Quinn calls for ethics reform, assault
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[February 07, 2013] SPRINGFIELD
(AP) -- Gov. Pat Quinn boosted his populist credentials on Wednesday as
he looks toward a 2014 re-election bid, calling for tougher
conflict-of-interest controls on lawmakers, increasing the minimum wage
to $10 per hour and banning military-style assault weapons and
high-capacity ammunition feeders.
In the annual State of the State address to a joint session of the General
Assembly, Quinn said state law should prohibit lawmakers from voting on issues
where they have a conflict of interest. He urged the Legislature to impose the
same kind of ethics requirements on itself that it previously approved for
judges and administration officials in a state that has seen its past two
governors jailed on corruption charges.
But lawmakers weren't keen on what's perceived as a direct challenge to the
Legislature's authority, and even government watchdogs pointed out it's a thorny
issue that isn't as clear-cut as it seems.
Quinn made only scattered references to the state's most pressing problem -- a
stifling public-employee pension deficit, but the squeeze it puts on other
government spending was an undercurrent throughout the governor's fifth State of
the State address. Quinn pointedly named Senate President John Cullerton's
latest legislation that includes a fallback plan if the first is declared
unconstitutional as "the best vehicle to get the job done."
"Do we want, in
the years to come, a prosperous Illinois where working people continue to have
good jobs, where businesses thrive, and where all our children have a
world-class education?" Quinn asked. "Or do we want to stop the progress and
watch our economic recovery stall?"
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Elevated to the job after his former running mate, Gov. Rod
Blagojevich, was impeached and removed from office in 2009 and
elected to a full term the next year, Quinn will face not only stiff
Republican competition but a possible primary challenge from one or
more high-profile Democrats next spring. GOP lawmakers were keenly
aware of the upcoming political season.
[Associated Press By
JOHN O'CONNOR and SOPHIA TAREEN]
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