Chris Essig

Walkthroughs, tips and tricks from a data journalist in eastern Iowa

The first week

leave a comment »

I just finished my first week interning in the Statehouse with Lee Enterprises. It was nerve-racking, exciting and pretty much every emotion in between. But I survived. Honestly, it was a fairly slow week given the lingering holiday season. But next week promises to be more action-packed as the legislature will be convening for the spring session. They only be here for three days, though, and then they’re off to the campaign trail. This year’s primary is absurdity early: Feb. 2.

Regardless, I got three bylines this week, which is not bad for my first week. Here is a quick recap:

1. My first byline was…Drum roll please….a political endorsement! State Sen. and Lt. Gov. candidate Matt Murphy picked up a big endorsement from Sen. Majority Leader Christine Radogno. Here is the info:

SPRINGFIELD — Republican Matt Murphy was endorsed Wednesday in his bid for lieutenant governor from the state’s first female leader in the Senate.

Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, is endorsing Murphy, a state senator from Palatine, in his run for the No. 2 job in Illinois.

Radogno said Murphy is the only statewide candidate she is endorsing in the February primaries.

Here is the link. Check it out!

2. The Obama’s proposed plan to buy the Thomson prison in northwestern Illinois and turn it into a federal prison that would house terrorist detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has caused quite the stir statewide. Democrats, including Sen. Dick Durbin, are mostly for the plan, while Republicans, including Rep. Mark Kirk, are mostly against it. They contend the plan would turn the small town into “Gitmo North.” Another big criticism from state legislators is the lack of say they have in the sale. Some are upset Quinn can sell the state asset without approval from the General Assembly.

As a result, two representatives have proposed a bill that would require the General Assembly to approve all sales of state-owned property valued at $1 million or more. Whether it actually goes anywhere is anybody’s guess. But here is the primarily info:

SPRINGFIELD — Lawmakers would have to approve all sales of expensive state property, including the Thomson prison in northwestern Illinois, under legislation pending in the House.The proposal would require the state to receive approval from the General Assembly before selling unused, state-owned property valued at $1 million or more.

Property must also be unused for six years or three years plus three foreseeable years.

The Thomson prison, which is worth more than $100 million, would fall under these categories.

And the link.

I was surprised to see this get so much play on the Pantagraph’s web site. But it is a very hot issue that is only going to get more volatile as the campaign season heats up.

3. And last, but not least, a preview of Quinn’s State of the State address on Wednesday. This piece was co-written by myself and the Lee bureau chief, Kurt Erickson. And a fancy quote:

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pat Quinn will shine a spotlight on himself Wednesday when he makes a pre-election address to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly.

Not only will the speech kick off the spring legislative session, but it also will serve as the unofficial start of the sprint toward the finish line of the primary election season.

The address is (surprise!) a statement on the state of Illinois. Every governor delivers one once a year. It should be noted that the speech will be separate from Quinn’s budget address in March. But the budget has to be the focal point of the speech because the state is in possibly the worst fiscal condition it has ever been in. I wonder, how will Quinn be realistic without being horribly pessimistic? I doubt he can be…And to make matters more interesting, the primary election is only three weeks away. I know, I know. It’s absurb to have the election in dead of winter. But, regardless, it is coming. And some are wondering how that will affect the tone of the speech…

Oh, and the link.

Well that was my first week. Not incredibly enthralling but fun nonetheless. Stay tuned for more posts from the daily grind!

Image posted by Flickr user myoldpostcards. It is used under a Creative Commons license.

Advertisements

Written by csessig

January 10, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: