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Frerichs has new idea

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014

* Greg Hinz followed up on our post yesterday and this morning’s Capitol Fax with a piece on the dustup over the state treasurer’s investments in Israeli government bonds.

Sen. Mike Frerichs then volunteered another idea

But — without prompting — he then went on to say that the state should divest itself of any pension investments in companies “that move jobs overseas out of Illinois.”

Mr. Frerichs gave no examples, but as treasurer he would be a voting member of the Illinois State Board of Investments, which handles money management for some of the state’s pension funds.

Asked whether he would divest shares of Deerfield-based Walgreen if it indeed moves its headquarters to Switzerland, Mr. Frerichs said he’d wait for a while “to see how they manage this…what is the number of jobs they move out of the state.”

Mr. Cross countered that the treasurer’s job is to “maximize returns and minimize risks.” In the case of Walgreen, “you have to have the basic philosophy to get the best return,” he said.

Your thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Rauner sides with Uber

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014

* Bruce Rauner staged an event today designed to put pressure on Gov. Pat Quinn to veto the ride-sharing regulation bill

“Our kids use it a lot,” Rauner said Tuesday morning while about to step into an Uber car – a 2005 Toyota Camry with 200,000 miles on it — whisking him to 5044 S. Wabash for a campaign stop about early childhood education. “There are a lot of neighborhoods in Chicago where there aren’t cabs.” […]

He said some level of background checks for ride-sharing drivers “probably does make sense.” So does a certain level of insurance, though he didn’t have any coverage minimums in mind. […]

Rauner’s Uber driver was Schaumburg resident Mohammed Meghani, 43. He has been driving an Uber car since December and bought a used Camry in 2013 for $5,500 for strictly that purpose. He has 20 to 30 Uber customers a day, and it’s his primary way of making a living for him, his wife, a stay-at-home mom, and their three children, ages 14, 11 and 7. Meghani said he had most recently worked in the banking industry, for Chase and earlier for Bank of America and LaSalle Bank and Bank of Lincolnwood. […]

[The bill] requires chauffeur licenses for drivers who work more than 18 hours a week, Rauner said.

“That’s just a restraint of competition,” Rauner said. “That shouldn’t be necessary.”

I’m not sure that’s a “restraint of competition” because taxi drivers have to obtain the same license.

And one of the main hangups is the insurance coverage requirement. Uber doesn’t insure drivers very much in between rides.

Also, an old Camry with 200,000 miles on it isn’t exactly what one thinks of when one thinks of Uber. That’s gotta be UberX.

The campaign also posted a brief video to Instagram and is planning to send an e-mail to supporters.

…Adding… The blast email…

I am running for governor to bring back a booming economy to Illinois. We need to encourage job growth by giving innovative companies greater opportunities – not restricting them.

Uber is an innovative, growing company that provides ride-share services to millions of people across the country and wants to create 425 more jobs right here in Illinois. Yet, Governor Pat Quinn may sign a bill that will hamper this fast growing company with burdensome regulations and impede job creation.

Illinois should encourage companies like Uber to grow here, but this bill does the opposite. I’d veto it. Ride-share drivers should have insurance and background checks. But Pat Quinn shouldn’t sign this bill – it sends another signal that Illinois is closed to innovation.

I love Uber. And we need a state that supports job creation — not runs it off. Tweet Pat Quinn — tell him to veto the anti-Uber bill.

*** UPDATE *** From Mara Georges, Illinois Transportation Trade Association…

“This legislation is simply focused on making sure all Illinoisans have basic consumer protections when they step into a car for hire. Customers have the right to know their driver has passed a comprehensive police background check and drug test and carries sufficient insurance in case of an accident.

