* Speaker Madigan told reporters this afternoon, “We had a very good leaders’ meeting,” and then gave everybody a summary of what went on…
* Education funding reform…
“Sen. Cullerton and I reasserted our strong support for SB 1,” and said the governor should “sign the bill as-is.”
* Workers’ comp…
Madigan restated the need for “real rate regulation” for the companies that sell workers’ comp insurance.
“We indicated that if there were to be, if there were to be adjustments to the medical fee schedule, we would not relate them to the Medicare schedule.”
* Property taxes…
The Republicans asked for adjustments to the property tax freeze bill that couldn’t pass the House yesterday. “We indicated that we would be open to other adjustments.”
* Government consolidation…
The bill that passed the House and the Senate is the one they’re sticking with. “We ought not to go any further.” (The governor wants another bill on this topic).
“Sen. Cullerton indicated that we should delete the section of the bill that’s concerned with a voluntary consideration model and just proceed with the remaining elements of the bill, which I think would be satisfactory to the other leaders and the other caucuses.”
My translation after speaking with Democrats: Despite what he said, I think there’s still some movement possible on SB 1. I was told yesterday there are some important language issues on the workers’ comp insurance regulation stuff. Madigan seems to be moving a bit on his refusal to lower rates for workers’ comp medical providers, which is something the IMA wants. There’s more work to do on property taxes, but Madigan at least appears open to more movement (the big sticking point is still an exemption for pension costs).
Madigan also said the House will bring their spending plan to the floor tomorrow. Revenues are still being discussed.
* Earlier today, Gov. Rauner tweeted out an image of himself sitting at a desk in his ceremonial Statehouse office “preparing for a balanced budget to arrive.”
A buddy of mine just said to me, “You can’t cut a final deal until the principal lays out his bottom line.” By all accounts, Leader Durkin is doing a good job, but the governor is most definitely “the principal.” Then again, Rauner, Speaker Madigan and Senate President Cullerton aren’t exactly pals. If he joins the meeting, things might not go so well. But without his presence, the other leaders may not be certain he’ll support whatever they come up with (if they do come up with something).
* The Question: Should Gov. Rauner join the leaders’ meetings? Click here to take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.
Do Your Job, Inc. is calling voters across the state and asking them to tell Governor Rauner to do his job.
The call can be heard here: https://clyp.it/i1h5wcgv
Every year for decades the state of Illinois has passed a budget. For the three years under Bruce Rauner, Illinois had failed to pass a budget due to Rauner’s refusal to compromise. Governor Rauner is a bully with an extreme agenda who is destroying our state. The consequences will be grave if we don’t pass a budget right away. Call Governor Rauner at 217.782.0244. Encourage him to sit down, pass a budget and do his job. Paid for by Do Your Job, Inc.
The robocall comes on the heels of a mailer paid for by Bruce Rauner’s Republican Party distorting the budget crisis. The mailer attempts to solely blame the legislature for the budget crisis and abdicate the state’s chief executive of his responsibility to govern.
The robocalls will also begin on a day when Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno – who often worked on a bipartisan basis for the good of the state - announced that she will be vacating her post at the start of the fiscal year. In a statement, Radogno expresses her “sadness and some disappointment” and joins Illinoisans who “hope and pray that the Governor, other legislative leaders, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and House can find a path to solve the state’s problems.”
Do Your Job, Inc. is currently on air with an advertisement entitled “The Brink” encouraging Governor Rauner to secure a budget. In the ad, which began airing yesterday, Edgar declares that Illinois is in the worst condition he can ever remember including the state’s tenure during disgraced former Governor Rod Blagojevich. That ad can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/2seEb1I
Do Your Job, Inc. is led by IL Sen. Michael E. Hastings of South Suburban Cook County, IL Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie and Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael T. Carrigan. “The Brink” will run in conjunction with the legislature’s special session schedule in hopes of helping to secure a budget.
* I’ve been talking with Senate GOP Leader Christine Radogno for weeks about the rumors that she’s going to resign. We chatted yesterday and I was promised a formal response today. Radogno just sent me a text message…
I’m out of here 7-1. End of business.
Let’s hope she helps finalize a budget deal by then. Personally, I’d like to see her go out on a high note.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Full statement…
Statement from Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno:
“It truly is an honor to represent the 41st Senate District and my Republican colleagues in the Illinois Senate.
I have done the job to the very best of my ability and always with the needs of the state and my constituents in mind. I am proud of my legislative accomplishments – none of which were achieved alone. I have always appreciated the support, advice and counsel of my colleagues in both parties, staff and family.
I have particularly enjoyed my friendship and working relationship with Senate President John Cullerton that began the day we were chosen as Leaders of our respective caucuses.
