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*** UPDATED x1 - It gets even better *** “Adventures in Governing” with your host Pat Quinn

Monday, Aug 29, 2011

* Gov. Pat Quinn now has the ComEd bill

Legislation commonly referred to as the “ComEd bill” that would help roll out a sophisticated smart grid program but alter the way electricity rates are decided is on its way to Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk.

The controversial legislation, backed by Chicago-based Commonwealth Edison Co., has been staunchly opposed by consumer advocates and others who call it is a “Trojan horse” meant to pad the utility’s bottom line by removing regulatory obstacles in place for 100 years.

Quinn has repeatedly vowed to veto the legislation, and a maneuver by Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) stalled the bill’s delivery to Quinn. Friday, Cullerton withdrew the motion in place since June, so the General Assembly has 30 days to send the bill to Quinn, who would then have 60 days to sign or veto it.

ComEd and its lobbyists have been using the time to meet one-on-one with legislators to try to win enough votes to override a veto.

The utility has been pushing hard for veto override votes. AARP is a staunch opponent. From a press release…

As Senate Bill 1652 has finally been released by the Illinois Senate, AARP urges Governor Pat Quinn, on behalf of our 1.7 million Illinois members, to come through on his promises and veto this awful legislation that would allow utility companies like ComEd and Ameren to hit the wallets of millions of consumers with higher rates while guaranteeing their own profits.

SB1652 narrowly passed both chambers in Springfield during the Spring session as ComEd and Ameren heavily lobbied legislators to approve a bill that would allow them to impose nearly automatic electric rate hikes, while securing company profits and diminishing needed regulatory oversight.

Yet SB1652 did not garner a veto proof majority, and Governor Quinn has promised to veto the bill joining with Attorney General Lisa Madigan, AARP, the Citizens Utility Board and many other consumer advocates and watchdogs in their stern opposition to the legislation.

SB1652 is bad news for consumers as it writes utility company profits into state law guaranteeing ComEd and Ameren a return on equity of over 10% or even higher. Additionally, SB1652 creates a formula rate and shortens the rate review process effectively tying the hands of the Illinois Commerce Commission. Through this bill, ComEd and Ameren are taking the voice of the consumer out of the ratemaking process and paving the way for even higher profit margins.

Now that the bill is finally on its way to the Governor’s desk, we urge him to step up to the plate again for millions of consumers as he had done so often in the past, and use his veto powers to kill this legislation as he has promised numerous times.”

* Meanwhile, the governor is being whacked for signing a bill that slightly dilutes the FOIA law

Illinois residents who repeatedly make open-records requests to their towns, school districts and counties could face new restrictions that would keep them from getting information quickly under legislation Gov. Pat Quinn signed Friday.

His decision unleashed sharp criticism from government watchdog groups that accused Quinn of eroding the Illinois Freedom of Information Act and retreating from earlier statements in support of open government.

For the first time, local governments could characterize anyone who files more than seven FOIA requests in a week or more than 15 in a month as a “recurrent requester,” giving the public bodies unlimited time to provide documents. Media, academics and researchers are exempt from the new standard.

Current law gives those governments five business days to answer a records request, with the option of an additional five-day extension.

“It is disappointing that Gov. Quinn, who once cultivated an image of himself as an advocate of open government, has approved a bill that takes Illinois’ FOIA law backward,” said Whitney Woodward, a policy associate with the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, which opposed the bill.

* I’m not sure if the governor’s proposed fix is any better than the underlying bill

Gov. Pat Quinn is calling for a two-minute timeout before a motorcycle driver or bicyclist can proceed through a stoplight that appears stuck on red.

The Democratic governor used his veto power on Friday to rewrite legislation that would have allowed a motorcyclist idling at a seemingly interminable red light to proceed after a “reasonable period of time.”

Quinn maintains that a specific time period is needed or riders would come up with different standards of what’s reasonable. As written, the measure is “too subjective and will result in confusion amongst law enforcement, the judiciary and motorcycle operations,” the governor explained.

A two-minute wait won’t confuse law enforcement? Who’s gonna run the timer?

