Monday, November 14, 2005

Guv Candidate Brady on TV/Webcast: Argues School Vouchers unconstitutional

Revised and links added at 4:30 pm on Monday
Jeff Berkowitz: You don’t want to take this backpack?

Sen. Bill Brady: I didn’t say that.

Jeff Berkowitz: Well, then you will take this backpack?

Sen. Bill Brady: I did not say that...
Tonight’s “Public Affairs,” show airs through-out the City of Chicago and it features the only downstate Governor candidate in the Republican Primary, 44 year old State Senator Bill Brady [Bloomington]. Sen. Brady has spent almost 12 years in the Illinois General Assembly, 8 in the House and 4 in the Senate. The show airs tonight at 8:30 pm on CANTV, Cable Ch. 21.

Sen. Brady won the endorsement of the somewhat controversial "Conservative Summit," almost two months ago, but has it meant much? [See here and here]. Was it really a summit?

See here for more about tonight’s show [including a partial transcript and list of topics discussed] and for access to the Webcast of tonight’s show, please go here. An additional partial transcript of tonight’s show is included, below:
Jeff Berkowitz…You’re kind of luke warm on school vouchers. Do I have that right?

Sen. Bill Brady: I don’t think they are constitutional in this state. I have supported…

Jeff Berkowitz: They are not constitutional relative to the State Constitution or the U. S. Constitution?

Sen. Bill Brady: In this state. And, I have sponsored- I have sponsored- I have sponsored tax credits in the past, and voted for them.

Jeff Berkowitz: $500 tax credits.

Sen. Bill Brady: Yes.

Jeff Berkowitz: But, you don’t like that scheme where I take $10,000 and put it in this backpack—Here, I’ll do it for you really quickly.

Sen. Bill Brady: I think you are talking about a hypothetical situation: $10,000?

Jeff Berkowitz: In Chicago, we spend at least $10,000 per kid per year—it is less downstate—if you [include] capital costs, it’s $11,000 [per kid per year]. In the City of Chicago Public Schools [“CPS”], $11,000 per kid per year. We have 435,000 backpacks, one for the parents of each kid [in the CPS]. Put that money in the backpack, give them the backpack. If the [public school] kid is sent to a private school, out goes the kid [from the public school], out goes the backpack, out goes the money. You want to offer these people [the CPS parents] 435,000 backpacks? Would you like to give them that kind of school choice? Forget the Constitution for a second [for purposes of this analysis].

Sen. Bill Brady: No, you can’t forget the Constitution. No, Jeff, you can’t forget the Constitution.

Jeff Berkowitz: You can amend the Constitution. You know that. You want to amend the Constitution on other things. You can amend it on this.

Sen. Bill Brady: You are not going to amend it in this regard. What we need to do is work within the framework of the Constitution.

Jeff Berkowitz: You don’t want to take this backpack?

Sen. Bill Brady: I didn’t say that.

Jeff Berkowitz: Well, then you will take this backpack?

Sen. Bill Brady: I did not say that. What we have to do is work within the framework of the Constitution and empower competition. Between public schools. We need more charter schools. We need to continue to make sure the tax credit works effectively.

Jeff Berkowitz: $500. I want to give [each parent] $10,000 for school choice. You want to give them $500. Which do you think works better?

Sen. Bill Brady: Mine is constitutional. Your solution is not. [Ed. note: Actually, under the June 27, 2002 U. S. Supreme Court Zelman decision, school vouchers are constitutional and I think they are constitutional relative to the Illinois Constitution, as well. BTW, we have had 400 guests on our show in the last eight years—most have been asked about school vouchers, school choice—and although the overwhelming majority have argued against school vouchers, only two have done so based on Illinois Constitution grounds.]

Jeff Berkowitz: Amend the Constitution. You say we should amend the Constitution to allow caps for non-economic damages in Medical Malpractice awards.

Sen. Bill Brady: You are absolutely right [Ed. note: That is, Sen. Brady does want to amend the Constitution to permit non-economic damage caps because he believes the recently passed damage cap legislation is unlikely to decrease medical malpractice premiums-- as the insurance industry anticipates the Illinois Supreme Court will hold the caps unconstitutional. More precisely, insurers are unlikely to adjust their medical malpractice premiums downward until they have some assurance that the caps will be allowed, by the courts, to have an impact on damage awards].
Senator Bill Brady [R-Bloomington], candidate for Governor in the Republican Primary for Governor, recorded on October 30, 2005, as is airing on the City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs tonight, November 14 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21 [CANTV] and as is being webcast on this blog [See here].
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at