However, I believe it’s time for a new Senate Republican leader.
I have done everything I can do to resolve the state’s budget crisis. I will continue to do so for the coming days. But if the solution will not come on my watch, I hope and pray that the Governor, other legislative leaders, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and House can find a path to solve the state’s problems.
Though I leave political office with a sense of sadness and some disappointment, I leave with no regrets. I did my best – that’s all I could do. It has been a privilege to serve. But now I am looking forward to returning to private life and spending time with my family, especially my five grandchildren.
Effective close of business on July 1, 2017 – the start of the new fiscal year – I intend to resign my position as Senate Leader and Senator from the 41st District.
The Caucus has already begun executing the plan for a smooth, orderly and expeditious transition.”
She’s a class act through and through.
*** UPDATE 2 *** I think it may wind up being a little narrower than this, but this is true at the moment…
Source: Senators Bill Brady, Karen McConnaughey and Michael Connelly are on the short list to replace Christine Radogno. https://t.co/jjc8pl1vP7
From what I’ve been hearing, Brady has been working a roll call for the past couple of days.
*** UPDATE 3 *** Press release…
Governor Bruce Rauner today released the following statement regarding Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno’s resignation:
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to work alongside Leader Radogno these last two years as we continue to try to improve the lives of the people of Illinois. She is a consummate professional and public servant, who has championed fiscal responsibility and human services that help our most vulnerable residents. While she will be sorely missed, Diana and I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”
*** UPDATE 4 *** From House GOP Leader Jim Durkin…
“Chris Radogno has been my Senator and Co-Republican Leader for many years. I am fortunate to call her a confidant and friend. Her contributions to her district and the State of Illinois are immeasurable. Chris always stayed above the fray in this very partisan environment. Her constituents and I will miss her valued leadership.”
*** UPDATE 5 *** From Mayor Rahm Emanuel…
“Leader Radogno has been a committed and courageous public servant who has put the needs of her constituents, and all Illinois residents, ahead of special interests, politics and partisanship. Throughout her five terms in office she has always proven willing to reach across the aisle to find solutions for Illinois’ most pressing challenges, and her reasonable, pragmatic, collaborative approach to policy stands as a model for other legislators to follow. As the first female leader of a party in the Illinois legislature, she has served as a role model and paved a path for future generations to follow. I join residents across the state of Illinois in thanking Leader Radogno for her service and wishing her well in her next chapter.”
*** UPDATE 6 *** Press release…
Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton issued the following statement regarding the pending retirement of his colleague and friend Republican Leader Christine Radogno.
She and I began as Senate leaders on the same day. We started our relationship in those roles by voting for each other. We then turned our attention to the impeachment trial. We followed that up with a long-overdue, bipartisan agreement on investing in roads, bridges, schools and other infrastructure.
It has been nine years of cooperation and professionalism
It’s been my honor to have Leader Radogno as my legislative partner, and I have cherished the opportunity to work with her as a colleague and friend. She was the one who first reached out to me to start the Senate effort to show that we could balance the budget. Frankly, this week’s leaders meetings wouldn’t be occurring if it wasn’t for her.
I will miss her camaraderie and common sense. But I also hope that she has a few tricks left up her sleeve before July 1 to help us finally get out of this mess.
*** UPDATE 7 *** Sen. Bill Brady…
“Over the years, it has been a privilege and an honor to work alongside Leader Christine Radogno. Chris has a track record of being an incredibly hard working, principled and bipartisan leader who truly believes in working across the aisle to do what is best for the people of this state. I want to thank her for her years of service to the state of Illinois, and wish her and her family nothing but the best as she moves on into this next phase.”
* As subscribers know, Edgar told me much the same yesterday. Here’s Bernie…
Former Republican Gov. JIM EDGAR said he didn’t know in advance that his voice would be used on an ad critical of Rauner.
“Do Your Job, Inc.” announced the new ad this week, and the made-for-TV spot includes audio of Edgar in a radio interview saying no budget for two years “has put this state in the worst condition I can ever remember. Even during the (ROD) BLAGOJEVICH years, it wasn’t this bad.”
A narrator says Rauner “has brought Illinois to the brink of collapse.” Rauner has consistently blamed Democrats for not meeting his pro-business conditions to approve a full budget.
Contacted Wednesday, Edgar said he didn’t know about the ad until he read about it on the Capitol Fax blog.
“I guess when you say something to the media and it’s reported, that’s fair game,” he said. “That’s my comment.”
Rauner’s public schedules do not list anywhere close to the number of speeches he claimed to give, and there is not always an African-American church on his weekend schedule.
