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Madigan: Senate lacks leadership

Thursday, May 30, 2013

* Senate President John Cullerton has done his best not to rile things up between himself and House Speaker Madigan. It hasn’t worked

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said the Illinois Senate’s failure to advance a pension reform measure he backed showed “a lack of leadership,” in that chamber.

The Chicago Sun-Times caught up with Chicago Democrat just moments after the Illinois Senate torpedoed his pension reform plan.

When asked what he thought of the vote he initially responded: “not much.”

* Background

The Illinois Senate tonight overwhelmingly defeated a major overhaul of the state’s heavily indebted government worker pension systems, throwing into question whether cost-saving reforms will be approved before Friday night’s adjournment deadline.

The measure, whose architect is House Speaker Michael Madigan, mustered only 16 votes in the Senate while 42 voted against it. The bill needed 30 to pass.

The defeat continued the pension reform stalemate between Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, who has long argued the speaker’s plan is unconstitutional while his own would withstand a legal challenge.

Although Cullerton did not speak out against the Madigan bill during debate, he pointed out that the plan “unilaterally” scaled back cost-of-living increases, required workers to chip in more from paychecks and put limits on the size of a salary that could be counted toward a pension.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Meaningless - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 8:52 pm:

    Will Madigan show any leadership and bring SB2404 to the floor for a vote in the House?

  2. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 8:52 pm:

    It’s been many years since Cullerton was Madigan’s floor leader. He’s not a junior partner.

  3. - The Captain - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 8:56 pm:

    * gets popcorn

  4. - Casual observer - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:01 pm:

    Quinn’s silence speaks volumes.

  5. - Jorge - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:02 pm:

    Well said wordslinger….sometimes people forget things change until its too late. Only time will tell if this is one of those moments.

  6. - in the know - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:02 pm:

    the question is, will Madigan demonstrate the kind of caucus discipline and control that Cullerton did? If MJM put up 2404 on the floor, could he defeat it? I’m beating he doesn’t take that leadership risk.

  7. - Meaningless - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:03 pm:

    Sen. Dillard - “We were one hour away from finally putting us on a road to fiscal solvency” is a disgusting comment that misrepresents the truth of the matter. A more accurate statement might go something like “we were one hour away from destroying the lives of thousands of honest, hard-working Illinois citizens who did nothing to create this mess and always did their part according to the contract they had with their public employers.”

  8. - Southern illinoisan - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:07 pm:

    Will Madigan allow a vote on HB212 - Back wage approp for state employees? It was agreed the funds would be sought in the GA. Why will he not allow an up or down vote? Talk about lack of leadership…

  9. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:09 pm:

    @FakePatQuinn - If anyone needs me during this spat, I will be UNDER my desk, sitting, waiting for all this to blow over #ItsBetweenTheTwoOfThem

  10. - Bill White - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:09 pm:

    Kwame Raoul stood tall on this one:

    === The specific language in the constitution was put in there to prevent this [SB1] ===

  11. - nw illinois democrat - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:12 pm:

    Senate Democrats, especially all of those from safe Democrat districts, are really pathetic on the pension issue. No backbone. No leadership. No profiles in courage. Bought and managed by labor unions and special interest groups. Bad for Illinois.

  12. - Nice kid - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:12 pm:

    Seems to me that it is Cullerton, and not Madigan, who has shown real leadership in this thing. Usually Madigan plays chess while the rest of us are playing checkers, but this time I think he is waaaaay off base. Does he think he can goad Cullerton into strong arming an unconstitutional bill by insulting Cullerton? If Madigan is a real leader, he will allow a vote on Cullerton’s bill, IMHO.

  13. - Amalia - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:15 pm:

    is Madigan filing a bill that withdraws Cullerton’s status as the godfather?

  14. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:16 pm:

    This is one of those times, you know, when a Governor calls, say a Madigan and a Cullerton for example, and tells them to come over to the office, very quiet-like, and then hammers on them both and explains what they, the Governor, is going to do to find a way to get this done.

