Because… George Ryan and Don Harmon!
Friday, Jan 22, 2021
* Tribune gonna Tribune, I suppose…
* To the column by the president and chief executive officer of the Better Government Association…
The patronizing attitude is ridiculous enough, but there are also substantive critiques here.
* For about the last decade or so, Speaker Madigan moved all substantive bills out of the House Rules Committee to standing committees during odd-numbered years. The House rules have long limited bills for consideration in even-numbered (election) years to appropriations, emergencies and other top governing priorities. Most people don’t know that because they prefer the cartoon version of Madigan.
The rules to discharge bills from the House Rules Committee are, indeed, onerous. The motions must be signed by no less than three-fifths of the members of both the majority and minority caucuses and all those who sign must be a sponsor of the underlying bill. However, the Senate’s rules to discharge bills from the Assignments Committee are identical, so Madigan most definitely did not exert “unrivaled” control. Curiously, no “to-do list” was also handed to Senate President Harmon. Once again, that would clash with the cartoon version of Illinois politics.
* Now, a whole lot of the bills that were moved out of Rules were assigned to the House Executive Committee, where they went to die (click here to see the list of Leader Durkin’s bills as an example).
However, last night I used the Google and found an explainer of Illinois House rules and procedures published in 1982, the year before Madigan was elected House Speaker and while the Republicans held the chamber and George Ryan was Speaker. Discharging a bill from committee required a three-fifths vote in writing and mandated its inclusion on the daily calendar. The last version of Madigan’s rules only required a simple majority to discharge bills from standing committees.
Beyond all this, there’s also the question about why bills sharply opposed by Democrats in a Democratic super-majority chamber ought to be given the right to floor votes.
* This is not to say that none of the rules should be changed. They should. We’ve discussed this several times before. I’m just arguing for a fact-based approach, unlike the BGA. Also, the Illinois Policy Institute has some rules ideas. Some are decent, some aren’t. Click here to see them.