Too much power in too few

Updated 1/31/2019 7:05 PM

I have often wondered why the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives has the power to virtually control the entire Illinois government. Then, last November, I read a piece in the Daily Herald written by Austin Berg which shed some light on my question. Berg wrote that in 1993 republicans became the majority in the Illinois Senate for the first time in 18 years. He then writes "partially to build a firewall against the Madigan-controlled House, they pioneered a few techniques to consolidate control in the hands of Senate President James "Pate" Phillips. One was to overly empower the Rules Committee to the point where it could reliably suffocate pesky bills at the direction of leadership, no matter how popular they were." The article continues, pointing out that Madigan adopted the same rules for use in the House and refined them to the extent that democracy has been extinguished in what is supposed to be a legislative chamber. Through House rules, Madigan controls a "preposterous number of lucrative committee chairmanships, who votes in various committees, when a bill will be called for a vote and what bills even make it to a vote in the first place." All this virtually assures that Gov. Pritzker, although during his. campaign he called for term limits for legislative leaders, will not pursue that idea, not if he wants any of his legislative. agenda to reach the governor's desk. And, therein lies the problem.

Donald K Buck



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