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Monday, Apr 30, 2007

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Enter your password to view comments      


Obamarama - New Illinois poll shows Obama lead here outstrips Hillary’s in NY, wide open Republican race *** Updated x4 ***

Monday, Apr 30, 2007

[Updated and bumped up to make it easier to find.]

My political newsletter, Capitol Fax, commissioned a new statewide poll last week of presidential preference in Illinois. Only “hardcore” voters in each party were surveyed - see my weekly syndicated column below for more details…

Democrats
Obama 52.6
Clinton 24.6
Edwards 9.5
Richardson 2.4
Biden 2.3
Kucinich 1.25
Dodd 0.53
Undecided 6.9

Republicans
McCain 26.1
Giuliani 25.7
F. Thompson 17.4
Romney 10.2
T. Thompson 3.3
Undecided 17.2

And here’s the column

It may be no surprise to some, but new polling shows Barack Obama is doing better with hardcore Illinois primary voters than Hillary Clinton is doing with voters in her home state of New York. Also, voters are split over whether Obama should be more critical of Chicago corruption, and the Republican presidential primary appears wide open here.

The Illinois poll was commissioned by my political newsletter, Capitol Fax. The poll, taken last Thursday, surveyed registered voters who have chosen either Democratic or Republican ballots in the past two presidential primaries and have never picked a different ballot. They’re the hardcore of the hardcore and are very likely to vote.

The poll found Obama leading the pack of presidential hopefuls here with 52.6 percent of the vote among hardcore Democrats. Clinton came in second with 24.6 percent. Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards was third with 9.5 percent. None of the other declared candidates topped 3 percent, while 6.9 percent chose either “other” or “undecided.”

In New York, two recent polls have shown Clinton with a bigger lead but polling well under 50 percent. A Quinnipac University poll had her ahead of Obama 44 to 14, but a more recent survey from Siena College’s Research Institute had Clinton ahead of the second place Obama 39 to 17 with 13 percent of Democrats undecided.

Obama captured well over 70 percent of the vote in the 2004 US Senate race, so his Illinois numbers in this latest poll might be a surprise to some who expected him to be doing even better. Clinton was raised in Illinois and is, of course, a very well known commodity. That probably explains why she is polling higher here than Obama is polling in New York.

The Illinois poll also found voters are evenly split over whether Obama has been sufficiently critical of Mayor Richard Daley regarding corruption in city hall.

A tad more than 49 percent of hardcore Democratic and Republican primary voters said they believed Obama has sufficiently criticized Daley, who just won another landslide re-election race, while 50.8 percent said he has not been critical enough.

The issue of Obama’s alliance with the Daley Machine has been a much bigger issue in Illinois than it has been on the national stage. But since this story is being constantly pushed here, it has the potential to one day bleed into the national debate.

About 60 percent of hardcore Democratic and Republican residents of Chicago and Cook County thought he had criticized Daley enough, but just 36 percent of downstate voters believe he has sufficiently criticized Daley.

Slightly less than 61 percent of hardcore Democratic voters said he has done enough to criticize Daley, while 35 percent of hardcore GOP voters said the same. A majority, 53 percent, of suburban collar county primary voters said he has criticized the mayor enough while 47 percent said he hadn’t.

Meanwhile, the poll also showed that Illinois’ Republican presidential primary appears to be wide open.

The survey of hardcore Republican primary voters showed U.S. Sen. John McCain with an ever-so-slight lead over former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. McCain was ahead of Giuliani 26.1 to 25.7.

Former U.S. Sen. and TV actor Fred Thompson came in third with 17.7 percent. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was fourth with 10.2 percent, and former Wisconsin Gov. and George W. Bush cabinet member Tommy Thompson was fifth with just 3.3 percent. Undecideds and “other” totaled 17 percent.

McCain is slipping rapidly in national polling, but he still has support among Illinoisans who backed him in his 2000 presidential bid. Giuliani recently signed up House Republican Leader Tom Cross, who is helping get that organization together. Thompson has not yet formally announced, but he is looking more like a candidate every day.

The automated phone poll was conducted by “Ask Illinois,” which has done a lot of polling for political candidates and interest groups and has a good reputation among insiders. The firm uses special technology to blast out hundreds of calls simultaneously and they contact huge numbers of people. In this case 3,509 hardcore Democrats and 3,761 Republicans responded to the poll, leaving us with an extremely low margin of error of +/- 1.18 to +/- 1.52 percent, depending on the question. Republicans and Democrats who indicated they intend to cross over to the other party next year were omitted from these results. The difference was statistically insignificant.

Crosstabs will be posted later this morning in the subscriber-only section.

*** UPDATE *** RealClearPolitics covers the poll.

And here’s a press release announcing the poll…

CapFaxrelease.jpg

*** UPDATE 2 *** Metro Networks, which has member radio stations all over Illinois, covered the poll this morning…

Democrats who plan to vote in next year’s presidential primary have a much better idea of who they plan to support than Republicans. A new polls for the political newsletter “Capitol Fax” shows Illinois U.S. Senator Barack Obama with a huge lead over Senator Hillary Clinton. Both have ties to Illinois, but Obama leads the hardcore primary voter poll by 28-percent. The poll asked people who’ve voted in the last two primaries for the same party who they plan to support. Obama pulled in 52-point-6 percent, Senator Clinton is in second with 24-point-6, and Senator John Edwards has about 9-and-a-half percent.

It’s a much closer field for the Republicans. John McCain leads among his hardcore supporters, edging out Rudy Giuliani 26-point-1 to 25-point-7. Fred Thompson is third, and Mitt Romney fourth. Pollsters say the hardcore voters will vote in the primary, and a look at their support is a solid indicator of who may win Illinois if the state moves to an earlier primary for 2008.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Rasmussen has a new national poll that has Obama leading the pack

For the first time in the Election 2008 season, somebody other than New York Senator Hillary Clinton is on top in the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows Illinois Senator Barack Obama with a statistically insignificant two point advantage over the former First Lady. It’s Obama 32% Clinton 30%. Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards remains in third with support holding steady at 17%. No other candidate tops 3%. The survey was conducted April 23-26, 2007 meaning that the overwhelming majority of the interviews were completed before last Thursday’s debate in South Carolina. The impact of the debate will be measured in polling conducted this week.

*** UPDATE 4 *** The Daily Herald’s bloggy type thing Animal Farm gives us some props

The Capitol Fax newsletter has done what I think is the first presidential poll for ‘08. It shows Democratic Sen. Barack Obama with a huge lead, more than 2-to-1, over the field in his adopted home state. On the Republican side, it’s tres tight between Sen. John McCain and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Former Sen. Fred Thompson, whose wife is from Naperville, was a surprising third.

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      


Question of the day

Monday, Apr 30, 2007

Despite all the cash dumped into state health insurance expansion plans, the problem continues to worsen. According to the Tribune, a study released Friday showed that “1.8 million residents were uninsured in Illinois in 2005, up about 2 percent from the year before.”

“What this tells us is even with everything Illinois is doing, this problem is getting worse,” said Michael Taitel, board president at the Gilead Outreach and Referral Center, which published the study and focuses on the uninsured.

It’s happening largely because of a well-documented, long-term trend: Fewer employers are offering medical coverage to employees and their families as insurance premiums and health-care costs soar.

Between 2001 and 2005, the portion of Illinois’ population covered by employer-based insurance fell from 74.9 percent to 72.8 percent, the Gilead Center’s analysis shows. […]

Statewide, 367,995 families with an annual income of more than $50,000 included at least one family member younger than 65 who was uninsured in 2005—or nearly 40 percent of all uninsured families.

The Gilead Center study can be found here [pdf file].

As if on cue, two longtime proponents of single-payer health plans penned an op-ed in the Sun-Times

Illinois has only two options for health reform: preserve private insurance companies (and the huge systemic waste they generate), or scrap them and use the savings to cover everyone. Sadly, Blagojevich has joined President Bush, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in offering the private insurance route.

The better approach would be to replace insurance companies with Medicare-like universal public health insurance, a system that has afforded the rest of the industrialized world better health for half our per-capita cost (or less).

Question: Do you support a single-payer system? Why or why not?

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      


More trouble for the GRT *** Updated x1 ***

Monday, Apr 30, 2007

Phil Kadner had a very good column over the weekend. I say that at least partly because he beat me to this angle.

What happened was the Illinois Education and A+ Illinois have organized a Statehouse rally this week. Originally, the rally was supposed to tout the governor’s gross receipts tax proposal to fund education. But the groups got some push-back, particularly from longtime tax swap supporters, and now it’s just a general “let’s fund education” to-do….

“We’re not choosing sides here,” said a spokesman for the Illinois Education Association, which actually did choose sides earlier this year by supporting the GRT. “This is a citizens rally to tell legislators the time has come to get something done.” […]

Voliva said the IEA agreed to a more generic rally in support of increased school funding. It also agreed not to allow any politicians to speak.

So her organization [Better Funding for Better Schools] — which includes the Illinois PTA, League of Women Voters and a number of grass roots education advocacy groups — agreed to participate.

