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Batinick: Hey Dems, time to return power to General Assembly’s rank and file



Batinick committee

By State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) –

Watch the video below to see what it feels like to be in the minority of Michael J. Madigan's House of Representatives.  It’s kind of like an ant being crushed by a herd of buffalo:

The rules under which the Illinois House operates give Democrat Speaker Mike Madigan more power than any other House member – and even those rules aren't followed all the time.

For instance, “House Rules” give control of all legislation to the “Rules Committee." That committee determines whether the House will even consider legislation. The Rules Committee is comprised of three of Speaker Madigan’s most loyal lieutenants along with two Republicans. If Madigan doesn’t want a bill to move, it doesn’t. Rank and file members have almost no way to get even simple common sense legislation to a hearing without his blessing.

Current rules allow for only one-hour public notice prior to House action on legislation. Once I had to vote on over $2 BILLION in spending, with less than 2 hour notice. That’s just not good government.

Those same current rules allow the Speaker to control the daily calendar and what bill is up for a vote. Literally thousands of bills are filed. On a given day, any one of hundreds can be called for a vote. The order of these bills, or which ones are called is not guaranteed. I can tell you that it impossible for me to know the details of that many bills.

Simply put, the rules give the Speaker too much control.

So who made these rules? Madigan writes them but they have to be voted on at the beginning of every new General Assembly. That’s right. They have to be APPROVED by the members of the House of Representatives.

For years Democrats have rubber stamped these rules. But recently, many have called for a change in the way we conduct ourselves. Some stated they voted for Madigan only because no other Democrat was running for Speaker. If Democrats are sincere about wanting a more open legislative process there is no excuse for supporting past practices. Returning some power to rank-and-file members would be a good start.


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  1. Appreciate your sentiment, Representative, but could we take it a step further?
    How about funnelling down some of The Donald’s sentiments to the Springfield level?
    From his speech last Friday:
    Today’s ceremony…has very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people.

  2. At the inauguration and just before the vote for Speaker of the House, one Democrat made a speech about House leadership, “I am appalled personally by the backroom deals that I have seen in the two years, secret committee meetings of which I was not even told whom my colleagues were on these meetings and private working groups I am not invited too.” Other Democrats echo the same theme in private. One can only hope the is that the House Democrats will vote to do the right thing and not vote as choreographed by Madigan.