Illinois House Speaker Madigan misses budget meeting

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan did not attend the latest meeting between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders aimed at ending a budget stalemate now in its sixth month.

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown says the Democratic speaker had a scheduling conflict Thursday. Brown declined to explain the conflict, but said Madigan “makes every effort to attend these meetings.”

It was the third in as many weeks.

Republican leaders Sen. Christine Radogno and Rep. Jim Durkin said they discussed several issues with Rauner and Democratic Senate President John Cullerton, including the state’s $111 billion pension liability and school funding. Durkin criticized Madigan’s absence, saying “we need more participation.”

Rauner and Cullerton did not comment after the meeting in Chicago.

Illinois has been operating without a spending plan since July 1.