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|Risinger Cites Blagojevich Impeachment & State Budget Crisis as Top Legislative Issues in 2009
|A state lawmaker who represents the Galesburg area in the Senate says the impeachment of a governor and the state's budget crisis made for, if nothing else, a very interesting year in state government.
Dale Risinger says former Governor Rod Blagojevich's impeachment process revealed things that Blagojevich had done that weren't right and probably were criminal, and that the story isn't completely written yet.
The state's number two man at the time, Democratic Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn, took over for Blagojevich. The Republican Risinger says Quinn's honeymoon - so to speak - didn't last long.
"(The) swearing in of Pat Quinn and that brought a breath of fresh air and the fact that Quinn is a very honest individual ," Risinger said. "But it soon ended whenever (Quinn) gave us his budget address and asked for a 9.8 percent increase when we already were deeply in debt and struggling to meet the priorities of the state operation."
Risinger says the struggles with the budget continued as the General Assembly debated and tried to put a spending plan together and the Democratic leaders - House Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton - didn't see eye-to-eye with Quinn. The budget that was passed left it up to Quinn to set some priorities, and the struggles continue today.
Risinger says ethics reform was also a hot issue - one that lawmakers discussed, debated and ultimately passed legislation related to campaign financing. The Peoria Republican says many say it's a step forward, but he says he's not so sure it wasn't a half-a-step backwards.
Risinger says that's because less money goes to the individual candidates, but more money can be funneled through the leadership to those candidates and therefore individual candidates become more beholden to the leaders who are going to provide the money.
|12 25 09 by Newsroom
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