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This just in… *** State workers to be paid without budget ***

Friday, Aug 10, 2007

* 11:23 am - Thanks to a commenter, I checked on the status of the state operating budget bill that the Senate passed last night.

The Senate hasn’t yet transmitted the bill to the House, which means the House can’t vote on it. A usually very reliable and high-level Senate Democratic source just told me that the governor asked Senate President Jones to hold onto the bill for a while. But Jones will reportedly be sending it over to the House shortly.

Also, I’m hearing there’s not much in store for the Senate today. As of now, there are no plans to run the gaming bill, capital bill or the health insurance bill. Things have a way of changing, so stay tuned. But if the Senate leaves town and the House passes the budget and leaves town, the governor may not be able to bring them back very easily.

* 11:26 am - The Senate is convening now. Listen or watch here.

* 11:48 am - The Senate is standing at ease until the call of the chair. Senate President Jones’ spokesperson said the paperwork process takes a while, but she promises they’ll get that budget bill to the House as soon as they can.

* 11:54 am - Here’s some food for thought that I’m still working over in my own head…

Last night, the Senate Executive Committee approved an amendment to the Chicago casino bill that exempted riverboats for five years from the newly enacted statewide smoking ban. As noted here, Sen. Terry Link admits he was working against the Chicago casino. Link was the very proud chief sponsor of that smoking ban.

* 12:41 pm - Ryan Hermes

Emil Jones (D-Chicago) did speak briefly to reporters as he left a meeting with the governor. He told us the capital bill is dead.

Rod Blagojevich, also, didn’t have a whole lot to say when he exited the meeting.

“This is a real brief statement and it goes like this; President Jones and I agee that our work isn’t done here and I gotta get back to work,” said Blagojevich.

* 1:22 pm - I’m starting to wonder what Jones and the governor cooked up in their meeting earlier today.

The Senate is adjourning their special sessions until Monday at 2 pm. Also, the budget bill still hasn’t been sent to the House, although I’m told that it will be transmitted today. Something definitely appears to be afoot.

* 1:47 pm - The rumors won’t die that somebody has filed a motion to reconsider the vote on the budget bill which passed the Senate last night. A motion like that would hold up the bill and prevent it from being transmitted to the House. The Senate Dem spokesperson has said no motions were filed and no motions are showing up on the LIS page, but the rumor is persistent and pervasive and won’t die.

So, I called the Senate Journal room and they said no motions have been filed on the bill.

*** 1:54 pm *** There’s an “agreed order” from the court hearing the AFSCME case to force the state to issue paychecks without a state appropriation in place to authorize them.

I have a person in the courtroom who tells me that the comptroller has been authorized to issue paychecks to workers through August 31. More later.

…From the person in the courtroom…

Agreement only extends to Aug 31 and shall not serve as binding precedence on this court… Judge signs order and case will remain open. If need for hearing exists they should set for hearing. Over.

Union members stood up and said thank you your honor and started clapping

* 2:27 pm - The Senate has adjourned until Monday at 2 pm.

* 2:29 pm - From AFSCME Council 31 exec director Henry Bayer…

“Today AFSCME has reached an agreement with Comptroller Hynes that upholds the right of state employees and state university employees to be paid for their work. Formalized in an order issued today in state court, that agreement is effective through the end of August.

“Under the terms of that order, all state employees and state university employees will receive their August paychecks. Comptroller Hynes has already directed his office to comply with the order and begin processing paychecks due on August 15. No one will miss a paycheck this month.

“This order gives AFSCME members and all state employees and state university employees the certainty and peace of mind that they will be paid through the end of August. Despite the state budget impasse they have continued to come to work faithfully. They provide the services that Illinois citizens depend on. They should be paid, and they will be.

“We hope the budget impasse is resolved shortly. We do intend to continue discussions with Comptroller Hynes with the goal of extending this agreement as needed, and we are fully prepared to take further legal action if necessary.”

* 2:34 pm - The House is preparing to start session “shortly” after receiving assurances from Senate Democratic staff that the budget bill will be arriving soon.

* 2:36 pm - The budget bill has finally been sent to the House, and the Rules Committee is meeting, so things should start moving soon. Listen or watch here.

* 2:40 pm - From the governor’s office…

While Governor Blagojevich believes waiting for a lawsuit was unnecessary, he is pleased that the Comptroller and the Attorney General now agree with his position that state employees should be paid on time for the work that they do.

* 2:42 pm - A coinkydink, perhaps? A judge signs the order for state worker paychecks and just-like-that, the Senate sends over the budget.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Squideshi - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 11:42 am:

    “A usually very reliable and high-level Senate Democratic source just told me that the governor asked Senate President Jones to hold onto the bill for a while.”

    So, would the appropriate headline in tomorrow’s papers be something like “Despite Passage in Senate, Blagojevich Delays Budget Bill”? Perhaps something like “Jones Complicit in Delaying Budget Bill” would be more appropriate?

  2. - MOON - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 11:43 am:

    After the senate leaves town and the house votes on the budget , they will leave town. I suggest the Gov. leave the state, he has no future here !

  3. - Princeville - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 11:50 am:

    Naive question, please. Why would the governor tell Jones to hold the bill? What does the governor gain in this?

  4. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 11:50 am:


  5. - Don't Worry, Be Happy - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 11:51 am:

    Senate nows stands at ease.

  6. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 11:57 am:


    Earlier you said that once the budget is done, it will be hard to keep them in the Capitol. But what about the rate relief package. I hear the governor is still weighing his options but that a veto or amendatory veto is a high possibility.

  7. - Mr. Peabody - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 11:57 am:

    Has anybody called Rahm Emanuel and asked him why the “knot hole gang” can’t get it together? Seems to me he helped estabish this regime in his own sweet way. Maybe he can be the prince who turns a frog into a budget. Got Rahm?

  8. - Nickname - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 11:58 am:

    Nothing surprises me anymore. If Lincoln rose from the grave and kicked me in the crotch, I wouldn’t ask how he did it or why, I would just roll my eyes and take a smoke break.

  9. - Siyotanka - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 12:05 pm:

    Prince…it gives him time to go to the fair- cut the ribbon- make a short speech…and return.

  10. - Alex - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 12:13 pm:

    Siyotanka - That is done. See sj-r story on the ribbon cutting and his remarks.

  11. - Skeptical Optimist - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 12:30 pm:

    I’m curious as to what justification was given (if any) for exempting riverboat casinos from the smoking ban. If the argument is “it will be bad for their business”, pretty much any business could argue the same thing. What makes riverboat casinos different? (Yes, I realize that the REAL reason is presumably all political horse trading and/or backstabbing, but I’m curious whether they bothered providing some attempt at a justification.)

  12. - Scott - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 12:34 pm:

    Skeptical, being from Moline I can tell you that if the smoking ban takes effect for casinos, the Rock Island Casino is finished. It is very easy for the smokers to just drive across the Mississippi and smoke in the Isle of Capri or Rhythm City.

    Now, I am for the smoking ban, but the casinos, unlike bars and the like are mostly on boarder rivers, so they run into the most competition.

  13. - Belle - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 12:48 pm:

    I won’t go to a casino that has a smoking ban. Besides a casino does not make money if the gamblers are huddled outside smoking.

  14. - Dumb Question - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 12:51 pm:

    What do all the people of Illinois get after all this posturing and horsetrading is done?

  15. - A Citizen - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 12:55 pm:

    I am beginning to visualize Sheriff Mike Madagin and Deputies Brown and Mapes, acting as a posse, going over to Emil’s office to seize the passed approp bill and secure it back to the House for final action.

  16. - Answers - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 12:56 pm:

    More inept Government.
    Higher prices for everything.

  17. - jwscott72 - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 1:00 pm:

    “Senate President Jones’ spokesperson said the paperwork process takes a while, but she promises they’ll get that budget bill to the House as soon as they can.”

    The blame is now being shifted to an overworked and underpaid (correction NOT BEING paid) LPU staffer. If MJM has a posse, count me in!

  18. - Rick Ankle - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 1:01 pm:

    Hynes is ready to process the payrolls in case the judge orders his office to pay the employees. His office is accepting the vouchers for the 8/1-15 pay periods.

  19. - grand old partisan - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 1:02 pm:

    Scott –

    Actually, most (i.e., 5 out of 9) of the casinos are NOT on border rivers. But even if they were, “Skeptical’s” point would still stand, because (correct me if I’m wrong) there are bars in Rock Island, Alton, East St. Louis and Metropolis. The only difference is that the casinos help make money for the state, while bars make money for private business owners.

  20. - A Citizen - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 1:05 pm:

    Steve Brown - if you are reading this list please post the address you and Sheriff Madagin want all of us volunteer posse members to muster. Probably should be a large space . . . there may be lots of us.

  21. - Just Because - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 1:11 pm:

    I would like to say one thing about the smoking Ban. I don’t think there should be any exceptions. They passed the law, they knew what was going to happen, live with it or retract it. If second hand smoke is bad and we needed a law to protect us then that’s it. If its okay for one, then it should be okay for all.

  22. - Legaleagle - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 1:27 pm:

    I like the posse idea; but as tempting as the idea may be, I’ll have no part of a lynch mob!

  23. - A Citizen - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 1:33 pm:

    - Legaleagle -
    Oh my goodness NO! No mention o any “lynch mob” was made or inferred. We simply want to make sure this precious document is secured and delivered to the House. Many peoples’ livelihood depends on this piece of the state’s business being concluded properly!

  24. - Michael Scott - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 1:34 pm:

    I agree with Just Because on the smoking exception. Aren’t legislators opening the state up for lawsuits by bar owners by exempting casinos?

  25. - puzzler - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 1:36 pm:

    Bars make a lot of money for the state in liquor and sales taxes. After the smoking ban, bars in border towns will make a lot less.

  26. - Alex - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 1:37 pm:

    Perhaps the delay is related to the AFSCME suit after all. The notice of hearing was for 1:30 today. Gives a good chance to see if people are going to get paid before making your next move.

    One thing that won’t happen on further thought. The Gov isn’t going to be going to work every day saying “Good Morning” to a secretary that isn’t getting paid, or flying on a plane with a pilot that isn’t getting paid etc. It’s one thing to disrupt your enemies lives.. its another to disrupt the lives of those loyal to you. He’s got to make sure his staff is getting paid.

  27. - Mike E. - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 1:40 pm:

    This entire budget process is sickening. I think it has been bad since the Governor has been in office. I knew it would turn out this way since the moment the gov commented that he wanted to push through a budget and eliminate the Republicans from the process. Nice Leadership!!!!

  28. - Tired - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 1:50 pm:

    Off the topic a little - has a few pics from this morning’s ceremony…one of them is just begging to be ridiculed!!

  29. - MOON - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 1:53 pm:

    I thought Jones and Madigan had an understanding. Should Jones now back out of it you can bet Madigan will never trust Jones again. There will be hell to pay for those who cross the Speaker. Madigan always lives up to his promises and expects nothing less from others.

  30. - Alex - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 1:54 pm:

    The way I see this playing out is that the next paychecks are due on Wed. Today the Taylorville court denies the AFSCME motion. AFSCME appeals yet today/Monday. The state has 2 days to respond (Wed/Thurs). Court rules in favor of AFSCME Thurs/Friday. People get paid on Friday/Mon.

    Feet get dragged until early next week to see where it is going to go on the paychecks. If it’s looking like people will get paid within a few days, Gov sits on budget. If people aren’t going to get paid Gov signs it. Just my opinion fwiw.

    Procedure for appeal of Mot. For TRO, Sup Ct. Rule 307(d)

  31. - Alex - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:00 pm:

    So much for the way I saw it… lol. Can’t believe that Hynes agreed to something he said was unconstitutional a couple days ago.

  32. - True Comparison - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:03 pm:

    Another example of lack of implementation.

  33. - Constitituion Schmonstitution - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:10 pm:

    All it takes is an agreed order to nullify a constitution. Funny, Dan Hynes, the presiding judge, and all attorneys in that courtroom had sworn to uphold and defend that constitution. Apparently, the oath is only important unless the constitution is politically inconvenient?

  34. - WAITer - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:11 pm:

    Rich or anyone - doe anyone have a feel for whether this judges order will cover ALL state workers or strictly those covered by the AFCSME contract?

  35. - Bird Man - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:11 pm:

    Alex, I think Hynes would continue to say his ability to release funds without a budget is unconstitutional, at least under Illinois’ constitution. However, the judiciary has ordered him to do so. As he said yesterday, “We welcome the lawsuit because a court order would allow us to legally pay employees,”

  36. - JustSittinHere - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:13 pm:

    Tired - do I have to pick only ONE of those fair pics to ridicule? Let’s see, cheezy smile, a gaggle of clowns, and Abe looking disapprovingly over Hairdo’s back . . . toss-up.

  37. - curious - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:13 pm:

    Who was the judge that agreed to this? What is the role of the legislature if not to do the budget? Should we just eliminate the legislature and declare the chief executive a king? Where is the taxpayer lawsuit when you need it?

  38. - waiting.... - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:15 pm:

    Word is that Rep. Hannig is/was sitting in the back of the Senate chamber…waiting for the budget bill…. no word if he had a badge on or not

  39. - Alex - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:15 pm:

    Bird Man - Apparently the order was by AGREEMENT of the parties. The judge only approved the agreement. So, Hynes had to agree to allow the payments first… otherwise the judge would have had to make a ruling based on the merits. Hynes might try to say “I’m following a court order”, but the order only exists b/c Hynes said it was ok to pay.

    Again, I’m glad people are getting paid. I’m a little disappointed in Hynes though. If he was willing to go ahead and pay today, he should have been willing to a week ago and we could have avoided the drama.

  40. - Jaded - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:21 pm:

    A motion to reconsider would not matter if the leadership wanted the bill to pass. They would just accept a motion to lay the motion to reconsider on the table and that would be that. That was done all the time in the “good ole days” to prevent a real motion to reconsider from being filed to slow the process down.

    There could be many reasons why Emil is holding up the paperwork. Maybe he is still trying to pass gaming and capital, maybe he is giving the governor one more shot at whatever the heck it is he is trying to do, or maybe he is just pimping the Speaker and the House. Only Emil, and a select few of his confidants really know.

  41. - j - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:23 pm:

    It doesn’t look like the SJ-R even read the report on All Kids.

    If you read it, the report is extremely complimentary and almost fawning over the program.

  42. - GoCubs - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:25 pm:

    The agreed order can apply to all state employees. The issue is that federal law, specifically the Fair Labor Standards Act, trumps the Illinois constitution and statutes via the Supremacy Clause.

  43. - Jaded - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:25 pm:

    Just read the last update. Maybe he was holding up the paperwork waiting for that decision. Now I wonder what he will do with the bill.

  44. - Gracie - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:25 pm:

    Well, the order for payment of service runs untill AUG 31….that just gave the Gov. what he wanted an extention! DAH

  45. - Tired - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:26 pm:

    To JustSittinHere: I was mainly referring to the clown(s) pic, but you’re also right - the others are comical as well! I was reflecting on the fun we had w/ the caption contest a few days. The clown(s) pic gives me plenty of ideas!

  46. - Just commenting... - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:27 pm:

    The order only covers paychecks…What about all the other payments (i.e. schools) that need to be made?

  47. - GoCubs - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:27 pm:

    The order only applies to the payment of state employees. It does not touch payment of services, schools, etc., though some of those things (like Medicaid, for instance) will continue to be paid without a budget due to federal laws and consent decrees entered into years ago.

  48. - Napoleon has left the building - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:29 pm:

    Senate just adjourned until Monday.

  49. - Huckleberry - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:30 pm:

    Senate just adjourned. No budget to the House?

  50. - Moderate Repub - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:30 pm:

    Senate adjourned. Back Monday. the court order gives Emil a new deadline to work with. I hear he is back to side stepping with the GOvernor. ITS NEVER GOING TO END

  51. - Huckleberry - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:32 pm:

    Do they have to be in session in order to send the bill over. I guess at this point it really doesn’t matter since the court keep the state alive with paychecks, etc.

  52. - Moderate Repub - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:33 pm:

    Thanks AFSCME way to stick your raise and new frontline employees into the ground by killing the agreed budget that gave you WHAT YOU WANTED. Now its dead. Hope you get the same commitment next time around (NOT)

  53. - A Citizen - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:34 pm:

    I think the Illinois State Senate should be renamed Cheap Tricks and the Incompetents.

  54. - Legaleagle - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:34 pm:

    Terrible court outcome. The AG caved for the union. Why do we even need a Legislature - let the Judge run the state. I hope unpaid medical providers and others owed state money now sue as well. It’s appropriate that on the Taylorville courthouse lawn is a statue of Abraham Lincoln chasing down a pig!!!

  55. - Gracie - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:36 pm:

    Look, the state NEVER PAYS bills on time. They are months behind. This payment to the employees is a 30 day extention! Plan and simple it stops a complete shut down for 30 days. Shutting down may have been the thing to do. Perhaps then these people will start thinking about how they got into office.

  56. - Ghost - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:38 pm:

    Legaleagle, caved how? State employees would always have been paid, the state receievs no benefit from workers salaries being delayed.

  57. - GoCubs - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:40 pm:

    A few years ago, courts in California found that the state violated the FLSA when it failed to pay its employees on time even though there was no budget and the state could not pay without appropriations. Reasoning that the FLSA trumped state law, the courts found that the state was required to pay and made it pay liquidated damages because it did not pay on time. The agreed order today does not violate the Illinois constitution, it is consistent with the requirements of federal law.

  58. - A Citizen - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:40 pm:

    “Attention all members, the House will convene immediately”

  59. - Moderate Repub - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:40 pm:

    Senate just sent over the Budget to the house. Guess I spoke to soon. SO the house will pass it, and the Gov will sit on it.

  60. - Jaded - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:41 pm:

    Finally a motion to concur has been filed for HB 3866, and I believe it is about to come out of Rules.

  61. - WAITer - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:48 pm:

    There is a rumor - special session Saturday and Sunday… courtesy of the Gov…

  62. - Alex - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:49 pm:

    GoCubs, you are probably correct. However, it seems like between Madigan and Hynes they would have known the legal issues surrounding paychecks a day or two ago when Hynes was saying “I can’t pay without a budget”. Just seems like a complete flip-flop to me on his part. Either you shouldn’t open your mouth until you know the facts. Can the Comptroller offer any explanation why he thought a couple of days ago that he couldn’t pay, but today thinks he can? I guess he was legally enlightened since then? Or was it political grandstanding?

  63. - Gracie - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:50 pm:

    Love the Gov’s comment.”See Dan, I was right and you were wrong, hahahaha!

    This man is unbeliveable.

  64. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 10, 07 @ 2:50 pm:

    Let’s close this out and start a new thread.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed until Tuesday
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