Capitol Notebook: Biggest news is that 2007 closes out

Capitol Bureaus

Play of the Week

During a quiet week in state government, maybe the biggest news was simply that a nutty year is finally drawing to a close. Onward and upward in 2008.

Head Scratcher

Gov. Rod Blagojevich and other officials have said for weeks that the Chicago-area mass-transit funding situation needs to get fixed. And the sooner, the better, because fare hikes and service cuts will be implemented by Jan. 20 if a state bailout doesn't happen.

The governor said just before Christmas that he would call lawmakers into special session immediately after New Year's Day. His office on Wednesday, Dec. 26, formally filed with the secretary of state's office a proclamation scheduling the latest special session.

No need for an early wakeup call, though. The session is slated to start Jan. 2 at the crack of 5 p.m.

Quote of Note

"I don't  want to be like the Grinch or something like that, but it doesn't look good to be done in January." -- state Sen. Rickey Hendon, D-Chicago, in a Dec. 26 television interview broadcast on ABC-7 Chicago. He was talking about the prospects of the General Assembly reaching agreement on a mass-transit bailout plan.

Number to Know

227. The number of new state laws taking effect on Jan. 1, based on a list compiled by the Legislative Information System and available at the General Assembly Web site:

Coming Up

Wednesday, Jan. 2: General Assembly to meet in special session at 5 p.m.; House of Representatives' Mass Transit Committee to meet at noon.