    When Quinn finds those …”levers”… let me know.

    As bad as this is between MJM and Cullerton, this really shows the Open Wound that is the Governor’s Office. Pat Quinn is 1/3 of the state’s government, anytime gov. Quinn wants to “jump in” and show some skills, that would be helpful …(?)

  15. - Bill White - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:19 pm:

    The passage of SB20 by the Illinois House immediately after the Illinois Senate struck down SB1 would seem to make it more difficult to persuade the IL Senate to reverse itself.

    Voting to pay for a new basketball arena for the Blue Demons and other similar projects while simultaneously saying that pension promises cannot be fulfilled due to fiscal disaster is rather contradictory.

    = = =

    Hmmmm . . .


  16. - Old and In The Way - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:20 pm:

    Yeah just what has the Speakers leadership brought us?
    Hmmm…..isn’t he largely responsible for the problem in the
    first place? He had lots of company for sure but come on
    casting himself as the ‘responsible leader who is going to fix
    this is just too rich…..and he runs to Quinn? For what? You just gotta laugh……just to keep from crying.

  17. - Norseman - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:21 pm:

    If there was any error on Cullerton’s part tonight, I would say that it was in moving to concur on the House amendments. He should have just non-concurred and put the nail in this bill.

    Throughout the session, Cullerton has avoided taking an aggressive stance on Madigan’s efforts. However, his diplomatic efforts have been met with derision by Madigan or his people. The reactions of the two sides about tonight’s vote are fine examples. Madigan talks about the lack of leadership in the Senate - a shot at Cullerton. Cullerton’s spokesman simply responds by saying there is a difference in leadership styles.

  18. - Casual observer - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:26 pm:

    Pat needs to invite Mikey and Johnny over to the mansion patio for some beer and brats. Why he is not leading on this baffles me.

  19. - Jake - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:33 pm:

    Agreed with Oswego - the best Quinn seems to have done so far on this is offer a few tweets supporting SB1 and Madigan… Come on, guv, step up.

  20. - 47th Ward - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:39 pm:

    Interesting roll call on this one. Seems to me if pension reform is going to get done then the House ought to vote on Cullerton’s bill. They can still get a decent bill passed before adjournment. Quinn asking the Senate to reconsider, given the roll call, doesn’t look like a viable plan for reform.

    Between this and CCW, the dynamic between the chambers is a fascinating story this year. I doubt there will be lasting damage in the relationship between Madigan and Cullerton, but it sure has been fun to watch..

    From a distance that is. I am very glad I’m not in the middle of this battle.

  21. - walkinfool - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:40 pm:

    It’s easy to lead people to the easy way out.

    Madigan aimed for the more difficult path, and got the tougher votes.

  22. - RNUG Fan - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:40 pm:

    Quinn had a petulant reaction too but since it was Quinn nobody but Nekritz and Biss noticed and they ran to comfort each other.
    I agree on Kwame Raoul…Id like to see him run for a higher office

  23. - nw illinois democrat - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:41 pm:

    The story here is how the Senate President buckled to government employee unions, plain and simple. He has shown no leadership, no backbone, no profile in courage. Illinois will now be a laughing stock in the nation. Time to elect a whole lot of new Senate Democrats.

  24. - Rudy - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:43 pm:

    Madigan at the Mansion will tell Quinn how he can be useful–prepare a list of all executive branch discretionary favors that can be temporarily withheld against the recalcitrant senators. He will need this list and the Governor’s cooperation tonight!

  25. - Soccertease - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:44 pm:

    I’ve heard the chess vs. checkers reference to Madigan many times. Way too many times. We didn’t elect him to play games-we elected him to do the right things for taxpayers of IL. He hasn’t done that.

  26. - Truth teller - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:47 pm:

    Maybe the Speaker should show some leadership, admit defeat, and free up his caucus to pass the Senate President’s pension bill.

    Yeah, it’ll be a tough pill to swallow, but it’s a stretch that even the Senate Dems bill will be ruled constitutional. It’s long past time to truly get the ball rolling on pension reform in the venue that truly matters — the IL Supreme Court.

    I understand it’ll a tough

  27. - Old and In The Way - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:49 pm:

    Yeah Rudy, that’ll work out the next time Quinn needs a Senate confirmation. And he will need them to fill a number of key positions and plum jobs. Quinn is an amateur, Madigan and Cullerton are the pros. Madigan missed his chance passing SB20……

  28. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:51 pm:

    ===Time to elect a whole lot of new Senate Democrats.===

    Well, I for one, hope they “Fire” them.

    Cullerton says his bill can past constitutional muster, and feels Madigan’s Bill can’t. MJM is angry, Cullerton and his Crew are holding their words the best they can.

    ===Illinois will now be a laughing stock in the nation.===

    Well, we can’t have that…I hope in Caucus, that sentence is the rallying cry!

    “We can’t be the laughing stocks! We can’t, we can’t.”

    They are Mushrooms, they need tender, loving, care, and when the Leaders decide which Bill needs some “Mushroom Love” it will happen.

    If you are waiting for the GA to worry about being a laughing stock, pack a lunch, have a seat, bring a pillow, it will be a while.

  29. - Somebody Nobody Sent - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:57 pm:

    Can someone please explain what exactly Quinn is supposed to do? When you guys talk about leadership, you mean campaign money or favors, right? You want him to offer jobs for votes? And does his honesty, surely not perfect but better than most, limit his abilities?

    As head of the Dem party in Illinois with no finance limits, we know Madigan has all the power in the world unless the seat is safe. And then add to that that as Speaker, he controls which bills make it to the House floor. And Cullerton has that “leadership” power in the Senate.

    I’d just like to understand what you guys really expect, beyond these vague terms.

  30. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:03 pm:

    ===Can someone please explain what exactly Quinn is supposed to do?===

    ===I’d just like to understand what you guys really expect, beyond these vague terms.===

    Well, you see, Governors are 1/3 of the State’s Government. Governors, when wielding the Power of the Office, they explain to the 1/3 that is the Legislative Branch, that we all need to come up with a plan, I, the Governor, will sign, and since neither one of you will have the necessary “veto-proof” votes to overrule my Veto, let’s talk turkey so that you (Cullerton), and you, (MJM), and me (Pat Quinn) can get this done.

    Otherwise, you quibble, you argue, I veto, and we ALL look bad.

    See, being 1/3 of Government has a “hammer” that isn’t jobs or favors, or anything you might oppose.

    It’s just good politics, working to get good government.

  31. - MathCounts - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:06 pm:

    After the lopsided passage of the Cullerton bill, this roll all is hardly surprising.

    It’s a difference in leadership styles, but also a difference in goals and a fundamental disagreement on the issues.

    That Madigan is taking it out personally and publicly won’t help.

    Expect the editorial boards to throw gas on the fire, but it won’t do any good. The senate has repeatedly turned thumbs down to the Cross-Biss-Nekritz plan.

    Speaking of which, Cross, statewide? lol. Absolutely no way a guy who thinks the pension clause is just words can win the AG slot. 1 million Illinoisans are either receiving a government pension or paying into one.

    This ain’t helping Lisa’s chances for Governor, either.

    but what I am really wondering is what rank and file house democrats are saying in whispers.

  32. - iThink - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:07 pm:

    ==Senate Democrats, especially all of those from safe Democrat districts, are really pathetic on the pension issue. No backbone. No leadership. No profiles in courage. Bought and managed by labor unions and special interest groups. Bad for Illinois.==

    I couldn’t disagree more. It takes a backbone to stand up to Madigan. It takes courage to realize that the constitutional solution is better than the politically easier reality of cutting benefits from the minority as opposed to finding more revenue from the majority.

    It’s clear that you think “the unions” are bad for Illinois, but if you have been paying attention to this whole thing you should see how little clout they actually have.

  33. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:08 pm:

    Willy, please don’t hold your breath waiting for PQ to find those “levers.”
    He can barely find a Post-It in his briefcase.

  34. - Bill White - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:09 pm:

    @Oswego Willy

    === Otherwise, you quibble, you argue, I veto, and we ALL look bad. ===

    I tend to think Speaker Madigan would prefer to find a scenario in which Pat Quinn stands alone in looking bad.

  35. - Casual observer - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:10 pm:

    PQ: please just pass something, anything. I promise I’ll sign it. That’s leadership?

  36. - Bill White - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:12 pm:

    === This ain’t helping Lisa’s chances for Governor, either. ===

    Unless the House later passes Cullerton’s bill, but only after Pat Quinn’s leadership abilities are thoroughly denounced across the state.

    With a 3/5ths vote, May 31st is NOT a hard deadline and a June 1, 2014 effective date wouldn’t be the end of the world, either.

    See Article IV, Section 10 of the IL Constitution

  37. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:12 pm:

    ===He can barely find a Post-It in his briefcase.===

    Oh, that’s easy, they are right by his notepad titled “10 Great Places to Hide In The Capitol When People Are Looking For Me”

    Quinn just needs to move a couple things around, maybe “that lever” is under his Cell Phone?

    In his Fridge? Nah…

    Fridge is so bare, the “lever” would be easy to find …now my head hurts.

  38. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:16 pm:

    ===I tend to think Speaker Madigan would prefer to find a scenario in which Pat Quinn stands alone in looking bad.===

    That I 100% agree,…

    But Cullerton’s stance right now does not lead to that finish, no matter if its checkers or chess.

    Pat Quinn is… “money, and he doesn’t even know it”…

    …and that is why Governor Quinn is failing.

  39. - RNUG - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:16 pm:

    As far as I’m concerned, the Senate memebrs showed they understand SB001 was clearly unconstitutional.

    So what’s next, dueling pistols at 20 paces on the Statehouse lawn at high noon? Oh, wait, they have to change State law to allow that!

  40. - Norseman - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:17 pm:

    === Illinois House GOP @ilhousegop
    Latest on our Blog: Video: Cross Calls for Substantive Pension Reform ===

    Next verse, same as the first for Mr. irrelevant.

    Regarding Quinn showing leadership. I’m afraid it’s way too late. Like the old adage, “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

  41. - Norseman - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:20 pm:

    RNUG, I think you could make an argument that dueling may be ok under a police powers exception.

  42. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:25 pm:

    - Norseman -,

    “When asked about that Tweet, it was reported that Tom Cross was busy in his office, trying to 2 Putt around the credenza, to the chair leg.”

    Or so I had heard …

  43. - RNUG - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:25 pm:

    As to what Quinn should be doing, you can never predict things for sure, but here’s how I believe some former Govs would have handled it:

    Big Jim - First, it never would have gotten to this point because he would have been working the GA and the hallways. But if it did, he’d get the corporate people on board, then call the leaders in, start off glad handing, then knock some heads if needed, and get the deal done.

    Little Jim - Ditto except it would have been more of the arm twisting style and less of the head knocking.

    Ryan - It never, ever would have reached this point because he would have worked the GA even harder than the Jims and had only one concensus bill to begin with.

    Blago - not worth commenting on

  44. - Midwest Retired Instructor - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:25 pm:

    Now the Speaker gets to demonstrate leadership by calling SB 2404 for a vote. And then Quinn finally be useful and sign SB 2404.

  45. - RNUG - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:26 pm:

    Norseman @ 10:20 pm:


  46. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:27 pm:

    Cullerton is the only one who has shown leadership thus far.

    He got a bill through his chamber and called the bill from the opposite chamber.

    Step up, Mr. Madigan, and do the same.

