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Hump Day Political News Roundup

By Kevin Robinson in News on Mar 7, 2007 5:30PM

2007_3_ranhcer.jpgAs March comes roaring in like a lion, our fearless leaders here in town and downstate have been doing some roaring of their own. Let's take a look back at some of the more noteworthy events thus far:

Illinois' crappy reputation with elections is yielding news calls for an audit. State rep Mike Boland (D - Moline) has introduced an amendment to the election code requiring an election-night audit in each precinct in Illinois instead of the current practice of performing them in a central location.

Relaxing state ethics rules? Former Illinois Department of Transportation executive Timothy Martin is being allowed to go directly from being state transportation secretary to a lucrative job with a contractor working on the Dan Ryan expressway project. "The reality is that if I only looked at companies that didn't have contracts with IDOT, I'd probably be limited to working for a bank," Martin told the Chicago Tribune. "I don't want to leave state government and become a bank teller."

Governor Blagojevich unveils his new health care plan. G Rod has unveiled a new website to help promote his plan, which will expand access to existing health care programs and create an affordable quality option for everyone in Illinois, including small businesses. In a bit of turnabout, he copped a move that right-wingers have been playing for years, telling the press, "If you can have health care but your neighbor can't ... that isn't how God intended it to be."

More taxes for business in the state. Blagojevich is also planning a new payroll tax aimed at businesses in Illinois, about 3%. The tax would be charged to businesses that don't offer health care to their employees, and it would be used to fund, of course, Illinois Covered.