* Rep. Steve Reick…
On Tuesday, Speaker of the House Mike Madigan’s Chief of Staff announced that the fall veto session has been canceled due to concerns over COVID-19 and proximity to the upcoming holidays. In response to the announcement, State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) issued the following statement:
“No one is discounting the severity of COVID-19, especially now that we are in the midst of a second wave. However, we were able to meet safely in May and, with proper precautions, we can meet safely now. We have a top-notch Springfield staff that pulled together a safe environment in May that included testing, mask mandates, an abundance of hand sanitizer, and more than enough room to practice social distancing. Not one legislator contracted COVID-19 during our session in May, so we know full well the staff is capable of pulling this off.
“I can’t help but wonder if the cancelation has more to do with political unrest within the House Democratic caucus than it has to do with health and safety. I certainly hope that’s not the case, because it would be a great injustice if Speaker Madigan has placed his political problems ahead of our ability to do the people’s work during a scheduled veto session. We have a multi-billion dollar budget hole to fill and we need to be in session in order to have a voice in crafting a solution. In addition, I mentioned in a recent letter to the Governor that we need to return to Springfield so we can hit the reset button on our COVID-19 response and work together on a better plan.”
* Rep. Grant did more than just wonder…
On Tuesday, Speaker of the House Mike Madigan’s Chief of Staff announced that the fall veto session is canceled due to concerns over COVID-19 and proximity to the upcoming holidays. In response to the announcement, State Representative Amy Grant (R-Wheaton) issued the following statement:
“I question the motivation behind this cancelation. We were able to meet safely in May in an environment that included testing, mask mandates, regular use of hand sanitizer, and more than ample room to practice social distancing. No one from the House, Senate or staff contracted COVID-19 during our session in May, so we know staff is capable of putting adequate safety precautions in place. Congress is meeting and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be.
“The people of Illinois are counting on us to do our jobs, and since we know we can safely meet, I must wonder if the cancelation is more about Madigan’s growing unpopularity within his caucus and the Governor’s disinterest in engaging with the legislature than it is about our health. We have to get back to Springfield and legislators must be allowed to have a voice in future COVID-19 decisions. This cancelation sends a bad message to Illinoisans who want their voices heard through their elected representative to the House.”
* And the Tribune editorial board just came right out and said it…
Rather than bring lawmakers back to the capital where face-to-face interactions could intensify conversations to oust him; rather than deal with a major budget shortfall, a pension crisis or a timely Legislative Black Caucus agenda that includes criminal justice reform; rather than pass overdue ethics legislation that would put the ComEd investigation in the spotlight; Madigan canceled veto session altogether. Let Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who recently joined others in calling for Madigan’s ouster as state party chair, struggle with the budget and pension headaches himself. Make him wear the jacket. This is about that too.
…Adding… Rep. Halpin is the second House Democrat to disclose a COVID-19 diagnosis this week. Subscribers know that Rep. Deb Conroy also contracted the virus…
State Rep. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, is recovering from COVID-19 after five days of enduring chills and fever.
Halpin said his test result came back positive on Monday, but he believes he contracted coronavirus from a family friend on Oct. 31.
“I’m feeling better now, but I had woken up on Election Day in the middle of the night with fever and chills,” Halpin said. “At that point, I made the decision to contact the doctor. For about five days or so, I was in a lot of pain with a headache and fever. I never had any trouble breathing, but it was definitely a miserable five days. After that, I started feeling better with less fatigue.”
But, yeah, it’s all Madigan.
Chicago Unions’ Statement on Partnering with Speaker Madigan to Strengthen Worker Power in Illinois
The unions of Chicago’s labor movement, including the Chicago Federation of Labor, released the following statement supporting Speaker Madigan and partnering with him to strengthen worker power in Illinois:
“As the electoral dust settles and we look toward the next legislative session, the Chicago labor movement is excited and energized to bolster worker power and protections through state legislation. Our best chance to do so is in partnership with House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, a staunch defender of working people. Speaker Madigan has steadfastly advanced workers’ rights, resulting in some of the strongest prevailing wage, collective bargaining, gender pay equity, minimum wage, and worker safety laws in the country. He also spent four years valiantly defending the rights of union members from former Gov. Bruce Rauner’s reckless ideological attacks. Given the choice, Speaker Madigan held the line for working people and we thank him.
“There was a time, not that long ago, when Illinois was heading down the same political path as our Great Lakes neighbors— Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio — where Democrats and labor were shut out of power, and right-to-work-for-less became the law. If it were not for Speaker Madigan, working people would have been marginalized and their voices silenced like those in neighboring states.
“Instead of political in-fighting, we encourage everyone to focus their energy on finding ways to support the workers who are sacrificing so much right now, especially Illinois’ public employees who have risked their own health and safety to keep Illinois running during this pandemic.”
Bob Reiter, Chicago Federation of Labor
Don Villar, Chicago Federation of Labor
Rosetta Daylie, CBTU
James Connolly, Chicago Laborers’ District Council
Jesse M. Rios, AFGE
Sam Cicinelli, Automobile Mechanics’ Local 701
James F. Coyne, Plumbers Local 130
Donald Finn, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 134
James M. Gardiner, Iron Workers District Council of Chicago & Vicinity
Terrence J. Hancock, Teamsters Local 731 and Teamsters Joint Council 25
Brian Hickey, IUOE Local 399
Mack I. Julion, National Association of Letter Carriers - Branch #11 Chicago
Thomas Balanoff, SEIU Illinois State Council
Gregory Kelley, SEIU Healthcare
Karen Kent, UNITE HERE Local 1
Ronald D. McInroy, UAW Region 4
William W. Niesman, IBEW Local 9
Robert O’Toole, UFCW Local 1546
Gary Perinar, Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters
Jesse Sharkey, Chicago Teachers Union
John Spiros, Jr., International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council #14
Raymond Suggs, Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 73
James M. Sweeney, IUOE Local 150
James T. Tracy, Chicago Fire Fighters Local 2
The Illinois AFL-CIO issued a similar statement on Tuesday.
* Hannah Meisel…
Republicans opened the door to voting for a Democrat for House Speaker in January if it meant ousting Madigan — instead of casting their usual ceremonial votes for the House Minority Leader.
State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) last week survived a well-funded Democratic challenger in a race targeted by Madigan’s political organization.
“I’m willing to do whatever it takes to turn the state around,” Batinick said. “For me, the one “no: vote is the vote for Speaker Madigan. Beyond that, I would be willing to engage in conversations and negotiations.”
State Rep. Mike Marron (R-Fithian) said he wouldn’t even mind ending up with a speaker politically to the left of Madigan.
“I’d be happy to take the risk of a more progressive member getting in charge just to have a fair fight in the arena of ideas,” Marron said.
Rather than seeking GOP support for a candidate against Madigan (which could easily turn off a whole lot of Democrats), the easier way to do this is to simply deprive the House Speaker of 60 votes. The House rules require “the affirmative vote of a majority of those elected.” If enough Democrats vote “Present,” then he can’t get to 60. They can then try to coalesce around someone else later.