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Question of the day

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2015 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Usually, I’m not a big fan of organized Statehouse protests. They’ve been done to death and usually make no difference.

But a group called Action Now is holding a big protest today against the new governor’s proposed budget plan. Rep. Greg Harris claims “thousands” are present and posted this pic on Facebook…

* From the group’s Twitter feed…

* Things are getting tense outside the governor’s office…

Also, if you’re monitoring our live session coverage post, you already know that the group disrupted House proceedings from the gallery and security had to remove them.

* Even though I’m no fan of these sorts of things, this one might be different in that it’s the first really big Statehouse protest of our new governor. To date, most media coverage has focused on Democratic lawmakers’ opposition to the governor’s proposed budget cuts, but this protest might possibly add a new dimension to the way this issue is perceived, both inside and outside the Statehouse.

Or not.

It’s probably too early to gauge the impact, particularly since things are a bit fluid at the moment. So…

* The Question: What do you think of organized Statehouse protests in general? Explain, please. And feel free to also opine on today’s event if you want.

I have to do some inescapable errands/meetings today (nothing bad, don’t worry), so I won’t be able to update until later this afternoon. Keep an eye on our live session coverage post for updates on the protest.


  1. - Reality Check - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:08 pm:

    Rauner told the media, “Looks like they’re having fun.”

    The words he deserves would get me banned.

  2. - Amalia - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:11 pm:

    gotta back up the visuals with the phone calls and letters to the electeds.

  3. - Keyser Soze - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:13 pm:

    A friend in Madison, with an office across the street from the Wisconsin State House, grew weary of them. Do they work? Not in Wisconsin. Who knows in Illinois. Methinks that we should get used to them in this session.

  4. - SkeptiCal - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:15 pm:

    I think it is high time that public protests grow and are large enough to get the media attention. People matter and their voices matter if they get heard. This is great First Amendment stuff, so it is the other side of democracy in action. A little messy perhaps, but transparent unlike most of State government. I say, “Hurray”.

  5. - illilnifan - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:18 pm:

    Need to be used carefully since like Wisconsin it could build backlash vs. support.

  6. - Stones - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:18 pm:

    I can’t help but recall about 7-8 women and Dick Gregory when the big topic was the Equal Rights Amendment. It seems like they were there forever. They sure got a lot of attention.

  7. - JC - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:19 pm:

    The state police should just arrest them. Governor .01 percent signed an executive order banning protesting.

  8. - SSF - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:19 pm:

    I expect we will see more of this. The last largest rally I saw was in 2009 during the “doomsday budget negotiations” Capitol and 2nd street was flooded…man that was huge. In ways this proposed budget is worse than what was under discussion then.

  9. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:19 pm:

    “@zachbernard29: Rep. Ron Sandack complains about the noise, says that the sooner protesters leave, the sooner the House can help fix problems. #twill”

    The Owl Ron Sandack is deaf to anything that isn’t said by Rauner, or maybe more importantly, said with Uihline money.

    I can’t believe the principled Ron Sandack has now become the deaf owl for his own protection.

    To the Post,

    To protest in general, meh, they’re loud, they can be obstructive, then they go away.

    This…this won’t be good to be quoted as saying;

    “@SethARichardson: Just caught Gov. Rauner in the hallway. He said it looks like the protesters are “having fun” #twill”

    “Let them eat cake…governor?”

    The protests are for…

    “The Rauner Cuts”

    Hit your green lights on these, as you are told ILGOP GA, you don’t want “trouble”

    All today was about was remindin’ the governor he owns this, like it or not.

  10. - Politix - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:20 pm:

    They work if they’re big enough, loud enough, at least slightly disruptive, and yes, a little rowdy. CTU protests worked. If you can’t get something big going, stay home.

  11. - Get out of kitchen - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:21 pm:

    I support peaceful and aw abiding protesting. Most politicians, especially those in Springfield, don’t like it. They want to do what they want to do and do not appreciate anyone telling them otherwise. It’s about time the people really get heard on these issues. It is the politicians who got us into this mess in the first place and my advice to them would be, “If you can’t stand the heat (you certainly deserve it) GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN!” Duh!!