Ride-share companies claim they can regulate themselves, but time and time again they have proven that they cannot protect their drivers or passengers. It is unfortunate that Bruce Rauner would side with Silicon Valley multi-billionaires and venture capitalists, rather than Illinois consumers.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      


Question of the day

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014

* What are the local races you’re watching right now? Explain why.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Rauner campaign claims Quinn security detail “verbally assaulted and physically removed” a tracker

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014

* From Chip Englander, Bruce Rauner’s campaign manager…

Campaign videographers are commonplace, especially at public events on public property. We treat the governor’s campaign videographers with respect and we expect nothing less from the governor.

Earlier today, a member of Governor Quinn’s taxpayer funded security verbally assaulted and physically removed a young member of the Rauner team from a public event being held on public property. The stress of multiple criminal investigations does not excuse the behavior of Governor Quinn and his staff.

I’m told by the governor’s campaign that Rauner’s trackers “have become somewhat of a security issue lately as their tactics have been more aggressive.” One tracker was recently found “hiding in a bathroom” the gov’s campaign says. Today, I’m told, Rauner had 3 trackers, 2 clowns and 3 staffers at the Quinn event.

* From the twitters…


* Rauner tracker video

Tense.

Currently awaiting formal responses and counter-responses.

…Adding… Just as an FYI, according to the governor’s public schedule, the press conference was held today at the…

Circle Interchange
Intersection of W. Harrison St. & S. Des Plaines St.
Chicago

Looks like a public event to me.

…Adding More… Rauner’s Blagojevich impersonator was, according to the Quinnsters, “repeatedly asked to move” away from the governor’s car by the cop in this pic…

The Rauner folks say the guy was just standing in a parking lot.

…Adding More… The Quinnsters insist that the Blagojevich clown was “standing in front of the governor’s car” which isn’t pictured.

*** UPDATE *** From a buddy of mine who was at the event. Some sentences were deleted to protect the person’s identity…

As it happens I was standing next to the young man when security escorted him away. I can tell you that the kid was videotaping the podium area and the group that was invited to attend the bill signing event. I didn’t notice him, much, since the area was filled with real media. The kid had a puny video camera, and that did catch my attention. The security guy in question did ask him to leave, the young guy refused, security said (right before the beginning of this clip), “I’m not going to take this anymore.” Sounds like this wasn’t their first rodeo. He grabbed the videographer by the arm and hustled him away.

I will tell you that when I went to park, I pulled in front of security’s car. The same guy got out before I exited my vehicle and politely asked me to move my car. Which I did, of course. There were several Rauner supporters there, one with the Blago mask carrying a sign, and the ubiquitous “Quinnocio.” They stayed behind the barricades to the event at all times. I don’t quite get why the young guy was videotaping anything since the Governor had yet to arrive. Security being what it is, the officer seems to have exercised his duties out of an abundant caution for the Governor’s safety. My two cents.

- Posted by Rich Miller   151 Comments      


Judge rules state can close Murray Center

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014

* Illinois Review

Parents and loved ones of profoundly disabled residents of the Downstate Murray Center failed to prove their family members would suffer irreparable harm if the facility closed, federal Judge Marvin Aspen ruled Monday.

The state’s emphasis is on downsizing, but parents fighting the Murray Center closing warn that if Murray Center closes, all the state’s other similar facilities will close as well.

Murray Center families represent the most organized opposition to disability centers closing statewide. With that obstacle out of the way, all of the state’s five remaining centers are likely to close.

The state argued that putting the disabled in group settings would save the state $100,000 per person annually, part of their argument that the state budget could potentially improve if the center closed.

This has become quite a major cause down there. One of my own aunts is involved with keeping the facility open. Bruce Rauner has sided with AFSCME, local GOP lawmakers and the parents and said he’d keep the facility open if elected.

* But

Judge Marvin Aspen, in a 55-page ruling, said the plaintiffs did not prove they would suffer irreparable harm if Murray Center closes. Aspen said the state, in closing Murray Center, is trying to “improve efficiency by serving more citizens, to effectuate public policy favoring the integration of the disabled when feasible, and to potentially improve the state budget.”

He added: “We are not unsympathetic to the real human concerns raised by plaintiffs in their diligent and highly professional advocacy as guardians, on behalf of their loved ones as well as other families facing this predicament. We recognize that Murray’s closure may cause distress and disruption for plaintiffs, their wards, and their families. In the end, however, we cannot grant them legal relief on the record before us, which does not permit us to conclude that plaintiffs’ interests outweigh defendants’ interests…” […]

Aspen, in his ruling, noted that 11 states have quit operating institutions for people who have developmental disabiltiies. “Community programs have been developing for at least 50 years and are not a fad,” the judge wrote.

Aspen also noted that Illinois currently serves about 1,800 residents in institutional developmental centers, and about 22,000 people in community-based settings such as group homes. But, the judge added, “an estimated 23,000 people with developmental disabilities in Illinois are on a waiting list to receive services, of whom 6,000 are considered to be in emergency situations. The (state) lacks funding to offer services to these individuals.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      


Griffin talks about what he’s up to here

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014

* Ken Griffin says he has no interest in running for office. From a hedge fund newsletter

The Citadel Investment Group founder has played an outsized role in this year’s gubernatorial campaign in Illinois, donating more than $3.5 million to Republican challenger Bruce Rauner. The contributions include the state’s single-largest ever, a $2.5 million check cut last month. But Griffin said he expects that giving—and giving generously—is as far as he’ll go in politics.

Griffin told CNBC at last week’s Delivering Alpha conference in New York that the “can’t see” a run for office in his future. Pressed by CNBC’s Kate Kelly, he wouldn’t rule it out, but did not sound enthusiastic, either.

“Never say never, but I can’t see it in my future,” he said.

Griffin said he’s digging deep because Illinois under Gov. Pat Quinn is in trouble.

“Americans talk about the need for change in Washington. I can tell you the need for change in Springfield is far greater than the need for change in Washington. I know it’s hard to believe.”

* More

“So Illinois has historically been a great state to do business in. Unfortunately over the last 20 years, we’ve moved from being at the top of the list of places to do business to, frankly, the bottom of the list,” Griffin said when asked about the Rauner contribution. […]

“The difference between Republicans and Democrats on most issues is actually pretty small,” he said. “We make a big deal about very modest differences as a country, and yet the extremes on both sides have a disproportionate … voice in Washington, and that undermines the ability for us to move our country forward.”

Griffin is putting his money behind his words by contributing to national campaigns. Large political contributions made in 2014 include $32,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, $100,000 to USA Super PAC, $150,000 to America Rising PAC and $250,000 to American Crossroads, among other political action committee donations, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      


NFIB “will lead the fight” against Rauner service tax

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014

* The NFIB’s Kim Clarke Maisch argued forcefully against a sales tax on services in a 2012 Crain’s op-ed

Advocates for higher taxes seem not to have learned from experience. Lawmakers and activists in Springfield have been pushing for years to expand the state sales tax to include services. And with another gaping hole in the budget, the temptation is getting stronger. Crain’s columnist Joe Cahill argued, based on various studies, that the state’s fiscal problems are the result of a “narrow” tax base that exempts “half of the state’s economy” from taxation.

There are two problems with this view: First, it fails to consider the relationship between taxes and economic activity. It is basic economics that higher prices result in lower demand. Higher taxes increase prices and therefore consumer behavior. Even President Barack Obama seems to understand. He thinks that higher energy prices will discourage the consumption of fossil fuels, and that subsidies for green energy that reduce its cost artificially will make it more attractive for consumers. It’s the same theory behind higher cigarette taxes, higher alcohol taxes and higher taxes for people who don’t buy insurance.

The point is that even the cheerleaders for higher taxes know that they change consumer behavior. Where conservatives want lower taxes to encourage consumption, liberals want higher taxes to dampen the demand for products and behaviors they don’t like. Whether that’s the proper role for government — to use the tax code to manipulate personal behavior — is a debate for another day. But there’s really no debate that higher taxes on the service economy will weaken the demand for services.

Mr. Cahill seems to dismiss this theory by stating, “Sorry, but I just don’t believe that Illinoisans will start cutting their own hair if they have to pay sales tax at the barbershop.” He may be right about haircuts, but many border communities for years have complained that folks are going across the state line to buy cheaper gas, cheaper alcohol and cheaper cigarettes. Isn’t it likely that if a service tax comes to Illinois, consumers will seek lower prices where they can find them, including across the border? […]

More than half of all of the jobs in Illinois are provided by small businesses. They can’t wave a magic wand and increase their sales by 6.5 percent, and their customers can’t give themselves a raise. Expanding the sales tax would hurt both groups precisely when we need more consumer activity.

* Joe Cahill followed up after Bruce Rauner unveiled his service tax plan

Mr. Rauner’s proposal to extend the state’s sales tax to services is a common-sense idea that would raise revenue while making the tax base broader and fairer. As I’ve written before, there’s no rational justification for levying sales tax on nail polish but not manicures. […]

A substantial segment of Illinois business, I should add, disagrees with me on this point. They’ll be no more pleased with Mr. Rauner’s stand. Here’s what Kim Maisch, Illinois director of the National Federation of Independent Business, has to say:

“The NFIB and our 11,000 small-business members have long been opposed to a service tax here in Illinois . . . no matter who is pursuing the idea. As we look at Mr. Rauner’s proposal in its entirety, there are certainly items we can also support. However, no matter who the next governor is, NFIB will lead the fight against any legislative effort to bring a service tax to Illinois.”

By opposing a powerful, Republican-leaning interest group on a contentious issue, Mr. Rauner shows a willingness to put the state’s overall welfare ahead of his own short-term political interests. That’s a rare thing in Illinois politics, and he deserves kudos for it.

That NFIB endorsement will be a must watch event. The group has fought tooth and nail against a service tax for decades and now Rauner has opened the door wide.

* By the way, the Illinois Chamber has also fought hard against a service tax over the years. That group is run by Ms. Maisch’s husband Todd Maisch. So far, he’s been very quiet about this Rauner plan, and his group is also in the midst of formulating its endorsements.

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      


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Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014

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A silly Koch poke

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014

* The DCCC tried to get me to write about this the other day. I passed

The Koch Brothers have their eyes on Illinois. Republican candidates running in four of the state’s competitive congressional races received campaign contributions last quarter from the political action committee of Koch Industries Inc., a Kansas-based energy and manufacturing conglomerate run by the conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.

Oh, c’mon. It’s a pittance

From April 1 through June 30, the Koch Industries Inc. Political Action Committee, or KochPAC, gave a collective $17,500 to the Illinois GOP candidates in 11th, 12th, 13th and 17th congressional districts, according to second-quarter reports filed with the Federal Election Commission

That’s an average of $4,375 per candidate. Not even lunch money for those guys.

Look, I get the Democrats’ obsession with the Koch brothers. But trying to make a big deal out of a few bucks is getting really close to McCarthyism.

- Posted by Rich Miller   61 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Appellate court approves expedited term limits hearings

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014

* Illinois Review

Although the term limits state constitutional amendment was rejected by the Illinois Supreme Court last week, GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner told reporters Monday his legal team expects to return to the state’s highest court again.

The first step was going back to the state’s First District Appellate Court, which said Monday it would hear the case and expedite its ruling. Either way the appellate court decides, the case will be appealed back the state’s highest court. With ballot printing deadlines less than a month away, timing will be crucial.

“We’re asking this court to make an expedited decision, we think they owe it to you, they owe it to the voters of our state to make a prompt decision on this and then let the voters decide the issue,” Rauner said at a news conference.

Expedited appeal is basically a three-week turnaround. A week each for briefs and motions and then a week to formulate the opinion. That puts them at August 11th or so for the opinion - just ten days before the ballot is scheduled to be certified.

Tick tock.

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      


What do they do now?

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014

* Last week’s most interesting reaction to Bruce Rauner’s service tax proposal

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont):

    “The contrast in this election has never been more clear. Bruce Rauner wants to lower your income taxes while Pat Quinn wants to raise them 67%. Bruce Rauner wants to freeze your property taxes while Pat Quinn lets them rise. There’s only one candidate who has a vision to create jobs and turn Illinois into a growth economy, and that’s Bruce Rauner.”

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs):

    “Middle-class families across Illinois are struggling under the Quinn-Madigan policies of higher income taxes, higher property taxes, and burdensome regulations. Bruce Rauner’s plan offers the citizens of Illinois a new direction of lower taxes, high-paying jobs and real opportunities for growth.”

That’s the first time those two have supported a tax hike since the little-remembered candy tax, which funded part of the 2009 capital bill.

And they didn’t just support a service tax. As Rauner has said, he wants to step down the 5 percent income tax to 3 percent in four years.

And as we’ve discussed before, the problem is that the tax hike is scheduled to roll back to 3.75 percent on January 1st - before he’s inaugurated (assuming he is, that is). So, to avoid the huge fiscal cliff created by the current state budget, those tax rates are gonna have to go up. Maybe not all the way up to 5 percent, but up, nonetheless.

It’s tough to implement something as big as a new service tax right away. It takes time to ramp up to that sort of thing. Income taxes are a different matter. Businesses already have the software and personnel in place to handle changes to that rate. Service companies have never paid sales tax, though, so that couldn’t be imposed immediately. So, you can’t count on a service tax to replace any income tax revenue during the final six months of the current fiscal year.

* Rauner made it pretty clear yesterday that rates will have to go up after he’s inaugurated. Our commenter 47th Ward showed once again the other day why he won the Golden Horseshoe award last year...

Has he told Durkin and Radogno yet? Because he’s going to need an awful lot of GOP votes to raise the income tax back up to 5%.

* I expect that the Democrats will cooperate with Rauner if he’s elected, but only so far. After years of going it alone, they’re gonna want a substantial number of Republican votes on any tax bill.

And after complaining bitterly about the tax hike for years and basing their members’ campaigns on opposition to the 5 percent rate, and with their caucuses full of people who’ve been able to avoid hard votes on actual governance, the two GOP legislative leaders are now in quite an interesting little box here.

* Meanwhile, Rep. David Harris (R-Arlington Heights) sent out a helpful press release yesterday…

State Representative David Harris (R-Arlington Heights) today introduced House Bill 6289. HB 6289 makes two key changes related to state revenue and fees.

First, the bill includes corporate income generated in the outer continental shelf. This income is currently excluded from corporate income, and this exclusion is often called the “Big Oil Loophole.” Governor Quinn proposed making this change back in the 2013 legislative session, and GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner has made it part of his campaign’s “Corporate Welfare Reform” agenda.

The second key change in the bill is to reduce the filing fee for a new Limited Liability Company (LLC) to $75 from the current $500 fee, which is the highest in the nation. HB 6289 also reduces the fee for a series LLC to $125 from the current $750. Governor Quinn made reducing the LLC fee part of his 2014 Budget Message, and Mr. Rauner called for reduction of the LLC fees in his campaign’s “Jobs and Growth” agenda.

“The State of Illinois has serious financial problems facing it, and it needs to encourage job growth within our State,” said Harris. “HB 6289 raises revenue by closing what many perceive to be a tax loophole, and it significantly lessens the financial burden that companies bear in starting a company in our State.

“Even though the legislature is currently out of session, I hope that the two gubernatorial candidates can agree that HB 6289 moves our State’s tax and fee policies in the right direction and that each of them can support HB 6289 or a similar bill in the 2015 session no matter who wins in November.”

Good idea by Harris.

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      


Today’s oppo dump

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014

* You can see all of the digital materials on the governor’s anti-violence initiative which were collected by the Auditor General by clicking here.

Many thanks to Andrew Garrett for the link.

