Local Editorials

Our view: Big day for Springfield

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Let’s say you want to travel to Springfield on Friday, Aug. 17.

On one hand, the Illinois State Fair will be in full swing.

On the other hand, the Illinois House of Representatives will be in session for a single day.

Which venue would provide greater entertainment value for a visitor to the capital city?

The fair, a tribute to Illinois agriculture, runs Aug. 9-19. It was scheduled many months ago, and it has many activities in store.

The House session was scheduled by Speaker Michael Madigan on July 20. Insiders say Madigan will ask lawmakers to act on a committee’s recommendation that state Rep. Derrick Smith, D-Chicago, be expelled. Smith was arrested March 13 by federal investigators and charged with taking a $7,000 bribe. Smith says he is innocent.

An additional agenda item could be action on pension reform legislation. The state’s public pension systems, underfunded to the tune of roughly $85 billion, are a huge drag on the rest of state government.

So, what will it be?

At the fair, the Still Kickin’ Band will knock out some great tunes. At the Capitol, a band of House members may knock Rep. Smith’s reputation and kick him out of office.

At the fair, the DePriest Puppets will perform. At the capitol, some “Political Puppets” may do their thing.

At the fair, chain saw artists will cut logs down to size. At the capitol, legislators may try to slash the pension debt down to size.

At the fair, the Springfield International Folk Dancers will perform. At the Capitol, the Springfield Intrastate Dance-Around-the-Issues Dancers may do likewise.

At the fair, you can watch the West Texas Rattlesnake Show. At the Capitol, the legislative snakepit might host a scary show of its own.

For the undecided Illinoisan, the choice might come down to this: Does the House of Representatives have anything to counter Chris Camp, The Whip Guy?

As we said, decisions, decisions, decisions.

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