Gov. Bruce Rauner at a press conference on the final day of the legislature's session on Sunday.
(Photo: Brian Mackey)
June 02, 2015

Rauner, On The (Ad?) Attack

Rauner, a Republican, is in a battle of wills and political might with Democratic leadership: House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton.  They're at odds over the budget, business practices, union rights and more, and it's been widely reported that Rauner is planning to once again win over the public using the strategy that helped him get elected, TV commercials.

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In this March 4, 2015 file photo, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks at an event in Springfield, Ill. Democrats in the Illinois House voted down a plan similar to Gov. Rauner's proposal to allow local governments to permit workers to opt out of u
(AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)
May 15, 2015

House Turns Down Governor's Right-To-Work Turnaround

Illinois Democrats have knocked one of the new Republican governor's top priorities down to an easy defeat. The Illinois House yesterday voted against Bruce Rauner's notion of local right-to-work zones. The issue is highly contentious on its own. But a broader division was also at play.Before we get to the right-to-work debate, it's important to rewind some.

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In a June 30, 1995 file photo, Alan Dixon meets reporters on Capitol Hill.
(Dennis Cook/AP)
July 06, 2014

Former U.S. Senator Alan Dixon Dies

Former Democratic U.S. Sen. Alan Dixon of Illinois, who spent 12 years on Capitol Hill, has died.

His son Jeffrey Dixon tells The Associated Press that the 86-year-old died Sunday at his home in Fairview Heights.

He had recently been hospitalized for heart problems, but his condition had improved and he had returned home.

Dixon served in the U.S. Senate from 1981 to 1993. He also had a long career in state politics, serving in the Illinois House, Illinois Senate and as the state's treasurer and secretary of state.

He lost the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat in 1992 to Carol Moseley Braun. She was the first African-American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate.

The Belleville-born Dixon was an attorney.

His memoir titled "The Gentleman from Illinois" was published in 2013.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Springfield - the Senate's No. 2 official - says Dixon was known for his honesty, hard work and commitment to Illinois.

He says Dixon was the first statewide Democrat to voluntarily make a full disclosure of his financial holdings and started bipartisan Illinois congressional lunches - which continue today.
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago says Dixon was a "great leader and representative who always put the public's interests first.''

And Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk called Dixon a 'dedicated public servant who spent the majority of his life representing the people of Illinois'. "But for his leadership, Illinois would have lost Scott Air Force Base - the largest employer south of I-80. We owe Alan a debt of gratitude for all he did for our state.," said Kirk, in a press release.
Dixon began his professional career as a public official.

May 27, 2014

Madigan Denies Friends Drive Lincoln Library Plan

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has denied that personal friendships are driving his proposal to make the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum a separate state agency.

A House committee on Monday approved the Chicago Democrat's idea to break the decade-old institution off from the Historic Preservation Agency. The measure moves to the House floor.
Madigan confirmed he is a friend of library and museum director Eileen Mackevich and her longtime friend Stanley Balzekas.

Balzekas runs a Chicago museum of Lithuanian culture and is landlord for Madigan's state office. But Madigan says he has not been lobbied by either.
Mackevich told the Chicago Sun-Times that the library and museum would be stronger as a stand-alone agency.  She said she has no personality clash with Preservation Agency director Amy Martin. 

Urbana Attorney Steve Beckett is chairman of the library and museum's advisory board.

He said he and other members of the board have been disappointed at how little say they have in the operation of the Springfield institution.

"We have struggled with vacancies, particularly on the library side," he said.  "We have an an internationally pre-eminent library that is currently down 17 staff members."

He said with the museum having a different mission from the Historic Preservation Agency, it would be better off on its own.

Michael Madigan
(Seth Perlman/AP)
May 16, 2014

House Panel Advances Illinois Minimum Wage Ballot Question

An Illinois House panel has approved House Speaker Michael Madigan's plan to ask voters whether the state should increase the minimum wage to $10 an hour.

The plan to put a nonbinding question on the November ballot passed the House Revenue Committee by a 12-7 party line vote Friday. It comes after Illinois Democrats have struggled to find enough votes to increase the state's minimum wage from $8.25 to $10.65 per hour.
Some Democrats in swing districts joined Republicans in resisting the effort, amid fears that companies might lay off workers or hire fewer new ones.
Madigan noted "differences of opinion'' among members Friday when he presented the proposal. 
He said it's "clear the state needs to be doing more to reduce economic inequality.''

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