* This is exactly right, and applied even before Madigan got the top job…
There’s a political axiom at the Statehouse that embodies House Speaker Michael Madigan’s record-setting tenure as the Illinois House’s overlord: Never bet against the speaker.
I’ve used that headline time and time again, including back in the days when Lee Daniels was Speaker. It’s a powerful office.
* But I’m not sure I go along with this second graf just yet…
And so it goes with the pension-reform package that the Southwest Side Democrat muscled out of a House committee on Wednesday — putting it on a clear track toward Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk despite anger from unions and an uncertain reception in the state Senate.
There was no muscling in that committee yesterday. The die was already cast.
And the path to Quinn’s desk isn’t totally clear yet because Cullerton is still negotiating with the unions. If Cullerton fails to convince his caucus to go along and can’t pass a bill that Madigan can and/or is willing to pass, then, yeah, that path could very well be cleared. Time will tell.
…Adding… Good points…
It may be a case of Madigan playing bad cop to Cullerton’s good cop, setting the stage for passage of a long-awaited pension plan.
Or a sign of deepening divisions in the stalemate that’s left Illinois with the worst-funded pensions in America.
* Madigan, however, made sure to woo the Senate GOP Leader…
Even if Cullerton may be holding out hope for a bill that he thinks would better withstand a constitutional challenge, Madigan’s approach seemed designed to win over Senate Republicans and limit Cullerton’s options — down to using one of Radogno’s ideas.
There were 8 Senate Republican “No” votes on the Madicrossbritz bill last month, most of whom have lots of state workers in their districts. So Cullerton probably wouldn’t have to go it alone unless the SGOPs make opposition a caucus positiion.
* Then again, Madigan pretty much always gets what he wants. And if he really and truly wants his bill to become law, Cullerton may have no choice but to go along just to get something done. The unions know this, too, which is why they came up with a “credible” pension plan yesterday.
* And Madigan even went so far yesterday as to predict that the plan would attract a majority of the Supremes…
Madigan said he believes a majority of the state’s seven-member Supreme Court will sign off on the legality of the legislation.
“I think there will be at least four members of the Illinois Supreme Court that will approve the bill,” Madigan said.
* Meanwhile, I wish more reporters would follow Kurt Erickson’s lead and put this sort of context into their pension stories…
“I’m still bothered by the fact that it does not involve all five of our pension systems. The judges are not in this bill. We need to be fair across the board, all five systems,” said state Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, who represents thousands of university employees, school teachers and retirees potentially affected by the changes.
Rep. Brady is using the judicial stuff as a cover. Good on Erickson.
* How not to do it…
Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, said he doubted he would support the bill crafted by state Speaker Mike Madigan, D-Chicago. Bost said he questioned the bill’s constitutionality and wondered why individual aspects of the proposal were not given severability if challenged in the courts.
“If Madigan was real with this, and believe he’s the expert at this, he would have put a severability clause in it,” Bost said.
Bost also has “thousands of university employees, school teachers and retirees potentially affected by the changes,” but it ain’t mentioned. Just one excuse after another.
* Illinois House showdown on pensions possible today: Among committee members from the suburbs, state Reps. Nekritz, McSweeney, Darlene Senger of Naperville, Tom Morrison of Palatine and Carol Sente of Vernon Hills voted for it. State Rep. Raymond Poe, a Springfield Republican, was the lone “no” vote. Despite his support, Morrison said he still has concerns. The Republican lawmakers has backed a plan that would move public employees to 401k-style retirement plans. “I’m still going to fight for the real reform I think is necessary,” he said.
* Madigan: Pension overhaul will pass muster with legislature — and court
* House vote expected Thursday on Madigan pension plan
* Amended pension reform bill passes House committee
* House panel OKs Madigan pension plan