111 Days

Three months can define a career. Most of the alphabet soup agencies that came to embody the New Deal were created during the first three months of FDR's first presidency. In 1985, the song "We Are the World" was recorded on January 28th and hit #1 on the American charts on April 13th. Heck, the U.S. invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003 and President Bush held his "Mission Accomplished" press conference on the USS Lincoln on May 2, 2003.

Where there's a will there's a way. Alas, to date the Illinois Senate has shown no will to address pay-to-play in state contracting.

Despite dozens of news reports highlighting state contracts awarded to campaign contributors, despite exit polls last November showing that 86% of voters think fixing political corruption is very or extremely important to them, despite the support of every major reform organization in the state, despite supportive editorials in over 15 of the largest newspapers around the state, despite the endorsement of five of the six statewide officers in Illinois, despite the votes of 116 members of the Illinois House, and in the face of 46 Senators (out of 59) who have signed on as Sponsors, the bill has never even had a hearing in the Senate.

Today marks the 111th day that House Bill 1 has been locked down in the Senate.

While Senate President Jones and his spokespeople insist they want something "bigger and better," no alternatives to HB 1 have been filed for public hearing. With a budget sent to the Governor, will the Senate President now devote more of his energies to making this happen? He has several possible avenues. Sen. Jeff Schoenberg has worked hard to include pay-to-play rules in his pension and procurement reforms. Sen. Don Harmon still has HB 1 as a stand-alone measure. The public isn't as interested in vehicles as they are in results. Bromides aside, it is high time for the Senate to declare what they will support.