Illinois state legislators opened a new two-year session of the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday. Amid the ceremonies and celebrations, the focus remains on the political stalemate that's left Illinois without a budget for more than 18 months.
Democrats remain in firm control of the General Assembly, so it's not surprising Michael Madigan was re-elected speaker of the House for a 17th time. That's despite a Republican Party campaign to pressure Democrats into dropping him.
Meanwhile, over in the Senate John Cullerton began his fifth term as president, and fretted that even amid talk of compromise and bipartisanship, forces are already gearing up for the next election.
"There's plenty of time and issues to campaign on when it's campaign season," Cullerton said. "How about if we just try governing for a little bit?"
Cullerton and his Republican counterpart, Minority Leader Christine Radogno, have crafted a deal to end the budget impasse. They've vowed to make it the first order of business when the Senate reconvenes later this month.