    Lest we think you’ve lost your touch.

  47. - RNUG Fan - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:27 pm:

    but what I am really wondering is what rank and file house democrats are saying in whispers.

    I like to hope and its only hope …I hope I don’t get primaried

  48. - Somebody Nobody Sent - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:27 pm:

    I agree with Casual Observer, telling them to basically pass any bill isn’t leadership, or good government.

    If I understand correctly, the governor is really forcing them to do something about pensions now by making the full payments into the pension systems. This forced everyone to feel the budget pain now instead of kicking the can down the road as was done in previous administrations, via holidays etc.

    I just don’t understand what else he is supposed to be doing…

  49. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:32 pm:

    ===I just don’t understand what else he is supposed to be doing…===

    I appreciate your thought, no snark. I think you and Pat Quinn are thinking the same thing, and sometimes Leadership means thinking, finding, working beyond what you think is possible and doing it.

    That is up to Quinn, not you, but to think that the Office of Governor, by a governor no less, has no other options, should scare a great many people, and this is not the first time Pat Quinn has felt …”helpless”?

    Find me a “Helpless” Governor, and I will show you a “Former” Governor standing before you.

    Just saying.

  50. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:44 pm:

    Oops I posted the wrong roll call before.

    Here’s the correct SB1 roll call in case anyone else was curious.

    Only Duffy NV.

    Interesting that Brady was yes. Maybe he’s just not planning to seek re-election to his district if he loses his latest try for governor?

  51. - anon - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:47 pm:

    No chance this is just an elaborate good cop/bad cop charade with Cullerton and Madigan to ensure that the other bill gets passed? Madigan must have some scheme here.

  52. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:52 pm:

    Regarding Quinn’s leadership, it’s possible he believed Madigan’s confident declaration that his bill would pass the Senate and got on board, despite Cullerton’s warnings.

    Madigan worked with Cross on a bill that got 62 votes in the House. Not exactly a runaway train.

    Cullerton held his caucus — in which he enjoys a proportionally larger majority than Madigan — and pounded it into the ground.

    I don’t’ play any kind of chess, but I think the word here is “check.”

  53. - Lotta Liaison - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:52 pm:

    Why are the Senate Dems so scared of the unions?

  54. - Bobbysox - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:52 pm:

    For MJM a lack of leadership is equivalent to disagreeing with him.

  55. - Harry - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 11:08 pm:

    SB2404 will take a year to implement (700,000 member elections) and saves less than one year’s growth in the pension liability–what’s the point?

    And, as long as Cullerton forces people to choose between their COLA and the pesionability of future raises, it has constitutional problems at least as big as any other bill.

  56. - Harry - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 11:11 pm:

    Oswego Willie at 9:16

    Yes, I remember Jim Thompson. And this is exactly the kind of situation where he is greatly missed.

  57. - Anon - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 11:15 pm:

    About time Cullerton grew a pair. Madigan’s definition of leadership is to bully members into doing what you want even it’s it’s the wrong thing - which is how the state gotnintomthe shape it’s in. The only Senate Presidents that gotbanythingbdone during Madigan’s 37 year reign as Speaker were the ones who dug in a stood up to him - that’s all.

  58. - Anon - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 11:19 pm:

    Put 2404 on the board Speaker show us what real leadership looks like OR were you already counting on the state employees pension money fto pay for all that pork you just passed in the BIMP?

  59. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 11:20 pm:

    - Harry -,

    Pat Quinn was floating around during those Jim Thompson days, I wish Quinn would remember that Leadership from the Cheap Seats is just Spectating.

    I know there are more, and I am prepared to get hammered, but this is the first time in “recent” memory that I can recall that Madigan “gambled and lost”. By definition, the Bill failed, so MJM lost. Calling it as Madigan did exaserbates it much more.

    If Quinn were “playing Governor” on this, an opening like MJM Bill going down is a perfect way to get back in this Game.

