Springfield Update: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gov Rauner recently announced that Illinois is willing to serve as a host state for displaced residents of the Puerto Rico. Rauner contacted FEMA’s Chicago office to let them know that Illinois would like to be considered for FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance program. In addition, Gov Rauner contacted Puerto Rico Gov Ricardo Rossello to express Illinois’ willingness and ability to send state personnel and assets to assist him and the citizens of the island. On Saturday Nov 4, around 150 Illinois National Guard troops were deployed to Puerto Rico to join about 60 Illinois Air National Guard airmen already helping with relief efforts.
Illinois has overhauled its health insurance marketplace website (getcovered.illinois.gov) to add new information allowing consumers to compare health insurance plans for sale both on and off the ACA exchange. This year more than 350,000 Illinoisans enrolled in health insurance coverage through the exchange. Open Enrollment runs through Dec 15.
The Illinois House voted 112-0 to override Gov Rauner’s veto of a bill requiring greater transparency in reporting of state agency bills – legislation pushed by Comptroller Susana Mendoza.
Bump Stock Ban failed. A bill to ban the devices that make a semi-automatic rifle shoot as fast a fully automatic rifle was defeated 48-54 with 9 downstate or suburban Democrats joining Republicans in voting against it.
The Illinois House failed to override Gov Rauner’s veto of a bill prohibiting Right-To-Work zones. In a victory for Rauner, the House vote fell one short of the number needed to override; the Senate had already voted to override the veto.
Sexual Harassment at the state Capitol. Allegations of sexual harassment in Springfield were uncovered by an open letter and Facebook page penned by women in Illinois politics. House Speaker Michael Madigan introduced legislation requiring sexual-harassment awareness training for virtually everyone working in the Capitol. But the Chicago Democrat’s proposal 10 days ago unveiled other problems, shortcomings and criticisms that put lawmakers on the defensive. There was the years-long vacancy in the office assigned to investigate the complaints that lawmakers had to rush to fill. Then came allegations of sexual harassment against a powerful state senator, which led to repercussions only after the accuser went public. Finally, sexual harassment isn’t mentioned in the ethics code.
Rauner re-election campaign: In an attempt to portray the multimillionaire businessman as a “normal guy”, the Rauner campaign announced his re-election bid in a video showing Rauner wearing a long-sleeved black hoodie, leather vest full of badges, biker boots and helmet and riding his 2008 Ultra Classic Harley Davidson across the state. “It’s time for Rauner to go, and at least we know he already has his transportation” commented a Democratic spokesperson.