This could start to get confusing.
A group of Democrats last week outlined what they’re calling the Comeback Agenda, a series of bills and general principles they have as goals for making Illinois a better state.
Of course, this should not be confused with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda that he says will make the state a better place. Needless to say, there is little-to-no overlap between the two agendas.
Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, said there is actually agreement between Democrats and Republicans on a lot of the problems facing the state. He said the disagreements are over how to solve them. Well, yeah.
What the state really needs is a Get It Done Agenda.
* “We’re operating today on standard Senate time,” Harmon said at the start of a news conference that began later than scheduled. The Senate has a solid reputation for getting meetings started later, sometimes much later, than scheduled.
* “I think most of us would love to see the administration govern and I welcome them to do so. The administration can stop campaigning and start governing at any moment.” Sen. Sam McCann, R-Plainview, further endearing himself to Rauner.
* To people who think the General Assembly (or at least the House) isn’t doing much this year, nothing could be further from the truth.
Just last week, the House approved a resolution calling on state leaders to recognize the importance of bacon and pork products to Illinois. And that wasn’t all: The House also approved a bill to designate cycling as the official state exercise. The bill now goes to the Senate.
Oh, and the House previously approved bills to make milkweed the official state wildflower, and shelter dogs and cats the official state pet. It has yet to vote on a bill designating corn as the official state grain.
Meanwhile, there’s a Senate bill sitting in a subcommittee that would repeal most state designations. The bill lists the ones it would ax including, but not limited to, the official state fossil, amphibian, vegetable, mineral, snack food, folk dance, soil, tartan, pie and others.
At the rate the House is going, it’s going to have to be updated.
* At the same time, the House has shown some creativity when it comes to acknowledging that we are in the 100th edition of the General Assembly.
For those who don’t spend time in the Capitol, each day the House and Senate are in session the respective chambers print calendars that list bills pending for votes, committee hearings and whatnot. They’re distributed to lawmakers, the news media and others, including visitors. As a guide to what is actually happening, they are of limited use. Nonetheless, they are there.
Over the years, the House has shown to be more playful than the Senate with its daily calendar. On St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll likely see a green shamrock printed on the front. When the House is in session on Memorial Day, there will likely be an American flag printed on it. There are other examples.
To mark the centennial edition of the General Assembly, the House daily calendar has been featuring a logo on the front signifying the event. But it’s the last page that’s most interesting. Each day features a significant event from the legislature’s past. Last week, for example, we learned from Tuesday’s calendar that the House voted in 1861 to grant married women the right to own their own property. From Thursday’s calendar we learned that the House voted in 1891 to give women the ability to vote in school elections. There’s been stuff like that all spring.
In conclusion, the House may not always do a lot when it’s around, but now at least people have some interesting reading in the meantime.