* HB 492’s synopsis…
Repeals the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act. Amends various Acts to make conforming changes. Effective immediately.
There are no co-sponsors on this bill which has about zero chance of passage, but, wow is there ever a press release…
STATEMENT FROM TANJA MURRAY, VOLUNTEER CHAPTER LEADER WITH THE ILLINOIS CHAPTER OF MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA:
“It’s baffling and shameful that some of our representatives apparently want to get rid of a common-sense law that makes it harder for dangerous people to get guns. At a time when our state’s largest city is reeling from a gun violence crisis – a crisis made worse by guns brought in from states without background check requirements – this proposal would only make it easier for criminals to get guns right here in Illinois.
To reduce the gun violence affecting communities across Illinois and across the country, we need more states, not fewer, to require background checks for all gun sales. I urge our representatives to reject this proposal and make clear that Illinois will not let the gun lobby roll back lifesaving gun laws.”
“Some” would be “one,” at least, so far.
But, hey, ever vigilant. I get it.
* And speaking of gun bills, this is from the NRA…
On Wednesday, January 25, the Senate Criminal Law Committee is scheduled to consider Senate Bill 50. Sponsored by state Senator William Haine, Senate Bill 50 continues the fight for important pro-gun safety reform for hearing protection rights. NRA Members and Second Amendment supporters are encouraged to sign a witness slip to go on record in support of Senate Bill 50. Please also contact your state Senator immediately and urge them to support SB 50.
Suppressors provide numerous benefits to the hunters and sportsmen who choose to use them. Most importantly, suppressors can decrease muzzle report to hearing-safe levels and reduce shooters’ risk of hearing damage, which can occur when discharging a firearm without proper hearing protection. Additionally, suppressors help increase accuracy by reducing felt recoil and shot “flinch.” Beginners to shooting sports adhere to a quicker learning curve on average because the muffled sound equates to increased focus and concentration on proper shooting mechanics. Furthermore, suppressors help reduce noise complaints from neighbors, which are frequently used as an excuse to close hunting lands throughout the country
Amends the Illinois Police Training Act. Provides the annual training of police chiefs must include at least one course on the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act, the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, and firearms investigations. Amends the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act. Permits the State Police to notify the FBI if a person on the Terrorist Watchlist applies for a FOID card. Requires the State Police to provide notice and reason for the disqualification of a firearm purchase or a FOID card revocation to all law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction to assist with the seizure of the person’s FOID card. Adds as grounds to deny an application for or to revoke or seize the person’s FOID card that the person is charged with making a terrorist threat or soliciting or providing material support for terrorism. Makes other changes. Amends the Firearm Concealed Carry Act. Provides that a person may not carry a concealed handgun equipped with a silencer. Amends the Wildlife Code. Removes the prohibition on using a silencer to mute the sound resulting from firing a gun. Amends the Criminal Code of 2012. Provides that the offense of unlawful use of weapons includes knowingly: using, or possessing with the intent to use, a silencer on a handgun, except at a shooting range; or possessing any silencer for firearms, other than handguns, not in compliance with the National Firearms Act. Provides that the offense of unlawful sale or delivery of firearms includes knowingly transferring a silencer to a person not authorized to possess the silencer under federal law. Effective immediately.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* In anticipation of the strike authorization vote starting January 30th, I asked AFSCME’s Anders Lindall a couple of quick questions about what to expect. Here are my questions with his answers…
* What are your strike vote authorization rules?
* Do you need a percentage of members voting (ie a majority of those who show up to a meeting to vote) or a total percentage of all membership? And is it 50 percent plus one to authorize?”
A vote of more than 50 percent of those voting would grant the bargaining committee the authorization to call a strike if necessary.
But as we have repeatedly made clear, a vote to authorize a strike would not necessarily mean there will be a strike. The committee will continue to do everything in its power to bring the governor back to the bargaining table in good faith, and to avoid a strike.
A bit more here. For instance…
The Strike Authorization Vote will take place in each local union between January 30 and February 19
- Posted by Rich Miller
* The New York Times reports on various gubernatorial reactions to a reported Trump administration plan to block-grant the Medicaid program…
Governors like the idea of having more control over Medicaid, but fear that block grants may be used as a vehicle for federal budget cuts.
“We are very concerned that a shift to block grants or per capita caps for Medicaid would remove flexibility from states as the result of reduced federal funding,” Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, a Republican, said this month in a letter to congressional leaders. “States would most likely make decisions based mainly on fiscal reasons rather than the health care needs of vulnerable populations.”
Gov. Robert Bentley of Alabama, a Republican, said that if a block grant reduced federal funds for the program, “states should be given the ability to reduce Medicaid benefits or enrollment, to impose premiums” or other cost-sharing requirements on beneficiaries, and to reduce Medicaid spending in other ways.
In Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, said he was troubled by the prospect of a block grant with deep cuts in federal funds. “Under such a scenario,” he said, “flexibility would really mean flexibility to cut critical services for our most vulnerable populations, including poor children, people with disabilities and seniors in need of nursing home and home-based care.”
Gov. John W. Hickenlooper of Colorado, a Democrat, said that block grant proposals could shift costs to states and “force us to make impossible choices in our Medicaid program.”
If history is any guide, block-granting will lead to less federal money being spent.
* The issue is also mentioned briefly - and rather coldly - in a letter sent by our acting Director of Insurance to Republican congressional leaders. Click the pic for a larger image and the complete letter…
- Posted by Rich Miller
* From the ILGOP…
Will House Democrats Bow to Mike Madigan Again This Week?
Decision to Enact Madigan’s Rules Expected This Week; Would Give Madigan “Total Control”
“House Democrats voted less than two weeks ago to give Mike Madigan an unprecedented 17th term as Speaker. This week House Democrats must decide whether they will give Madigan even more power by adopting Madigan’s Rules, which would give him total control of the legislative agenda of the General Assembly.” - Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Aaron DeGroot
After the inauguration of a new General Assembly every two years, members of the Illinois House of Representatives adopt the little-known rules package that governs how their legislative body hears, debates, and votes on pending legislation.
For decades, House Speaker Mike Madigan has used the Rules of the House of Representatives to control the legislative agenda of the General Assembly according to his personal whims and political strategy. Speaker Madigan rules the Illinois House of Representatives and determines what legislation lives and dies.
“The way our House rules operate, I think they are more restrictive than any other legislature in the country and create a lot of control in the speaker.” – State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, October 2013
The House based its rules on the Senate’s rules back when the Republicans had control of both chambers. The Senate’s rules are still pretty close to the House’s rules, yet nary a peep about that chamber.
But, then they couldn’t tweet stuff like this…
* Even so, I’ve been railing against these rules since Pate Philip first unveiled them. They’re undemocratic and they should be changed.
Committee chairmen and minority spokespersons should be elected by their caucuses, not appointed by the leaders. Committee staff should report to and be hired by chairmen/spokesmen and not the leaders.
I’d hesitate to bring back floor amendments, which long ago could be filed on bills without first having to clear the Rules Committee as long as they were related to the underlying subject matter. Back in the old days, Madigan would simply refuse to move any legislation at all to the floor that could be amended with hostile language to his favored constituencies (like trial lawyers). And the House Republicans tried one year to essentially shut down the chamber’s operations by filing a couple of hundred floor amendments to a bunch of bills on the floor. The old rules required taking action on all those amendments before the underlying bills could be advanced.
Also back in the day, the House Rules Committee only really met to enforce a chamber rule that limited legislation in even-numbered years to appropriations bills and “emergency” (I think that was the term) legislation. The Rules Committee decided what could be considered an emergency under the rules during election years (a very handy power). Now, Rules controls everything all the time. It should be reined in.
* Anyway, that’s a few points for starters. Y’all have any other ideas?
- Posted by Rich Miller
|Question of the day
Monday, Jan 23, 2017
* This group
is was [he resigned from the board last year] backed by Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Chris Kennedy…
* The Question: Effective or not? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.
- Posted by Rich Miller
Monday, Jan 23, 2017
* My Crain’s Chicago Business column…
[The Senate’s grand bargain] plan isn’t perfect, but no compromise ever is. The governor’s budget office says their plan isn’t balanced, so more work definitely needs to be done.
In public, the governor has been doing his best not to derail the Senate’s proposal, but nobody really knows what he’s doing behind the scenes. Madigan hasn’t said much of anything, but nobody expects him to just accept something from the Senate and gleefully put it on Rauner’s desk.
To my mind, the key to getting something done right now is in the hands of House Republicans. They were, after all, the caucus that asked the governor’s budget office to analyze the Senate’s appropriations plan. Rauner’s budget folks projected a $2.3 billion deficit for next fiscal year.
Did Rauner or his people “suggest” this request? My guess is yes, but House Republicans need to make darned sure that Rauner doesn’t somehow kill this thing off. Work with—and not for—the governor to help figure out how to fix and pass the Senate’s plan.
An agreement would mean Madigan will be outnumbered and surrounded—the position he has worked so hard to avoid for two solid years. Right now, he can credibly point to Rauner’s intransigence while the Republicans point at him, and he can do this for as long as he wants.
But an agreement means that Madigan will either have to finally lay all his own cards on the table or take all the heat for the ongoing destruction.
Don’t screw this up. We simply can’t go through another two years of this.
Click here to read the rest.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* I told subscribers a bit about this poll earlier today…
The Illinois Democratic County Chairman’s Association announced that from Monday January 23rd to midnight on Sunday January 29th, it will conduct an online straw poll of its members and Democrats who join the organization via online submission to measure their preference for whom Democrats in Illinois should nominate for Governor.
The straw poll results, once tabulated, will be released to the public the following day on IDCCA’s website and social media channels. The straw poll will run from 10:30am on Monday January 23rd until midnight on January 29th.
“After two years of disastrous management under Governor Rauner and with the impending presidency of Donald Trump, Democrats must offer a positive vision to voters and draw their attention to the numerous well-qualified and exciting candidates who can lead Illinois into a better future,” said IDCCA President and Chairman of the Rock Island County Democrats Doug House.
The straw poll will be the first of its kind in Illinois to express the preference of activists, elected party leaders, and volunteers in all of Illinois’ 102 counties. IDCCA intends to conduct several more polls to continue drawing attention to the Democratic primary race for Governor.
The candidates included in the first straw poll are (in alphabetical order):
• State Senator Daniel Biss
• Congresswoman Cheri Bustos
• Congresswoman Robin Kelly
• Chris Kennedy
• State Senator Andy Manar
• Alderman Ameya Pawar
• J.B. Pritzker
• State Senator Kwame Raoul
• City Treasurer Kurt Summers
“Since November, there has been tremendous energy and desire among the people to find a way to fight back. IDCCA and its members across Illinois are prepared to play a leadership role in harnessing this enthusiasm and preparing it for our eventual nominee,” said House.
The straw poll voting will occur via the web at:
http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07edqhemzkiy8ustps/start [Fixed link - again]
The straw poll will be monitored by staff to prevent duplicate or fraudulent voting. Submission of an identifiable and valid email address and an Illinois zip code are the only requirements for membership in IDCCA and for the vote to be counted. This straw poll is not scientific and should not be construed as an accurate measurement of public opinion among Democratic primary voters.
If you vote, let us know which way you went and why.
…Adding… The link has now been fixed. Click here. [I had to fix the link again. Sorry about that! The second time was on me. Oops!]
- Posted by Rich Miller
* The Illinois Policy Institute continues to focus on Senate Republicans in order to kill off the chamber’s “grand bargain.” Here’s its latest…
Americans for Tax Reform, a taxpayer advocacy group, maintains an active pledge for lawmakers across the country to sign. The pledge states that the signer will agree to not vote for or support any new taxes or tax hikes. The pledge has proved popular among candidates and officeholders across federal, state and local levels of government with signatures from over 1,400 elected officials.
The following Illinois state senators have also signed the pledge:
Tim Bivins, R-Dixon
Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon
Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove
Dave Syverson, R-Rockford
Bill Brady, R-Bloomington
Sue Rezin, R-Morris
The state senators who signed this pledge should remember they were not making a promise to Americans for Tax Reform, but rather to Illinois taxpayers. Illinois already has one of the largest combined tax burdens in the country, and the last thing middle-and working-class Illinoisans need at this point is yet another tax hike.
It was a campaign pledge, and campaign pledges should be broken when the very future of the state is at issue.
And, really, the only pledge that matters now is the pledge that all lawmakers make when they’re sworn in: To uphold the state Constitution. And that Constitution requires a balanced budget.
So, unless these geniuses can come up with a plan to close a $6 billion budget hole without raising any taxes whatsoever, that pledge to Grover Norquist means nothing.
* Meanwhile, here’s its latest Facebook ad, which appears to be targeting Leader Radogno’s own district…
* And this is from its “news service”…
Parts of a potential budget agreement in Springfield include a number of pro-business incentives, but business advocates say they’re no consolation for massive tax hikes.
A series of bills waiting to be voted on in the Illinois Senate are being promoted by leadership as the grand compromise that will break Illinois’ two-year long budget stalemate between Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrat-controlled General Assembly. The proposed plan rakes in billions by raising the state’s income tax to almost five percent along with other taxes. They also included a two-year property tax freeze and minor reforms to pensions and workers compensation laws in an effort to court business support.
But Technology and Manufacturers Association of Illinois President and former state Sen. Steve Rauschenberger says token reforms are no justification for a massive tax increase. “An increase in revenue is not a good deal for minor changes to the workers’ compensation program,” he said.
*** UPDATE *** Hilarious…
This is exactly why I consider that group to be more of a propaganda outlet than a “think tank.”
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Tribune editorial board…
In a perhaps unprecedented move, Senate President John Cullerton and Republican Leader Christine Radogno will present to their members a proposal that’s like a Jenga game — remove one cube and the whole thing collapses. […]
Without analyzing each Jenga cube, we’re on board with the idea of nudging the fragile tower forward. We agree with Radogno’s description of this proposal — at this point in Springfield, it’s this something vs. everyone else’s nothing. Waiting for a more critical development, a more perfect policy package, a less painful strategy, hotter pressure from bond markets or constituents, would only continue the status quo.
Is a “do something” strategy the ideal way to proceed? Not even close. There are 100 reasons senators could collapse the Jenga tower. Perhaps most difficult to swallow will be the proposed tax hikes, which include an increase in the personal income tax from 3.75 to roughly 5 percent, along with a new state tax on sweetened beverages. Those proposals could change; the tax hike bill, along with many of the others, is not the final product. […]
But we agree with Radogno that at this point, given this sorry state, what she and Cullerton are doing is something vs. nothing. If passed in the Senate, it will put pressure on Madigan’s House and on Gov. Bruce Rauner to react.
The most interesting part of that editorial was in its description of our current environment as the “status quo.” The Trib has formerly relegated that phrase to the decades before Gov. Rauner was elected. So, is that an admission that we’re now in a whole other realm? We’ll see.
The editorial also concluded with the admonition that it was waiting to see all the bills before issuing its final opinion. So, things could change.
* The Daily Herald’s editorial board issued a very similar opinion…
As to the grand deal itself, we can say this: We appreciate the political courage Cullerton and Radogno are displaying in putting the state’s interests above their own, risking the political fallout from special interests and partisans.
We are not ready, at least not yet, to sign onto the entire proposed 13-point proposal that would include a significant increase in the state income tax and an expansion of legalized gambling. We do, however, agree without reservation with many aspects of the plan — a property tax freeze, the leadership term limits, workers’ compensation reform.
And it is clear that Illinois is not going to solve its significant problems and rebuild its reputation, is not going to stop the exodus of families and businesses fleeing the state, unless our two parties work seriously together in a spirit of cooperation and compromise.
No matter anyone’s positions on the proposed grand deal, the two Senate leaders deserve everyone’s thanks for their willingness to put themselves on the line.
* But the Northwest Herald is having nothing of it…
We’ve got to hand it to Senate leaders; they don’t discriminate. Their proposal is equally bad for middle class wage earners and business owners.
“The Senate budget proposal is an absolute disaster,” Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, said. “Raising the income tax rate by 32 percent, or even up to 40 percent, would crush taxpayers.
“We need to cut spending, not raises taxes. This would be the final nail in the coffin of the state of Illinois. … We lost 115,000 people [to outmigration] last year. This will drive even more people out of the state. …”
We urge state senators, including Sen. Pam Althoff, R-McHenry, and Sen. Karen McConnaughay, R-St. Charles, to reject this plan.
* And the Sun-Times doesn’t want radical changes in the workers’ compensation insurance component…
One way to cut costs without further reducing worker benefits would be to give the Illinois Department of Insurance the authority to ensure workers’ comp insurance companies aren’t getting excessive profits. That’s a safeguard that already exists in many other states.
Setting workers’ comp benefits at a reasonable level can help Illinois’ economic competitiveness. But Illinois shouldn’t expect to have lower workers’ comp costs than its neighbors. Part of the formula for calculating workers’ comp premiums is the total amount of employer payrolls. Because Illinois has higher average incomes than adjoining states, it can’t expect its workers’ comp rates to be lower.
Cullerton and Radogno are pushing for a bipartisan solution to a political impasse that has forced Illinois to stagger along without an annual budget for more than a year and a half. We support that effort. We also trust they can get the job done while preserving a fair workers’ comp system.
* Phil Kadner: Small ray of hope for fairer school funding in Illinois
- Posted by Rich Miller
State Rep. Scott Drury, the lone House Democrat that didn’t vote for House Speaker Michael Madigan earlier this month, reported a $2,000 contribution from Blair Hull, a businessman and 2004 primary candidate for U.S. Senate.
Not mentioned is that Hull was a top backer of Speaker Madigan’s Democratic primary opponent last year. So, the contribution to Drury makes more sense in that context.
- Posted by Rich Miller
As J.B. Pritzker explores a 2018 bid for governor, he has tapped an array of advisers that includes influential Democratic donor Michael Sacks, POLITICO has learned.
Sacks, GCM Grosvenor CEO and a top personal adviser to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, called Pritzker “extraordinary” and offered his backing should Pritzker ultimately file campaign papers.
Sacks was the lead donor to the anti-Gov. Bruce Rauner political action committee, LIFT — Leading Illinois for Tomorrow — in last November’s legislative battles, and has long financially backed Emanuel’s campaigns and funded Democratic efforts in Illinois and elsewhere. […]
Among others with whom Pritzker is conferring on an unofficial basis: state Sen. Heather Steans, who chairs the Senate appropriations committee and Matt Hynes, former chief lobbyist to the city of Chicago under Emanuel, said Becky Carroll, who is handling Pritzker’s communications for this phase.
Steans was once considered a possible gubernatorial candidate and is closely allied to Senate President John Cullerton.
Anyway, that’s a lot of Rahm folks.
* One person not mentioned in the piece is Nikki Budzinski, who was the UFCW’s political director before running labor outreach for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. She’s from Illinois and was recently hired by Pritzker to handle things. From her Twitter feed this past weekend…
* Back to Korecki…
On Saturday, [Chris Kennedy] took part in the Women’s March in Chicago.
“He marched with his wife and kids and other relatives in Chicago,” said Hanah Jubeh, a senior adviser to Kennedy.
Hanah Jubeh is also an advisor to Sen. Kwame Raoul, who describes Kennedy as an old friend. The two men attended the Operation PUSH breakfast on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day last week. Sen. Raoul has long been listed as a possible gubernatorial contender, but Kennedy’s Jubeh hire makes me think he may be aiming for something else.
* Sneed exclusive: Pritzker goes on gubernatorial ‘listening tour’
- Posted by Rich Miller
* My weekly syndicated newspaper column…
On a fairly regular basis back in the day, state Sen. Barack Obama would walk up to the Senate press box and bum cigarettes off me. That was when people could smoke in the Senate chambers and back when both of us smoked. Now, we both chew nicotine gum and smoking on the Senate floor is strictly forbidden.
Obama was mainly an OPC smoker, meaning “other peoples’ cigarettes.” I’d usually give him a little grief about how maybe he should buy his own pack once in a while, but I never denied his request unless I was almost out. He’d always take the cigarette to a room in the back of the chamber, never seeming to smoke at his desk like others did.
One day as I was wandering through the Statehouse near his office, Obama hollered out my name and asked me to come in and join him. I presumed he wanted to bum yet another cigarette and I was right. I tossed my pack on his desk and he took one out, lit it and we made a little small talk.
Honestly, I didn’t much care for the guy in those days. He hadn’t yet done a lot of real work, or built strong relationships with fellow legislators by then, particularly with members of the Senate Black Caucus. And by the time of our little chat he’d gotten way ahead of himself by challenging Congressman Bobby Rush in the 2000 Democratic primary and losing badly.
I was interviewed by the Chicago Reader newspaper during that campaign. I told the reporter that Sen. Obama was “a very intelligent man” who has “some really good ideas,” and would “probably make a pretty good congressman.” But I also pointed out that he hadn’t had a lot of success in Springfield and speculated that it could be “because he places himself above everybody. He likes people to know he went to Harvard.”
I got a phone call from Obama after that story was published. He was stung by my comments. I tried to point out the positive things I said, but that didn’t work. At the end of our conversation, we agreed to start talking more often, which may have been why he called me into his office that day.
We had finished our cigarettes and I remember getting up to leave. It’s not like he knew any hot inside information that I could use in my Capitol Fax publication, so I had work to do and needed to move on. But Obama asked me to stay a while longer, so I sat back down and we each lit another smoke.
Obama then stunned me by asking a question that I never in a million years would’ve anticipated: What would I think of him running for U.S. Senate in 2004?
His question seemed so . . . presumptuous. Rush had just cleaned his clock by a 30-point margin, I reminded Obama. If he ran for statewide office and lost, he’d be finished, washed up, out of the game for good. “There is still some honor to serving in the Illinois Senate,” I gently scolded him.
But Obama said he was getting heat from the home front. His Springfield duties were preventing him from making a decent living as an attorney, so he either had to move up to a much higher office or get out of politics and go make some real money.
I couldn’t argue with that logic, but I suggested that maybe he stop using “Barack” and call himself “Barry” or something. He said that’s what his friends called him when he was growing up, but said he wanted to stick to his given name. I made some sort of joke about Irishing up his last name with an apostrophe after the “O” and using green yard signs. Had I known at the time that his middle name was “Hussein,” I’m sure I would’ve made some sort of inappropriate joke.
I tell this story whenever somebody asks me for advice about whether to run for higher office in order to explain why I no longer provide that sort of counsel. I mean, I actually told a future President of the United States to not be so darned ambitious. It was not my proudest moment.
Nowadays, I just say, “What do you really want to do?” And if they can answer that question, I urge them to put their entire heart and soul into the effort.
It works out much better that way—for them and for me.
* Bernie Schoenburg: Obama’s legacy ‘forever tied’ to Springfield
* Christi Parsons: I reported on Obama longer than anyone else. Here’s what I learned.
- Posted by Rich Miller
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