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After Madigan’s election, Republicans move on to Madigan’s rules

Monday, Jan 23, 2017

* From the ILGOP

Will House Democrats Bow to Mike Madigan Again This Week?
Decision to Enact Madigan’s Rules Expected This Week; Would Give Madigan “Total Control”

“House Democrats voted less than two weeks ago to give Mike Madigan an unprecedented 17th term as Speaker. This week House Democrats must decide whether they will give Madigan even more power by adopting Madigan’s Rules, which would give him total control of the legislative agenda of the General Assembly.” - Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Aaron DeGroot

Background:

After the inauguration of a new General Assembly every two years, members of the Illinois House of Representatives adopt the little-known rules package that governs how their legislative body hears, debates, and votes on pending legislation.

For decades, House Speaker Mike Madigan has used the Rules of the House of Representatives to control the legislative agenda of the General Assembly according to his personal whims and political strategy. Speaker Madigan rules the Illinois House of Representatives and determines what legislation lives and dies.

“The way our House rules operate, I think they are more restrictive than any other legislature in the country and create a lot of control in the speaker.” – State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, October 2013

The House based its rules on the Senate’s rules back when the Republicans had control of both chambers. The Senate’s rules are still pretty close to the House’s rules, yet nary a peep about that chamber.

But, then they couldn’t tweet stuff like this…


* Even so, I’ve been railing against these rules since Pate Philip first unveiled them. They’re undemocratic and they should be changed.

Committee chairmen and minority spokespersons should be elected by their caucuses, not appointed by the leaders. Committee staff should report to and be hired by chairmen/spokesmen and not the leaders.

I’d hesitate to bring back floor amendments, which long ago could be filed on bills without first having to clear the Rules Committee as long as they were related to the underlying subject matter. Back in the old days, Madigan would simply refuse to move any legislation at all to the floor that could be amended with hostile language to his favored constituencies (like trial lawyers). And the House Republicans tried one year to essentially shut down the chamber’s operations by filing a couple of hundred floor amendments to a bunch of bills on the floor. The old rules required taking action on all those amendments before the underlying bills could be advanced.

Also back in the day, the House Rules Committee only really met to enforce a chamber rule that limited legislation in even-numbered years to appropriations bills and “emergency” (I think that was the term) legislation. The Rules Committee decided what could be considered an emergency under the rules during election years (a very handy power). Now, Rules controls everything all the time. It should be reined in.

* Anyway, that’s a few points for starters. Y’all have any other ideas?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

27 Comments
  1. - Louis G. Atsaves - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 12:40 pm:

    “Committee chairmen and minority spokespersons should be elected by their caucuses, not appointed by the leaders. Committee staff should report to and be hired by chairmen/spokesmen and not the leaders.”

    Exclude the current seniority rules and I’m with you on this.

    Eliminate the “substitution rule” in committees unless that member is absent for that hearing. Absent should be defined as a member notifying leadership of a conflict in advance of a hearing and that a substitution would be necessary. (Takes away the pulling of members to protect them from voting.)


  2. - Roman - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 12:40 pm:

    ==The Senate’s rules are still pretty close to the House’s rules, yet nary a peep about that chamber.==

    And, I might be wrong, but didn’t the Senate just approve their rules last week with unanimous GOP support?


  3. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 12:42 pm:

    First thoughts?

    Elections have consequences.

    You reap what you sow.

    Someday you’ll have to live under the rules imposed on your opponent.

    Seriously, there needs to be a middle path between today’s rules and wide open. Maybe a simpler way to force the discharge of a bill.From the rules committee. Maybe allow amendments but streamline a process to dismiss them if just used to disrupt the process. Maybe a rule any amendment has to be both relevant and make substantial changes, other than the often required technical language changes. I’m not a legislative process person, so I’m sure others here can come up with better ideas.


  4. - Jocko - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 12:49 pm:

    Did MJM just try Imperial Margarine?

    On a serious note, how does the ILGOP’s tweet move us any closer to a package involving revenue and cuts?


  5. - walker - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 1:00 pm:

    Has Durkin offered an alternative set of rules?


  6. - Annonin' - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 1:02 pm:

    Mr/Ms Jacko
    the stooges in the ILGOP/IPI/Proft/Raumer clown car share nothing in common with striking some budget compromise. Hence IL is where it is. Notice the IPI offers no version of the rules they would prefer


  7. - Give Me A Break - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 1:05 pm:

    Other ideas? Well not that this would have ever taken place, but don’t tell a brand new legislative liaison they need find out where House Rules is meeting and put a witness slip in on a bill the department opposes.

    Don’t do that, that would be wrong.


  8. - Deft Wing - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 1:17 pm:

    –”Has Durkin offered an alternative set of rules?”

    Now THAT’s funny! Good one, Walker! Well played.

    Wait … you’re being serious and think that if only Durkin would ask then there’d be a reasoned & fair set of Rules?

    Oh, my.


  9. - thechampaignlife - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 1:19 pm:

    ===shut down the chamber’s operations by filing a couple of hundred floor amendments===

    You could allow the bill’s lead sponsor to end debate and move directly to a vote as it stands, discarding any remaining amendment requests. If the vote fails, send it back to committee.


  10. - Not It - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 1:35 pm:

    All amendments shall be filed 24 before they are voted on. This rule can of course be waived if really necessary or the amendment is technical in nature, but no more dropping huge amendments on everyone’s desk and voting on it 60 minutes later.


  11. - Norseman - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 1:36 pm:

    === Committee chairmen and minority spokespersons should be elected by their caucuses, not appointed by the leaders. Committee staff should report to and be hired by chairmen/spokesmen and not the leaders. ===

    I still see the benefit of allowing the leaders to select chair or spokesperson. There needs to be some way of holding caucus cohesion. (Yes, I know I’ve been happy with the use of that by the Rauner minions. But it is hard enough to get individual members to take tough votes.)

    Practically speaking, given the number of committees IL has in relation to the number of members you’re going to see long and involved caucus election. A member loses his first preference and then goes on to the next and so on and so forth. I don’t see the significant benefit here.

    On staff hiring. Chair/Spokes hiring is a horrible idea. We need professionalism among committee staff. There are enough problems now that crop up with legislation due to insufficient research. To then encourage the higher turnover and lessor experience that would result if staff is hired by chairs/spokes is a poor governing idea. From experience, I staffed a committee not favored by caucus members. This resulted in frequent changes in spokesmen. In this situation, you’ll have frequent hirings of new and inexperienced folks with sole allegiance to the spokesmen. This certainly isn’t conducive to improving the quality of legislative staff.


  12. - Norseman - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 1:41 pm:

    As for suggestions to improvement, I would like to see a requirement for committee reports for each substantive bill. This report would discuss the cost, goals and objectives. I believe that a report requirement would provide folks with additional time to study the ramifications of the legislation. Yes, it would increase the time to pass bills, but that is a good thing in my view.


  13. - Earnest - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 1:41 pm:

    >This week House Democrats must decide whether they will give Madigan even more power by adopting Madigan’s Rules,

    Hopefully I’m not going off-topic, but I look at this and am impressed that the Illinois Republican Party could bring so much attention and focus to two votes in the House of Representatives. I contrast that with the Illinois Democratic Party’s inability to put forth any kind off issue to pressure some kind of response out of the coming State of the State Address.


  14. - Stark - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 1:45 pm:

    GOP: We’re upset our decades of failure to regain the majority has led to rules packages that don’t benefit the minority party above all else.


  15. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 1:55 pm:

    ===Wait … you’re being serious and think that if only Durkin would ask===

    What, exactly, would be the harm in the Republicans proposing a competing set of rules?


  16. - Ggeo - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 2:26 pm:

    Wait, is it King Madigan or Boss Madigan?


  17. - Deft Wing - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 2:31 pm:

    –”What, exactly, would be the harm in the Republicans proposing a competing set of rules?”–

    None, of course. And it may well be a fine ceremonial gesture. But that’s all it is … it ain’t going anywhere, similar to all substantive Republican non-starter bills anathema to Speaker Madigan.


  18. - Rules Recap - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 2:33 pm:

    This is the sequence for power transfer via new rules in Illinois: 1) Newt Gingrich rewrites US House rules; 2) Rep. Tom McCracken rewrites Illinois House Rules copying the Gingrich rules for Lee Daniels; 3) McCracken moves to State Senate and rewrites State Senate rules for Pate Philip. Dems regain power in both IL House and Senate and keep the “Gingrich rules.” Republicans reap what they have sown.


  19. - Doug - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 2:41 pm:

    Just an FYI, here in Texas the Speaker picks all committee chairs and committee assignments.

    You hiss off the speaker, you get put on the County Affairs committee….and are forced to vote on taxing entities all session.


  20. - Dr X - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 2:56 pm:

    Walker nails it. I was always taught that if you criticize you offer an alternative. But Durkin or the IPI won’t do that. They would impose those very same rules if they had power - it ain’t about rules, its about being in the minority.

    How about a longer time period to review bills to stop Mike Bost like outburst (he had a point). How about public financing to take away leader/governor influence (a pipe dream I know). How about any bill proposed gets through Rules and is scheduled and leave the fate up to the chairs of committees selected by caucus. Still no floor amendments though.

    But until the GOP holds a press conference and says “here are our process reforms”, they should shut it.


  21. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 2:57 pm:

    No floor amendments mean ordinary members have virtually no power.


  22. - Rules change - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 3:02 pm:

    -Annonin’-

    IPI released a comprehensive report outlining changes

    https://www.illinoispolicy.org/reports/madigans-rules-how-illinois-gives-its-house-speaker-power-to-manipulate-and-control-the-legislative-process/


  23. - My New Handle - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 3:07 pm:

    I have often wondered why the minority party does not offer its own proposals on budgets and rules. The public might have a clearer understanding of the different priorities between the majority and the minority parties. Instead of just criticizing the majority, the minority should offer its own budge proposals and, in this case, also its own rules proposals, they seem to be afraid of the responsibility.


  24. - My New Handle - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 3:15 pm:

    Oops, hit “say it” too soon.
    Who knows, if the minority had actual numbers to propose and defend in contrast to the majority-proposed numbers, the public might be able to evaluate the merit of each. This playground name-calling and taunting by the IPI and the minority is getting really, really tiresome.
    And, while I am here, besides continuing appropriations, am I wrong that there is now no legal spending authority for anything?


  25. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 3:19 pm:

    ===None, of course. And it may well be a fine ceremonial gesture. But that’s all it is … it ain’t going anywhere, similar to all substantive Republican non-starter bills anathema to Speaker Madigan.===

    lol…

    Oh - Deft Wing -

    Self defeated thinking.

    “We kan’t do nuttin”

    It’s better than some Raunerites in the House obsessively tweeting about things. It’s shows “something of substance”.

    If yah think substance is overrated…


  26. - the Cardinal - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 3:40 pm:

    Its called lobbying… You gotta build ground swell with rank and file members to get something moved…members need to work together on both sides of the aisle to move their own bills too. Budget bills being the exception of course. Sadly LOL


  27. - stan - Monday, Jan 23, 17 @ 9:44 pm:

    HR47 are rules offered by Republicans. They did submit something…


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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