This week has been jam packed with news coming from Springfield. First, I voted NO on Mike Madigan’s onerous and oppressive House Rules, the Governor delivered his 3rd State of the State Address, and Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a motion in court to halt state employee paychecks.
I also have photos and stories from my travels during the last couple of weeks to share. As always, thanks for reading!
I voted NO on Madigan’s House Rules
This week I voted NO on House Speaker Michael Madigan’s proposed Rules of the House. I have many issues with the iron grip on power exercised by the Speaker every year. Speaker Madigan’s attitude on budget issues is that he has the monopoly on good ideas. But, fixing the financial disaster facing the state will take teamwork and bipartisan problem solving.
Before a bill gets assigned for a Committee hearing in the House, it must first pass the Rules Committee, which is a 5 member panel consisting of three of Speaker Madigan’s top deputies in the House.
There is also insufficient public notice of when the Rules Committee is going to meet and the public does not receive adequate notice of the business that is to come before the Rules committee. If a bill doesn’t make it out of Madigan’s Rules Committee, it dies. Madigan’s House Rules establish order and set procedures in the House; but, they also ensure one-man, one-party rule over the legislative process, and that’s just wrong. Far too much power is concentrated in the Speaker’s hands under the new House Rules.
Governor Strikes Optimistic Tone in State of the State Address
For the 3rd time, Governor Rauner addressed a joint committee of the House and Senate to deliver his “State of the State” address. I thought the speech was a positive way to start the business of the newly-seated 100th General Assembly.
|Taking questions from media after the Governor’s speech.|
The Governor pointed to areas where we’ve made progress during his first term. For example, the state has invested $700 million more in public education, and $100 million more in early childhood programs. The number one task facing the new General Assembly will be to pass a balanced budget; but it was clear to me that more investment in education will be a major priority of the Governor going forward, and, I fully support that.
I was pleased to hear the Governor reiterate his support for facilities and programs that help reduce violence against Correctional employees, decrease the rate of recidivism, and alleviate prison overcrowding. One of my major priorities is to reopen the shuttered Murphysboro boot camp, so I was thrilled to hear the Governor specifically mention re-purposing the facility to turn it into a life-skills, educational, and vocational training facility. The goal will be to alleviate overcrowding and reduce recidivism, which are major problems in the Department of Corrections today.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan Wants to Stop State Employee Paychecks – I Say NO WAY!
Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a motion in St. Clair County Court to stop state employees from receiving paychecks until the state passes a budget. This move is blatantly political and very dangerous.
This interference by yet another Constitutional officer in the budget process may sabotage ongoing budget negotiations. The Senate went home this week following Committee hearings on a possible budget deal to hear from their constituents. I am very disappointed in the timing of this action. Pieces are starting to move to get to a compromise and a balanced budget. So, the Attorney General’s attempt to stop state employee paychecks is as dangerous as it is puzzling.
I support state employees receiving their paychecks on time and in full. We need to take steps to ratchet down the crisis we’re facing. This step by the Attorney General is unnecessary and provocative.
Traveling the 115th District:
Special Olympics Indoor Softball Tournament
|Great fun at the girls indoor softball tournament in DuQuoin, Illinois. The tournament benefits Special Olympics. Sheridan Coleman of Carbondale was one of the Special Olympians serving as an honorary team member.|
Washington County Farm Bureau Dinner
|Great time last week with Senator Luechtefeld and Representative Charlie Meier at the Washington County Farm Bureau’s Annual meeting held at St. Anthony in Lively Grove on January 18, 2017.|
|Rep. Meier, Rep. Bryant, and retired Senator Dave Luechtefeld|
Touring Pepsi in Marion with Senator Schimpf
|Took the opportunity to to visit one of our region’s biggest employers this week alongside our new State Senator
Paul Schimpf. Thank you to Pepsi Mid-America in Marion and Mt. Vernon!
Stay Connected! New Mt. Vernon Office Location!