Suburban Political Recount
Maybe you remember how a massive gambling expansion plan that was approved in 2011 was locked up in a drawer until early 2013?
Well, the paperwork on a proposal to give 1,200 slot machines to Arlington Park and create five new Illinois casinos just technically landed on Gov. Pat Quinn's desk last week.
He has 60 days to act, though Quinn has suggested he'll almost certainly veto it.
Still, the legislation is just kind of lingering out there until Quinn does something. State Sen. Terry Link, a Waukegan Democrat, has said he wants to work with the governor to find a solution.
But the governor says he's not going to deal with gambling until the state's pension costs are managed.
Happy Friday, everyone.
It was a busy week on the politics beat, tracking Gov. Pat Quinn's bevy of proposals he laid out at his State of the State address.
Thursday night the governor appeared on "Chicago Tonight," and here's the video.
In the first question, Quinn is asked about his "40-minute speech."
"38," Quinn replies.
Fittingly, it's the details that could shape how Quinn's agenda goes in the coming months.
On Monday, we had a story that wrestled with one of the biggest - if not the biggest - question facing any attempt to cut teachers' or state workers' pension benefits: Is it even legal to do?
Today, on a lark, we decided to look through the House and Senate transcripts from three years ago when lawmakers cut benefits for future employees, leaving current workers alone.
That move was generally agreed to not cross the Illinois Constitution. After all, people who aren't in the pension systems yet can't sue because their benefits got cut. They don't have any.
But, we wondered, did anyone in those debates talk about whether they thought it'd be legal to mess with benefits for current employees?
Doug T. Graham was at the availability for House Republican Leader Tom Cross Wednesday after Gov. Pat Quinn's speech.
As part of the discussion on gun control, Cross, of Oswego, targeted violent video games.
"There is no redeeming value in them," Cross said. "There's no reason in the world you should be playing those games. I think they are awful, they are disruptive and I don't think they should be played by anyone. I think they're bad"
Cross said he has seen his son play these violent video games. When asked by reporters why he allowed his son to play the games, Cross said he let his kids make decisions on their own and that his son has his own money to buy them.
Suburban lawmakers flooded us with thoughts on Gov. Pat Quinn's State of the State speech today, so we'll give you a taste of some of their statements here.
Sen. Linda Holmes, Aurora Democrat: “It is absolutely imperative that we get our fiscal house in order. By addressing our spending and developing a consensus solution to our pension crisis, we can bring financial solvency to Illinois.”
Rep. Tom Morrison, Palatine Republican: “I’ve heard this speech before. I applaud him for mentioning pension reform and the state’s dire fiscal crisis. But as Governor, he must now demonstrate leadership and work with his own party to actually enact true fiscal reforms.”
Superbowl's over. Still can't get enough of football talk?
Well, you're in luck.
Sure you read our intrepid intern Doug Graham's story on Vernon Hills Democratic Rep. Carol Sente's proposed legislation to limit tackling in youth football practices.
Sente Monday announced she'll hold a public hearing on the proposal, which aims to decrease concussions and brain injuries triggered by school sports.
It'll be held at 7 p.m. at Vernon Hills High School, 145 Lakeview Parkway. If you plan to attend, Sente strongly encourages a RSVP to her constituent services office, at (847) 489-9909.
Rumors have been swirling among beltway outlets for awhile now that U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk's office has been leading a campaign against former Nebraska GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel, the Obama administration's pick for Secretary of Defense. They include yesterday's BuzzFeed piece that Kirk was handing out anti-Hagel literature on the Senate floor.
House Speaker Michael Madigan has some harsh words for union leaders, via a letter posted today by Rich Miller at Capitol Fax.
The letter is to AFL-CIO chief Michael Carrigan. Madigan says he won't be going along with union calls for a summit in Burr Ridge to talk about teachers' and state workers' pensions. And Madigan seeks to defend against union claims that they haven't been included in negotiations on pension reform.
From the letter:
The Illinois House adjourned today after an hour or so on the floor, debating the rules that will govern the chamber's actions for the next two years.
The Democrats led by House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago made the rules, which give an immense amount of power to the controlling party. So Republicans were furious.
State Rep. Ed Sullivan, a Mundelein Republican, sarcastically offered another to be added to the list.
"Be seated. Be quiet. And vote the way your leadership wants."
Democrats shot back, though.
The more controversial rules the House adopted Wednesday were largely modeled on Republicans' rules from their two years of power in the middle 1990s, then under House Speaker Lee Daniels of Elmhurst.
Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon has convened a group of freshmen lawmakers to "bridge the geographical divide on gun ownership and use in Illinois."
Gun issues are set to be big this year, as concealed carry advocates have a court ruling helping their cause. And gun control supporters point to President Barack Obama's sweeping ideas on the issue.
The committee includes several suburban members, including: Sen. Melinda Bush, a Grayslake Democrat; Sen. Tom Cullerton, a Villa Park Democrat; Sen. Julie Morrison, a Deerfield Democrat; Rep. Kathleen Willis, an Addison Democrat; Rep. Sam Yingling, a Round Lake Beach Democrat.