Suburban Political Recount
"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.
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
From one of our reporters in Springfield, Doug T. Graham:
As lawmakers continue to hem and haw over the state's pension problem, there was a big, suburban reminder of the impacts of the state's budget problems in the Capitol rotunda Thursday.
The Des Plaines-based human service group Lutheran Social Services of Illinois is experiencing the kind of fiscal double whammy of the state cutting back on human services funding and not making their already-reduced payments on time.
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk and a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday introduced new Iran sanctions legislation - long a hallmark issue for the Highland Park Republican.
The new legislation - cosponsored by West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, Republican Susan Collins, of Maine, Florida Democrat Bill Nelson and Texas Republican John Cornyn - targets Iran's overseas foreign exchange assets generated as a result of prohibited activities or held by designated Iranian entities.
Elizabeth Roskam, wife of House GOP Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam, of Wheaton, is showing her art collection beginning this weekend and continuing through the rest of the month at the Glen Ellyn Public Library. The collection will include a portion of her “Capitol Dome” collection as well as paintings of things she’s seen all over the world.
Roskam's website shows some of her newest paintings and some of the media attention she’s gotten from them. If you've ever visited Rep. Roskam in Washington, he has several of her paintings in his both his Cannon House office and his space inside the Capitol. He even gives out stationary with her “Off to the Dome” painting on the front to visiting Illinoisans.