Here’s the original IEA flyer on the rally and a close-up of the GRT language [click for larger pics]…

IEAflyer.jpg iea_closeup.jpg

And here’s the new IEA statement and the new A+ Illinois info on the rally…

current_iea_statement.jpg newaplusflier.jpg

Needless to say, this is not good news for Gov. Blagojevich’s tax and spending plan. The guv’s office has tried its very best to stamp out all mentions of the tax swap, but it keeps coming back up. The Illinois Federation of Teachers is currently withholding support from the spending component (along with the Illinois AFL-CIO).

There is little if any momentum for the governor’s plans at the Statehouse right now. A generic education funding rally is definitely not something he wanted.

* Meanwhile, a couple of pro-business think-tank types take after both the GRT and the tax swap in an op-ed entitled “Blagojevich’s tax plan is bad … Meeks’ is worse

Both proposals would have adverse, if not devastating, effects on the Illinois economy. But taxpayer advocates should hand it to the governor. His is only the second-most reckless plan on the table this spring.

And a Rockford Register-Star article includes this line about the competing proposals…

But chances of either plan passing appear slim as the plans compete for political support.

*** UPDATE *** The IEA has a new TV ad that makes no mention of the GRT. Entitled “Someday” it ends with the tagline “Tell your state Senator and Representative to support school funding reform.” Click the pic to watch [.mov file]…

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      


Morning Shorts

Monday, Apr 30, 2007

* No House vote yet on electric rates

* Blagojevich’s tollway sign drive push to close loopholes

* McQueary: The intrigue of ethics legislation

* WSIU show explores work of Illinois lawmakers

* In support of HB1500; in opposition

* Civil damages bill could reignite ire of doctors

* Michigan unveils comprehensive business tax relief plan; more here

In a move to jumpstart Michigan’s economy and reward businesses that create jobs here in Michigan, House leadership today unveiled a comprehensive business tax and incentive package that rewards investment, protects Michigan-based companies, and ensures funding for education, health care and the 21st Century Jobs Fund.

* Players ponder state’s power rate debate

* Compromise sought on electric rate freeze

* Electric rates caught in sticky web

* Aaron Chambers: Power politics puts ComEd back in the rate freeze mix

* Editorial: Real leadership is needed to ease electric rate crisis

* Editorial: Political games in Springfield hurt electric issue

Years from now, political science classes probably will be studying the Illinois deregulation/rate-setting issue as an example of how not to do something.

* Statehouse Insider: Electric rates and Media ducking: “It’s pretty much official now. None of the top Democrats in the state is talking to the news media.”

* Public will get to go up in dome of Old State Capitol

* Bill would bring fluorescent light to state buildings

* House votes to expand malpractice damages

* Lynn Sweet: Obama admits being nervous at first debate

Obama replied that while a state senator, “The first bill I ever passed was campaign finance reform legislation.'’ He’s wrong. It was not his first bill. Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief Dave McKinney reports that as a chief co-sponsor, Obama played an important role in passing that legislation May 22, 1998. Obama’s first bill passed on his own in the state Senate required the state’s community colleges to publish a directory of students with vocational and technical skills.

* Video: Raw interview with Obama

* Carol Marin: Ald. Preckiwinkle speaks out on Rezko

* Subcontractor with Rezko ties hasn’t shown it’s done any work

* Moseley Braun attacked in failed robbery attempt

* CPS cuts 11% of teaching force

* Tribune Editorial: Another form of TIF abuse

* Hinz: Mayor must allow real community participation in the Olympic effort

* Middle school students get close look at government

* Who says art and politics don’t mix?

* Illinois Reason: Is tipping included?

* Eastern Illinois raises tutition 12%

* States seek ‘robocall’ limits in campaigns

* Editorial: More state funds needed for Pace paratransit program

- Posted by Paul Richardson   5 Comments      


Friday, Apr 27, 2007

If you get a moment, say a prayer or have a kind thought for former House staffer Tim Hunsdorfer. He’s very sick and no longer able to work.

If you can kick in a few bucks to help him out of his excruciatingly bad financial situation, I’d consider it a personal favor if you would go here. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


READER COMMENTS CLOSED FOR THE WEEKEND

Friday, Apr 27, 2007

What a long week that was. The craziness never seems to end at the Statehouse.

Just so you know, I’m taking bids for a new web hosting service. Best reliability wins. Local company preferred. Goodbye, PowWeb. I’m not gonna miss you. Hopefully, you will be out of my life by early next week.