He and his wife were at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Springfield on Sunday, but TERESA HALEY, a member there who happens to be president of the Illinois chapter and Springfield branch of the NAACP, said there was no speech. Rauner introduced himself and his wife when visitors were asked to say who they were, and he said something like, “It’s not about Democrat or Republican, it’s about coming together and worshiping Sunday morning,” Haley said. She said the Rauners seemed to enjoy the service.
She said Rauner “did walk around and introduce himself to several people.”
“No one gave him a standing ovation,” Haley said.
“When you go to church for fellowship and to praise God … it’s not about you,” she said.
Today, Daniel Biss announced the endorsement of State Representative Kelly Cassidy.
“From the minute I met Daniel, I was impressed,” said Kelly Cassidy. “First, by his hair. But after that, by his willingness to be his own person - that he would make his own decisions on behalf of his district based on what he believes is right, even when a vote might be politically risky for him.
“Daniel is the only candidate in this race who has a record of enacting real, progressive change, including for the LGBTQ community. When we passed the ban on conversion therapy, when we passed marriage equality — he was there every step of the way, working with me and others in the community, doing the actual hard work of making laws that protect us.
“We have seen from the last 2.5 years that being Governor should not and cannot be an entry level job. Daniel has the real experience in governing we need. I’m proud to support him, and excited continue working with him as Governor.”
“It’s an honor to have Kelly on my side,” said Daniel Biss. “Kelly has proven herself a moral compass in a lost legislature, and a passionate defender of equal rights, especially for the LGBTQ community. From fighting for a living wage, to reforming our criminal justice system, to creating a safe and equal place for all of our communities, Kelly and I have worked together for years, and it means the world to me to me to receive her support today. I’m excited to work with Kelly today and for years to come to ensure that all Illinoisans have a seat at the table.”
That’s the second House Democrat to endorse Biss this week, even though he spends a lot of time lumping Speaker Madigan in with Gov. Rauner.
Pritzker, meanwhile, is planning a phone bank over the issue of health care as Republicans in Washington try to advance a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
The phone bank is the latest effort among Democrats critical of Rauner for not saying more about the GOP proposals, including a Senate Republican measure that would phase out funding for Illinois’ expansion of Medicaid coverage.
Rauner has said he has “concerns” about the proposals.
“We will call Bruce Rauner. We will call Republican congressional leaders. We will call (Illinois’ Democratic U.S. Sens.) Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin to thank them for their hard work. And we will call on others to help us make a difference,” Pritzker said in a statement.
I’ve never seen a press release announcing a phone bank before. Then again, I’ve never seen a phone bank that focused on calling elected officials. They also called voters, though.
* Meanwhile, Ameya Pawar has a new campaign video (click here) and the Trib talks about Chris Kennedy’s latest fundraising e-mail (click here).
Now, the Rauner people don’t like me writing about this issue, as I have a few times now.
Illinois’ two U.S. senators, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, have pretty much made up their minds and won’t move much even if Rauner talks to them, the governor’s people say.
And, they add, some other GOP governors who are outspoken are lame ducks and don’t have to manage the calculus of keeping the GOP base intact, as Rauner will have to do in his race for a new term next year.
And as one ranking Raunerite argued in an exchange today, the governor has his hands full right now in Springfield battling House Speaker Michael Madigan and other intransigent Democrats to finally bring a dose of desperately needed reform and structural change to Illinois.
I get all of that. But most of those excuses are lame or wrong—or both.
* I would only add that the governor has not taken any public role in the overtime session negotiations and yet still managed to squeeze in the time to leave town today for this event…
WHERE’S RAUNER? In Chicago, taking part in a round table to discuss trade and commerce opportunities between China and the Midwest.
I don’t blame him for going to Chicago for that highly important event. I’m just saying he ought to be able to find time to at the very least answer a question about something that could totally blow up this state’s budget and very probably harm many of the state’s hospitals.
…Adding... From the governor’s office…
He’s not going to Chicago. He’s attending via video conference from Springfield.
The legislation that allows the collection and distribution of fees for the state’s 911 call centers expires June 30. […]
This is the textbook example of a “no-duh” action that must be addressed in the Statehouse. Ensuring responses by police and fire departments in emergency situations is about as essential a service as it gets. But we’re in Illinois, where bitter partisan bickering has left us teetering on the brink of fiscal insolvency.
By overwhelming margins, the House and Senate passed Senate Bill 1839, which would extend the ability to collect and distribute fees to fund 911 services. As proposed, the legislation would raise the 911 surcharge in Chicago from $3.90 to $5, and from 87 cents to $1.50 elsewhere in Illinois. […]
If approved as is, it would be about a 28 percent increase in fee for Chicago residents, and more than 72 percent for everyone else in the state.
