In his first State of the State Address, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner took aim at the forces he believes are responsible for the state's dysfunction: public-sector unions, trial lawyers, excessive regulation on business.
And while Rauner called on the Democrat-controlled Legislature to work with him to do "great things," he and everyone else in the Illinois House chamber on Wednesday knows that not one of his proposals -- from radical ideas like "right-to-work zones" to more moderate actions like raising the minimum wage (albeit in a business-friendly way) -- will be anything more than words in a speech without the blessing of the Democrats who lead the Legislature: House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton.
With super-majority control in their respective chambers, Madigan and Cullerton can pass legislation knowing their members can override a veto from the new governor. They also can prevent any bill pushed by Rauner from ever receiving a vote in their chamber.
Madigan, who has led the House for all but two of the last 32 years, has a well-deserved reputation for getting what he wants passed and ensuring that anything he does not want to pass fails. In reaction to Rauner's speech, Madigan maintained the cooperative tone he has adopted ever since Rauner's election.
"I've known Mr. Rauner before he decided to be a candidate for governor. He has a lot of strong views on a lot of public issues. He enunciated a lot of those views in the speech today, which he should do," Madigan said in a press conference following the speech. "Now those views, those issues, those bills will be before the Legislature, and they'll be disposed of by the Legislature, some favorably, some not favorably. That's the American democratic process."
(Read the rest at Reboot Illinois to see how Senate President John Cullerton responded to the speech.)
Other Illinoisans also offered their reactions to the State of the State Address, including members of the media. The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board expressed its appreciation of the points made by Rauner, though two Tribune columnists did skewer the new governor for his "folksy" way of speaking.
(Check out Reboot Illinois to see how writers at the Chicago Sun-Times, Crain's Chicago Buisness and the Northwest Herald felt about it, plus a cartoon response.)