SPRINGFIELD (Illinois Policy Institute) — The Speaker is nationally unique in his ability to control politics and policy.
Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan is the only legislative leader in the nation to also serve as a state party chairman, according to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, or ICPR.
But that practice would be outlawed under a Bill filed September 18 by state Rep. Margo McDermed (R-Mokena). House Bill 4097 would bar any member of the General Assembly from “concurrently [serving] as the chairperson for a statewide political party.”
Of the 100 Republican and Democratic State Party chairs in the nation, just nine also serve as state lawmakers, according to ICPR.
McDermed’s bill is virtually guaranteed to be muzzled in committee.
Madigan is the longest-serving House speaker in modern American history. He broke that record earlier this year, after controlling the chamber as speaker for more than 11,900 days. Not only is he unmatched in longevity, but he is also the most powerful House speaker in the nation.
In addition to his leadership position, Madigan has served as the Democratic state party chairman since 1998. This presents ample opportunity for pure partisanship to intrude on the policy-making process.
While McDermed’s bill is unlikely to succeed, it may help bring attention to yet another way in which Illinois’ political process is heavily tilted toward the will of a single man.