* New Press Release: Speaker Madigan responds to Gov. Blagojevich lawsuit
In essence, the governor has sued because the House started two of the special sessions a few hours earlier than the governor would have preferred – in other words, because the House acted on his supposedly urgent business too urgently
I believe that the House made every reasonable attempt to comply with the governor’s 16 special session proclamations, even though: none of them could have resulted in the passage of a comprehensive budget bill because they were written to only allow the General Assembly to consider a portion of the state budget; many of them were duplicative; many were received with only a few hours’ notice (in two instances less than an hour); and for none of them did the governor furnish any legislation for the body to consider, permit any witnesses from his administration to testify or himself appear in support of a bill.
* Chuck Sweeney: Syverson and Blago, the new odd couple
* Lawmakers look for citizen opposition to governor
Michael McRaith, director of the Illinois Division of Insurance, was in town in the afternoon to get out the governor’s message ahead of an evening budget hearing run by state Rep. Jack McGuire, D-Joliet.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the Illinois House have been holding dueling events around the state as they take the Springfield budget battles on the road.
McRaith said the governor vetoed about $463 million worth of spending in the House budget to free up money that will fund breast and cervical cancer screenings for women without insurance.
Many of McRaith’s comments — and those from local officials, including Joliet Junior College President Gena Proulx and Plainfield Economic Partnership Executive Director Alex Harris — focused on local projects that would be funded in a $25 billion Senate capital bill supported by the governor.
* State worker defends gov’s veto in Joliet
* Illinoize: The veto override tour rolls on
* Sen. Brady praises construction project despite ‘no’ vote
Millions of dollars in projects could come to Central Illinois as part of a statewide construction program, state Sen. Bill Brady said in a two-page press release Monday.
Nowhere in the release, however, does the former gubernatorial candidate explain that he voted against a way to pay for many of the projects.
The Bloomington Republican was among 15 senators who voted “no” last week on a plan to expand gambling in Illinois in order to generate the billions of dollars that will fund the statewide construction program.
Brady did vote in favor of two components of the proposal, which is now awaiting action in the House. He supported provisions that outline how the money will be spent and on which projects, but he voted “no” when it came to the gambling expansion idea.
* Springfield poker buddies on Obama’s gambling style
Obama studied the odds carefully, friends say. If he had strong cards, he’d play. If he didn’t, he would fold rather than bet good money on the chance the right card would show up when he needed it.
That reputation meant that he often succeeded when he decided to bluff.
“When Barack stayed in, you pretty much figured he’s got a good hand,” said Larry Walsh, a former senator.
More than one lawmaker teased Obama about his careful style of play.
“I always used to kid him that the only fiscally conservative bone in his body I ever saw was at the poker table with his own money,” said state Sen. Bill Brady, a Republican from the central Illinois city of Bloomington. “I said if he would be half as conservative with taxpayer dollars, the state would be a lot better off.”
* Federal lawsuit aims to void state law
The federal government sued the state, contending that Public Act 095-0138, which Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed in August, is illegal because it prevents Illinois employers from participating in a federal program to check the legal status of job applicants.
“Today’s lawsuit seeks to invalidate an Illinois state law that frustrates our ability to assist employers in making sure their workforce is legal, and in doing so conflicts with federal law,” Carl Nichols, deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said in a news release.
* U.S. sues Illinois for blocking immigration crackdown
* Open road tolling could spell end to toll booths
* Ted Pincus: Gidwitz sees Illinois business as lame giant
Ron Gidwitz is alive and well, and fighting mad. The former gubernatorial candidate and influential CEO of Helene Curtis Industries says that the Blagojevich administration is crippling Illinois’ ability to compete in today’s tough global marketplace. While the state successfully shook off the rust belt image years ago and became a key hub of finance and services, vast overspending plus inattention to upgrading needs of transportation, education, workforce quality and tax incentives have greatly handicapped us, he contends.
“We’re at a significant economic disadvantage vs. Iowa and Wisconsin, for example,” he says. “Take a look at workmen’s comp, medical and health care costs. Iowa is at least 25 percent less expensive as a place to live and do business, and Wisconsin is at least 10 percent less.
* Grover Norquist discusses ‘liberty agenda’ in Springfield
* AG Madigan expecting 2nd child
* Political ‘neophyte’ to run against Durbin
* Sun-Times Editorial: On Weller announcement
Weller also doesn’t like answering questions about his ethics problem. When TV newsman Mike Flannery pursued him after his retirement speech in Joliet, he got shoved twice by a Weller aide near a stairway, knocking him into a woman. Maybe that’s the way they did things in Guatemala when Mrs. Weller’s old man was in power. It’s not the way we do things even in as tough a political state as this one.