* Senate President John Cullerton talked to reporters after the House passed a concealed carry bill. He likes some of the bill and absolutely hates parts of it, including the preemption language. Listen…
Cullerton has always been a very strong gun control guy. There is no way he’ll allow the House’s bill - as is - to pass. As long as Chicago can’t pass its own non-concealed carry gun ordinances, then it’s a non-starter.
Left-wing blogger Rich Miller is writing about “a couple of postcards” State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) received and shared with him. The seemingly pro-gun postcards are laced with racial and anti-Semitic “hate speech” and have no return address. They were reportedly mailed to Raoul this month and disseminated to the public via Miller today as conceal carry legislation is being debated in the General Assembly.
The Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) read the “timely” revelation as implying they were behind the hate mail and strongly denounced Miller in his comment section.
Governor Pat Quinn today issued the below statement regarding the Illinois House’s passage of Senate Bill 2193, a massive overreach on the concealed carry issue that would automatically repeal local public safety ordinances including Chicago’s assault weapons ban. The governor’s office filed in opposition to the bill during committee yesterday.
“This legislation is wrong for Illinois.
“It was wrong yesterday in committee, it’s wrong today, and it’s wrong for the future of public safety in our state.
“The principle of home rule is an important one. As written, this legislation is a massive overreach that would repeal critical gun safety ordinances in Chicago, Cook County, and across Illinois.
“We need strong gun safety laws that protect the people of our state. Instead, this measure puts public safety at risk.
“I will not support this bill and I will work with members of the Illinois Senate to stop it in its tracks.”
The bill is already going nowhere in the Senate, where the chamber’s President is staunchly opposed.
* Also, if you missed the update on another post, here are the Chicago-area Democrats who voted for concealed carry, with Black Caucus members in bold…
Toni Berrios, Dan Burke, Monique Davis, John D’Amico, Anthony Deluca, Mary Flowers, LaShawn Ford, Fran Hurley, Thaddeus Jones, Rob Martwick, Rita Mayfield, Al Riley, Bob Rita, Silvana Tabares, André Thapedi, Mike Zalewski.
“I congratulate Zachary Fardon on his nomination by President Obama for U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois. I look forward to working with him on the important matters facing our city, including our ongoing efforts to reduce violence, combat gangs and gang crimes, and take illegal guns off of our streets,” Emanuel said. “Zachary Fardon has had a distinguished career fighting for justice, and I am confident that as U.S. Attorney he can have a positive impact on the lives of Chicago and Illinois residents, and help us improve the safety of our communities.”
* Nobody is willing to speculate on this move, but it wasn’t good news for the governor either way…
Illinois officials agreed Thursday to temporarily halt the movement of residents out of an institution for the developmentally disabled in the southern Illinois city of Centralia.
At the request of U.S. Northern District Court Judge Ruben Castillo, the state agreed to stop the transfer of all but one resident out of Murray Developmental Center until a hearing next week on a temporary restraining order requested by residents’ families.
The lone resident who Castillo said can be moved is returning to his mother’s home.
Gov. Pat Quinn ordered Murray and several other facilities closed last year as part of an effort to save the state tens of millions of dollars. But parents of Murray residents sued to stop or delay the closure, saying residents wouldn’t get the care they needed elsewhere. Earlier this month, a panel of Illinois lawmakers voted against closing the center, as well as two of the state’s prisons.
*** UPDATE *** From the IL Dept. of Human Services…
The plaintiffs’ motion is without merit. The state is acting safely and responsibly to transition residents to community care. Governor Quinn is committed to rebalancing the state’s system of caring for people with developmental disabilities so they can live more independent, fulfilling lives.
An emergency TRO was not issued. Rather, the judge allowed the plaintiffs to file their motion requesting an emergency TRO but continued any decision until the assigned judge to the case returns next week. In good faith, we voluntarily agreed not to move any residents in the meantime.