* Typical

In 2007, the state spent $13.2 million to buy the former Franklin Life Insurance building in Springfield to serve as a new headquarters for the Illinois State Police, as well as a workplace for employees of other state agencies.

Four years later, State Police still are the only tenants. That’s led some officials to question whether space in the massive building is being used properly and whether the state is wasting money by continuing to lease offices when it could move people into a state-owned building.

“It is being totally underutilized,” said Ed Bedore, a member of the state’s Procurement Policy Board, which oversees state leasing. “It will cost some money to do some rehabbing, absolutely. But that will certainly be made up in a matter of months when you consolidate some other leases.”

“There’s some available space there,” agreed David Vaught, Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget director and chairman of the procurement panel. “If we have that available space and we have an appropriate agency that does not impair the security needs of the State Police, it’s an opportunity to save some money.”

* The governor giveth

Local mental health officials are hoping that new legislation signed by Gov. Pat Quinn will be a true victory for the community – though some have their doubts.

Quinn signed House Bill 1530 at the Alexian Brothers Center for Mental Health in Hoffman Estates last week. The bill prevents insurers from including additional barriers within a policy – such as financial requirements, treatment limitations, lifetime limits or annual limits – to treatments for mental, emotional, nervous and substance abuse disorders if no such stipulations exist for other health conditions, according a release from the governor’s office.

Sandy Lewis, executive director of the McHenry County Mental Health Board, said this is an important step for mental health care.

“For too long, individuals and families have not had the opportunity to get the help that they needed when they’re insured by group health insurance because mental health and substance abuse weren’t covered the same way.”

* And taketh away

If Governor Pat Quinn ever wonders why the public, the press and the legislature find his approach to governing to be incoherent and frustrating, and at times cynical, he needs only to consider his recent whiplash-inducing turn on behavioral health care policy.

Last week Quinn held a bill-signing ceremony at the Alexian Brothers Center for Mental Health in Arlington Heights, and he issued a press release that stressed the importance to “improve behavioral health care throughout Illinois.” […]

[However] The governor proposed a Fiscal Year 2012 budget, which began on July 1, 2011, that sought to cut $33 million from mental health care, depriving care to approximately 20,000 individuals, principally the working poor. He also sought to cut all state funding, $63 million, for substance prevention and treatment, a move that would have eliminated care to 55,000 people out of the 69,000 currently served.

Additionally, Quinn had sought in March to drastically cut funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment in the last quarter of the 2011, throwing behavior healthcare providers into chaos. They turned away new patients and cut services to others.

* And your Pat Quinn moment of Zen

By now, most people know Quinn has a tendency to ramble in his public comments. Well, the ramblin’ man was in full voice at a bill signing last week.

Quinn started the ceremony by making some unprepared remarks that lasted about five minutes. During that time, Quinn said he once lived in a mobile home in Madison County, that state and local governments work together, Illinois believes in transportation, the state has the fewest traffic fatalities since 1921, it’s a tough economy, we’re Americans, his favorite words are “made in America,” 9/11, the state fair, Gold Star families, he’s been to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Old State Capitol, Abraham Lincoln and proclaiming America as the first democracy on planet Earth.

Quinn then signed the bill. It allows overweight trucks to drive short distances on some state roads.

*** UPDATE *** It gets better. With thanks to a commenter, here’s the video in all its rambled, messy glory

Pay special attention to the beginning of the video when Gov. Quinn announces that his “very good friend” Rep. Dan Beiser couldn’t be at the event. Beiser is standing less than two feet from Quinn at the time.


I just called Beiser and he said he was trying to think of what he was going to say when it was his turn and didn’t hear Quinn announce that he wasn’t there. He had a good laugh about it, however.

