Rep Mike Halpin says Democrats are standing up to Madigan

Democrat defends gaps in 'continuous' session

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - Illinois keeps moving, but the direction isn't clear.

State lawmakers adjourned more than a week ago without passing a budget during the regular legislative session for the third year in a row.

The Senate adopted a spending plan and sent it to the House of Representatives before the May 31st deadline.

You'd think it would make political sense for the Democrats in the House lead by Speaker Michael Madigan would have passed something and send it to Governor Bruce Rauner.

That would have put the governor under very real pressure to make a decision. Sign or veto. But, Madigan didn't push through the budget.

Democrats made it clear hours before the deadline that there would be no vote utilizing the simple majority rules.

Instead, the speaker indicated there would be a continuous session.

The word continuous seems to imply state lawmakers stay in Springfield to keep working until they get a budget. It turns out that's not what it means in this case. Most lawmakers weren't even in Springfield last week.

It keeps everyone wondering how seriously the leadership is taking this and whether anything will get done given the chasm between the Republicans lead by Governor Bruce Rauner and the Democrats lead by House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Don't forget where all this leaves Illinois. Both Moody's and Standard and Poors dropped the state's general obligations bonds to one notch above junk status. Illinois now has an operating deficit of about $6 billion this year. Its unpaid bills now approach $15 billion. Interest and fees on those overdue bills will reach $800 million by the end of June.

Illinois' House of Representatives only had 54 true legislative session days on the calendar from January through May. That's five months with nothing to show for in the budget. Only the Human Services Appropriations Committee scheduled a hearing for this past week.

A sense of urgency seems to be a fleeting thing in Springfield.

One man in the middle of the stalemate is democratic State Representative Mike Halpin of Rock Island.
He appeared on 4 the Record for a conversation.

Halpin responded to questions about why the continuous session isn't running continuously, how anything can get done without lawmakers meeting often, why the House didn't adopt a budget to put pressure on Governor Bruce Rauner and why Democrats in the House don't stand up to House Speaker Michael Madigan.


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