Monday, February 27, 2006

Procurement and pension clean-ups happening, but you'd never know it

I guess good news doesn't really sell, because the press rarely covers the legislative moves to clean up Illinois government that, over time, really do make the state a cleaner place.

The press coverage is all about pay-to-play, as if contracts are auctioned off on the rail to the highest bidder.

And when good news does happen, like Senator Schoenberg's SB 2847, which was voted out of the Executive Committee unanimously (signaling a consensus between the Senate Dems and the GOPs, especially since the co-sponsors include Senators Dillard, Garrett, Radogno and Harmon).

Bills like these are good things, and I do believe that the workhorses of the legislature don't get nearly enough credit from much of the press.

I guess as Miller says, coverage follows conflict. The inherent problem is that legislating is a consensus-seeking process (either with the majority caucus or the entire body), so most bills don't get covered very well. There's not a lot of transit funding discussion, even though it's a huge policy debate, largely because the CTA, Pace and Metra are all largely getting along.

Maybe that's why the Governor gets a lot of coverage -- he's good at creating conflict (some good, some bad).

Anyway, SB 2847 should be voted on this week. Let's see if anyone covers it (and let's hope it passes).


Anonymous said...

If it passes it will get some coverage. However, the press isn't going to care at all if this dies in House Rules or somehow never makes it to 3rd reading. LRB has killed many a tree printing up reform bills that never were enacted.

Your second paragraph implies the pay to play concerns are false. Do you really believe those concerns are imaginary? Seems like the U.S. Attorney doesn't share your view.

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

When a bill passes a committee or one of the chambers, it should get some coverage. That's good for democracy. And I don't see pay to play in black and white terms -- that is, either there is absolutely no wrong-doing in Illinois or the place is totally corrupt. That's what you seem to imply in your comment, anonymous. I think there are some bad guys and some dirty deeds, but things are getting cleaner all the time. And that successful effort to make things cleaner deserves some support and recognition.

Anon 8:56 said...


The Tribune made your wish come true, they ran a story on the bill getting out of the Senate.

Not all contracts are clean nor are they all dirty. However, pay to play and other corruption issues are a legitimate concern and an all too real problem.

Just look at 219 South Dearborn and all the trials, guilty pleas and indictments that have been handed down in the last six years. They are not figments of the imagination. They are real crimes committed by real criminals going to real jail. It is not simply a matter of a "few bad apples".

Many of the rank and file politicians are genuinely interested in reform, but the effort by leadership in both parties to clean things up is largly being driven by fear of the U.S. Attorney, not some high minded devotion to a cleaner, more ethical government.

No indictments = no reform.

Anonymous said...

Topinka might be good for govt. We can raise the income tax rate in a progressive fashion to 5% on high income people. We can include a sunset provision on the increase. And we can look to grow the state economy in ways other than gambling.

Bill Baar said...

Maybe the Gov should talk about it a little than... say send me the bill...I'll sign it.

Anonymous said...