…Adding… A persistent commenter prompted me to give it a re-watch, and Quinn could very well be speaking of Sen. Bill Haine, who was, indeed, absent.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Roundup…

* Illinois DCFS chief steps down

* Former Sen. Rickey Hendon owes IRS $31,531

* Illinois National Guard stands down from hurricane duty

* Inmate wants out of Tamms; attorney says years of solitary confinement have harmed his mental health

* Program named after Demuzio has potential to save lives

* Chicago gang rivals band together to control neighborhood drug trade

* Brown Line renovations already need repairs

* Suburbs fight to keep foreclosed homes maintained

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Just Observing - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 12:06 pm:

    I’m an ardent supporter of Illinois’ FOIA and I find that local governments regularly go out of their way to prevent and stall disclosure of clearly public records, and I believe that most of local goverments criticism of the new FOIA are disingenous and an affront to democracy. All that being said, these changes to the FOIA, signed by Quinn, will impact so few people, if any. You really have to be filing a HUGE number of FOIA requests to the same public body in order for this to impact you.

  2. - Downstate Illinois - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 12:09 pm:

    One of my favorite SAT vocabulary words was circumlocution, which basically means talking in circles.

    I’ve known politicians that to get a complete sentence you would have to take the first thought, pause and wait, then snag the last thing said, in order to get the sentence that they meant to say.

    But the moment of Zen example above… wow! That’s not talking in circles, that’s a whole road trip!

  3. - Redbright - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 12:22 pm:

    I don’t own a cycle but if I did I’d want a definite time limit for waiting.

    I do use FOIAs and I know that there are people who make a career of wasting our tax dollars with their meaningless bulk requests. 15 a month seems like plenty.

  4. - OneMan - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 12:23 pm:

    The fact Pat can ramble more than I am able to reproduce in an attempt to be funny is in fact very funny.

  5. - JN - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 12:41 pm:

    == I don’t own a cycle but if I did I’d want a definite time limit for waiting. ==

    I own a cycle, and waiting at a stop light for 2 minutes is a long time to wait for a drunk or distracted driver to run you over when they run a stoplight.

    I already know which lights I have to run due to ineffective road sensors. In a contest between safe and legal, the marginal cost of a traffic signal violation is less than a 2 minute delay.

  6. - Newsclown - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 12:50 pm:

    There’s a youtube of the ramble on the gov’s web page, surprised you didn’t link to it. I thought the bigger story on that was that this bill was written specifically to help Olin’s spin-off World Brass operation. Wasn’t Olin threatening Quinn just months ago with some relocation talk?

  7. - wordslinger - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 12:50 pm:

    Finke’s bit is priceless. You can’t make that stuff up.

  8. - Demoralized - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 12:50 pm:

    Does anyone else think that Governor Quinn’s brain operates a bit like a Roald Dahl story?

  9. - JustMe - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:04 pm:

    ee cummings said it best:

    “next to of course god america i
    love you land of the pilgrims’ and so forth oh
    say can you see by the dawn’s early my
    country ’tis of centuries come and go
    and are no more what of it we should worry
    in every language even deafanddumb
    thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gorry
    by jingo by gee by gosh by gum
    why talk of beauty what could be more beaut-
    iful than these heroic happy dead
    who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
    they did not stop to think they died instead
    then shall the voice of liberty be mute?”

    He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water

  10. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:07 pm:

    All of us who support open government should applaud this adjustment to the FOIA law. When an individual chooses to obviously abuse this valuable right, as a way to harass local government units, they put the whole system at risk for the rest of the requesters, including the press.

  11. - Rich Miller - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:13 pm:

    Newsclown, thanks for the tip. Check the update. Too funny for words, man.

  12. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:15 pm:

    ComED was the biggest opponent of the Taylorville Energy Center. They killed it because they didn’t want the competition, they took the very needed construction jobs away from downstate.

    They do not deserve the rate hike.

  13. - Loop Lady - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:18 pm:

    Mock Quinn all you want…I’m glad he’s going to veto the ComEd bill…after the crappy non chalant “service” they have provided ratepayers this summer, I can only say bite me to this utility company that never saw an improvement to service that they wanted to pay for themselves out of their enormous profits…

  14. - Then again... - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:29 pm:

    To be fair to our ramblin’ Gov, I think he was talking about Haine, not Beiser.

  15. - Rich Miller - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:32 pm:

    ===I think he was talking about Haine, not Beiser. ===

    Yeah, but he said Beiser.

  16. - Small Town Liberal - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:44 pm:

    Hey Rich, you should thank the Gov. for his style. If he’s not going to give you corruption and scandal to write about at least he gives you some hilarity.

