* The only “news” to come out of yesterday’s leaders’ meeting was that House Speaker Michael Madigan was a no-show…
Republican leaders Sen. Christine Radogno and Rep. Jim Durkin described Thursday’s meeting as productive but took turns noting Madigan’s absence.
“I thought it was a good conversation. But the fact is we’re not going to move this along unless we all are fully participating and actively involved in these negotiations,” Durkin said. He said he didn’t get an explanation of what Madigan’s scheduling conflict was.
“We covered quite a bit in there, despite having the speaker not be at the meeting,” Radogno said. […]
Brown defended Madigan’s absence, saying the speaker has been “fully involved” in budget discussions. He said the governor was notified in advance that Madigan would not be able to attend the meeting, but Brown couldn’t say when the notification occurred.
* The Illinois Policy Institute’s news service also focused on the absence…
Rep. Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove, said he doesn’t believe Madigan’s absence on Thursday was intended as disrespect for the governor or the other leaders.
“I’ve been told by others that this time of year is typically when the speaker goes out of town, and it’s familial and not unusual for him to be away at this time,” said Sandack, who leads the Republicans in debate on the House floor. “Obviously, I wish he was there, and I’d prefer a full meeting of the leaders.”
It’s also quite possible that MJM missed the meeting because his daughter Tiffy had a baby the day before. Those Madigan guys are a pretty sealed-lip bunch when it comes to the boss’ private life, so either he was in Palm Springs or with his daughter and new grandson Theodore Maxwell Madigan Matyas.
It’s not like they were going to solve the world’s problems yesterday, but no matter why he missed the meeting the Speaker yet again managed to make himself the story - and not in a good way.
* So, what did they talk about yesterday?…
Radogno and Durkin said the day’s topics included the governor’s requests for legislative action on term limits and redistricting, changes to the workers compensation system, funding the state’s pension systems and, to some degree, the school aid formula.
Cullerton’s spokeswoman late Thursday afternoon released a statement saying, “The senate president was encouraged by the addition of school funding reform to the meeting agenda.”
Durkin called the discussion on Thursday “robust” and he said the discussion of the five reforms was “healthy.”
Radogno too said the leaders are getting more clarity about the issues in their meetings.
“Staffs are getting together, which I always think is a good thing to try to actually put pen to paper and refine the issues. I would say there’s progress on some of those issues,” Radogno said.
The governor may take questions after his 9 o’clock event this morning at the DeVry University Advantage Academy High School in Chicago.
*** UPDATE *** The governor comments…