Labor Day has come and gone, but the summer of discontent in Springfield is not going away. Lawmakers have retreated to various warring camps in a battle that has largely pitted Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner against powerful Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan.
And then, there are a handful of lawmakers who have shown they may not be part of either faction. Last week, a Madigan-backed effort to aid public employee unions in stalled contract talks failed, largely due to three Democrats.
Are these independent lawmakers the key to moving forward in this never-ending legislative session?
State Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) on Friday had some angry words for House Speaker Michael Madigan in the wake of the failed override of SB 1229, a major union bill that became a flash point in the ongoing political war between Madigan and Gov. Bruce Rauner, telling Chicago Tonight, "I don't work for Mike Madigan." On Tuesday, he said there has been no push back to those comments in Springfield.
"I'm down there to solve problems at the state level," Dunkin said. "I'm not looking for or concerned with any push back from anyone other than from my constituents. I want to push towards a solution, and not be on the defense. It's about time that we get something done in the state's capitol."
"I did a lot of research," said State Rep. Scott Drury (D-Highwood) about SB 1229. "This became a very big issue in Springfield and all over the state. In some ways, this one vote became the battle of the summer because there finally was going to be a vote. So I went and did a lot of independent research – outside of what the lobbyists were saying, outside of what the unions were saying – and came to the conclusion that this bill was bad policy. I couldn't support it. What this bill did, had it passed, it takes away public union's rights to strike."
Watch the video to hear our full conversation with Drury and Dunkin.
Use our interactive graphic to see how your legislator voted on the bill on Sept. 2.