when calling a special session, shall file the proclamation calling the session with the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State shall take whatever reasonable steps necessary to notify the members of the General Assembly of the date and time of the special session.”
NOTE- Sections 1 and 2 of the Special Session Act set forth the procedures for the General Assembly to follow when calling a special session.
Section 3 simply states that the Special Session Act’s provisions dealing with how the General Assembly may call a special session do not affect the Governor’s power to call one under the Constitution, that the Governor shall file a proclamation with the Secretary of State, and that the Secretarty of State shall notify the legislators of the date and time of the special session.
* 5:27 pm - As promised hours ago, here’s Rep. Lou Lang’s House floor speech, wherein the Skokie Democrat excoriates Gov. Blagojevich…
* 5:43 pm -
has a story up on its website…
Illinois’ budget stalemate threatened to explode today into a full-blown constitutional crisis as Gov. Blagojevich contemplated legal action against House Speaker Michael Madigan over whether the governor can set the time for lawmakers to meet on the budget. […]
“We believe the statute and constitution are clear. Speaker Madigan, during his tenure, has answered governors’ calls for special sessions at specific times. What he did is unprecedented,” Blagojevich spokeswoman Rebecca Rausch said. “We think they’re challenging the Constitution. We believe the Constitution is clear.” […]
“Where is he? Why doesn’t he talk with us? I do not believe that he is fulfilling his obligations in his job. I believe that maybe we ought to look into what it will take, and if there are any violations, and do that check, to see if he is to the point that impeachment proceedings could start,” Bost said. […]
There did not appear to be unanimity among Republicans as the GOP’s floor leader, Black, urged his caucus to stop discussing the subject on the House floor.
The governor’s office declined comment on the impeachment question, and Madigan’s office said the speaker had no interest in pursuing the matter.
* 5:57 pm - The AP…
On Friday, Blagojevich said his fellow Chicago Democrat is acting like “a right-wing Republican” because he wants a limited-growth budget.
At a meeting Saturday between Blagojevich and lawmakers over the budget impasse, Madigan said he told Blagojevich “Knock it off. Let’s get serious about crafting a budget.”
A spokeswoman says Blagojevich’s comments are not personal but describe Madigan’s budgetary policy. The governor wants to expand the budget by billions of dollars to provide more health care and education.