Suburban Political Recount

Suburban Political Recount

Live session coverage: Wednesday

Posted by Mike Riopell on Wed, 05/29/2013 - 08:45

Live session coverage: Tuesday

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 05/28/2013 - 07:57

The Springfield Sprint: Monday

Posted by Mike Riopell on Sun, 05/26/2013 - 14:44

VIDEO: Union leaders run ads for pension plan

Posted by Mike Riopell on Fri, 05/24/2013 - 13:22

Via Capitol Fax, the We Are One Illinois coalition of union leaders has cut a TV ad backing the pension reform plan they support.

Lawmakers are set to be done with their session a week from today, and this is one of the many immense issues remaining for them to deal with.

More on that Sunday.

Rob Komosa's legacy

Posted by Mike Riopell on Wed, 05/22/2013 - 09:59

"I am tearful and happy for Rob Komosa."

That's part of a post on Facebook this week by Don Grossnickle, a longtime friend of Rob Komosa. Komosa died earlier this year following years of paralysis from a 1999 Rolling Meadows High School football accident.

Grossnickle's tears are because lawmakers sent to Gov. Pat Quinn legislation requiring high schools to carry insurance to cover accidents like Komosa's. Quinn is expected to sign it into law.

Grossnickle started an organization to spearhead the longtime fight for schools to carry insurance in the future.

Fate of gambling plan in different hands

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 05/21/2013 - 11:02

Last week, we told you that state Rep. Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat and longtime gambling supporter, wanted to change the Illinois Senate's big expansion plan.

As the photo above shows, it's not in his hands anymore.

Control of the legislation has been transferred to state Rep. Bob Rita, a Democrat from Blue Island in the south suburbs.

Rita will likely have to still negotiate with Gov. Pat Quinn if he wants to come up with a gambling expansion plan the governor will sign. The move is a surprising one because Lang has been working on this for a very long time.

Garrett joins good government board

Posted by Mike Riopell on Mon, 05/20/2013 - 19:14

Former state Sen. Susan Garrett has joined the board of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, probably the state's foremost good government group.

The Lake Forest Democrat is known in Springfield for taking up ethics causes, so the new gig makes sense. Garrett didn't run for re-election in 2012 after 14 years in office.

"Oversight, accountability and transparency should be essential components of Illinois government," Garrett said in a statement. "I will be working with ICPR to ensure that these principles are emphasized and embraced."

No money, more problems

Posted by Mike Riopell on Fri, 05/17/2013 - 11:18

Workers who take care of 23,000 of the state’s disabled in community settings are asking for a pay raise, but Illinois’ disastrous finances might keep them from getting one.

These workers make an average of $9.35 an hour, according to the state’s largest employees union. The wage is small enough for some to qualify for public assistance even though they do what is clearly a difficult job.

"We can’t do this without them," said Shawn Jeffers, executive director of the Little City Foundation in Palatine. "We don’t have an alternative workforce."

Sandack out

Posted by Mike Riopell on Wed, 05/15/2013 - 12:09

State Rep. Ron Sandack, a Downers Grove Republican, has pulled out of the race to be the next Illinois GOP chairman.

"I look forward to working with the new chairman and together focusing on rebuilding a Republican brand," Sandack said in a statement, "As I have stated several times, we must be more inclusive to revive and revitalize our party.”

We explained this weekend why the next Republican chairman faces a difficult, important task for the party.

Try, try again

Posted by Mike Riopell on Mon, 05/13/2013 - 11:41

A handful of good-government and other lobbying groups plan to announce a push this week to collect 300,000 signatures from Illinoisans and amend the state constitution to change how political boundaries are drawn.

When Democrats rolled to big victories in the suburbs in November, they were aided by a new political map the party was able to draw on its own. Republicans mostly had no say because Democrats control all of state government.

That map lasts for 10 years and could really dampen the GOP chances in Illinois that entire time. Advocates say politics should be taken out of boundary drawing.

In 2010, good-government groups and Republicans tried to get a so-called Fair Map amendment on the ballot for voter approval, but they couldn't find enough signatures in time.