Republican leaders say the latest budget meeting was productive, even though one legislative leader was absent.
House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) was not in attendance at the third meeting in as many weeks between leaders and Gov. Bruce Rauner. Madigan spokesman Steve Brown says he had a "scheduling conflict" without offering specifics.
Despite his absence, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) says it was still a good meeting, and feels the discussions over the month are moving them closer to settling the budget stalemate.
"I think the fact that there's more definition, staffs are getting together, which I always think is a good thing to try to actually put pen to paper and refine the issues, so I would say that's progress on some of those issues," Radogno said.
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Radogno and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) said like last week, the talks focused on elements of Rauner's agenda, not any final budget number. They mentioned five topics being discussed: pensions, term limits, redistricting reform, workers' compensation, and changes to the school aid formula. Neither mentioned changes to collective bargaining being a part of Thursday's talks.
A spokeswoman for the governor's office says no meeting has been confirmed for next week.