By now, loyal blog readers most certainly know our Friday drill. It’s Illinoize time…

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Question of the day - Obamarama edition

Friday, Apr 27, 2007

My Sun-Times column today is about more possible turmoil in Chicago elections, but ends with these thoughts about the recent aldermanic races

Speaking of Obama, it might be interesting to watch what the presidential candidate does in next year’s primary. Obama refused to endorse any of the insurgent candidates this year, sticking with the Daley Machine and openly endorsing faded hack Ald. Tillman in her losing race to Pat Dowell, who is truly a breath of fresh air.

It’s more than a little ironic that a self-styled ‘’new politics'’ guy like Obama has no strong ties to the newly elected aldermen who seem to share so many of his self-professed political values. He’s just lucky that no national political reporter has covered this hypocrisy angle yet.

My syndicated column this week also took a whack at the guy for the same reason and put him in the “loser” category for the season…

Barack Obama, who styles himself as the epitome of a young, black “new politics” candidate, did not endorse a single one of the bright, new, independent-minded aldermen who will be taking the helm of black wards on the South and West sides. Count him as a big loser.

And here’s a little teaser: On Monday we’ll take a look at how Obama’s association with the Daley Machine is playing with voters.

Anyway, to the question: Did anyone watch the Democratic presidential candidates debate last night? What did you make of it? Apparently, Lynn Sweet didn’t think much of Obama’s performance.

If you’ve been on Mars for a while and did not know the names of the Democratic White House frontrunners, you could have thought after the first presidential debate Thursday they were Sen. Joe Biden, Gov. Bill Richardson and Sen. Chris Dodd.

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      


Smoking ban edges closer to passage

Friday, Apr 27, 2007

The statewide smoking ban is getting closer to reality

Illinois took another step toward a statewide smoking ban on Thursday, when the House environmental health committee approved it on a 10-to-2 vote. […]

The Senate has already approved SB500, which would prohibit smoking in all Illinois workplaces and indoor public areas, including bars, restaurants, casinos and bowling alleys. Smoking also would be banned within 15 feet of any entrance to those facilities and in all government vehicles.

Surprisingly enough, the governor has been rather noncommittal on this issue…

“The governor’s been supportive of public health initiatives in the past that deal with smoking,” said Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff. “But we still need to take a closer look at the particulars of this bill.”

The bill also bans smoking in riverboat casinos, which doesn’t please some members with boats in their districts

State Rep. Mike Boland, D-East Moline, said he wished there were more exceptions to the ban. He worries about towns on the Illinois border that could lose business to bars or casinos on the other side. ’’I wish there’d been more flexibility,’’ he said.

The Peoria Journal-Star reports that most of that area’s legislators are apparently against a smoking ban, despite a recent show of support in Peoria…

(L)awmakers’ opinions apparently weren’t influenced by a recent advisory referendum in which Peoria voters said 2-1 that they support a statewide smoking ban. […]

“Sen. Koehler did vote yes. He was the only senator to vote yes who has a casino in his district. That was huge,” said Kelli Evans, health initiatives manager for the 19 downstate counties of the American Cancer Society.

State Reps. David Leitch, R-Peoria; Aaron Schock, R-Peoria; Don Moffitt, R-Gilson, and Keith Sommer, R-Morton, all said Thursday that they plan to vote against the smoking ban.

The bill could receive a vote in the full House as early as next week, according to many of the reports above.

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      


Heated debate on notification, Fritchey claims death threats

Friday, Apr 27, 2007

A parental notification of abortion bill came up short in the House yesterday, scoring just 55 votes of the 60 needed.

Favored by abortion-rights groups, the initiative that failed 55-62 was designed to broaden the pool of adults that pregnant girls could contact to fulfill a dormant 1995 parental-notification law.

That law, which is before a federal court and could soon be enforced, requires females under 18 to notify an adult relative or receive approval from a judge. The legislation voted on Thursday would have allowed minors in dysfunctional families to notify an aunt or uncle or meet with a health professional instead.

“This is not a referendum on abortion,” said Rep. John Fritchey, the bill’s lead sponsor. “It is a referendum on protecting the health and safety of young women.”

There was lots of heated debate

“It’s really irresponsible for people on the other side to characterize any of us as pro-abortion,” said state Rep. Rosemary Mulligan, a Des Plaines Republican who voted for the plan. “That’s not where we’re going with this. What we want to do is protect young women. We want to protect them from going to the wrong place if they do seek an abortion.”

Critics argued the proposal didn’t do enough to help young girls in what could be one of the most important decisions they’ll ever make. They also said teenagers should have a compelling reason, such as incest or other dangers, for wanting to go around telling their parents, something more than embarrassment or fear of parental retribution.

“I’m her father … and I should know about it,” said state Rep. Robert Molaro, a Chicago Democrat and the father of three teen daughters, who voted against the plan.

And also lots of charges and counter-charges from both sides, including claims of death threats…

Opponents suggested Fritchey was trying to torpedo any notification law by leaving out language that lets courts rule part of the law unconstitutional without striking down the whole measure. Omitting that language could mean that any small legal flaw would nullify the entire law.

Fritchey said working on the measure was the “worst experience” of his legislative career. He said the proposal inspired people to lie, spew hatred and even make death threats.

From Lee Newspapers

All central Illinois lawmakers voted against the legislation… All Southern Illinois lawmakers voted against the legislation.

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      


Morning Shorts

Friday, Apr 27, 2007

* “Request Denied” articles

*A system of loopholes

* Exceptions made from understandable to puzzling

* AG Madigan says, ‘We’re committed to the fight’

* Springfield jockeying puts ComEd back in House rate freeze; more here

* No outlet for high electric bills

* House panel pushes electric rate issue again

* Ameren could start pulling the plug in Illinois

* Eric Krol: ComEd campaign cash

* Jones sits in the eye of a brewing political storm

* Dave Kolata: ComEd’s auction stacks deck against consumers

* Editorial: Clean up IL government, end ‘pay to play’

Oddly, the governor - who campaigned on the platform of doing away with business as usual - has not taken a position on the bill and a spokeswoman wouldn’t even say whether the governor believes in the basic principal of prohibiting donations from contractors.

* Illinois handgun background check system has some loopholes

* Rep. Mendoza: Denouncing the Little Village immigration raid

* Harper 4-year bill approved in the House

* Jefferson brings Rockford tax bill to the House

* Local official offers advice to Sun-Times Editorial: Answers are needed about Rezko’s deals

* Will revenue flap hurt Chicago’s Olympic bid?

- Posted by Paul Richardson   5 Comments      


Site update

Thursday, Apr 26, 2007

I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent talking on the phone and exchanging e-mails with my hosting company about the site problems we’ve had this week. I’m very sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you, but I’ve been assured over and over by the company that they’re working on it.

It seems to be running better now, so we’ll just have to wait and see. This morning, I threatened to call the CEO of the company’s corporate parent with my beef, and that may have done the trick.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Dispelling the “Deep Pockets” Myth

Thursday, Apr 26, 2007

(The following is a paid advertisement.)

*Dispelling the “Deep Pockets” Myth*

Insurance companies are leading a propaganda campaign against SB 1296.


SB 1296
is not about “deep pockets,” but merely responds to a recent Appellate Court case that would open a legal loophole allowing negligent manufacturers, reckless construction companies and even drunk drivers to dodge their responsibility when their negligence injures or kills someone.

Opponents of SB 1296 are hoping that recent Appellate Court case will overturn 21 years of legal practice, allowing wrongdoers to shift responsibility for their negligence to individuals and small businesses who have long ago been dismissed as defendants from a lawsuit, by placing their name on jury verdict forms and encouraging juries to assign damages against them.

Insurance companies falsely claim that dismissed defendants have_always_ appeared on jury verdict forms. Not true, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“Historically, juries have not been allowed to consider settling defendants when figuring out percentages of fault, since 1986, when that portion of the civil liability code was written.” (4/23/2007)

Before you buy into the “Deep Pockets” propaganda, keep in mind that 88% of all tort cases in Illinois are for $50,000 or less (Illinois Supreme Court annual report).

Learn more here.

- Posted by Capitol Fax Blog Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Question of the day

Thursday, Apr 26, 2007

First, the setup…

Beyond the obvious and wrenching tragedy for everyone involved, the Virginia Tech massacre became a Rorschach test of sorts as Americans tried to analyze how it happened and how it could have been prevented.

Many have asked how it was that no one in a position to act authoritatively heeded the numerous red flags that the gunman was a disturbed and menacing presence. Others have suggested that the shooting spree could have been cut short if even one of the students or professors had been armed. Still others have wondered how someone with the killer’s record of brushes with the mental health system was allowed to buy guns.

All of these questions and points of view are understandable to one degree or another. The last is being addressed — and appropriately so — by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. […]

Illinois law requires any individual buying a gun to possess a Firearm Owner’s Identification card. Prudently, state law denies a FOID card to anyone who has undergone inpatient mental health treatment. Federal law also bans the sale of guns to anyone deemed mentally ill. […[

Illinois law might not stop someone with a potentially homicidal tendency from legally buying a handgun. The FOID law prohibition is for those who have had inpatient treatment, not outpatient. […]

But Illinois law also says a FOID card may be denied to anyone with a mental condition who “poses a clear and present danger.” A gray area, to be sure.

