ON THE RECORD: Sen. Jason Barickman discusses Speaker Mike Madigan, COVID-19 relief

On The Record

CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — Since 1983, House Speaker Mike Madigan has been at the top of Illinois politics all but two years.

“The bottom line is, our state has been plagued with financial challenges, corruption, and Speaker Madigan is an individual who’s been in state government longer than I’ve been alive,” said State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington).

Madigan has been serving in Illinois politics since 1971.

“It’s past due that he moves on,” Barickman said. “Some change there would do our state good.”

Barickman joined WMBD/WYZZ’S Matt Sheehan for On the Record to discuss the Speaker’s alleged ties in the ComEd bribery scheme, COVID-19 relief in Illinois, and a resolution he is co-sponsoring to bring financial assistance to Illinois universities.

“It’s long past time the Democrats stand up to him, I think they have that opportunity in the coming weeks, and they ought not to re-elect him to serve as Speaker of the House,” Barickman said.

A popular topic circulating the Statehouse is term limits on speakers of the House. Barickman said these would be helpful to allow other state lawmakers a chance to lead as speaker.

“If the federal government wants to come in and help, that’s great, but we’ve created a lot of our own problems, and we need to work together across the aisle to solve some of those in Illinois and not simply rely entirely on the federal government. You never know if they’re going to deliver anything.”

State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington)

“We’ve made some progress in changing lawmaker’s minds in regards to term limits, that’s been the obstacle. I think there’s absolutely an opportunity for us to impose term limits, especially on the leaders of the General Assembly, and using Speaker Madigan as the poster child for why we need term limits,” Barickman said.

“Everybody knows that there’s a health that comes from any organization who sees change at the top. It’s long overdue in Illinois,” Barickman continued. “Let someone else have an opportunity to advance their ideas in the legislation and move some of these people, like Speaker Madigan, away.”

We’re now nearing December, and no second COVID-19 relief package has been passed by the federal government. For months, local municipalities have been waiting for assistance to survive through the pandemic and beyond. Barickman isn’t sure if and when the government will pass a second bill.

“It’s nearly impossible to predict, and look through our crystal ball, and try to predict what’s going to happen in Washington D.C.,” Barickman said.

Barickman believes while the federal government decides how they’re going to move forward, Illinois needs to focus on its own problems.

“If the federal government wants to come in and help, that’s great, but we’ve created a lot of our own problems, and we need to work together across the aisle to solve some of those in Illinois and not simply rely entirely on the federal government. You never know if they’re going to deliver anything,” Barickman said.

He is currently co-sponsoring a resolution aimed to assist Illinois universities who have been hit hard due to the pandemic financially.

“One of the things that we’ve always got to do is look to how we can help people stretch the dollars they have even further,” Barickman said.

“You’ve aired and the media has reported on many of the relief efforts going on to help various people, including our universities with efforts as a result of COVID. What we’ve done is put forward a resolution that allows our universities to be a bit more flexible with how they spend those dollars. The result of that is that they’re going to be able to spend their dollars a little more efficiently and as a result put them to better work than they would’ve done otherwise.”

The resolution passed through the Legislative Audit Commission (LAC) and was unanimously approved on Nov. 17 to allow state universities more flexibility with spending Indirect Cost Recovery (ICR) funds.

ICR funds come from federal grants and are intended to help universities deal with overhead costs related to the grants. The resolution temporarily removes state restrictions on how ICR dollars are spent,” Barickman wrote on his website.

You can learn more about the resolution on Sen. Barickman’s website here.

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