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A lesson about hype

Friday, Feb 26, 2010

* Bills get out of committee all the time and they often then clear their original chambers with huge majorities. But don’t look too much into it because it can mean nothing. The other chamber is where bills often go to die. So keep that in mind when you see headlines and ledes like these…

* Free ride over for seniors?: Across the State of Illinois, the days of free bus and train rides could be coming to a halt. On Thursday, the Illinois House overwhelmingly approved a measure to withdraw the perk for better-off seniors.

* Illinois lawmakers rethink free-rides perk for seniors: The days of free bus and train rides for most Illinois seniors could be numbered.

* Free CTA Rides for Seniors Might End: The Chicago Transit Agency may soon end free rides for seniors.

* Free Rides En Route To Being Over For Most Seniors: Illinois’ cash-strapped public transportation system is one step closer to ending its free rides for senior citizens across the state.

* No More Free Rides For Affluent Seniors: The free ride’s over for some seniors.

The Senate killed the free rides ban last year and Gov. Quinn said back then that he was in favor of keeping the free rides for all seniors. And today, Quinn reiterated his position with a hedge…

Gov. Pat Quinn says he doesn’t think a move to rescind free transit rides for senior citizens will pass. […]

Quinn on Friday wouldn’t say if he would sign the measure to limit the benefit. He says he doesn’t think that will pass the Illinois Senate.

We see this a lot. A bill gets assigned to a committee and everyone goes nuts, or it passes a committee (like the aforementioned aldermanic petition bill) and people assume it’ll be law. That’s not the way things work at the Statehouse.

Anyway, here are some more bills that cleared one hurdle or another and received press coverage today…

* Legislature moving fast to move primary election back to March

* Editorial: Open mockery

* Tougher rules for cabbies nearing

* Legislative scholarships may end in Illinois

- Posted by Rich Miller        

17 Comments
  1. - Will County Woman - Friday, Feb 26, 10 @ 12:09 pm:

    Does anyone know why quinn thinks that seniors who can afford to pay should not pay?


  2. - Pat Robertson - Friday, Feb 26, 10 @ 12:12 pm:

    Hey, WCW, we should be overjoyed that he’s holding his ground, no matter what the issue.


  3. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Feb 26, 10 @ 12:15 pm:

    regarding the Kankakee paper’s “open mockery” editorial.

    Nothing like a newspaper that closed its Capitol bureau complaining about the lack of access inside the Capitol.


  4. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 26, 10 @ 12:45 pm:

    Given the way the universities are getting squeezed, ending tuition waivers is long overdue.


  5. - 47th Ward - Friday, Feb 26, 10 @ 1:02 pm:

    Regarding tougher rules for cab drivers, this is pretty modest stuff. I don’t understand the complaints from Chicago and Yellow Cab. This is a statewide issue, so I don’t see how it limits Chicago’s ability to regulate, and Yellow Cab complains that they weren’t consulted, as if they are the only cab company in the state.

    As someone who frequently rides in taxis and also must share the roads with taxis, this bill doesn’t go nearly far enough in my opinion. The City hasn’t done much of anything to crack down on the problems, so complaining about the state stepping in rings very hollow.


  6. - Captain Flume - Friday, Feb 26, 10 @ 1:47 pm:

    Despite the headlines and the pieces of legislation, I would not expect tuition waivers or GA “scholarships” to be discontinued this session. But the stories do make a good rattle.


  7. - cassandra - Friday, Feb 26, 10 @ 1:50 pm:

    Who did the House members think they were appeasing by passing elimination of free rides for seniors, especially with the guv being lukewarm on it. The CTA unions? Were we supposed to think, based on this one bill, that they have suddenly become fiscally prudent? Nothing else to do so might as well give it a try?


  8. - Oskee43 - Friday, Feb 26, 10 @ 1:52 pm:

    Is there any reason to believe these bills don’t pass the other chamber because the media draws attention to them, which creates awareness for groups that have a stake in them to rise up against them? How many phone calls do you think State Senators received from seniors or cab companies or since these stories about House action came out?


  9. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 26, 10 @ 1:57 pm:

    ===Is there any reason to believe these bills don’t pass the other chamber because the media draws attention to them===

    Sometimes, but the vast majority of bills get not media attention.


  10. - Bubba - Friday, Feb 26, 10 @ 2:04 pm:

    In the article on ending legislative scholarships Sen. Cullerton says the program should be kept but legislators who oppose it can forfeit their awards. Great idea! And let’s apply similar logic to taxes–every legislator who’s in favor of an income tax increase can pay the higher rate (which likely wouldn’t go into effect until 2011) on their 2009 and 2010 income. They can send the extra amount in as a gift with their tax returns.


  11. - Curt - Friday, Feb 26, 10 @ 2:33 pm:

    Do they expect that seniors will bail out the RTA and CTA? I do not think hardly any rich seniors take the RTA and CTA. But this will encourage more cars, traffic, and pollution. They should be expanding this to more people to encourage a “greener” Chicagoland.


  12. - DuPage Dave - Friday, Feb 26, 10 @ 2:43 pm:

    My bet is that nothing changes re: free rides for seniors. Right or wrong, I don’t think there are any votes to increase fees on the portion of the population with the highest voter turnout percentage.


  13. - Levois - Friday, Feb 26, 10 @ 2:56 pm:

    Curt. Making transit free isn’t going to make Chicagoland “greener” if transit agencies are already in a financial hole where they have to cut services.

    Of course seniors won’t bail out transit, but they should pay the reduced fare that they used to pay.


  14. - moron - Friday, Feb 26, 10 @ 3:26 pm:

    “A bill gets assigned to a committee and everyone goes nuts, or it passes a committee (like the aforementioned aldermanic petition bill) and people assume it’ll be law.”

    yeah, go nuts, you know, like let other people know about it, write about it, talk about it, take positions, etc.

    um, don’t we all want more people to pay attention?


  15. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 26, 10 @ 3:38 pm:

    moron, your moniker truly fits you. What I’m talking about is that we are frequently told something’s happening when it’s not.

    Take a breath, idiot.


  16. - fedup dem - Friday, Feb 26, 10 @ 4:23 pm:

    Rich, I know there are numerous bills that are easily approved in one chamber of the General Assembly but are derailed in the other. The problem is that at this juncture, you can’t often be certain which is a bad bill that will go nowhere in that other chamber and which is a bad bill that will become a worse law if not stopped.


  17. - Geno - Saturday, Feb 27, 10 @ 12:31 pm:

    Has anyone given any thought to the ways of raising revenue for CTA other than eliminating the free rides for Seniors? Rather than do a Means test, have a yearly Assessment - maybe $50 or more? Most people want to pay their fair share, especially in these difficult times. Don’t scrap the entire program. Changing over to the original plan will be costly and will just bring on the wrath of those who depend on public transportation to get around . Make everybody equal and charge a yearly assessment for all seniors. Who knows, we may one day have Public Free Transportation for all, through a tax system. It happens to work in other Country’s!
    By raising additional revenue, we may be able to bring back those laid -off employee’s . This could be done immediately.
    Geo


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