Question: Do we need to do more to prevent the mentally ill from buying guns? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      


Right back atcha

Thursday, Apr 26, 2007

* As I told subscribers this morning, a House committee will vote today on an amendment to Sen. Gary Forby’s bill that will reattach ComEd to the Ameren-only rate rollback and freeze legislation.

A House committee is scheduled today to take up the legislation to freeze Ameren electric rates, Senate Bill 1592. A spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan said it could be amended to include ComEd, passed in the House and returned to the Senate for reconsideration as early as Friday.

* People agitating for a freeze also delivered petitions to Senate President Emil Jones…

Advocates delivered what they said were more than 23,000 petitions calling for rate relief to Senate President Emil Jones’ office after the news conference.

* More

Rank-and-file lawmakers have grown increasingly frustrated with the battle between Jones, a major beneficiary of ComEd campaign contributions, and Madigan, who has supported a freeze since last fall.

Downstate lawmakers have been inundated with complaints from Ameren customers about skyrocketing utility bills they have received since a nearly 10-year-long rate freeze expired with the new year. A group of consumer advocates dumped petitions in Jones’ office Wednesday asking him to support a rate freeze.

“President Jones, do your job!” shouted Jeanne Lakin, a resident of Downstate Godfrey, who said her February electric bill nearly quadrupled to $717 from a year ago. “Be there for us! Enough politics have been played!”

Consumer groups also have warned that Chicago area ComEd customers are likely to see rapid increases in their bills once the summer air-conditioning season arrives.

* More utility-related stories, compiled by Paul Richardson…

* Disconnect notices sent out

* Comments made by angry Ameren customers prompt investigation

* Death threat of lawmaker spurred by electric rate hike

* Police could wrap up death threat probe this week

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      


Pay raises and pajamas

Thursday, Apr 26, 2007

The Statehouse was abuzz yesterday with word that Senate President Emil Jones had been seen walking into House Speaker Michael Madigan’s office. What could the two antagonists be discussing, people wondered.

It turns out, Jones wanted to see Madigan about the supplemental appropriations bill that Madigan had been holding up for weeks. The Pantagraph has more…

Illinois lawmakers approved billions in new spending Wednesday, including cash for their own pay raises and a windfall for hospitals.

Last year, lawmakers decided not to block a measure that awarded themselves and some state executives about 15 percent in pay raises. But the cash to pay them had never been approved.

A House panel voted 4-2 Wednesday to pay about $1.5 million for those raises and billions more for other programs.

The spending measure included a key provision that gives about $2.4 billion to the state’s hospitals in order to leverage billions of federal money. The state has to pay for the federal government to give its full amount.

Meanwhile, in another budget-related matter, DHS is stonewalling reporters who want the agency to back up its claims about the “Pajama Scandal.”

The state Department of Human Services refuses to turn over records to back up its claim that two highly paid aides had other duties besides chauffeuring their bosses.

Department officials said the decision to keep the documents secret was supported by the state’s top lawyer, Attorney General Lisa Madigan. But Madigan’s office disputed that Wednesday, calling the claim “completely inaccurate.”

Human Services Secretary Carol Adams has told lawmakers that Carlos Estes and Eugene Davis were not mere drivers. Their job descriptions also say they wrote articles to educate the public, delivered speeches and press briefings, conducted special studies and research, and handled agency correspondence.

But in response to a Freedom of Information Act request for such records from The Associated Press, DHS said the documents could be kept secret under the law because they were “drafts” meant for internal decision-making.

I spoke to an organization yesterday that gets much of its funding through DHS. I told them that lawmakers may be unwilling to give a lot more money to an agency when they don’t trust the director. This story won’t help matters much.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      


Morning Shorts

Thursday, Apr 26, 2007

* “Request Denied” Series:

* Survey shows no improvement in FOIA compliance

* Governor criticized for concealing information

* One man’s expensive struggle for information

* Reporter: Journalists need to use FOIA more

* Loves Park city council votes unanimous to voice opposition to the GRT

* Panel OKs abortion notification changes

* McQueary: I’ve got pension envy

Almost every pension system in Illinois faces a frighteningly high unfunded liability, which I will be paying off until I’m old and creaky. And yet lawmakers tend to cave to special interests and beef up benefits year after year.

* Editorial: Gun access and the mentally ill

* Material on tax return not hazardous

* Local lawmakers back Giuliani

* Editorial: Unfair Illinois-Indiana tollway price disparity

* Committee backs bill protecting teachers from internet threats

* House votes for campaign finance reform

* House targets contractor donations

* House backs ban on contractor ban

* House approves bill targeting ‘pay-for-play’

“Our local newspapers would be much, much thinner but for stories of scandal and corruption in our state,” Fritchey said. “This is aimed at eliminating those stories.

