Taking it to the Supremes
High court may weigh in on salary high jinks
Attorneys for Gov. Pat Quinn and House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton have filed paperwork with the state Supreme Court asking the court to hear a direct appeal of the fight over Quinn’s decision to eliminate legislative salaries from the state budget.
A Cook County judge already ruled against Quinn, saying the constitutional prohibition against changing legislative salaries mid-term applies to decreases as well as increases. Quinn argued the prohibition applied only to increases.
Rather than delay a final decision any longer by going to the appellate court, both sides are seeking to go directly to the high court.
Interestingly, Quinn cited instances where lawmakers decreased their own salaries by imposing furlough days on themselves.
In their response, lawyers for Madigan and Cullerton said the governor’s “constitutional argument in this is contrived” when it came to saying only increases are barred.
Still, they asked the court to take the case because the controversy between the legislature and governor “has attracted some notoriety.”
Newly elected House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs announced his leadership team last week.
It doesn’t look a whole lot different than the leadership team put together by Tom Cross, the former leader who stepped aside to run for state treasurer.
House Republicans are allotted nine leadership positions, ranging from deputy leaders to caucus chair. Of those nine people named by Durkin, six held leadership posts under Cross. One of Cross’ assistant leaders was Durkin, so that left a vacancy that needed to be filled.
For those worried about such things, we’ll look at how the new leadership team voted on pension reform. Remember, the House never got the chance to vote on the union-backed plan. However, it did get to vote on the plan backed by Madigan, which saved a lot of money but imposed changes to pensions that critics said were too onerous and unconstitutional.
Anyway, of the nine people on Durkin’s leadership team, just three voted for the Madigan pension plan. The other six voted against it. Durkin also voted in favor of the plan.
It probably means nothing, especially since it doesn’t appear lawmakers will be facing another vote on pension reform in the near future. But if anyone was concerned that Durkin would load up his leadership posts with pension zealots inclined to squeeze retirement benefits, it didn’t happen.
State Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, is considering a run against U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, a Springfield Democrat.
More exciting news is hard to imagine.
Oberweis told the Illinois Review last week that he is about 90 percent sure he’ll make the run. He said he’ll be making the decision shortly.
Gosh, and this after Oberweis finally won an election last year. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 2002 and 2004 and lost the primary both times. He ran for governor in 2006. Same result.
In 2008, he switched gears and ran to fill the seat vacated by former U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert. Lo and behold, Oberweis won the primary but lost the general election.
He finally achieved electoral success in 2012 by winning a state Senate seat. He even got a significant bill passed – raising the speed limit on Illinois interstate highways to 70 mph. It’s now state law.
Now it looks like he has his sights set once again on the U.S. Senate. Good luck with that.
The good thing for Oberweis is that he has a 4-year term, so even if history repeats itself again, he’ll have a job in state government.
Lookin’ good? Not!
Thank you, U.S. Congress. You have to be the only organization that makes the state of Illinois look well run by comparison.