  17. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:47 pm:

    Oh my

  18. - Rich Miller - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:47 pm:

    ===Hey Rich, you should thank the Gov. for his style.===

    I have. Trust me.

  19. - Easy - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:51 pm:

    I’m sure Beiser won’t see that clip again…my very, very good friend, dan beiser….

  20. - 32nd Ward Roscoe Village - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:58 pm:

    I can’t watch the clip, after the description, the keyboard is already covered with Diet Coke–what’ll happen if I watch the clip….

  21. - Small Town Liberal - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 2:10 pm:

    Finally got a break to actually watch this, freaking hilarious. I think the man is secretly a comedic genius, I’ve never been prouder to have him as my governor.

  22. - Rich Miller - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 2:15 pm:

    ===I think the man is secretly a comedic genius, ===

    Secretly even to himself.

    But, yeah, he’s certainly a laugh riot.

  23. - Doug - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 2:23 pm:

    He makes Joe Biden look normal

  24. - 47th Ward - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 2:29 pm:

    Someday he’ll publish “Pat Quinn in His Own Words,” as a twelve volume set, but if he plans an audio version, he needs to start dictating it now…he ain’t getting any younger or more concise.

  25. - OneMan - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 2:33 pm:

    Someday someone is going to yell Bingo when he is near the end of one of these…

  26. - OneMan - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 2:35 pm:

    They would have him do the start of the NASCAR race in Joliet, but it is already a night race and it can not be run any later…

    These are fine cars, running on ethanol, from Illinois corn, that is grown by farmers, those who farm, I once had a beer with a farmer….

  27. - Rich Miller - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 2:36 pm:

    …And then the cars would all run out of gas.

  28. - Irish - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 2:39 pm:

    The sad part about this is that if you had an uncle that went on like this you would be having discussions at the family reunions about putting him in a home.

  29. - Irish - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 2:41 pm:

    He needs a aide who after several minutes of this will stand up and take hinm by the arm and tell him. ” Say goodnight Gracie”

  30. - Responsa - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 2:43 pm:

    I can’t find this all that funny. Sure, if this were a SNL sketch written to skewer blowhard politicians it would be a brilliant laugh riot. But it’s not a sketch and it’s not made up. This is our governor. And this is obviously a window into how his brain operates as he is trying to arrive at decisions and evaluate policies and legislation. Not good. Not good at all.

  31. - thechampaignlife - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 2:53 pm:

    On running a red light, I’d like to see the time and vehicle type references eliminated altogether. If I’m in a car and approach a red light, I should be able to check for cross traffic and proceed across the intersection if safe. This is no different than approaching the same crossroad a block away where it would be a two-way stop. If it works there, I fail to see why it wouldn’t work at a red light.

  32. - Cincinnatus - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 3:08 pm:

    - Rich Miller - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 2:36 pm:

    “…And then the cars would all run out of gas.”

    Not as long as he was talking…

  33. - Michelle Flaherty - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 3:10 pm:

    RE: Rep. Beiser.
    Cut Quinn some slack. It’s not like he’s ever been known for his peripheral vision

  34. - One of the 35 - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 3:28 pm:

    Rich: Governor Quinn’s knowledge of history is also impressive. “As Americans we were the first democracy on planet earth!”

  35. - Downstate Commissioner - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 3:29 pm:

    @ thechampaignlife agree completely.
    If an accident would occur, driver ignoring light would be liable. Traffic lights enforcement is necessary when there are multiple cars: when there are only one or two cars involved, “right of way” laws should cover situation.
    Got a ticket years ago for running a red lite at 2:00 a.m.. Half asleep, (going home from girlfriend’s) stopped, no cross traffic in sight, went ahead. $15 ticket (but gas was a quarter)…

  36. - Jaded - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 4:06 pm:

    I am not for cutting Quinn any slack, but he is clearly talking about Haine not being there.
    …”and he can’t be here today I guess his son was married over the weekend, but my good friend Bill Haine..and he and his wife and the family are at the wedding…”

    That is the problem when you speak in a constant runonsentencestreamofconsciencesometimespeoplemisunderstandwhatyouaresaying.

