I w0uld imagine being a legislator in Springfield this year would be close to dismal.
Anticipation about reapportionment (which I never went through), plus the fear of votes to hike taxes must be making for some fretful times.
There is, however, a comic break in the schedule.
Something called “Capitol Capers” put on by the Conference of Women Legislators (COWL).
It used to be that the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association put on a Gridiron dinner in which fun was poked at the politicians that couldn’t make the reporters’ stories.
That was the highlight of many sessions.
But, when Senate President Pate Philip decided he wanted to go fishing in Michigan during June and put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to change the ending date of the General Assembly to the end of May, things changed in the legislative process.
It was compressed.
Leaders got still more power.
And the reporters didn’t have time to put together their show, the proceeds of which went for scholarships for reporters.
But, remember, legislators don’t have a lot to do under the current system of legislative governance.
And, dating back to the 1970’s COWL, which came out of the ERA movement, had put on a fund raiser to raise money for its operations.
So, after the reporters’ wit disappeared from public display, COWL filled the void.
State Journal-Register columnist Bernie Schoenburg tells of this year’s event here.
Schoenburg reports, “the theme is based on ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ with a legislative freshman lifted by a Midwestern tornado into Emerald City, also known as Springfield.”
And McHenry County’s State Senator Pam Althoff plays the part of the Cowardly Lion.
Girls just want to have fun.
If you’re going to be in Springfield on May 11 and have $150, the show might be worth the price of admission. The money raised goes for twelve $2,500 scholarships.