Roundtable: Spring Legislative Session and Chicago Politics


Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday got a hearing before the Illinois House Judiciary-Criminal Committee on his proposal to reinstate the death penalty in cases when a police officer is killed or in the case of mass murder.

In 2011, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law abolishing the death penalty in Illinois. But it was Illinois Republican Gov. George Ryan who was the first to come out against the death penalty in 2003. He commuted the death sentences of all the 167 inmates on death row and made international news.

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Rauner’s proposal to reinstate the death penalty is linked to gun control legislation supported by most Democratic lawmakers, including extending the waiting period for assault weapons from 24 to 72 hours. Also under consideration in the compromise deal is a ban on bump stocks for assault weapons and confiscating weapons from dangerous people.

In response to Rauner’s veto of the gun seller licensing bill in March, lawmakers are trying to pass a bipartisan bill.

What’s unclear is whether there will be a budget passed by deadline time this election year. There are less than two weeks left in the spring legislative session. Ralph Martire, the executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, says Rauner’s budget doesn’t add up.

“A little digging into the numbers reveals it would be a significant mistake — as in a $1.9 billion mistake — to take his fiscal year 2019 proposal at face value,” wrote Martire in a State Journal-Register op-ed.

“Start with his revenue projection, which includes $240 million from selling the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. That’d be great, but as of now, there’s no legal authority for the governor to sell the Thompson Center, and no bidders for the property,” wrote Matire.

Meanwhile, in the gubernatorial race, J.B. Pritzker takes a dig at Rauner, saying he’s missing in action on the push for the Equal Rights Amendment. Even Mick Jagger weighed in, urging Illinois politicians to support the ERA.

In city politics, mayoral contender Lori Lightfoot raised $276,694 in just a week after her campaign announcement. Meanwhile, eight of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s aldermanic allies are demanding a review of her police board cases.

A battle raged inside and out of the Obama Presidential Center Plan Commission hearings but in the end, the project sails through this first stage. The next step is the zoning board. And a federal lawsuit.

Joining us to discuss these stories and more: Tahman Bradley, WGN-TV News political reporter; and Heather Cherone, managing editor and City Hall reporter for the Daily Line.


Related stories:

Plan Commission Greenlights Obama Presidential Center

Rauner Wants to Reinstate Death Penalty, Put 72-Hour Hold on All Gun Sales

Why Lori Lightfoot Wants to Replace Mayor Rahm Emanuel


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