…Adding… We killed the link with too much traffic.

Heh.

Working on a solution.

- Posted by Rich Miller   5 Comments      


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Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014

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PREVIOUS POSTS »
* Frerichs has new idea
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Rauner sides with Uber
* Question of the day
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Rauner campaign claims Quinn security detail "verbally assaulted and physically removed" a tracker
* Judge rules state can close Murray Center
* Griffin talks about what he's up to here
* NFIB "will lead the fight" against Rauner service tax
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Political events calendar
* A silly Koch poke
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* Appellate court approves expedited term limits hearings
* What do they do now?
* Today's oppo dump
* Yesterday's blog posts

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        * Douglas Mayol: Shops are great, but downtown needs shoppers
        * Catherine Rampell: Big money? Big deal
        * Judge: Illinois can close developmental center
        * Rauner continues push for Illinois term limits


        * Prison sentence for sex offender
        * City keeps leasing building to Art on Square for $1
        * Former Illini Afryl died during workout
        * Wood River still searching for trash collection service
        * On The Town: Habitat fundraiser
        * On The Town: Tom Jones Challenger League banquet
        * On The Town: Baseball banquet
        * On The Town: Roger Ebert Sculpture
        * Fire destroys vacant house in Gorham
        * Mississippi Half Step owner steps away


        * Enter your recipe in Sugar Grove Corn Boil Challenge
        * Friends gather at Grayslake Central to honor teen who drowned
        * Cubs designated Barney for assignment
        * Carnival, crafts, competitions featured at Algonquin Founders' Days
        * Shania Twain's Vegas residency to end in December

        * Illinois representatives bring issue of hu...
        * Shimkus to visit Marion veterans' hospital...
        * Shimkus, Davis to host human trafficking s...
        * Shimkus wearing two hats during election y...
        * Shimkus Praises Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Sup...
        * Shimkus Praises Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Dec...
        * Shimkus tours Marion VA Medical Center - T...
        * Congressman Shimkus Tours Marion VA - WSIL TV
        * US Representative to visit southern Illino...
        * Shimkus faces opposition in November elect...

        * Durbin Drubs Walgreen for Possible Tax Dodge...
        * Durbin Drubs Walgreen for Possible Tax Dodge...
        * Durbin Drubs Walgreen for Possible Tax Dodge...
        * Durbin Drubs Walgreen for Possible Tax Dodge...
        * Durbin Drubs Walgreen for Possible Tax Dodge...

        * GOP Rep. David Jolly endorses marriage equ......
        * Rep. David Jolly Becomes Latest Republican......

        * Report: Positive And Troubling Trends Of Child Well-Being In Illinois
        * Lawmakers Face Long To-Do List, Uncertain Success
        * Former Source Interlink Distribution Workers Say Employer Owes Them Wages
        * Protest By Former McCook Source Interlink Distribution Workers
        * Illinois Manufacturers' Association endorses Rauner
        * Term limit decision may spell defeat for some Illinois judges
        * Despite court rulings, Obamacare subsidies to continue in Illinois
        * Republicans In Competitive IL Congressional Races Get Support From Koch Brothers
        * To fight crime, Chicago tries wiping away arrests
        * Black Colleges Face Hard Choices On $25M Koch Gift


        * Governor Quinn Signs $1.1 Billion Capital Construction Bill - Shovel Ready Projects Will Create Thousands of Jobs and Drive Economic Growth
        * Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Strengthen Ethics Provisions in County Government - Law Helps Increase Accountability for Public Officials in Illinois’ Collar Counties
        * Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Help Ease Pain for Adults and Children with Seizures - New Law Adds Seizures to List of Debilitating Medical Conditions Under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act
        * Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Help Ensure Fair Hiring Practices Across Illinois - New Law Prevents Criminal Background Checks Until After an Applicant is Deemed Qualified for a Job
        * Governor Quinn Unveils Mandela Road in Chicago - Portion of Cicero Avenue Now Named for Late World Leader




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