* Illinois House cuts links between contracts and contributors

* Phil Kadner: Stephens’ miracle, a riverboat without a river

* Chicago school leaders seek to limit local council power

* Sun-Times Editorial: New system holds hope for transit riders

* Daily Show preparing spoof on Chief Illiniwek

* Aldermen: city should have cut off Rezko

* Clout lives on in hiring?

- Posted by Paul Richardson   15 Comments      


PREVIOUS POSTS »
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* A quick run-through of the down-ballot statewide polling
* Poll: A three-point spread
* A bit petty, no?
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* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Political events calendar
* Davis' poll shows him leading big
* Rauner on patronage: Zero if elected
* You're gonna need a bigger boat, Bruce
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition: Crosstabs, mail, TV buys
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* *** UPDATED x1 - Frerichs response *** Former Democratic state treasurer endorses Cross - Cites bipartisanship, Israel bonds as reasons (COMMENTS OPENED)
* Prison reform group responds to new Rauner ad (COMMENTS OPENED)
* Quinn hit on botched early prisoner release program (COMMENTS OPENED)
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
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        * AT&T to start selling LG G3 Vigor on Sept. 26
        * AT&T to carry Samsung Galaxy Alpha, available on Sept. 26
        * CyanogenMod 11 nightlies land for international Galaxy S4 Active
        * iOS 8 is still no Android when it comes to third-party support
        * THAW transfers smartphone files to PC by screen contact
        * Apple Watch spotted out in real-world testing
        * iPhone 6 record sales, Google Nexus 9 plans, AT&T Galaxy Alpha & more – Pocketnow Daily

        * Google Play Store Set To Show Price Ranges For In-App Purchases
        * iPhone 6 Plus Pitted Against 50-Caliber Shot
        * Potential Breakthrough In “Electronic Nose”
        * Aurora Helps The Blind To Get Around
        * GelSight Sensor Allows Robots To Be More Dextrous
        * China Report Points To New Redmi Flagship
        * iPhone Speed Test Compares Every iPhone Apple Has Ever Made

        * Bassitt twirls gem, blanks Tigers for 7 2/3 in first win
        * White Sox 2, Tigers 0: Chris Bassitt picks up first win
        * Avisail realizes V-Mart will be highly coveted as free agent
        * White Sox announce dignitaries for Paul Konerko Day
        * Johnson prepared to work for second-base job in spring camp
        * Johnson prepared to work for second-base job in camp
        * White Sox old and new share Konerko memories


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        * Gov. Quinn - Belleville News Democrat..
        * Rauner gets support from black Chicago pastors..
        * DePaul: Some female students' phone numbers pos.....
        * Rush demands jobs, contracts on CTA's 95th Stre.....


        * Ohio grand jury to review highway shooting case
        * Prosecutors seek time to review ex-lawmaker's past
        * Quinn, Rauner differ over 'common sense' on guns
        * Quinn, Rauner promote community investments
        * Illinois medical marijuana applications due Monday
        * Suspect in Joliet double murder waives jury trial
        * Chicago museum only US site for Bowie exhibit
        * Slain girl's mother speaks at Watson memorial
        * U of I Foundation receives increase in donations
        * Illinois city marks birthday with mega bratwurst

        * Governor candidates differ over ‘common sense’ on guns
        * Quinn, Rauner differ over ‘common sense’ on guns
        * Rauner gets support from black Chicago pastors
        * Don’t bet on gaming expansion — yet
        * GOP's Rauner gets another $1M from hedge fund CEO
        * Former Illinois prisoners get help reintegrating
        * Court: Lincoln inmate must use $20K settlement to pay incarceration costs
        * Deadline ahead for Illinois marijuana businesses
        * Gov. Quinn picks up Sierra Club endorsement
        * Statehouse Insider: Rauner hit with double whammy

        * U.S. cracks down on overseas tax moves
        * United cutting winter schedule long before snow falls
        * University of Illinois donations jump 10 percent
        * Ex-Im Bank's D-Day spurs lobbying campaign to save it
        * Five reasons to brave crowds for the David Bowie blockbuster


        * Defendant in Joliet double-murder waives right to jury trial
        * Bishop Blase Cupich: ‘I’m going to love this city’
        * Parents who want to attend school fair asked to provide names, emails
        * Truck driver arrested after allegedly holding children hostage near Midway
        * Feds want severe punishment for man charged in credit card scheme
        * Cardinal George’s successor back in town Monday
        * NU student starts petition backing senior charged in deadly drunken driving crash
        * ‘Hello’ in Riverside ends up getting South Side man a DUI charge


        * Rauner avoids nursing home questions as trial starts
        * Niles man killed in motorcycle accident in DesPlaines
        * Evanston police investigate overnight shooting
        * Police: Man arrested after holding children at gunpoint in truck
        * Cupich vows to aid poor, help Chicago neighborhoods
        * Indicted commander credited with saving neighbor's life
        * Teen run over by car after falling off hood
        * Lawndale shooting wounds 2
        * Police: Galewood neighborhood bank robbed
        * Indiana man dies while hiking with brothers at Grand Canyon


        * Polls Showing Illinois Governor's Race A Draw
        * Cupich to be next Chicago archbishop
        * Listen to State Week - September 19, 2014
        * Chris Mooney: More Evidence-Based Policymaking Needed
        * African Drumming At Southwind Park On Saturday
        * Investors gather in Chicago seeking cannabis businesses
        * Climate, Space Create Challenges For Local Food
        * Can A Governor Really Create Jobs?
        * How do you find high school dropouts?
        * Governor's Race Has A Third Contender; Judge Keeps Libertarians On Ballot


        * Kathleen Parker: Mark Sanford’s ongoing saga with himself
        * Quinn, Rauner differ over ‘common sense’ on guns
        * Rauner gets support from black Chicago pastors
        * Don’t bet on gaming expansion — yet
        * Thomas Schneider and Jay Scott: Building strong families to curb child abuse, neglect
        * GOP's Rauner gets another $1M from hedge fund CEO
        * Former Illinois prisoners get help reintegrating
        * Court: Lincoln inmate must use $20K settlement to pay incarceration costs
        * Deadline ahead for Illinois marijuana businesses
        * Gov. Quinn picks up Sierra Club endorsement


        * Missing man found dead near Herrin Lake No. 2
        * Two injured, kids unharmed in house explosion near Maryville
        * Pentagon: U.S., partners begin airstrikes in Syria
        * Award-winning Southern Illinoisan journalist dies
        * HS Volleyball: Heritage vs. Chrisman
        * Pentagon: US, partners begin airstrikes in Syria
        * Tuesday rally opposes St. Elizabeth's move
        * The music man
        * Rural schools to hold reunion
        * PHOTOS: Barclay Public Library volunteers


        * Wainwright wins No. 20 as Cardinals beat Cubs
        * Montini plays like it's in a hurry
        * Woodridge police investigating attempted child luring
        * Missing Glen Ellyn woman found safe at restaurant
        * Mustangs hope to draw more soccer fans to Sears Centre

        * Ray Nagin, William Jefferson profiled on M...
        * Patrick Cannon defense strategy rare but n...
        * Feds fine Jesse Jackson Jr.'s campaign com...
        * Ex-Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. faces sen...
        * Democratic candidate Mason says he's 'flip...
        * Hultgren, Roskam to Host Service Academy D...
        * Ask Peter: Obamacare's Broken Promises - I...
        * Peter Roskam pushes for Alzheimer's resear...
        * Congressman: 'Some good stuff is going on'...
        * Ray Nagin, William Jefferson profiled on M...

        * Illinois firms keep $100 billion in foreig......
        * Illinois firms keep $100 billion in foreig......
        * Illinois firms keep $100 billion in foreig......
        * Illinois firms keep $100 billion in foreig......
        * Illinois firms keep $100 billion in foreig......

        * Democrat Giannoulias backs Republican Cros......

        * Eric Metaxas on the future of America's religious freedom
        * Lois Lerner and the IRS Scandal: An Update on the Investigation and Cover-up
        * Wash clothes and empty pockets at Manteno's new gambling venue
        * Hypocrisy: Harry Reid said in 1993 what GOP says now about Illegal Immigrants [video]
        * Illinois Dems shed "little guy" persona with pricey reception for Mike Madigan
        * Chicago Faith Leaders Sing, Pray For A South Side Trauma Center (VIDEO)
        * Emanuel, National Group Launch Youth Anti-Tobacco Video Contest
        * Higgins: Conservatives should vote for Quinn
        * Obama Signs Executive Order To Tackle Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria
        * Worker Advocates Fearful Of Rauner's 'Anti-Labor' Agenda


        * The Economic Empowerment Forum Endorses Rauner for Governor
        * State Director on Aging Says September Observances Stress the Importance of Healthy Aging - September is Healthy Aging Month; September 23 is Falls Prevention Day
        * Governor Quinn Breaks Ground on First Veterans Home in Chicago - New Facility Will Care for 200 of the Nation’s Heroes
        * Quinn still refusing to fire 20 political cronies
        * Illinois Chamber of Commerce Endorses Rauner for Governor




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