If the governor and legislative leaders won’t meet on their own to try and settle the budget stalemate, why not require them to meet by law?
State Sen. Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) is introducing a bill which would require the four legislative leaders and the governor to meet publicly once a week whenever the state enters a new fiscal year without a budget in place.
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Morrison doesn’t believe holding the meetings out in the open will limit their effectiveness.
“It’s only a shaming if that’s what the leaders decide to make it,” Morrison said. “It could be a very productive meeting with other legislative members present, or it could be an opportunity for the public to see what impasse really looks like. It would be up to those five people who sit in the room together.”
Morrison says to her knowledge, those five haven’t met all together since May, though individual meetings have continued.
The legislation is likely to be a tough sell to Gov. Bruce Rauner, who has mentioned numerous times he doesn’t like to “negotiate through the media” when asked to discuss his private talks with leaders.
“As Speaker Madigan confirmed yesterday, Governor Rauner has met and continues to meet with legislative leaders during the budget impasse. The governor has repeatedly compromised on his reforms, which the majority party has blocked. We urge Sen. Morrison to work with her party to pass the governor’s reforms or pass a truly balanced budget,” Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said.