In an action-packed mini-session last week, the Illinois General Assembly passed a $40 billion budget, changed last year’s gambling law to make a Chicago casino feasible and granted Gov. J.B. Pritzker unusual discretion in moving funding among state agencies.

And it all happened in about four days.

If that sounds breathtakingly brief, well, not so much. The 2020 legislative session was unusually short, but its last-minute rush of lawmaking was an extreme version of the half-blind, end-of-session rush that is commonplace in Illinois. That fix for the Chicago casino? It was needed because the bill last year was passed in such a hurry that the legislature made a mess of it.

With billions on the line, and appallingly little deliberation before the public, the Springfield legislature each May rushes bills past the public and, presto-change-o, there’s a new budget — a $40 billion undertaking this year.

Read the rest at

David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative journalism and policy advocacy.

Greising’s career started at the City News Bureau of Chicago, with stops at the Chicago Sun-Times, Business Week magazine, the Chicago Tribune and Reuters. He was a co-founder of the Chicago News Cooperative and worked briefly as a consultant to World Business Chicago. Today, Greising writes on government issues in regular columns for the Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business.

Under Greising’s leadership, the BGA has played a key role in uncovering public corruption amidst the wide-ranging federal probe, starting with an in-depth report about Ald. Ed Burke’s conflicts of interest before the federal charges against Burke. The BGA also has exposed waste and fraud at O’Hare and the proliferation of corruption and poverty into Dolton, Lyons and other Chicago suburbs. The BGA’s policy team has led calls for ethics reform in Chicago’s City Council and in state government.