Madigan calls session on Governor’s Day

Madigan calls session on Governor’s Day

The House speaker’s spokesman claims the session is not a political move.

House Speaker Mike Madigan is calling House members back to work in Springfield Aug. 16, which also happens to be Governor’s Day, or Republican Day, at the Illinois State Fair.

Each political party receives a day at the Illinois State Fair, with the sitting governor’s party being dubbed Governor’s Day. Governor’s Day, as the Illinois State Fair website explains, is a day for the governor “to host special guests, including former Illinois Governors.” House Minority Leader Jim Durkin told the Chicago Sun-Times that Republicans typically attend a luncheon on Governor’s Day, but will now have to be on the House floor. The opposing party of the governor hosts the following day, making Aug. 17 “Democrat Day,” which Democrats already canceled in favor of focusing on an annual fundraising brunch.

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown claims the speaker didn’t call the session as an act of political gamesmanship toward Gov. Bruce Rauner, though Durkin told the Sun-Times he disagrees.

Rauner and Madigan have been feuding for two years, resulting in the long-standing budget stalemate that didn’t end until lawmakers passed a budget in July carrying a 32 percent income tax hike. Madigan didn’t shy away from political gamesmanship during the impasse, once introducing a budget proposal $7 billion out of balance with just 90 minutes for the House of Representatives to review before voting.

Lawmakers were most recently in session to debate Senate Bill 1, the education funding formula proposal to which Rauner recently issued an amendatory veto.

Before that, lawmakers were in session in late June and early July to debate and vote on the budget and tax hike costing taxpayers an additional $50,000 per day. During the first seven days, lawmakers worked just 111 minutes total, with the shortest session lasting less than four minutes.

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