  60. - Mouthy - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 11:21 pm:

    Madigan will not call Cullerton’s bill and Cullerton knew that when he called Madigan’s. To those of you that think this is a game and Cullerton’s winning you’re, in my humble opinion, daffy. Quinn, by the way, is looking in his underwear drawer at the mansion for any that aren’t soiled.
    Now you’re going to see who’s really running the state, Madigan.

  61. - Mouthy - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 11:30 pm:

    P.S. It’s kinda fun reading all the “he should allow a vote” Cullerton cheerleading going on this board. Must be a lot of “high end” guys working tonight.

  62. - Dude Abides - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 11:32 pm:

    It’s not a matter of the Senate being scared of Unions. Passing Madigan’s bill would have been the least risky road to travel politically. Madigan always follows the road that will best insure his party stays in the majority so that he can remain speaker. For all but 2 of the last 30 years the only bills that have been called for votes in the House are the ones that MJM wanted called. He has brought us to this point. MJM stated more than a decade ago that the state had a structural deficit meaning that there was a revenue shortage but he wouldn’t stick his neck out and change our 3% across the board tax rate, lower than any of our neighboring states, and he also allowed the new programs under Blago to pass, despite the fact that the states finances were already in big trouble. He won’t allow any situation to supercede his prime directive, which is remaining Speaker. Those who voted against the MJM bill showed some backbone and showed that they have some integity by upholding their oath of office. Going along with the MJM plan, in which the retirees and workers are heavily burdened but the rest of the states citizens remain unscathed,carries less political risk. Either MJM allows a vote on the Cullerton plan or if not, it’s start over.

  63. - Sam - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 11:36 pm:

    Mouthy, let’s see Madigan call SB2404 and defeat it as soundly as Cullerton just beat SB1. Madigan won’t call it cuz he can’t beat it. Cullerton’s bill would probably get 75 votes in the house. The game is not over yet, but no way can u argue Madigan has the upper hand right now.

  64. - Mouthy - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 11:51 pm:

    “Mouthy, let’s see Madigan call SB2404 and defeat it as soundly as Cullerton just beat SB1. Madigan won’t call it cuz he can’t beat it. Cullerton’s bill would probably get 75 votes in the house. The game is not over yet, but no way can u argue Madigan has the upper hand right now.”
    He’s already gotten it beaten by not calling it. You and your ilk are talking about my retirement, my quality of life. That’s not a bully boy playground game to me.

  65. - Quiet Sage - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 1:23 am:

    The Speaker is still masterful. His garnering of 85 votes on concealed carry legislation is as impressive as anything he has ever done. The problem with his position on pensions is that he has led his caucus into turning their backs on their core constituency of working people. This is also the attitude being displayed by President Obama in his efforts to cut Social Security. It will, I predict, lead to electoral disaster for the Democrats in the 2014 elections.

  66. - Quiet Sage - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 1:44 am:

    And a strategic lesson here is that when you abandon your natural political orientation, you leave yourself open to mistakes. The blunder committed by Madigan in overlooking the impact of the pension legislation on Social Security/local property taxes until the day of the Senate vote was most untypical of him. Following this Senate Bill 1 was toast Clearly, he was not given good information, but had his political compass been correct the blunder would have been less likely and, even if committed, its impact on the fate of the legislation would not have been so severe.

  67. - biased observer - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 4:28 am:

    RNUG–As far as I’m concerned, the Senate memebrs showed they understand SB001 was clearly unconstitutional.

    really? no, friends this is all about politics and buckling to pressure from unions and retired stateworkers and teachers.

  68. - biased observer - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 4:31 am:

    madigan didn’t pass, but there is still not enough money for illinois to meet its obligations, including the pensions. if i was expecting a pension from the state of lllinois and considered myself to have a very long life expectancy, i wouldn’t be feeling too good about things.

    also wouldnt feel very good if i cared about downstate schools, non-profits (like hospitals), etc.

    this state is a mess.

