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Saturday, Jul 28, 2007

As expected, hardly anybody showed up for Saturday’s special session called by the governor to take up the idea of a one-month budget…

About one-quarter of state senators showed up for Saturday’s session. Less than half of House members made an appearance. Neither chamber devoted even a second of discussion to a temporary budget.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, said he wouldn’t call the response disrespectful to Blagojevich. “I think it indicates that there’s a majority of the House that simply is not responsive to the governor’s desires,” he said.

Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, said the indifference to Blagojevich’s special session and his exclusion from budget talks demonstrate his shrinking role in Springfield.

“There are signs of irrelevance,” Brady said.

Blagojevich issued a statement saying he was disappointed.

Brady is almost certainly running for governor, so his comments should always be taken with a grain of salt. Still, he has a point.

The governor called another special for Monday, when legislators were planning to be back in town anyway. Calling a Sunday special session would have meant yet another story about his alleged irrelevance and demonstrated even more weakness.


“We’ve had two productive meetings, we directed our appropriation directors to work through the weekend to prepare a 12-month budget, which is precisely what we’re going to do,” Madigan said. “When we return to Springfield next week, I presume that they’ll be another meeting of the four legislative leaders, and we will continue to discuss and negotiate the remaining issues, which largely revolve around the funding level for education.”

In the Senate, Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson (D-Crete) further supported efforts for a 12-month budget, saying she hoped it could be completed by Friday. To make the governor’s special session on Saturday official, she gaveled the Senate in and out in less than five minutes, including the prayer and the pledge of allegiance.

Even leadership expected little action in Springfield over the weekend. Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago) was in Chicago getting treated for a sciatic nerve problem, and Sen. James Clayborne (D-Belleville) was on a long-planned family vacation in Aruba, a spokeswoman said.

On the spur of the moment, Halvorson, at the invitation of Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), went to the governor’s Capitol office after the brief session to seek an audience.

“You know what? If I could speak for what’s in the governor’s mind, I would be a millionaire,” Halvorson said.

“Why do you think that?” Brady asked. “What’s in his mind that’s so valuable?”

The governor was not at his office, where a spokeswoman said he was at the Executive Mansion at that time.


[Comments are open on this post, but they won’t be visibile until Monday. I’m taking a break. You should, too.]

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - RMW Stanford - Saturday, Jul 28, 07 @ 4:58 pm:

    The Governor has no one blame but himself for his growing irrelevance, he plenty of chance to work with the General Assembly before the deadline, but he didn’t. Instead he refused to give up on programs and taxes that had little or no chance of passing and fought with his own party. When both Houses are control by your own party and you can not get a budget passed, that really says something.

  2. - Esteban - Saturday, Jul 28, 07 @ 7:20 pm:

    Blago seems to have about as much influence
    on the legislature as I do.

  3. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Sunday, Jul 29, 07 @ 8:52 am:

    Governor spotted at Mansion!?

    STOP the presses!!

  4. - Mr. W.T. Rush - Sunday, Jul 29, 07 @ 8:55 am:

    Let’s see
    1. Blaggo and the blaggomopes could not make it to the building. Did the pajama party at the mansion go a little long.
    2. Governor and GUMBY did not introduce a bill, amendment, conference commitee etc. so if there had been 200% attendence there still was NOTHING TO VOTE ON.
    Man those details screw up PeterPressRelease all the time.

  5. - Barbicide - Sunday, Jul 29, 07 @ 11:19 am:

    Oy is right. Talk about the Network Battle of the Super-Hairdos.

  6. - annon in central illinois - Sunday, Jul 29, 07 @ 12:45 pm:

    Can’t any compromise be met ? Democrats need to get on board & quit making excuses for the gov. & his lack of leadership or non-engagement of the process. Apparently there is a lot of discourse within the ranks of the Democrat party , the general assy. overall & these “special sessions” aren’t working either….sessions that no-one is really participating or apparently taking seriously as they’re defying the order & not even showing up. Where are they at on that added cost of late ?…1/2 a million or more? This is reaching a very potentially destructive & critical stage to our state. At this stage in the game, perhaps pass out a “no growth budget” replicating last years with at least enough money to keep the gov’t running, payments made on time,obligations to other gov’t enities & schools, services & operations kept intact & last but not least state employees & contractors getting paid. Can’t at least the GOP leadership connect with Madigan & offer this idea & also to Jones ? Sounds perhaps a little far-fetched I know & too very simplisticbut nothing else seems to be working. It would offer no frills or special projects but that’s what they’re essentially doing now with these month-to-month {hopefully to keep things running}extentions. Yes, they won’t get everything they want but they won’t get anything at all without a budget & spending authority that now ends at mid-night July 31st by this extention. Make the case, count the votes & pass out a workable budget with enough votes to make it veto proof & agree to come back later to discuss & work out details of these problems they can’t seem to figure out now. We’re already -1- month into FY-08′ running the gov’t’s engine on the “fumes” of FY-07′ & truthfully doesn’t look too promising to be fixed anytime soon. They’ll be essentially starting this process all over again in only about 4-5 months for FY-09′. They’ve been down there since Jan. 07′ ….. it’s time to get something done.

