Rauner Urges All Or Nothing On Agenda

Feb 4, 2015

Gov. Bruce Rauner addresses reporters in the Illinois Statehouse in this December 2014 file photo. Rauner was governor-elect at the time.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner laid out an ambitious, pro-business agenda Wednesday during his first State of the State address. The Republican was speaking to a legislature that’s still dominated by Democrats, and reaction was mixed.

Rauner's agenda reads like a businessman's dream: restricting lawsuits and workers' compensation, and reducing the power of labor unions. But he also called for changes to the criminal justice system, acknowledging conditions in state prisons are "unacceptable."

Rauner says his agenda should appeal to lawmakers from both parties, but he added: "We should consider it as a whole, not as a list of individual initiatives."

That suggestion raised a few Democratic hackles, like those of Rep. Elaine Nekritz, from Northbrook: "I was like, wow, there's a way to enter into a negotiation, isn't it? To say that it's my way or the highway?"

Lawmakers from both parties are still eager to hear what Rauner will do about the state’s massive financial problems. For that, we'll have to wait two more weeks until his budget address.