SPRINGFIELD — No doubt, any governor likes to come into office and immediately make a mark.
Former Gov. BRUCE RAUNER did it with a number of executive orders, although the one where he eliminated fair share fees for unionized state workers didn't come right away.
So no surprise that Gov. J.B. PRITZKER made quite a splash his first week in office. A day after being sworn in, Pritzker took a step to soothe relations with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees by saying thousands of state workers will be reinstated to their proper place on the state wage scale going forward. It means they will start getting more money in their paychecks.
It wasn't some sop to the union. The state's court system has weighed in and said workers were entitled to step raises even if there was no new contract in place with the union. Thus the state has to pay for the raises some time. And the fact Rauner stopped paying the raises was one of the sorest of sore points between AFSCME and him.
This is only for raises going forward. How the state will pay the step increases that are owed for the past four years is another issue and one that Pritzker has yet to address.
* Pritzker also signed the gun dealer certification bill, an opportunity afforded him through some unusual action by Democratic lawmakers.
It was obviously a great PR opportunity for the new governor to sign a bill aimed at combating gun violence at a school in Chicago, a city with more than enough gun violence. But if you don't recall the bill passing recently, it's because it didn't. It passed last spring and was kept from Rauner because he'd vetoed a previous version. Instead, the bill was held until Pritzker took office and then sent to his desk.
Opponents said the bill will do nothing to attack gun violence and will force small gun shops out of business because they can't afford the costs associated with it. It also didn't take any great insight to know that the new law would be challenged in court. The Illinois State Rifle Association said it will do just that.
It will be interesting to see the nature of that lawsuit. One approach might be to challenge the legislative practice that, while rare, seems to be becoming more common -- passing a bill and holding onto it indefinitely to keep it away from a governor until a more favorable time.
* Best comment from the inauguration: A colleague who said they should have dispensed with the swearings-in and speeches and just let the Soul Children of Chicago keep going.
* Pritzker may be trying to distance himself as much as possible from Rauner, but he's got at least one thing in common with his predecessor.
Like Rauner, Pritzker isn't wearing a tie in the photograph posted at the north entrance to the Capitol.
* Remember when newly elected chief executives had honeymoons that would last several weeks, if not months? Pritzker's lasted several minutes. Something like 150 minutes.
That's about how long it took someone to discover Pritzker made a factual error in his inaugural speech, saying that the First Unitarian Church was destroyed in the Chicago Fire when it was actually the Second Unitarian Church.
That followed to the following day when Pritzker held his first news conference as governor and was questioned about why he didn't conclude his oath with "so help me God." The oath is actually spelled out in the state Constitution and it doesn't include "so help me God," but whatever. Pritzker immediately raised his hand and said the words, so everyone should be happy.
We can only hope those are the biggest controversies ever faced by the administration.