The highlight of the session most of the time I was in the Illinois House was the Gridiron Dinner put on by the press corps.
When Senate President Pate Philip managed to shorten the session by getting a constitutional amendment passed requiring a super majority to pass legislation starting on June 1st, rather than on July 1st, that changed.
While Philip got to go fishing earlier, the workload for reporters got too heavy to put on an annual show.
So, who stepped in to fill the void?
After all, they don’t have a lot to do with four people in the General Assembly making most of the important decisions.
The Conference of Women Legislators already put on a fund raising event. I remember Clyde Robbins singing at one held at the pool of the Statehouse Inn. That was the same event that State Senator John D’Arco read poetry.
The event now brings in $90,000, according to Springfield Journal-Register political reporter Bernie Schoenberg (whose high school son Samuel’s accomplishments were featured in last Sunday’s Chicago Tribune). The money goes for for scholarships and leadership training.
Featured in this knock-off of American Idol was McHenry County’s State Senator Pam Althoff. She was Paula Abdul, one of the judges.
There’s even a recording of part of the event that can be accessed through the Journal-Register story.