What's up this week: Illinois awaits Supreme Court's healthcare ruling; Rep. Smith's fate in committee's hands

What's up this week: Illinois awaits Supreme Court's healthcare ruling; Rep. Smith's fate in committee's hands
Creative Commons image by Flickr user steakpinball

Here's a peek at what's on this week's political horizon:

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will begin to hear arguments for and against President Barack Oabma's sweeping 2010 healthcare legislation. The central issue before the nine justices is whether it is legal for the federal government to require citizens to purchase insurance or force them to pay a penalty if they do not. Read CNN's extensive report on how the high court will handle the case.

Some state legislatures have been slow in passing healthcare laws that comply with the federal legislation because many state lawmakers don't want to act until the Supreme Court has handed down its ruling.

In Illinois, for example, there are several bills floating around both chambers that would create a state-run health exchange. The exchange would be a place for consumers to shop for competitively priced healthcare plans.

The federal law requires the creation of the exchange by 2014. Federal money is also available for implementation, and in order to take advantage of it, Governor Pat Quinn threatened to use executive order to create one in Illinois.

Quinn has not exercised that executive order, and both sides of the aisle in the state legislature have kept the issue on ice.

 

A bipartisan, six-member House committee created to investigate 10th District state Rep. Derrick Smith's alleged involvement in a bribery scheme will convene for the first time Tuesday morning.

The committee meets on the heels of Smith's landslide election win a week ago despite corruption charges against him. What's more, it also follows increasing pressure from state and city officials who want Smith to step down but who had supported him in the March 20 election.

Tuesday's hearings in Springfield will be closed to the public. But, if the group finds any substance to the federal accusations Smith faces, it could recommend the creation of another committee, which could decide whether to censure, reprimand or expel Smith.  Rich Miller has a good breakdown of the process on his blog, Capitol Fax.

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