It only took the election of Gov. Bruce Rauner to make Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan a champion of open government.
He and his fellow Democrats are busy scolding Rauner for negotiating his legislative agenda behind closed doors. It’s so typical — and hypocritical. They’re criticizing Rauner over tactics they use routinely. How many years have rank-and-file lawmakers barely seen the finished state budget before they were called to vote on it?
It’s not that suddenly Madigan and Co. want all state business conducted publicly. They just see this as a way to undermine Rauner’s agenda and appear self-righteous at the same time.
Rauner has been very clear about the broad view of his Turnaround Agenda. Sure, we wish these working sessions hammering out the specifics were open to the public, but we also understand that finding common ground on high-voltage issues like workers’ comp and pension reform is not something that lends itself to public negotiations in the early stages. At least Rauner is working with people from both sides of the aisle. And once the specifics of the bills are settled, they will get presented publicly before any votes in the House and Senate.
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It’s really no different than it has ever been; it’s just that the governor now has an R behind his name instead of a D.