Unfinished business at the Capitol includes education – chiefly, how to pay for it for all Illinoisans. Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) made the point during his inaugural speech Wednesday afternoon. “It’s time to back it up,” Cullerton said of 2014’s partially successful drive to restructure school funding. “It’s time to bridge that gap.”
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Cullerton also gave voice to reducing the paper work necessary to start a business in Illinois, raising the minimum wage, and – partly in a nod to the limited resources available – solving the problem of determining which people belong in prison.
Cullerton, to that end, announced a bipartisan restorative justice committee.
In the House, Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) – selected to lead the chamber for the 16th time in 17 General Assemblies, said with the Republicans now in power in the governor’s office, it’s time for lawmakers of that party to step up and help take tough votes – not to exclude the budget.
The Republican leaders also do not change: State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and State Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) are again the minority leaders.
While House members voted for Madigan over Durkin on a party-line vote, that was not the case in the Senate: Cullerton and Radogno voted for one another.