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Governor, leaders meeting reset to Dec. 1

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By Mark Fitton

Illinois News Network

SPRINGFIELD — The meeting between Gov. Bruce Rauner and the four legislative leaders has been rescheduled to Dec. 1.

Rauner late Friday afternoon released his proposed format, but on Saturday his staff said he would push the meeting back to accommodate House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, who won’t be available Wednesday, Nov. 18, because he will be attending a family funeral out of state.

In a letter on Friday from the governor to Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton, Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno and House Republican leader Jim Durkin, the governor outlined the following format:

  • The meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. in the governor’s Springfield office, with a pool camera streaming video to media outlets.
  • The governor opens the meeting and explains the format.
  • The governor and the leaders then take 10 minutes each “to make his or her case to the people of Illinois — uninterrupted and unfiltered.”
  • The meeting next goes private (no camera) for negotiations.
  • When the meeting has adjourned, any or all of the participants conduct their news conferences outside the governor’s office.

Rauner said the format strikes a balance of giving the public access yet keeping the negotiating time useful.

“It affords each of us the opportunity to address the people of Illinois without interruption or media filter — and it strikes a balance to ensure we maintain decorum and a constructive atmosphere for negotiations,” he wrote in his letter to the leaders.

A coalition of good-government groups in October called for the meeting and offered to facilitate it to get the governor and four leaders talking again.

Illinois is now in its fifth month of fiscal year 2016 with no budget as the first-term Republican governor and legislative Democrats — who have supermajority numbers in each chamber of the General Assembly — continue to disagree on the state’s finances and Rauner’s agenda.

All of the leaders had indicated they planned to attend a Nov. 18 meeting, although Madigan said he wanted to see an agenda before he’d commit after Rauner wrote to the civic groups saying the governor’s office would organize and host the meeting.

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