    The rest of the video is priceless. Illinois should be proud.

  37. - Rich Miller - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 4:12 pm:

    ===but he is clearly talking about Haine not being there.===

    To him, it might be clear. But I see your point after listening to it for the fifth time. lol

  38. - FOIA Fix ... - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 4:21 pm:

    FOIA - There is an issue, even if the bill doesn’t fix it. When the #4 and #5 in FOIA appeals statewide are the Village of Wapella and the Quincy School District, there might be a problem.

    The Village of Wapella has a FOIA ( and financial ( website that would put many state governments to shame … . This is all to forestall numerous and duplicate FOIAs, but in the process we now know how much a Village of Wapella employee pays for child support … (was THAT really the intent of FOIA?).

    Then there are the FOIAs that aren’t denied but still use up excessive taxpayer resources

    I don’t know if the bill is the answer, but it only takes one person to spoil it for everyone else … .

  39. - foster brooks - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 4:39 pm:

    Good for quinn, veto the edison bill

  40. - transplant - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 5:33 pm:

    Wow. I think he fit into that little speech every political keyword known.

  41. - What's in a name? - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 5:36 pm:

    Will United States District Court judge consider the Governorship of Pat Quinn an Aggravating Factor in sentencing Rod Blago?

  42. - I believe in... - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 5:37 pm:

    Quinn reminds me of Steve Martin:

    and he has this verbal tic when he’s trying to fill time that goes: “we believe in (insert pretty much anything you want here) in Illinois…”

    Really, he’s cribbing Steve Martin’s old routine (you tube it for yourself) called ‘What I Believe”. Tell me that doesn’t sound (mostly) like any Quinn stump speech you’ve ever heard.

  43. - Boone Logan Square - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 5:45 pm:

    ==- Irish - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 2:39 pm:

    The sad part about this is that if you had an uncle that went on like this you would be having discussions at the family reunions about putting him in a home.


    The governor’s mansion is a home.

  44. - Dirty Red - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 6:13 pm:

    @ Foia law

    The guv hasn’t been whacked good enough for this one. I can wait to see how many requesters are turned down because of this one. The phrase “commercial purposes” in this bill is very broad.

    @ Franklin Life

    Wasn’t there a story a few days ago about ISP’s concerns about sharing the building with other tenants? I can understand their concerns about sharing with other agencies. Sensitive information would be more exposed.

  45. - Dirty Red - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 6:15 pm:

    Somewhat off topic, but I just got the guv’nah’s schedule. Is he totally blowing off the Du Quoin State Fair this year? He was supposed to be there this weekend but canceled at last minute to be at the National Guard deployment to New York.

  46. - Gregor - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 6:39 pm:

    I think the government is hoping everybody just forgets there *Is* a DuQuoin fair.

    Kind of a shame; Thompson rescued it, and revitalized it, and now it has deteriorated to about the same shape it was in when he bought it. Plus a new arena building, I guess.

  47. - Nice Kid - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 7:34 pm:

    I watched it once and thought he was referring to Haine.

  48. - wordslinger - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 8:49 pm:

    –”As Americans we were the first democracy on planet earth!”–

    News to our friend Louis Atsaves, I’m sure.

    Quinn should have gone for Senator. He would have been totally in his element, a Chicago Irishman pounding lumps on the heads of the Tea Party yabbos and molasses-mouthed southeners.

    A CEO? Not so much.

    Still, that ComEd bill and that casino bill are in his hands. You don’t have to be a great poker player when you’ve got the cards.

  49. - FOIA Fix - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 9:31 pm:

    Dirty Red -

    I support FOIA. I DON’T support people who use it like a club for political reasons (such as in Kendall County). Not sure what the answer is.

  50. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 11:26 pm:

    ===Someday someone is going to yell Bingo when he is near the end of one of these.=

    LOL OneMan’s on a roll today. I haven’t laughed that hard after reading something on the blog in a while.

  51. - OneMan - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 10:42 am:

    So I had that going for me…

  52. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 11:03 am:

    I just saw that movie last week - “The Mobile Homes of Madison County”. PQ’s soliloquy in the second and third reel was the best!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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