* The Tribune’s Rick Pearson wrote a story in late December about hoped-for bipartisanship in the new JB Pritzker administration. You should definitely click here to read the whole thing, which includes some positive words from the two Republican legislative leaders. I’ve covered some of this stuff for subscribers, but here’s the ending…
One Pritzker confidant said the incoming governor envisions a return to what was once known as the “agreed-bill” process, in which all of the various stakeholders on an issue, such as labor and management, agree to sit down together to work to resolve a problem and that no legislation would move forward without such an agreement.
Such a process, still used regarding the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund, allows lawmakers to implement an agreement that is approved by all sides.
“Illinois has really only worked well when everyone works together on bipartisan solutions to the problems. It’s never really worked well, Illinois has never really prospered, with a ‘my way or the highway’ approach,” [Rob Karr, the president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association] said. “We are confident in the early stages that he’s going to take that approach, and only time will tell.”
But the more politically active and Republican-allied Illinois Chamber of Commerce already is girding for the Democratic domination. A recent internet seminar promoted by the group warned that “the Pritzker administration is going to be aggressively pro-labor when it comes to creating new workplace laws and greater regulation that this state has (believe it or not) yet to experience.”
The title of the event was: “The Employers’ Survival Guide under Gov. Pritzker.”
* Meanwhile, Rep. David Harris (R-Arlington Heights) talked to the Daily Herald about his new job in the Pritzker administration…
Harris, who began his second stint in the House in 2011, will leave the post on Jan. 9 when the new General Assembly is sworn in. He said Pritizker’s decision to have him head the Department of Revenue is a positive sign for state government.
“The governor-elect really wants to build a bipartisan administration,” Harris said, recalling that Barack Obama as president-elect reached out to retiring Republican U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood of downstate Illinois in 2008 and selected him as transportation secretary.
He added he hoped his management experience as chief of staff for the U.S. State Department Iraq Reconstruction Office and as Illinois adjutant general would be helpful in running an agency with 1,500 employees and a $55 million budget.
* Stratton bringing love of mediation to lieutenant governor’s office: Her mediation training while still in law school led to various pursuits, including being director of the Center for Public Safety and Justice at the University of Illinois Chicago. The Center, Stratton has said, works with small- and medium-sized police departments across the country, doing training on “how to build trust with the communities that they serve.” After her stint at a law firm, she also worked as an administrative law judge, hearing officer and mediator for city of Chicago departments, as an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University Chicago, as executive director of the Cook County Justice Advisory Council, and as a mediator for the Center for Conflict Resolution. She is also a trained peace circle keeper and restorative justice practitioner.
* State Dems in control — can they get work done?: “I suggest that Gov. Pritzker come in with four or five important initiatives, moderate in nature, which can succeed,” said Rep. Mike Zalewski, a Riverside Democrat beginning his sixth term. “We’ve had a turbulent eight years and if we focus on small successes, they can translate into big successes in the long run.” That might be the plan before the 101st General Assembly is even sworn in on Wednesday. The lame-duck 100th assembly will be in Monday and Tuesday. A note to House Democrats instructs them to be in Springfield for action on “the items being requested by the governor-elect.” Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said only that Pritzker “is working with lawmakers to introduce good-governance legislation to move forward on key priorities” as soon as next week.