News Local/State

Pritzker To Deliver State Of The State Address At Noon Wednesday


Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaking at a Democratic meeting in August 2019 Brian Mackey

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is set to deliver his first stand-alone State of the State address Wednesday. Here’s a preview of what he’s expected to say — and what some lawmakers want to hear.

Pritzker is expected to recount his freshman achievements — like legalizing marijuana and authorizing an infrastructure program — while also laying out an agenda that includes greater investment in education, from early childhood through university.

But the speech is coming a day after former state Sen. Martin Sandoval pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges, so Pritzker is also expected to talk about ethics.

That should please House Republican Leader Jim Durkin.

“If he’s really serious about ethics reforms — and I believe he is — let’s stop this culture that has been built up in this building for many decades,” Durkin said Tuesday.

Durkin suggested the timing of Sandoval’s guilty plea is probably not a coincidence — and all of his colleagues in the General Assembly should take note.

“I think the feds are very deliberate in how they roll these out,” Durkin said. “I don’t think it’s any surprise that this announcement came on the first day of session in Springfield for 2020. … So members should be mindful of their positions, but people should be nervous.”

Durkin said he’s found the governor receptive to some of his party’s ideas.

But on ethics, Republicans are prioritizing a nonpartisan process for drawing new legislative district boundaries after this year’s census. And Democrats might be reluctant to do anything that could endanger their dominant position in the General Assembly.