And as Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration noted in a memo issued June 22 that declared the hikes “unacceptable,” Chicago has already received two increases in the past four years: From $1.25 to $2.50 in 2013 and from $2.50 to $3.90 in 2014. The memo didn’t offer a suggested amount, but noted a 911 advisory board recommended a $1.05 statewide fee. It also warned of the dire consequences if lawmakers don’t send Rauner a “clean” extension bill before July 1. […]
We urge lawmakers to put SB 1839 to the side for now and explore other avenues to ensure continued operation of 911 centers. Legislators have introduced or amended existing bills to provide other options. The simplest — and one that should fly through the Capitol’s chambers and land on the governor’s desk as soon as humanly possible — is House Bill 4072, which would extend the sunset dates for 911 and similar services from this week to Dec. 31, 2020. […]
HB 4072 would allow 911 services to continue uninterrupted, and Rauner’s office said Wednesday he would support it. Leave the fee increases — and the fighting that accompanies them — to another day, and extend the act.
During a special session that’s costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars a day without any results, both Democrats and Republicans are talking up the idea of compromise without publicly doing much to reach one. […]
Compromise, then, is proving to be in the eye of the beholder at the Capitol, a rhetorical tool to help sell the idea that the other side is to blame if no budget deal is reached by a Friday deadline.
Despite the fallout that will accompany such a failure, there’s little to indicate a resolution will be reached by then. Rauner sent the loudest signal Wednesday when he said if lawmakers fail to send “a balanced budget package to my desk by Friday, we will have no choice but to keep them in session until they get the job done.”
A property tax freeze critical to ending Illinois’ historic budget jam failed in the House Wednesday and the Republican governor who is demanding the freeze threatened to keep lawmakers in session over the July 4 holiday unless there is an agreement on a spending plan by the end of Friday. […]
But on a 59-46 vote, far short of the three-fifths majority necessary for the measure to take immediate effect, lawmakers’ efforts to avoid the ignominy of starting a third consecutive July 1 without a budget outline were thrown into doubt. Republicans oppose the Democrats’ freeze because it makes significant exceptions for Chicago, its school system and 17 other financially-strapped school districts, and for cities struggling to pay long-term debt and make contributions to police and fire pension accounts. […]
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs branded Democratic moves on Wednesday as “political theater.” While the four leaders of the House and Senate met for a second straight day in Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan’s third-floor Capitol office, none emerged to speak to a media throng outside.
But that could signal progress and an unwillingness to publicly criticize one another. Rep. Tom Demmer, a Dixon Republican tasked with pension-fix negotiations, said the House votes on the tangential issues were “premature” and negotiations continue.
John O’Connor is a longtime Statehouse reporter and he picked up on the same thing I did yesterday afternoon. When the leaders meet and then don’t talk to reporters, that’s usually a good sign. But that’s one of the only good signs we had yesterday.
Meanwhile, legislative leaders planned to meet again on Thursday morning.
As long as they’re talking, there’s some hope. But talks can also be used as a cover to mask a refusal to actually close a deal. Appear as if you’re making progress, then claim the other side was being unreasonable or hasty or whatever. We saw this happen a bunch in the Senate this year.
Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, said there was no point in postponing a vote.
“We are at 90 to 95 percent of what the governor asked,” she said. “The idea that we should wait, wait, wait doesn’t make much sense.”
Republicans aired similar complaints about the other bills, that they were the product of Democrats alone and not negotiations between the two parties. They complained the measures were watered down and that negotiations should continue on stronger legislation.
However, Democrats said the time had come to vote with just a couple of days left before the start of a new fiscal year.
So far, it’s almost an exact replay of the Senate at the end of May.
Republican state Rep. Steven Andersson urged lawmakers to pump the brakes on voting for bills currently being negotiated by leadership on both sides of the aisle.
“I’m certainly going to urge every member of my caucus not to vote for these bills,” Andersson said. “Not necessarily because they’re all that bad. Some of them might be there; some of them might be close.
“But if we vote ‘yes’ now, that ends that negotiation. Those negotiations are over because we already agree with you and we’re not quite there yet.”
Both sides are gonna play this game as long as they think they can. The only question is when does it end?
Meanwhile on the House floor, Democrats moved their bills pertaining to Governor Rauner’s reforms, but Republicans called them “fake.” They said Democrats abandoned negotiations in order to ram through their own plan.
“Hell, you have no idea how low I will go to get a budget,” Representative Steven Andersson said. “You have no idea. But the point is here, you do this now, you interrupt these negotiations.”
Democrats counter they’re trying to work with the GOP.
“This is a place of compromise. This is a place of negotiation. Each and every one of these proposals have been discussed with Republicans,” Representative Lou Lang, said.
Bills that are only “discussed” with the other party are, by definition, not compromises.