  69. - HenryVK - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 4:37 am:

    Madigan is talking about leadership?

    Illinois could have used some leadership from Madigan since about 1985.

    He acts like this pension crisis is something new.

    His failures are what got us into this mess.

    While many others share the blame, no other single individual has as much responsibility as Madigan.

    Yet House Dems keep supporting him.


  70. - Billy boy - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 6:50 am:

    Michael Madigan doesn’t have the guts to call Senate Bill 2404 he knows he’ll lose. But now his daughter may have to deal with it.

  71. - RNUG - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:06 am:

    Since these bills were moved to 3rd Reading in the Senate yesterday, I’m assuming the focus will now shift to trying to get the 3 individual bills Madigan passed out of the House through the Senate.

    For those of you trying to keep score, here are the numbers and very short description:

    HB 1154 - pensionable salary cap

    HB 1165 - COLA lesser of 3% or $600/$750 cap plus 5 yr delay or age 67

    HB 1166 — raises retirement age for those under 45

    Even though they all violate previous court rulings, if they aren’t further amended, I’ll predict HB1154 and HB1166 will be easily passed and HB1165 might or might not pass.

  72. - RNUG - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:07 am:

    HenryVK @ 4:37 am:

    because he controls the purse strings that get them reelected

  73. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:11 am:

    - HenryVK -,

    The ILGOP has a “Fire Madigan” shirt for you. Just call, free shipping!

  74. - HenryVK - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:13 am:


    Just because the GOP failed with the strategy doesn’t mean the underlying idea would benefit Illinois.

    We’ve had this discussion before, and frankly, I’ve never understood what point you were trying to make.

    On balance, do you think Mike Madigan has been good for Illinois?

  75. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:26 am:

    - HenryVK -,


    Either Beat Madigan, or don’t beat Madigan.

    Lee A. Daniels beat MJM but then lost 4 straight cycles to Madigan with a Republican map.

    Complaining about Madigan is a lazy exercise. If you want to complain that Dems should “Dump the Speaker”, well, that is not going to happen.

    What “good” does it do asking about the HDems an why MJM is their leader? Today? Any day?

    Beat him, then you don’t have to worry about him.

    Madigan has the Best Political Operation, period. MJM is going NOWHERE unless you beat him, and the voters ignored “Fire Madigan”, so …what is the point of asking about the HDem Caucus, why they choose MJM, we know why…

    Madigan wins.

    Beat Michael J. Madigan, don’t talk about it, whine about it, stomp your feet or cry about it… and BTW, MJM’s Caucus is Super-Majorited, so he must be pretty good.

    This discussion, and all the others, should not be focusing on “Why Madigan, why is he the House leader?” It’s an exercise until the GOP can beat him.

  76. - efudd - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:26 am:

    nw democrat-and I assume the only time Democrats “show backbone” is when they vote for something you agree with, right? Right. and as long as you want to play partisan politics Lord knows Republicans in the GA are not beholding to any special interest groups, right? Right.

  77. - Chi - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:35 am:

    The Speaker’s staff has known about the Social Security issue for months, which can only mean the Speaker knew as well.

  78. - Bill White - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:37 am:

    If Cullerton stands his ground successfully, he won’t have beaten Madigan but he won’t have lost, either. At times, chess games end in a draw.

  79. - RNUG - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:46 am:

    biased observer @ 4:28 am:

    For what it is worth, active and retired members of the state systems make up almost 5% of the IL population. Just adding family members, you can pretty safely say that is a voting block of at least 9% - 10%.

  80. - unbiased observer - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:13 am:

    rnug, i’m not surprised by your number… it sounds about right. it demonstrates the effectiveness of a highly organized minority. the remainder of the state is not as politically active or aware and they have, and will likely continue, to suffer for it. but that is how the system works.

    people are starting to become more aware of these issues for reasons we have discussed, but at least according to the current legislators, not aware enough yet.

