Monday, July 02, 2007

Touché

House Speaker Michael Madigan has challenged the governor to produce major budget legislation that will be debated and immediately voted on Thursday afternoon, the first day of a “special session” proclaimed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich last week.

The governor said Friday that the General Assembly would remain in special session until it approved an overdue state budget for the fiscal year that started July 1. He said the first topic of discussion would be state public employee pension reform.

In a letter addressed to the governor and copied to the House members and the media Monday, Madigan and Rep. Jack Franks challenged Blagojevich to detail his proposal to lease the Illinois Lottery as a way to pump billions of dollars into the five public employee pension systems, which have been under-funded for years. Then Madigan plans for the chamber to vote on the proposal, giving the governor a deadline to produce the legislation.

Part of the letter to Blagojevich reads, “It is, therefore, your responsibility to have the necessary legislation drafted and submitted to us in a timely fashion — no later than 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 5.”

Another part of the letter rebuts the governor’s public criticism of the lawmakers’ three-day workweek and lack of focus on the budget. It says the Committee of the Whole format would allow maximum participation and media observance, another comment reportedly made by the governor during backdoor budget meetings. The letter goes on to call the governor out on alleged hypocrisy.

“Over the last six months, from the moment our members took office for the 95th General Assembly, and despite your general absence from the State Capitol during most of that time, they have remained ready and available to work with you for the purposes of crafting a fiscal year 2008 budget,” the letter reads.

Franks, a Woodstock Democrat who often vocally disagrees with the governor’s ideas, said he brought up the idea to the speaker after a month of overtime session and closed-door “negotiations” produced nothing but a one-month, bare bones budget. On his cell phone Monday afternoon, Franks said, “Why don’t we try something different? Why don’t we make a transparent process, put it on the House floor, bring the governor in, make him produce bills, let him defend those bills, and then we will vote on them after the legislature has a chance to ask questions?”

Franks held a committee about leasing the Illinois Lottery earlier this spring and said the administration didn’t provide many details back then. “Whenever you have $10 billion on the table. Your antenna’s going to go up,” Franks said. “From what I’ve seen on the merits of the proposal, it doesn’t hold water." Madigan said last month he didn’t think the idea had enough support in his chamber.

If the governor accepts the invitation — we haven’t heard from the governor’s office, yet — the letter says the Committee of the Whole will “last as long as necessary.”

UPDATE
Response from the governor's office: "This is exactly the kind of dialogue and direct involvement from legislators we were hoping for by calling special sessions," Blagojevich spokeswoman Rebecca Rausch said in an e-mail.

15 comments:

Yellow Dog Democrat 4:33 PM  

I've quoted it before and I'll quote it again: "When the legislature is in session, the Speaker is the most powerful man in the state of Illinois."

steve schnorf 5:04 PM  

Once more, the game is afoot.

Yellow Dog Democrat 5:09 PM  

Yes, Steve, I look forward to the webcast, and the live-blogging from Capitolfax.

Milo's Billions,  6:25 PM  

Rod has no bills nor plans to present to anyone.
All he want's is the money and the power, no questions asked.
He'll be a no-show or come empty handed.

What a brillant move by Madigan.

Game Over,  6:27 PM  

Happy Fourth of July to the LOSER Governor of Illinois

Lainer,  7:54 PM  

This is already being described as a "soap opera," so why not just go one step further and make it a reality show... I suggest "Governor Swap" or "Nanny (State) 911".

headsupchicagoland,  8:10 PM  

Nice. The Illinois legislature has to send the Illinois Governor what amounts to a Dunning Letter. They'll like reading this in the New York Times.

Disgusted,  8:34 PM  

This man and his lack of common sense, his awful governing style and enormous ego are making Illinois the laughing stock of the nation. Maybe the pardoning of Libby by our infamous president
has made Patrick Fitzgerald so mad that he'll take it out on Milarod.
One can only hope.

Arthur Andersen,  9:02 PM  

1 Round Trip on Air Blago=$7800

1 day of GA per diems+=$40,000

Pat Fitgerald stopping in and saying, "excuse me, Mr. Speaker, I have a few questions for the Governor if you can spare the time:
ABSOLUTELY PRICELESS!

underdog,  9:09 PM  

Best. Legislative Session. Ever.

Anonymous,  2:18 PM  

I can not wait for this webcast on Thursday. It will be better than paid for view.
Mad Dog Speaker will smack down Blago.
Maybe it will be time with the Republicans help to start cutting the Governor's staff and air fleet.
Maybe cut his security detail since they do not bathroom rights anymore.

Anonymous,  5:17 PM  

Milo Corruptovich is going play the "The Victim"

Sure would good theater if Patrick Fitzgerald is waiting for Milo.

Anonymous,  10:39 PM  

This is all about the 2010 gubernatorial primary and nothing else.

Blago is engaging in the time-honored tradition of getting the difficult stuff out of the way early in the current term. By 2010, this will all be forgotten, however it comes out. One way or another, the Dems will extract a pile of money from Illinois citizens and they'll give it to Chicago to play with, after taking a cut for patronage and the usual state government graft.

Blago will expand his patronage army and his army of politically connected state contractors and hold them up for more cash as 2010 approaches and he starts campaigning again.

The only way to head him off is a serious challenge in the primaries.
Maybe Madigan can persuade a lot of moderate Republicans to cross over and vote for Lisa in the primaries and again in the general. They sure won't vote for Blago, who is still waving his silly evil Republican flag. And they don't seem to have any viable moderate candidates of their own.

Otherwise, I guess it'll be Blago through 2014....or, Blago for life?

Anonymous,  10:39 PM  

Hey elvis I mean Elvis wannabe bring some ideas on thursday that we can debate or go sit in the corner and be quiet.
signed
Mike

FED UP,  10:42 PM  

Blago 2014 unless thats his release date from federal prison I dont wanna hear it

  © Blogger template The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP