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*** UPDATED x1 - Quinn reaction ***Topinka: No legislative paychecks without an appropriation or court order

Thursday, Jul 25, 2013

* From a press release…

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka made the following statement Thursday after a legal review of the Governor’s Amendatory Veto of legislative salaries:

“After the Governor used his Amendatory Veto to remove the budget line items for lawmaker salaries, I asked my staff to conduct a legal review and determine the appropriate course of action. That review included discussions with the Governor’s legal staff, Legislative legal staffs and the Attorney General’s Office. While there is conflicting opinion on this matter, I believe the case of AFSCME vs. Netsch provides the most pertinent guidance. In that case, the court ruled that the Comptroller could not pay state employees without an appropriation.

“This situation is different in that it involves two, co-equal branches of government, and that distinction may well be considered by the Court down the line. But at this point in time, the Attorney General has advised that these payments cannot be made without an appropriation or court order.

“It is my deep hope that this matter is resolved expeditiously either by legislative action or court intervention. Given the serious precedent that is being created, I look forward to receiving additional guidance from the judicial branch.

“By way of Editorial comment, let me be clear: this is no way to run government. Threats, blackmail and inertia may be good theater, but it makes us look ridiculous and takes away from our ability to get things done. It is time for leaders to lead.” [Emphasis added]

It’s almost certain that the General Assembly will have to take this one to court, and that means somebody’s gonna have to actually file a hugely unpopular lawsuit.

…Adding… Raw audio of JBT’s presser…

*** UPDATE *** From Gov. Pat Quinn…

“Today Comptroller Topinka properly recognized and adhered to my line-item veto of appropriations for legislative salaries.

“By doing so, she followed the express provisions of the Illinois Constitution.

“Legislators should not be paid until they enact comprehensive pension reform.

“In addition, I’ve also asked the comptroller to withhold my own paycheck until this important reform is achieved.

“Pension reform is the most urgent priority facing the state of Illinois.

“Nobody should be paid until the job gets done for taxpayers.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        


68 Comments
  1. - David P. Graf - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 12:52 pm:

    Why not have some lawmaker planning to retire be the one to file a lawsuit? I support Quinn but Madigan and company can easily find someone to fight this in court. I’m no fan of nepotism but I have to give kudos to Lisa Madigan for letting the courts handle this hot potato. It would have been easy for her to come to Speaker Madigan’s aid but she did the right thing.


  2. - Abe the Babe - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 12:54 pm:

    I’d hate to be a full-time legislator. Then again, im sure they can have ComEd or At&t cover their meals and groceries until this blows over.


  3. - Mokenavince - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 12:55 pm:

    It’s huge news when a member of Government doesn’t get paid. No news when the taxpayer gets stuffed for 17 million a day.

    Who going to step up and file the suit, some backbencher or our heroes Madigan or Cullerton?
    I bet they squeeze one of their own Judges to make a quick ruling. And it better be the right ruling.


  4. - Norseman - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 12:57 pm:

    This is no surprise. Once again, Judy impresses.


  5. - Norseman - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 1:00 pm:

    This is the GA’s fight. Can’t wait for their response.


  6. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 1:01 pm:

    –“By way of Editorial comment, let me be clear: this is no way to run government. Threats, blackmail and inertia may be good theater, but it makes us look ridiculous and takes away from our ability to get things done. –

    Well said. Refreshing to see a politician not kow-tow to the cheap seats.


  7. - Centennial - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 1:02 pm:

    Judy is an absolute treasure.


  8. - dupage dan - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 1:03 pm:

    Mokenavince Van Winkel - where have you been for the last 2 years? There have been a plethora of articles about the 17 mill a day (actually, about 5 mill a day but who’s counting?)

    “There own judges”? Bought and paid for? Really?


  9. - dupage dan - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 1:04 pm:

    JBT for governor!


  10. - foster brooks - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 1:06 pm:

    Judy wait until the temp income tax increase sunsets and pension reform is overturned by the SC. You haven’t seen nothing yet.


  11. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 1:07 pm:

    And the circus rolls on.


  12. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 1:09 pm:

    - makes us look ridiculous and takes away from our ability to get things done -

    I’m pretty sure the GA does that by themselves all the time.


  13. - A guy... - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 1:09 pm:

    A long line is forming to be second in line to file such a suit.


  14. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 1:11 pm:

    === But at this point in time, the Attorney General has advised that these payments cannot be made without an appropriation or court order. ===

    So the Attorney General just advised on an issue she may be called upon to defend in court?

    Wow. Who knew?

    Granted this isn’t pending legislation, but the basic argument made by those claiming she shouldn’t weigh in on the pension proposals (because she might have to defend them in court) applies.

    She has done it with pending legislation and current laws in the past, and will continue doing so in the future.

    At the very least, her office should be actively participating in the conference committee, providing guidance on what may or may not be legal.


  15. - Abe the Babe - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 1:19 pm:

    Top three quesses on who files the lawsuit…

    1. Madigan and Cullerton. Who else will protect the mushrooms?
    2. Ken Dunkin citing his need to be compensated to file his new hemp bill. Those centruy club trophies aren’t going to win themselves.
    3. Jack franks citing that the 70k investment in his salary will pay dividends to the state when he finally abolishes dceo.


  16. - Levi - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 1:20 pm:

    I don’t know what everyone’s smoking, but there is no political downside to this for Quinn. Zero. Harry Truman won in 1948 running against the do-nothing Republican Congress. Obama beat Romney running largely against a do-nothing Republican Congress. Quinn is going to win reelection by sticking it to some of the only people in the state less popular than he is. And who’s going to defend them? Brady? Daley? That’d be suicide.


  17. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 1:22 pm:

    Well done by the Comptroller to break this down to the options before the Comptroller, to get the Attorney General’s opinion, to have legal precedence to fall upon, and then to make sure we all understand that the Grandstanding and Blackmail of 1/3 of the state government, by the Chief Executive in 1/3 of the state government is “no way to run government”.

    Comptroller Topinka’s quote addressing her editorial view of this situation is Spot On, leaving zero need to break it down and understand it. Well said.

    Appreciate that Editorial because its important to be said aloud, especially by an elected Illinois offical, statewide or not, without a dog in the fight, specifically, to the legislative pay stunt/circus/fiasco.


  18. - Loop Lady - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 1:23 pm:

    I guess the Gov hasn’t destroyed our democracy with this “stunt”.

    If I recall correctly, hasn’t the legislature similarly hog tied the Gov. using this ploy?

    What goes around…


  19. - Wensicia - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 1:38 pm:

    “By way of Editorial comment, let me be clear: this is no way to run government. Threats, blackmail and inertia may be good theater, but it makes us look ridiculous and takes away from our ability to get things done. It is time for leaders to lead.”

    Maybe Judy could educate the Tribune on how to craft a relevant editorial.


  20. - Lord Stanley's Cup - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 1:40 pm:

    @abe the babe that’s a pretty ignorant comment, even for this particular topic. Despite your cynicism there are plenty of hardworking honest legislators who strive to do the right thing and for whom this is hard. Not much sympathy out there, understandably. But to imply legislators would have their living expenses covered by outside interests is a little beyond the pale IMHO.


  21. - Pete - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 1:43 pm:

    How about Deb Mell?


  22. - Waldi - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 1:51 pm:

    I wish Judy would consider running for governor. She seems a far better than our current choices.


  23. - Anon - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 1:59 pm:

    Great precedent!

    Can’t wait to see how this evolves as a political tool.


  24. - MikeMacD - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:01 pm:

    I was under the impression that the legislative branch can override a veto. If true, I don’t know why the courts would get involved other than to tell the other two branches to work it out.


  25. - Abe the Babe - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:02 pm:

    @Lord Stanley’s Cup.

    Point 1, it was a joke. Used to highlight how members will trip over themselves to vote in favor of indvidual companies at the expense of consumers/taxpayers. But when real tough votes comes they are no where to be found.

    Point 2, for every “hardworking honest legislator” you can show me i can show you three who dont do anything and vote to enrich their campaign chests.


  26. - Because I said so... - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:04 pm:

    I guess to some extent the crazy Aunt Judy thing will always be with her but when you think we could of had JBT instead of Rod, boy! If she ran today, she just might have this Democrats vote.


  27. - walkinfool - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:05 pm:

    Watch this spread to other states as well.

    Some Gov’s just won’t be able to resist such a “tough” and popular move, when the legislature doesn’t follow their “critical” demand.


  28. - Empty Suit - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:05 pm:

    It’s sooo Quinnovichian.


  29. - Loop Lady - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:06 pm:

    Sorry about my typing…

    Don’t forget that thoughtful, intelligent women are hardly ever taken seriously in politics. Judy is a gem, and not many gave her a chance after Blago smeared her. She won again IMHO, because the electorate admired her so much. I know many Dems that cast a ballot for her in her Comptroller race…


  30. - Joan P. - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:07 pm:

    @ Waldi -

    JBT DID run for governor. I would have voted for her, too, except she chose Joe Birkett as her running mate and nothing could get that stink out of my nose.


  31. - Centennial - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:07 pm:

    MikemacD - good point.

    If the legislature has the power to override a veto but just chooses not to act on the power - how is that case ripe for the courts? Clearly the legislature has not yet exhausted its remedies. Am I missing something?


  32. - Just Observing - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:07 pm:

    === How about Deb Mell? ===

    She is no longer a rep:
    http://www.ilga.gov/house/

    She may not have standing, unless it deals with back pay owed to her.

    Why not Derrick Smith? What does he have to lose.


  33. - Just Observing - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:08 pm:

    === I was under the impression that the legislative branch can override a veto. If true, I don’t know why the courts would get involved other than to tell the other two branches to work it out. ===

    I was wondering the same thing.


  34. - Smokey - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:10 pm:

    Let’s see, Quinny is glad they are following the Constitution, but he wants to diminish retirees benefits which is also protected by the Constitution. Hmmmm???????


  35. - CharlieKratos - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:12 pm:

    @MikeMacD ==I was under the impression that the legislative branch can override a veto. If true, I don’t know why the courts would get involved other than to tell the other two branches to work it out.==

    Wouldn’t the Grand High Poobah Mike Madigan have to call it to vote to get an override? He’s supporting Quinn on this.


  36. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:13 pm:

    ===how is that case ripe for the courts? ===

    Valid question. If you subscribed, you’d know the various responses.


  37. - A guy... - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:16 pm:

    And with that update, the Populist Governor renews ownership of the news cycle on this topic. He even gets to gratuitously reiterate that he’s taking no pay either. He may have trouble in a number of arenas, but this one’s his strength and he’s flexing.


  38. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:18 pm:

    ==It’s huge news when a member of Government doesn’t get paid. No news when the taxpayer gets stuffed for 17 million a day.==

    Is this your first time reading Capitol Fax?

    ==Granted this isn’t pending legislation, but the basic argument made by those claiming she shouldn’t weigh in on the pension proposals (because she might have to defend them in court) applies.==

    Lisa Madigan has provided lawmakers with legal advice and analysis on the constitutional issues surrounding pensions. But Bauer noted that under a policy in place for more than 50 years, “the office doesn’t issue opinions on matters that will end up in court.”

    “…the Attorney General has advised that these payments cannot be made without an appropriation or court order.” There is precedent here to rely on, and we do not know that a formal opinion rather than legal advice has been offered.

    ==I was under the impression that the legislative branch can override a veto. If true, I don’t know why the courts would get involved other than to tell the other two branches to work it out.==

    It is called the Constitution of the State of Illinois provision on legislative salaries.


  39. - RNUG - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:19 pm:

    Quinn vetoed the approp. MJ Madigan won’t call a vote to override it, so he is, in effect, supporting Quinn’s move. Lisa Madigan for whatever reason, ended up expressing an opinion that supports both Quinn and her dad. Conspiracy theorists would say it is all a plot to force passage of some kind of pension reform.

    I’m inclined to agree with MikeMacD that if a legislator takes it to court, it will be quickly tossed with the observation that the General Assembly can easily resolve it without the court’s intervention. Judges like solutions that keep them off the firing line.


  40. - Just Me - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:27 pm:

    This really is no way to run a government. I’ve never been more embarrassed to live in Illinois than now.

    The way to judge a leader is to examine what his or her followers do. By that standard, Quinn is a failure.


  41. - Raising Kane - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:28 pm:

    I usually agree with you RNUG but I think there is a very solid point here that a legislators salary is an individual right which, according to the constitution cannot be altered during the lawmakers term. If its an individual right, it cannot take collective action (such as an override) to compel it.


  42. - Joe Bidenopolous - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:29 pm:

    I’m just wondering if there will be a gubernatorial salary funded in the FY ‘15 budget. I guess we’ll find out…


  43. - langhorne - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:35 pm:

    however this plays out w vetoing the salary approp, it is coercion and a horrible precedent. if a gov can withhold pay for this issue, he can do something similar or more repugnant for any other issue, using any line item dedicated to the GA.

    i expect some creative payback in the next few months.


  44. - AFSCME Steward - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:36 pm:

    DuPage

    What I have been hearing is that any changes to the pension would not take effect until next July. If this is the case, does any solution that is passed now stop this $5 million a day cost to the state ?

    “Mokenavince Van Winkel - where have you been for the last 2 years? There have been a plethora of articles about the 17 mill a day (actually, about 5 mill a day but who’s counting?)

    “There own judges”? Bought and paid for? Really?”


  45. - Anon. - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:36 pm:

    ==“By doing so, she followed the express provisions of the Illinois Constitution.==

    Which is certainly not what the Governor has done.
    And I could see a court holding that a case brought by an individual legislator is not ripe until an override vote fails or the period for overriding the veto has expired, but an individual legislator is not “the legislature,” and no action or inaction of the legislature can deprive a legislator of his rights simply because he had an opportunity to vote on the matter. That would mean that nobody could ever challenge a law enacted while he was a legislator. Heck, why not say that no citizen can go to court to challenge a law, because he had the opportunity to vote the rascals out?


  46. - langhorne - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:37 pm:

    one other point — if this tactic stands, think what someone like rauner might be able to do to “shake things up”; co-equal branch standing be damned.


  47. - sk hicks - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:38 pm:

    Did PQ’s office really say “she followed the express provisions of the Illinois Constitution”? If so, that’s swell. This indicates he believes following our Constitution matters. Retirees can now breath easier knowing that PQ wants to follow the Illinois Constitution which says retiree benefits cannot be reduced. Hip, Hip, Hooray!


  48. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:40 pm:

    Can the voters have a bite of this apple?

    How about no pay if a balanced budget is not passed without borrowing……


  49. - Tommy - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:43 pm:

    I’ve been annoyed by one aspect of how the media have covered this story. They’ve allowed Quinn to imply that he has suspended legislative salaries — that it’s a temporary thing –and he will turn the spigot back on when they pass pension reform. That is not the case. He vetoed the salaries out of the budget. They won’t be payed unless they override his line item or pass a supplemental budget bill that the Guv signs. I know, it’s a minor thing, just semantics. But it would be nice if the media would do their job and inform their readers how state government works. I suppose someone has to educate them first.


  50. - siriusly - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:46 pm:

    Who files the lawsuit is a fascinating thing to think about. I’m going to say it could be someone like Dan Burke or maybe even a member who wants to curry favor within their caucus . . .perhaps someone who wants to be the next Speaker when Madigan retires in 2024.


  51. - JC - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:50 pm:

    That constitution is a real funny thing. So important to follow here but not a big deal for the hundreds of thousands of workers contributing to their pensions which the constitution protects. What a farce. And by the way, which group of taxpayers is he talking about? It makes my skin crawl when there is talk of public workers vs the taxpayers. If public workers aren’t paying taxes to the state of Illinois, I’m entitled to a massive refund check and have been a fool for decades to pay one penny. Be more specific PQ, civvies, tribbies and all…….pension contributors/recipients have no value to this state apparently. Their rights are different from OTHER taxpayers and their constitutional rights are not as valid as other citizens apparently.


  52. - CharlieKratos - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 2:59 pm:

    How does pension reform + shifting the cost of teachers’ pensions (without, likely changing Illinois taxes in any other way to balance that shift) fit into MM’s plans? Like they say, follow the money and you’ll likely see where politicians are going.


  53. - RNUG - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 3:01 pm:

    Raising Kane,

    I agree there is a solid seperation of powers constitutional question … but courts usually try to find the simplest solution to the case presented to them at the “lowest” level of the law. Unless an override vote is taken and it fails, I see the courts ducking a decision on Quinn’s approp veto.

    Part of my reasoning is, the way things are going now, I see the courts getting a bunch of tough cases this year on pension issues (Maag is just the first), and the rulings on those will make a lot of people unhappy regardless of how the cases are decided. So I’m inclined to think the courts, especially the SC, will avoid the ones they can avoid.


  54. - Jack - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 3:13 pm:

    Quinn didn’t line item veto his own salary, just asked that it be withheld. Doesn’t seem quite fair since he could ask for his salary any time he wants. Maybe he should be donating it directly to the pension funds.


  55. - thechampaignlife - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 3:32 pm:

    One could argue that the salary hasn’t been diminished, just not funded/paid. They’re still owed the money, but there’s nothing requiring timely payment. Maybe it’ll get appropriated in FY15 and the back pay issued. In the meantime, it’s just been moved to the back of the IOU pile.

    Then again, another argument might be that the State can’t incur a debt without an appropriation and therefore couldn’t let the legislators do their jobs with some future compensation. Or that federal labor laws require compensation or no work similar to the furloughs.


  56. - Wensicia - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 3:57 pm:

    I hope someone has the courage to challenge this in court. Quinn’s stunt sets an alarming precedent if he gets away with this.


  57. - OLIVE - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 4:13 pm:

    Anyone but me recall a Sun-Times investigation a few years ago that named Topinka as one of the worst culprits in the practice of pension “sweetening”?


  58. - mid-level - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 4:16 pm:

    So what’s to stop the GA from not appropriating money to the Governor’s Office personal service lines next FY?


  59. - Raising Kane - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 4:31 pm:

    Olive, since I have never seen you post here before, I assume you have an agenda. But just so you know, “sweetening” is the practice of doing something to spike your pension like taking a short-term job at a higher pay. Topinka never engaged in any “sweetening”.

    If your coming on here to slander somebody you could at least get your facts straight.


  60. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 4:35 pm:

    OLIVE, no I don’t and neither does the Google.

    Twit.


  61. - ??? - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 5:01 pm:

    I love JBT, and I don’t know who OLIVE is….but maybe she’s referring to this archived post from Capitol Fax? Although when I click on the links within the article, I get a “page not found”…

    http://capitolfax.com/2009/09/11/sun-times-looks-at-pension-millionaires/


  62. - Raising Kane - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 5:26 pm:

    ??? thanks for the article, as it points out JBT did nothing to engage in a “pension sweetner” An increase after she was out of office when they increased pay it became retroactive to the first of the year when JBT was still in office.

    But regardless, she must not care too much about her pension since she is working and not collecting it.


  63. - Anon. - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 6:32 pm:

    thechampaignlife @ 3:32 pm
    ==One could argue that the salary hasn’t been diminished, just not funded/paid.==

    That argument worked really, really well in the Jorgensen case, where no appropriation for judges’ COLA was made.


  64. - Soccertease - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 6:35 pm:

    Can JBT legally ‘hold’ Quinn’s paycheck? It’s appropriated by the general assembly (ironically). Will Quinn receive additional interest when his salary is paid late? Another conspiracy that needs investigated -lol!


  65. - Biker - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 7:46 pm:

    @RNUG, Seperation of powers, in Illinois, ha! Given than JBT just implemented this, it seems like the best use of our focus would be the actual pension fix, unless the Senate plan is already what everyone has decided on.


  66. - RNUG - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 9:07 pm:

    Biker,

    The real pension fix is to increase revenue because the State is contractually on the hook for all the already earned benefits. That’s about all that is left that is legal. Resetting the 1995 “pension ramp” actually raises the required pension contributions short-term, so it isn’t a quick fix. The GA already created a Tier 2 of lower benefits for new hires several years ago and it cut so much there is a real question if it will allow the State to continue to not contribute to Social Security in the near future. Supposedly a new “Tier 3″ is being proposed but I don’t see what they can further cut without running afoul of the SS/IRS pension minimums.

    The only quick budget fix is to steal part of the already earned pensions, which is why SB0001 and SB2404 were on the table this past session. The only real difference between the two bills was exactly how much each bill steals and exactly how they do it.

    And you won’t see taxes get raised until the GA has tried everything else they can think of first, and eventually been told no by the courts. Given past practice, the State will immediately use any savings for new spending (they’ve already made public statements to that effect), so the State and the taxpayers are already doomed …


  67. - Cheswick - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 9:15 pm:

    Quinn’s reaction to Topinka’s comments was redundantly superfluous. But other than that, hey, look who’s in charge now….


  68. - Harry - Thursday, Jul 25, 13 @ 9:35 pm:

    Sure, Quinn has an amendatory veto, and you can’t disburse funds except via appropriation–but where the hell dois he get off deciding whether the 177 members of the General Assembly have done their jobs? He gets 1 vote for a House member and one for a Senator, where he is registered, and that is al1 he should get to say on the subject–he is arrogating to himself the political rights of the 4M or so voters who actually elect the General Assembly.

    This is getting beyond pathetic, this is getting evil. The fact that it plays well does not say anything good about the political maturity of this State. Of course, look at the situation we’re in and the people we keep electing and re-electing despite that, and you have to conclude that political maturity has not been a strong suit for quite a while.


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        * Knight: Labor goes to court on fees, Rauner cou.....
        * Diversity, community relations among topics in .....
        * Senate passes plan to fix $1.6B budget hole..
        * Rauner signs budget fix..
        * Senate approves plan to cut education funding..
        * Rauner signs into law compromise plan to fix bu.....
        * Tollway board approves higher speed limits but .....
        * Chicago-area cousins accused of planning US ter.....
        * US: Chicago-area cousins planned US terrorist a.....


        * NTSB releases transcript of comments made by train operator
        * Jesse Jackson Jr. at halfway house after leaving prison
        * Case continued for Virginia student in bloody arrest
        * US: Chicago-area cousins planned US terrorist attack
        * Emanuel, Garcia debate Lucas museum for Chicago lakefront
        * Reform panel seeks 25 percent drop in prison population
        * Illinois Senate passes compromise plan to fix budget hole
        * Illinois has needle-exchange programs in 5 cities
        * Suspects in new Islamic State case appear in Chicago court
        * Tollway board approves higher speed limits but not 70 mph

        * Illinois Army National Guard member, cousin arrested for allegedly supporting Islamic State group
        * Senate passes plan to fix $1.6B budget hole
        * Schock says he leaves Congress with sadness, humility
        * Suburban Chicago men arrested for allegedly supporting Islamic State group
        * Bill would bar public funds for graduation speakers at state universities
        * Bills banning powdered caffeine, alcohol pass committee
        * Illinois Senate on spot to find votes to close budget gap for current year
        * Court reporter contingencies go down to the wire
        * Illinois Senate on spot to find votes to close budget gap
        * Aging brickwork prompts restrictions at Capitol's north entrance

        * Garcia: Lucas Museum a 'a monument to Darth Vader'
        * Emanuel, Garcia debate Lucas museum for Chicago lakefront
        * Meet ad exec Jim Misener of 50,000feet
        * You can clothe yourself in Big Macs--if you're Swedish
        * Chicago's Inventus buys London's Unified to add legal services


          * Friends, relatives gather to remember slain mail carrier
          * Released from prison, Jesse Jackson Jr. arrives at Baltimore halfway house
          * Feds: Guardsman, cousin plotted to attack Illinois military base, fight for ISIS
          * Garcia goes on the attack against Emanuel in 2nd debate of runoff
          * Blue Line crash at O'Hare: NTSB releases train driver interview, documents
          * Man shot to death on West Side porch
          * Cops: Guard used illegal police radio to call in foot chase after shooting threat, vandalism
          * In Endia Martin case, juvenile who took gun pleads guilty to weapons charge
          * 3 hurt when pickup crashes into restaurant in Kane County village
          * Indiana Gov. Pence defends religious objections law: 'This bill is not about discrimination'


          * Where can a politician wield more influence? Chicago's City Council vs. Illinois' Statehouse
          * More people moved away from Illinois last year than any other state
          * Flamin' Hot Cheetos top Chicago Public School vending machines
          * Flamin' Hot Cheetos top some Chicago Public School vending machines
          * Flamin' Hot Cheetos top Chicago Public School vending machines
          * ACLU: Chicago police make more stops than New York at its peak
          * Under Emanuel, more unsolved murders, fewer detectives
          * Indiana Gov. Pence signs religious objections bill
          * Jesse Jackson Jr. leaves federal prison for halfway house
          * Kennedy: Jesse Jackson Jr. leaving prison for halfway house


          * Illinois Army National Guard member, cousin arrested for allegedly supporting Islamic State group
          * Senate passes plan to fix $1.6B budget hole
          * Schock says he leaves Congress with sadness, humility
          * Bill would bar public funds for graduation speakers at state universities
          * Bernard Schoenburg: Ward 10 race heats up over attendance
          * Tony Leone: Restructure Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to find success
          * Eugene Robinson: An early look at the GOP field
          * George Will: Who says economics is hard?
          * Bills banning powdered caffeine, alcohol pass committee
          * Illinois Senate on spot to find votes to close budget gap for current year


          * Students told respect a two-way street with police
          * Police Beat
          * HS Softball: Rantoul vs. Fisher
          * Illinois vs. Arizona...10 years ago
          * Mate of slain eagle caring for young
          * Rick's House of Hope joins Vera French
          * Top softball teams: Arcola at No. 2
          * Severe weather likely caused fatal accident
          * Sports Talk 03-26-15
          * Rawlings Highway plan takes step forward


          * Kaminsky scores 19 as Wisconsin hangs to beat North Carolina 79-72
          * Tri-Cities area girls track and field preview
          * Abreu stays hot, but Kershaw stymies White Sox
          * Girls soccer/Scouting Northwest
          * Scouting DuPage County boys track

          * Bill aims to align education with needs of...
          * Question of the day
          * Rotering To Run For Congress
          * State Dept. Investigated over Anti-Netanya...
          * Highland Park mayor, Schneider in for a ru...
          * Supreme Court gay marriage case highlights...
          * Sharp partisan divide in US Supreme Court'...
          * Sharp partisan divide in high court's same...
          * Ex-congressman, radio host Joe Walsh endor...
          * Women's Connection selects Gayman as director

          * Wheel could be to blame for fiery Galena t......
          * The Difference Between Tom Cotton and John......
          * Bill to improve fairness of federal disast......
          * Champaign mayor candidate Q&A: Don Gerard...
          * ADC Welcomes Updated FBI Hate Crime Data C......

          * U.S. Senate votes unanimously for amendmen......
          * Bill to improve fairness of federal disast......
          * David Axelrod (very nicely) warns Chicago ......
          * Senate Votes for Amendment Making it Easie......
          * US Senate threatens Iran with new sanctions...

          * EXTRA: Chuy said what??!?
          * Poll: Chicago 7th Ward Ald. Holmes 16 Points Ahead Runoff Opponent
          * Jitu Brown At Education Rally
          * Alderman Pope’s dirty money in the 10th ward.
          * After Public Backlash, Emanuel To Join Garcia At Chicago State Forum
          * Your vote counts button
          * Education Rally To Unveil Chicago Teachers Union Contract Demands
          * Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey
          * I can’t resist posting this comment about the Tribune and Hinsdale senior Marissa Dupont.
          * New Poll: Attack ads continue to produce results for Emanuel


          * Nominating Petitions Available For Illinois Commodity Board Seats
          * Health Matters: 2015 Illinois Minority Health Efforts - Creating & Sustaining Healthy Communities
          * ‘Text First, Talk Second’ Often Best Way to Contact Loved Ones When Disaster Strikes - IEMA Encourages People to Have Plan for Communicating with Family Members, Friends during Emergencies
          * New Illinois Server Training Law effective July 1 - State currently offering FREE responsible beverage server classes
          * Motorists Urged to ‘Expect the Unexpected’ in Work Zones this Construction Season in Illinois - Work Zone Safety Week Reminder: See Orange. Slow Down. Save Lives.




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