  12. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:22 pm:

    I hate protests in the capitol. It’s the worst thing about Springfield. Trying to navigate around these people to get to hearing rooms or meetings or whatever is an awful part of being a lobbyist. I especially hate when they see my id and think I’m a tour guide they can ask directions from.

    It doesn’t matter if it’s SEIU, Homeschoolers, the disabled, community college students, whatever, they all annoy me equally.

    And I don’t think these demonstrations are effective at changing anyone’s mind or bringing any positive attention to any issue. It just lets people feel like they’re “doing something.”

  13. - Politix - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:23 pm:

    A nice little sit down and a couple rounds of “We Shall Overcome”? No.

  14. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:23 pm:

    Entitlement crowd not happy with cuts….call the “Law”!

  15. - Norseman - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:25 pm:

    They’re a costly waste of time. In my opinion the PR pop isn’t worth the cost of busing people down and the animus generated with Capitol workers. No legislative minds are changed and the Governor certainly doesn’t care.

    Focusing on contacting solons in the district with actual constituents is more effective in my opinion. And a PR pop can be had by picketing gubernatorial speaking events with locals.

  16. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:25 pm:

    I agree with Anon…working people are at WORK! Well past lunch time. Freeloaders!

  17. - Politix - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:26 pm:

    If it looks like you’re “having fun,” you’re not doing it right. You gotta be a little menacing!

  18. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:26 pm:

    ===I agree with Anon…working people are at WORK! Well past lunch time. Freeloaders!===

    Is that you, Lee Elia?

  19. - Politix - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:28 pm:

    Huh-That’s a lot of freeloaders.

  20. - Enviro - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:28 pm:

    The weather is just about right for the protesters to come out in force to protest the budget cuts. College students will be on spring break and they always like to join a demonstration for justice.

    But will they come out to vote in the next election?

  21. - Cassiopeia - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:29 pm:

    Bused in groups with printed t-shirts and signs are so unspontaneous.

    Only if they become unruly or destructive do they have any impact and it’s usually the opposite of what was intended.

  22. - FormerParatrooper - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:29 pm:

    I support protests, they are a great Right we have. Rare cases I think they are effective.

    What I don’t see as a Right are protests that disruptive or endanger others.

    They are protesting budget cuts and saying tax the rich. What solutions are they suggesting? I doubt that if we confiscated all the money from the rich people in our State it would float the budget very long.

  23. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:32 pm:

    ===But will they come out to vote in the next election?===

    That’s the most effective protest.

    Today is just loud, yelling amongst themselves.

    The responses by Rauner and Sandack are telling the protesters they are noise, we hope you are having fun, but we’ve moved on already.

  24. - Enviro - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:32 pm:

    The time would be better spent calling their state senators and state reps to protest budget cuts.

    Contact information is at

  25. - I'm New Here - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:33 pm:

  26. - I'm New Here - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:35 pm:

    We’ve gotten 2 calls in our district office today.


  27. - Politix - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:37 pm:

    Is Sandack capable of NOT reacting?

  28. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:40 pm:

    ===Is Sandack capable of NOT reacting?===

    I’m just surprised Ron Sandack isn’t sayin’

    “Who? Who is protestin’? Who? Who is yellin’? Who? Who”

  29. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:45 pm:

    @FakeRonSandack - those protesters need to pipe down, I can’t hear what Gov. Rauner is telling me to say. #IndependentOwl

  30. - OneMan - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:55 pm:


    Was down with a group that it turns out had picked a bad day to visit, during a large protest during a previous administration.

    The big group thought we were part of them (we were not) and it seemed to most tick off the suburban moms I was with (for what it was worth).

  31. - Been There - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 1:59 pm:

    Lots of t-shirts sold and the bus companies and gas stations make money. The Stratton cafeteria gets extra business for those that don’t get a box lunch. So at least it’s good for the economy.

  32. - Anonymouse - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 2:00 pm:

    It’s fine in the statehouse, but not in the galley interrupting session

  33. - Joe M - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 2:01 pm:

    They are part of democracy and free speech and freedom to assemble.

  34. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 2:07 pm:

    You would be amazed at what some people will do for a free T-Shirt!

  35. - A Capitol Worker - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 2:13 pm:

    Speaking for myself and my co-workers, we understand we work in the people’s house. If you don’t like crowds and protests, find a different job. It comes with the territory.

