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GOP chairman backs gay marriage

Wednesday, Jan 2, 2013

* I told subscribers about this earlier today

llinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady of St. Charles is calling GOP lawmakers asking them to support a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage, he said today.

Brady said he was making the calls as a citizen, outside of his official role with the Illinois Republican Party.

“I think it’s time for people to support this,” Brady said.

* Illinois Review also followed up, also without attribution

When asked, Brady told Illinois Review that he believes it is an “equality issue”, and that the “true conservative position is in favor” of allowing gay marriage. […]

The bill presents a problem for Illinois Republicans in that voting in favor would not only be unpopular with the Party’s base, but would seem to be in contradiction to it’s platform, which states:

    …The ideal environment for children is within a two‐parent family based on the principle of marriage between one man and one woman. The Republican Party endorses a constitutional amendment protecting our Defense of Marriage Act and enshrining in constitutional law marriage as it is defined in “DOMA.”

    Our laws should strongly support and celebrate the loving commitment a man and a woman make to each other in marriage. …No law should undermine the importance of that union, divide that union nor unduly burden the efforts of parents to rear a family in a safe and nurturing environment.


* Related…

* African-American Leaders Add Support to Bill on Same-Sex Marriage

* ‘Modern Family’ actor in Springfield Thursday to push for gay marriage

- Posted by Rich Miller   64 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition and a Statehouse roundup

Wednesday, Jan 2, 2013

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*** LIVE *** Session coverage

Wednesday, Jan 2, 2013

* Blackberry users click here. Everybody else can just watch it right here as it all unfolds, or crashes…

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Question of the day

Wednesday, Jan 2, 2013

* From NBC 5

If you were a young, aspiring Chicago politician, looking for someone to model yourself after, who would you go to for advice? Barack Obama? Richard M. Daley? Michael Madigan? How about Roland Burris?

Next week, Burris is holding another session of his “Burris School for Politics,” a practical course in getting elected, from Jan. 8-10. As he told WBEZ last year, “you learn not political science, you learn politics.”

* The Question: Lessons that Roland Burris could teach his students about getting elected?

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      

Bigtime national donors playing in Illinois Statehouse

Wednesday, Jan 2, 2013

* From the Illinois Radio Network

State senators found plenty not to like about a bill that would have allowed a private company to discriminate by not hiring smokers. They upheld the governor’s veto of the bill, which was intended to benefit one company, Cancer Treatment Centers of America

“Already, not-for-profits like American Cancer Society – it’s interesting how non-profits can do this now, but companies for profit aren’t allowed to do that because somehow it’s unconstitutional,” said the bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington). […]

“This is an invasion of privacy of the highest degree,” said State Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest). “It is Big Brother.”

“Maybe we should look at the campaign finance records for the ‘Cash and Carry’ Treatment Centers of America,” said State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston), his voice rising. “How they have showered tens of thousands of dollars, not just on the sponsor, but …to one particular party because they need to have their special break that, by the way, takes away their employees’ rights and liberties.”

Records show Cancer Treatment Centers of America has donated thousands of dollars to Republicans, including a recent $10,000 to Duffy.

* From the Washington Post

The day after Labor Day, just as campaign season was entering its final frenzy, FreedomWorks, the Washington-based tea party organization, went into free fall.

Richard K. Armey, the group’s chairman and a former House majority leader, walked into the group’s Capitol Hill offices with his wife, Susan, and an aide holstering a handgun at his waist. The aim was to seize control of the group and expel Armey’s enemies: The gun-wielding assistant escorted FreedomWorks’ top two employees off the premises, while Armey suspended several others who broke down in sobs at the news.

The coup lasted all of six days. By Sept. 10, Armey was gone — with a promise of $8 million — and the five ousted employees were back. The force behind their return was Richard J. Stephenson, a reclusive Illinois millionaire who has exerted increasing control over one of Washington’s most influential conservative grass-roots organizations.

Stephenson, the founder of the for-profit Cancer Treatment Centers of America and a director on the FreedomWorks board, agreed to commit $400,000 per year over 20 years in exchange for Armey’s agreement to leave the group. […]

According to public records, FreedomWorks received more than $12 million before the election from two corporations based in Knoxville, Tenn.: Specialty Investments Group and Kingston Pike Development. The firms were established within a day of each other by William S. Rose III, a local bankruptcy lawyer.

Rose, who could not be reached for comment, has said publicly he would not answer questions about the donations. But according to three current and former FreedomWorks employees with knowledge of the donations, the money originated with Stephenson and his family, who arranged for the contributions from the Tennessee firms to the super PAC. […]

Among other things, Stephenson wanted a substantial sum spent in support of Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), a tea party favorite and Stephenson’s local congressman, several who attended the retreat recalled. Walsh garnered national headlines during the campaign when he questioned whether his opponent, Tammy Duckworth, a former Blackhawk helicopter pilot who lost both legs in Iraq, was a “true hero.” Despite internal misgivings about the value of the investment, FreedomWorks spent $1.7 million on ads supporting Walsh; he lost the race.

* Meanwhile, the Tribune has uncovered the big funders behind the gay marriage push

The most important corporate backer may be Fred Eychaner, the Chicago media mogul and arts champion who, according to a source, is the primary funder for the public relations campaign run by ASGK Public Strategies. According to another source, another funder is Laura Ricketts, a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs. […]

Equality Illinois, the ACLU and Lambda Legal officially release the letters under the banner Illinois Unites for Marriage. The three groups also led the successful 2010-2011 campaign to recognize civil unions in the state.

But ASGK’s behind-the-scenes role is new, and the trio of nonprofits is not paying what must be a significant sum for ASGK’s services. (David Axelrod co-founded ASGK and then sold his stake in 2009 after becoming a top White House adviser to President Barack Obama. Eric Sedler is managing partner.) […]

Eychaner appears to be the largest Democratic donor in the 2012 election cycle, giving $14 million, The New York Times reported this month. He is openly gay. David Horwich, a spokesman for Eychaner, declined to comment.

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      


Wednesday, Jan 2, 2013

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

HB 5440 calls for a new tax increase on the 1.3 million Illinois families and businesses who subscribe to satellite TV. A recent statewide poll conducted by We Ask America confirms there is universal opposition to the cable industry’s push to place this NEW 5% tax on satellite TV service. The poll was conducted on November 14, 2012 yielding 1,288 responses with a margin of error of +/- 3%.

Key findings:

* 84% of all respondents oppose a new satellite tax
* 81% of cable subscribers even oppose this concept
* Opposition is strong among both Democrats & Republicans – 83% (D) and 87% (R)
* Regional Opposition

    o Chicago 81%
    o Suburban Cook 77%
    o Collar Counties 84%
    o Downstate 89%

Cable pays rent in the form of franchise fees. Satellite companies don’t pay franchise fees for one simple reason: our technology orbits the earth. Why should satellite customers pay for a service they do not utilize?

With family budgets already stretched to their limits, this is one new tax Illinois consumers and families cannot afford.

Tell Your Lawmakers to Stop The Satellite TV Tax
Vote NO on HB 5440

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

ISRA: They’re coming to get your guns

Wednesday, Jan 2, 2013

* From a January 1st press release by the Illinois State Rifle Association

The ISRA has it on good authority that Illinois Senate President John Cullerton is about to introduce a sweeping gun control bill when the Senate returns to its lame duck session later this week. Based on what is known about the proposal, it would result in the banning and confiscation of most privately-owned firearms in the state.

* Updated later in the day for fundraising purposes

The ISRA has learned from a credible source that Illinois Senate President John Cullerton will introduce a so called “assault weapons” ban on Wednesday when the legislature returns for its “lame duck” session. Cullerton hopes to ramrod the bill through and get it to Governor Quinn for signature by Friday. If he is successful at doing so, nearly every gun you currently own will be banned and will be subject to confiscation by the Illinois State Police.

Based on what we know about Cullerton’s bill, firearms that would be banned include all semiautomatic rifles, pistols, and shotguns. Pump action shotguns would be banned as well. This would be a very comprehensive ban that would include not only so-called “assault weapons” but also such classics as M1 Garands and 1911-based pistols. There would be no exemptions and no grandfathering. You would have a very short window to turn in your guns to the State Police to avoid prosecution.


4. Join or renew your membership in the ISRA. Encourage your friends and family to join as well.

5. Make a generous donation to the ISRA by clicking the link below. We are in desperate need of your financial support to help beat back the onslaught of gun grab bills coming our way in 2013.

Cullerton and Mayor Emanuel may want such a ban, but a bill that confiscates perhaps millions of guns is likely going nowhere. Nice fundraising pitch, though.

* From the NRA

The NRA-ILA has just learned that anti-gun legislators backed by Governor Quinn are deceptively trying to sneak through a new draconian gun ban as early as Wednesday while the legislature convenes for the Lame Duck Session from January 2 to 9.

You voted many of these anti-gun legislators out of office, and now, in their last days as law makers, they want to quietly trample on the rights of all law-abiding gun owners in Illinois.

I may be mistaken, but I don’t think any incumbent legislator lost his or her seat over gun rights issues.

* Related…

* Gun makers take wait, see approach

- Posted by Rich Miller   112 Comments      

Ducking during a lame session?

Wednesday, Jan 2, 2013

* As I’ve been telling subscribers for weeks now, lame duck action on pension reform appears unlikely

The lame duck session scheduled to begin next week in Springfield just got shorter.

House Speaker Michael Madigan’s office sent out a memo this week canceling three of the six days. Those final days likely will be filled with deciding issues like driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, pension reform and gay marriage.

The Senate meets Jan. 2 through Jan. 4. Senate officials announced Monday that they’ve canceled meeting Jan. 5 through Jan. 7. Senate President John Cullerton’s spokeswoman says the Senate may return on Tuesday, Jan. 8, if senators need to respond to any House action.


But the leaders haven’t united around any one of the pension reform proposals, Phelon said. “So there is still work to do before votes are scheduled — that is unless the House decided to take up the pension reform already passed by the Senate.”


While powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan supports Biss’ bill, it is up to the measure’s sponsors to gather the necessary votes for its passage, said Madigan’s spokesman Steve Brown.

“The speaker has been working for several years and continues to work on plans to make the pension system sustainable,” Brown said, adding that he cannot predict if any bill will ultimately make it out of the lame-duck session.

* Meanwhile, this is from the Tribune editorial page, the day before the Legislature voted to raise income taxes

The inauguration of a governor ought to signal fresh approaches, new energy and grounded anticipation of better days ahead. If you focused just on Monday’s oath-taking in Springfield, you might have believed that’s all in the cards. Gov. Pat Quinn declared that “we have replaced a government of deals with a government of ideals.”

But think for a moment. What have we seen in the days leading up to this inauguration? A classic exercise in clandestine government deal-making. […]

They’re trying to make us all think some dramatic deadline is nigh, for only one reason: On Wednesday this lame-duck legislature quacks its last.

* Now, though, the Tribune wants some deals made and action taken during the lame duck session. From today’s edition

The first days of January are supposedly the moment to get things done in Springfield because the state is full of lame ducks — lawmakers who were defeated or didn’t run for re-election in November and who, as a result, have newfound freedom in their final days in power to boldly vote their, uh, consciences.

You’ve been paying higher state income taxes for the last two years because of the lame-duck moment of 2011.

Gov. Pat Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton seized the moment then to raise your taxes.

But they failed you then on the most important issue they face: saving this state from financial disaster by reforming its pension system.

And it looks like they will fail you again.

When they fail, when they get nothing done on pension reform in the lame duck session and the clock starts fresh on Jan. 9 with the inauguration of a new General Assembly, you can expect to hear the same tired excuses.

* Related…

* Lawmaker says fully funded Illinois pensions ‘impossible

* New Report Looks at Illinois’ 5 Public Pension Systems

* State pension reform deadline looms

* State pension plan unlikely to get support

* Pension-mess primer: How it got here, why it now has state’s attention and the tens of billions it will cost

* AP: $275M More for Illinois Roads this Year

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      

Proponents line up to support gay marriage while Chicago Cardinal condemns it

Wednesday, Jan 2, 2013

* A large group of Illinois clergy is supporting gay marriage

More than 200 pastors and rabbis released an open letter Sunday calling for legislators to approve legislation allowing gay marriage. They say it’s a matter of equality, conscience and justice. The group plans to send the letter to lawmakers.

The complete list is here. From their letter

We believe all Illinois couples should have the same civil protections and urge our public officials to support measures to achieve equality. […]

The very basis of marriage is to protect the family, strengthen our communities and advocate compassion. No couple should be excluded from that.

* Some bigtime corporate types are also planning to push for the proposal

A coalition of gay marriage advocates plans to release a letter this week signed by top Illinois executives and companies endorsing same-sex marriage as an economic imperative, giving a powerful push to a bill that state lawmakers could take up as early as Thursday.

Among the signatories are Google, which announced this year it was moving its Motorola Mobility unit downtown; Morningstar founder Joe Mansueto; The PrivateBank and Trust Co. Chairman Norman Bobins; and online daily deal pioneer Groupon. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his top corporate adviser, Michael Sacks, are among those soliciting signatures. […]

ASGK declined to release a copy of the letter, but a draft obtained by the Tribune argues that gay marriage is the “pro-jobs, pro-growth thing to do.”

“Since human capital drives innovation and growth, a state must foster an environment where people want to live,” the letter reads. “To be competitive, a state must create an equitable, fair and respectful environment for all its citizens.” It also notes that it would increase sales and hotel tax receipts and revenue for the wedding industry.

* President Obama indicated through a spokesman that he backs the proposal as well

“While the president does not weigh in on every measure being considered by state legislatures, he believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect,” White House spokesman Shin Inouye told the Chicago Sun-Times on Saturday.

“As he has said, his personal view is that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so. Were the President still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally,” Inouye said.

* But Chicago’s Cardinal George, of course, does not support the bill. From his letter to parishioners

Marriage comes to us from nature. The human species comes in two complementary sexes, male and female. Their sexual union is called marital. It not only creates a place of love for two adults but also a home for loving and raising their children. It provides the biological basis for personal identity.

It is physically impossible for two men or two women to consummate a marriage, even when they share a deep friendship or love. Does this mean nature is cruel or that God is unfair? No, but it does mean that marriage is what nature tells us it is and that the State cannot change natural marriage. Civil laws that establish “same-sex marriage” create a legal fiction. The State has no power to create something that nature itself tells us is impossible.


- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      

Caption contest!

Wednesday, Jan 2, 2013

* Let’s kick off the new year with a little bit of fun.

From Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford’s Facebook page

- Posted by Rich Miller   77 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Wednesday, Jan 2, 2013

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* Happy Thanksgiving!
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* Caption contest!
* Crossing the line
* Moody's warns Illinois
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