SPRINGFIELD - The following statement was released by Senate President John J. Cullerton on the passing of the Honorable Justice Thomas R. Fitzgerald:

“I would like to express my deepest sympathies to the family of Justice Fitzgerald as we all mourn the loss of an exceptional state leader and jurist. Justice Fitzgerald’s contribution to the Illinois Supreme Court and our state’s history is unquestionable.  As a jurist with an unwavering commitment to the law and equity, he distinguished himself with great discernment and wisdom during some of Illinois’ most historic moments.  I will always remember the leadership and dignity he embodied while serving as the first Chief Justice to preside over an impeachment trial conducted by the Illinois Senate.”

State leaders wager of Cubs vs. Mets Series

CHICAGO -- Illinois State Senate President John J. Cullerton today accepted a challenge from New York State Senator Joe Addabbo, Citi Field’s senator, as the Chicago Cubs take on the New York Mets in the National League Championship Series.  Illinois State Senator Heather Steans, State Representatives Greg Harris, Sara Feigenholtz, Kelly Cassidy and Ann Williams joined President Cullerton in the friendly wager on the outcome of the series.  
“We’re going to bet the members of the New York Senate that the Cubs will edge the Mets in the NLCS. The Friendly Confines have lived up to their name all year long for the Cubs, and I’m confident this series will be no different.”
Losers will send the winning team their city-style pizza and wear winner’s apparel on their respective chamber floor to congratulate the winner.  
“The entire borough of Queens, and New York City as a whole, has been so captivated by the Mets as we watch them play for a championship,” said Addabbo. “What better way to make the stakes even higher than by involving our fellow legislators and baseball fans in Chicago? For us New Yorkers, the Mets’ championship run is about more than just baseball; it’s about having pride in our city and our state, and I know that Chicago feels the same way. New York and Chicago are two cities that both share the incredible privilege of being known as cultural and historical icons, as well as having legitimate baseball history. Let’s continue our excitement and show Chicago what we’re all about as we root for our hometown team.”
“Some consider Chicago the Second City, but we can all agree on two things: New York is second in baseball and pizza.” said Senate President Cullerton.  
The series begins tomorrow, October 17 at 7:07 p.m. Central Time at Citi Field.  

CHICAGO – Senate President John J. Cullerton released the following statement regarding Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2016 budget address.

“I join Mayor Emanuel in his efforts to both celebrate and protect our world-class city. We simply cannot ignore the painful reality that the city’s looming pension debt is threatening the financial stability of Chicago.  In the coming days, city and state leaders will be calling on Chicagoans to accept the challenges and financial obligations that come with maintaining the progress of the city that is the economic engine of Illinois.

In Springfield, I’m working to pass a plan that will provide financial relief for Chicago Public Schools, but there is still more work to do. I’m standing with Mayor Emanuel and his plan to move the city forward with increased investments from those who can afford them. I will join his efforts by sponsoring legislation that will enable the city to advance a property tax plan in a way that protects the neediest working families while we work toward a better future.”

CHICAGO – Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton told an Illinois House committee Tuesday that, without relief, Chicago schools may be forced to lay off thousands of teachers and balloon average class sizes, moves that would undermine education progress and send families scurrying elsewhere.

“If you don’t give them these two years of relief there’s going to be, I’m told by the Board of Education, massive layoffs, like 3,000 school teachers being laid off,” Cullerton said at a hearing of the House Revenue Committee. “To send the message that class sizes are going to go up to 35 and we’re going to reduce the number of days you have to go to school, this will cause people to flee.”

The Senate President was at the hearing pressing support for SB 318, legislation he sponsored that would provide financial relief for Chicago schools, force an much-needed overhaul of how Illinois funds public schools and temporarily freeze property taxes throughout the state.

Cullerton’s legislation cleared the Senate earlier this month and is now pending in the Illinois House.

You can hear the full audio of the Senate President’s testimony here: