Veteran Senate Staffer to replace outgoing Eric Madiar

SPRINGFIELD - Senate President John J. Cullerton today announced that Giovanni Randazzo will serve as Parliamentarian and Chief Legal Counsel to the Illinois Senate beginning in December 2014.

“Giovanni’s sound legal advice and counsel has guided our members and staff through some of our most complex legal and policy accomplishments in recent years. We are fortunate that he will continue to be a pillar of the institution in this new leadership role,” said Senate President Cullerton.

Randazzo has served as Deputy Legal Counsel to the Senate President under the leadership of current Senate Parliamentarian and Chief Legal Counsel Eric Madiar since 2009. Madiar is leaving the Senate President’s Office to enter the private sector.

"Giovanni is the right choice for the job. He has the unique skill set and experience needed to continue and build upon the Senate Legal Review staff's unrivaled success since 2009," said Madiar.
Prior to his work as Deputy Legal Counsel, Randazzo gained broad experience in a number of legal and policy areas. Over the course of his 10-year tenure in the Senate, Randazzo has provided counsel to the Illinois Senate’s Executive Appointments, Executive, Judiciary, Procurement, Redistricting, Assignments, Elections, Special Committee on Impeachment Trial Procedures, Financial Institutions, Commerce and Economic Development, and Revenue committees. Randazzo’s signature accomplishments include leading negotiations on the state’s pay-to-play ban, laws to increase voter access and establish the Illinois DREAM Act.
Randazzo’s law career began in state government when he assumed the role of law clerk first to Illinois Comptroller’s General Counsel and later in the Illinois Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Bureau.

Randazzo is an alumnus of Southern Illinois University School of Law where he received his Juris Doctorate and University of Illinois where he received his Bachelor of Arts. He resides in Springfield with his wife Sara and his two sons Joseph (five) and Michael (three).

President Cullerton: Workplace inclusivity strengthens our communities and economySPRINGFIELD — Today, Senate President John J. Cullerton met with Mia Pollock and Otis Brown, young representatives of the nonprofit organization Best Buddies, to present a proclamation honoring the organization’s efforts to challenge employers to pledge “I’M IN TO HIRE” individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

The “I’M IN TO HIRE” campaign raises awareness about unemployment among individuals living with IDD. Best Buddies educates business leaders about the benefits of hiring these individuals. The subsequent job security and financial independence helps to enrich their lives.

“I fully support Best Buddies’ push to challenge employers’ perspectives about hiring individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Senate President John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago). “Workplace inclusivity strengthens our communities and economy. Hiring people with disabilities helps businesses gain dependable, motivated employees who offer observable business benefits.”

Only one in three people with IDD are employed in the United States. Promoting inclusion in the workplace not only reduces unemployment numbers but it allows residents with IDD to share in the joy of being contributing members of the workforce.

Cullerton and the Illinois Senate proclaimed October 7 “I’M IN TO HIRE DAY” to encourage the business community to hire more individuals with IDD.

Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton responded this week to the continuous negative drumbeat by naysayers about Illinois, in a follow-up to his April column, "I like Illinois."

Remember when I announced, in the Sun-Times last April, that I like Illinois? I still do. I like Congressman Randy Hultgren, too. The problem is that he was wrong on the facts in a recent op-ed. He falls in line with the rest of the political naysayers slamming the door in the face of business with negative rhetoric and faulty allegations about our business climate.

Hultgren blames Illinois’ tax structure for businesses moving from our state to Wisconsin. Compared to Wisconsin — Hultgren’s business friendly wonderland — Illinois already has a lower corporate income tax rate: 7 percent, compared to 7.9 percent in Wisconsin.

Furthermore, our corporate income tax rate is scheduled to drop to 5.25 percent at the end of the year, making it the lowest rate among its neighboring states. More important, according to the National Federation of Independent Business, 75 percent of the business community, comprised of smaller companies, pays the personal income tax rate and not the corporate income tax rate. Illinois’ personal income tax rate will soon be less than half of Wisconsin’s: 3.75 percent, compared with 7.65 percent in Wisconsin.

Read the rest of Pres. Cullerton's Sun-Times column HERE.

SPRINGFIELD - Illinois Senate President John Cullerton issued the following statement regarding the FY15 budget sent to Governor Pat Quinn:

“This maintenance budget allows us to provide level funding for key priorities and services. The effect of the budget is to avert doomsday cuts by deferrals, borrowing and increasing our backlog of bills.

Admittedly, this budget reverses some of the progress that we have made in recent years.  Since we passed the income tax increase in 2011, we have paid down $3.6 billion in old bills and fully funded our ballooning pension payments. We have paid off $8 billion in pension debt. We have saved billions with responsible budget cuts and that demonstrated that we can be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.

In order to return to this path of fiscal progress, we will have to bring revenues in line with our growing liabilities. While a vote on our tax rates has been deferred, rising costs and pressures will force the issue at a later date.”