Madison’s midnight move. In an overnight vote, the Wisconsin Assembly passes the bill that curbs public employee union power. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman says the bill also authorizes the transfer of control over some state contracts and projects from government to the private sector. The bill now moves to the Wisconsin Senate, which includes Democrats who’ve been hiding out in Illinois, prompting CBS 2 commentator Walter Jacobson to suggest that do-nothing politicians from Illinois have been joined by do-nothing pols from Badgerland.
- Zorn scorn. Trib columnist Eric Zorn looks at Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel’s pledge to conduct a “forensic audit” of the city budget and concludes it would be excessively costly and time-consuming.
- Fatal fire follow-up facts. Chicago Crusader’s Mike Volpe investigates the fatal fire on 57th Street that killed two Chicago firefighters just before Christmas and finds out the building had “a laundry list of code violations.”
- Sneed scoop. Sun-Times columnist Mike Sneed reports on the arrest of a South Side man who allegedly threatened the life of Chicago Alderman and Finance Committee Chairman Ed Burke. Mayor-elect Emanuel and the BGA have both raised questions about Burke’s police bodyguard detail at a time when the city doesn’t have enough cops to protect regular citizens or enough dollars to maintain basic services.
- Bubbling Oak Brook. The Daily Herald reports that the village board in Oak Brook may hire an outside investigator to look into misconduct allegations against police chief Thomas Sheahan. The BGA has also been looking at the conduct of public officials in Oak Brook, including Sheahan and Mayor John Craig.
- Shrinking schools? Illinois Statehouse News reports on state school superintendent Chris Koch’s support for a plan that could save $100 million in administrative costs by eliminating two-thirds of the state’s 868 school districts through consolidation. Gov. Quinn floated the idea in his budget, and BGA may support the streamlining initiative.