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Democrats hand Rauner another defeat — this time on lawsuit reform

SPRINGFIELD — Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked another component of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda, this time voting down the governor’s attempt to curb big-ticket jury awards.

It was the latest rejection Rauner suffered at the hands of the Democrat-controlled Legislature, which has called improper Rauner’s strategy to link anti-union, pro-business changes to the budgeting process.

With a scheduled Sunday adjournment, Democrats and Republicans appear no closer to resolving a gaping, multi-billion dollar budget hole. Rauner had said he will only consider new revenue if Democrats agree to components of his Turnaround Agenda. Democrats proposed a series of spending bills which they say indicates their priorities of programs that should be funded, namely restoring deep cuts to human services proposed by Rauner in February.

Rauner’s office has blasted Democrats all week for failing to embrace the Republican’s proposals, which were introduced into bill form late last week. Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan on Monday said Rauner’s attempt to link the bills to the budgeting process is mixing apples and oranges.