  36. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 2:13 pm:

    I support all groups, regardless of their politics, issues or beliefs. Let the people speak, let them demonstrate, let them be heard.

    If you don’t like it - tough.

    I’d recommend another photo op, than crowds in a capitol building. Wisconsin ruined it.

  37. - Georg Sande - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 2:14 pm:

    12 years of ridiculously bad budgets, not one remotely close to balanced, and people are protesting Rauner?! He is left to fix the mess made by the Democrats and “Republicans” like Oswego Silly. Reality check people: Quinn and the Dems are hurting people NOW given the 2015 budget they passed that at is over 1.5B underwater. So yes, people protest the cuts … but know that they are the reality brought by 12 years of Democratic incompetence.

  38. - chi - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 2:24 pm:

    Protests are a vital part of democracy. Complaining that they annoy some people here because it encroaches on CapFaxers turf, because they delay a lobster from moving between offices, is little bit is a little ivory towerish, a little privileged, frankly.

  39. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 2:24 pm:

    ===So yes, people protest the cuts … but know that they are the reality brought by 12 years of Democratic incompetence.===

    This goes back to Ryan, Edgar, and even Thompson.

    You are a Dope.

  40. - Joe M - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 2:27 pm:

    Large organized protest gatherings made a difference in advancing civil rights in the 60s and 70s. Large organized protest gatherings in the 60s and 70s made a difference in stopping the Vietnam War.

    Large protest do get peoples attention and sometimes to work to advance the protesters’ objectives. It sometimes takes such protests on an ongoing basis to make people aware of the problems and get them out of their complacency.

  41. - walker - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 2:37 pm:

    It is the “Peoples’ House” after all, so they usually are good to see, and healthy.

    But I’m with 47th that impact on votes and bills is next to zero.

  42. - OIS - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 2:41 pm:

    Scott Walker 2.0
    We need to cut and start to rebuild the state. The reason tax the rich doesn’t work is because the rich{people with a net worth of 25 mil plus} make most of their income from investment and primary resident is in states like FL or TX. That means their earned income is very low if not zero. I understand cuts hurt but the state is broke. Why should hard working families that make 45k per year pay more taxes? I don’t get a pension and most people reading this don’t get a pension. We need more people to start companies not more taxes. As far as the social service cuts, I would say its bad timing but the state is broke. Don’t spend what you don’t have. With that being said CUT the budget just don’t cut the budget for contracts I’m bidding on. LOL

  43. - Georg Sande - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 2:45 pm:

    Oswego Silly “This goes back to Ryan, Edgar, and even Thompson.” Kinda sorta.

    Pension issues? Sure … but they really go to a certain constitutional clause that conflicts with math and longer-living people. The other budget challenges? No, not really. Gov Edgar left 1B in cash reserves. Yes, Ryan spent a lot but it was Blago and Quinn that blew out budgets like no others and compounded the pension crisis with bill that sweetened pensions on the one-hand, and agreed pension holidays, pension borrowings and non-payments of contributions on the other.

    12 years of Democratic incompetence indeed got us here. #OswegoSillysNoRepublican

  44. - John Boch - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 2:51 pm:

    *That* is thousands?

    Is that the new Common Core math?

    You want to see thousands, tune in a week from today for the Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day event.


  45. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 2:53 pm:

    Do. Not. Feed. Trolls.

  46. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 3:25 pm:

    I don’t mind protests either, so long as they are civil (don’t yell at or threaten security or bystanders and disrupting business is counterproductive), organized, have a coherent message (ONE coherent message not 20 incoherent ones) and are followed up with the actual calls, letters, e-mails and meetings that really influence people rather than shouting in someone’s face. Otherwise it’s the people’s house, have at it.

  47. - cover - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 3:28 pm:

    = it was Blago and Quinn that blew out budgets like no others and compounded the pension crisis with bill that sweetened pensions on the one-hand, and agreed pension holidays, pension borrowings and non-payments of contributions on the other =

    = Do. Not. Feed. Trolls. =

    Willy, I have to provide some context for those who are actually trying to learn, rather than those who spout incorrect information.

    Blago did sign off on a 2-year partial pension holiday, but otherwise made all required pension contributions. Quinn borrowed (but still paid) the state’s pension contributions in his first 2 years, then used the income tax increase to make all future payments as required.