  81. - RNUG - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:23 am:

    unbiased observer @ 8:13 am:

    The numbers used to calculate it are from the retirement systems 2012 annual reports and the 2012 IL census.

    If anything, I understated their influence because I took the number as part of State total population, and 24% of IL are non-voters under age 18. I also didn’t consider their extended families, only a possible spouse. If you factor all that in, the “state employee / retiree” voting block could reach 20% - 25% or higher.

  82. - OneMan - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:51 am:

    == I tend to think Speaker Madigan would prefer to find a scenario in which Pat Quinn stands alone in looking bad. ==

    I suspect he will not have to look too hard.

    Going to be an interesting day….

    Finally, when you going to start the Overtime In Hell Pt 2. Electric Boogaloo T-Shirt Slogan contest…

  83. - Cassiopeia - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:54 am:

    For political impact you also need to figure in the families of police, firefighters and other local employees. Although they are not targets of the current legislation they know that they will be next for pension “reform” if the legislature is successful with reducing pensions for teachers, university and state workers.

  84. - HenryVK - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:55 am:


    For something that is lazy, it sure takes a lot of your time.

    If you think he’s been a great speaker, fine. Show me his great accomplishments.

    If you think he’s been a poor speaker but don’t want to discuss it, feel free not to discuss it.

    But throwing a fit because I say that he’s been terrible? Why bothe

  85. - nothin's easy - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:56 am:

    Has it occurred to anyone that the social security issue that emerged was, essentially, a cost shift? Viewing it through that lens, one is left to wonder exactly who knew what when…and why.

  86. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:05 am:

    - HenryVK -,

    By what measure do you think he has been a poor Speaker?

    Look, you didn’t even know you are/were a Progressive, you complain that all these Dem Reps shouldn’t even RUN if they can’t get anything done ..I mean, Yikes!

    You are NOT helping this by complaining about Madigan, and ALL this blame, and ….

    Read the “back and forth” if you need to, but this …

    ===While many others share the blame, no other single individual has as much responsibility as Madigan.===

    … is utterly insane, conseidering Governors, Seante Leaders and GA members all have changed, and yet, still, here we are.

    Whining about Madigan, especially in the context of the LAST DAY of Session, is lazy. It is. The HDem Caucus has their leader, get over it.

    Also, if you think NO good has happened, NONE, since MJM has been Speaker, Illinoisans, from your perspective, for that past 20 years, have nothing good happening in Illinois. That too, is Lazy!

    Read the past Post.

  87. - RNUG - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:10 am:

    Cassiopeia @ 8:54 am:

    And actually, they’ve already been targets. The Marconi v Joliet case is about making the retirees paying a portion of the promised retiree health insurance.

  88. - Annoyed - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:10 am:

    The passage of SB20 by the Illinois House immediately after the Illinois Senate struck down SB1 would seem to make it more difficult to persuade the IL Senate to reverse itself.

    Voting to pay for a new basketball arena for the Blue Demons and other similar projects while simultaneously saying that pension promises cannot be fulfilled due to fiscal disaster is rather contradictory.

    This is all that needs to be said. DePaul? this will almost be as big of a business disaster as Sportman’s Park and their race car oval…but we have no money in the budget and must cut from social services and education.

  89. - Anonymous 1 - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 10:57 am:

    DePaul………aren’t we in a state of emergency ? We need to send some of our public seniors into Medicaid because we need to direct money to DePaul? Priorities are funny things.

  90. - Police action - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 4:27 pm:

    Speaker Madigan uses the idea of taking police action when proposing his version of pension “reform.”

    However, his solution would have the victims of the theft arrested and fined.

    In fact, most of the proposed bills seem to continue the theft of pension money.

    Yes, police action is needed. Let’s investigate the crime scene and then send the police after the thieves who misused the pension money and the perpetrators who profited from it.

    Perhaps we could follow the money and see where it leads?

    Unless the criminals are caught, and the pension funds secured, there is definitely a need for “police action.”

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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