  7. - Anonymous - Sunday, Jul 29, 07 @ 12:54 pm:

    The best way to improve teacher/student ratios, reduce costs for admin/buildings/buses, while reducing overcrowded schools, gangs, teen pregnancy, and global warming is to educate more students (starting w/high schools) online from home, using programs like:

  8. - downhereforyears - Sunday, Jul 29, 07 @ 2:59 pm:

    He is irrelevant plain and simple. Think about this, he’s no longer in the leaders meetings becaus he hasn’t learned how to behave, not one of his programs this session has generated enough support to get out of either chamber, not one of the daily newspapers in the state supports his actions, in fact they haven’t got a clue as to what his real agenda is and he’s afraid to tell us about all those subpeonas from 219 S. Dearborn. It’s almost as if he’s a lame duck.

  9. - zatoichi - Sunday, Jul 29, 07 @ 7:23 pm:

    At some point the Gov and his supporters have to be asking themselves how “How did we get here”. Initially they seem to be following some master plan that would succeed like a Hollywood, multi plot movie. Must have been Plan 9 because, as they have repeatedly demonstrated, it ain’t working and once they get off script the other teams are simply looking back at them shaking their heads. Money is simply not buying this one.

  10. - A Citizen - Sunday, Jul 29, 07 @ 9:11 pm:

    So let’s look forward to 5 maybe 6 debates between Mr. Irrelevant and Brady. My guess is gov will be a no show. No script no gov!

  11. - So Ill - Monday, Jul 30, 07 @ 5:00 am:

    Found it interesting, though not at all surprising, that the Governor’s statement regarding the lack of a quorum referred only to the House.

  12. - BlueByrd - Monday, Jul 30, 07 @ 8:04 am:

    Any politician talking in Springfield should have their comments taken with a grain of salt, not just those running for higher office.

  13. - VanillaMan - Monday, Jul 30, 07 @ 9:06 am:

    Having a governor that starts quacking like a lame duck six months into his first year is a very bad situation for everyone. No one wins when our executive branch collapses under irrelevance and incompetance. Laugh all you want at Blagojevich but we’re stuck with him for now.

    This means that the General Assembly needs to fill the leadership vacuum until Blagojevich can somehow restore a modicum of credibility, or he does a perp-walk for Fitzgerald out the door. Oy, is right.

    It would be best if Blagojevich disappears for a long while. His poll numbers always went up when he stopped making news. He should probably let the General Assembly take on the job of governor while these tough decisions are being made. This way he can start finger pointing again by the end of the year and blame them when things continue to go south.

    If he disappears, he can reappear when Illinois starts making Democratic Party news with Obama, and he can start showing up on stage during primary celebrations. He does very well when he is given a role as prop and fed lines to read.

  14. - fedup dem - Monday, Jul 30, 07 @ 9:06 am:

    After reading Sen. Brady’s comment about the Governor’s mind, I have to say that if Brady’s falls flat on his face in his 2010 race, he can always fall back on a second career as a stand-up comic!

  15. - Captain America - Monday, Jul 30, 07 @ 9:57 am:

    For the first time in several months, things started really getting done in Springfield this last week. It appears that the legislative leaders have made a pragmatic decision to end the Governor’s “executive filibuster.”

    Sadly the Governor’s scaled-back health care plan for the uninsured will not pass. I believe the scaled back plan would have passed easily had the Governor been willing yo compromise this last Spring. His strategy of demonizing Madigan and attacking other legislators completely backfired.

    But given his veto and amendatory veto powers, the Governor can hardly be characterized as irrelevant. He can still obstruct and screw things up even more if he chooses to do so. He would be ill-advised to do so.

    Practically speaking I think the
    Governor must realize by now that his health care proposal is DOA for this session.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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