    The last pension sweetener that I can think of occurred under Edgar, and that was done in exchange for savings in employee compensation and retiree health care.

    Pension holidays / short-funding used to be routine prior to the 1995 pension “ramp” funding law, and they were a bipartisan effort to avoid higher taxes / budget cuts that politicians did not want to face. Some things never change.

  48. - Arizona Bob - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 3:31 pm:

    They’re very important. What would all those purple shirted SEIU protesters have to do to make a few bucks, in addition to their public pensions, without their “rent a protester” business?LOL

  49. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 3:32 pm:

    - cover -,

    It’s all good.

    Trying to explain the 20+ years of Edgar, Ryan, Blago, Quinn to a troll is tiresome. I understand your context and your response. Much respect.

  50. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 3:36 pm:

    I think in the second picture, Rauner was actually standing at the entrance of his office, but the “Times” photoshopped him out like President Bush at Selma.

  51. - A guy - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 3:55 pm:

    Are they effective? Yes and No.
    To the people organizing them; yes
    To the legislators; not even a little

    Just makes it harder to get a coke or get back to your office.

  52. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 4:10 pm:

    @ OIS and @Georg Sande-

    Except for actual, real, verifiable math you are both correct / snark

    Don’t ever let the facts get in the way of parroting your tired old faux conservative axioms.

  53. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 4:26 pm:

    Because everyone works 9-5 Monday through Friday and no one has any kind of PTO, right? That’s at the people who are posting from work and too afraid to even make up a username.

  54. - Ugly Rumours - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 4:27 pm:

    Yes, I believe they are a necessary part of a democracy. If you ban the people from protesting at their capital, you are violating their right to free speech, assembly, and the right to petition their government for change.

  55. - Not it - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 4:41 pm:

    I’ve never seen a protest actually convince Members to vote they way the protestors want, but I have seen a protest backfire. What protests can do though is create news coverage, which then can move Members when people see the news back home and contact their elected official.

  56. - G'Kar - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 4:43 pm:

    Ever since Rauner released his budget, I have read on this blog several accurate, imho,comments that the cuts hurt those who have the least recourse in the legislative process. It seems to me that protests are the only way they can be heard, along with calling their reps.

  57. - Democrat Grrrl - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 4:57 pm:

    Springfield protests don’t work. I would expend efforts on training people to conduct in-district, small group meetings with legislators. Make a legislator sit eyeball to eyeball with his or her constituents and have a conversation about an issue.

  58. - Anon - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 5:04 pm:

    “Ron, why are all those folks out there shoutin’ Boooooo at me?

    “They’re not saying Booooo, sir, they’re saying Bruuuuuce.”

    “Thanks, Ron, and while you’re at it, release the hounds.”

  59. - LA - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 5:25 pm:

    So from what I got, they are protesting the proposed budget and call for “taxing the rich” which I would support an additional tax on millionaires. Do they expect that to fill all the holes in the budget? I’m all for the people’s right to protest, but realistically, do even a handful of people really know what they are doing there? To be more effective, instead of gathering in Springfield, they need to contact their local legislators

  60. - Thunder Fred - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 6:24 pm:

    It seemed to me that the Alzheimer’s group was far more effective in the capitol today. They went and met legislators individually with a strong coordinated message. Much better than just standing there screening decades old generic protest chants at anyone walking by. Either way, I’m sure it was a fun field trip for a bunch of unemployed tax eaters.

  61. - railrat - Wednesday, Mar 11, 15 @ 6:46 pm:

    they want effective get AARP to join them !! that’s effective !

  62. - Earnest - Thursday, Mar 12, 15 @ 7:43 am:

    I’m not sure the big mass of people itself has an impact, but I think it effective to the extant the individual people contact their legislator while they’re down there. I think contact from the people in their district has a fair bit of influence, though not as much as people/groups from anywhere at all who can give them a big political donation.

  63. - Earnest - Thursday, Mar 12, 15 @ 7:44 am:

    extent, sorry

  64. - dlnw - Thursday, Mar 12, 15 @ 11:36 am:

    One thing most people don’t realize about those receiving a pension is that they don’t get Social Security. Everyone needs a defined benefit of some sort when they retire unless they have millions socked away in the Caymans.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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