Springfield, IL–For the third day in a row, concerned Illinoisans that have requested a meeting with Governor Quinn and that he reconsider his support of allowing hydraulic fracturing in Illinois, have sat-in in front of Governor Quinn’s office. Today 14 people joined the sit-in and the three people refused to leave as the capitol was closing were arrested. This brings the numbers of arrests for the week up to five.
Citizens sitting-in at Quinn’s office believe that that the voices of people that will be most affected by hydraulic fracturing have been ignored in the process of figuring out how to deal with this controversial practice which has left a wake of health and environmental problems in other states. […]
“It’s sad and enraging that they have trampled democracy by cutting a backroom deal to rush through a bill to regulate fracking. Now that it’s the 11th hour and the people who have not been heard and are politely requesting a meeting are being arrested by the people who should be representing our best interests.” said Jenn Carrillo of Bloomington-Normal, who was at the capitol today.
There were months of private negotiations, for sure, but I doubt there is a legislature anywhere in the nation where those don’t occur. And the bill is now fully out in public.
That being said, maybe the governor ought to at least meet with these folks for a few minutes. Your thoughts?
Just wanted to clarify a couple of things from the numbers Cullerton’s staff put out on SB 2404:
Elaine was careful the other day to NOT talk about a 30-year savings number. It was Darlene Senger and the House GOPs who had come up with a number of $30 billion. The actuaries had been asked to look at certain scenarios, so Elaine wanted to be careful to only look at the unfunded liability number when the full bill wasn’t scored yet.
On the unfunded liability point, Cullerton’s staff agrees with us. The scenario Elaine and Darlene talked about would be just under $6 billion in savings, and their update agrees.
We think it proves well our point of the real uncertainty of the Cullerton pension model and we look forward to talking soon about the actuarial numbers on the House-approved Senate Bill 1.
* The Senate President asked the pension systems to redo their cost savings estimates by including the dollars eventually directed to pension funding that are currently being used to pay off pension obligation bonds. From Cullerton’s office regarding his reform bill, SB 2404 …
New SB 2404 savings numbers over next 30 years is $56.9 billion and reduction in unfunded liabilities is $9.13 billion.
This assumes 50% of actives take simple COLA, other 50% of actives take a 3 year delay in 3% compounded COLA and 2% contribution increase, and 100% of retirees taking a 2 year staggered delay in 3% compounded COLA.
This is the most likely scenario because of union support and feedback that we have received from retiree groups. This is the scenario that we relied upon when we passed the bill.
Other scenarios also included in the attachment. Savings for the scenario referenced by Nekritz is $46 billion and $6 billion respectively.
Keep in mind this includes the Fortner money.
Nekritz claimed that the savings would only be about $30 billion. But that’s not what the final numbers show. Here are the attachments…
Representatives of organized labor in Illinois contend that the pension-reform bill recently passed by the House would be unconstitutional because it diminishes or impairs the claims of retirees. I think it’s probably unconstitutional for a very different reason.
Our Legislature can spend money by simply passing an appropriation — by majority vote of both houses and with the approval of the governor.
However, the framers of our state Constitution realized that the incurring of debt was more dangerous to the future of the state. So they provided that debt may not be incurred for general purposes except under tight limits in amount and duration, and that debt “for specific purposes” may not be incurred — “or the payment of State or other debt guaranteed” — except by a vote of three-fifths of the members of both houses.
The Madigan pension reform bill passed by the House (though not the Senate) would impose a new “contract obligation” on the state, mandating annual funding. This funding obligation is declared by the House bill to be “protected and enforceable under” Section 16 of Article I (prohibiting any law impairing the obligation of a contract) and Section 5 of XIII (the pension clause) of the state Constitution. If the state should fail to pay the “amount guaranteed,” a special judicial “mandamus” mechanism is made available to compel payment.
* Editorial: Who blinks first?: As a show of good faith, Cullerton could call the House bill for a vote in the Senate. If it passes, we’re done here, and we await the lawsuit. If it fails, likewise in good faith, Madigan can call the Senate bill in his chamber. If it passes, the Legislature has at least moved the ball forward - if not nearly enough - and can return to do more radical surgery another day, when the decisions will be no less difficult - maybe more so - than they are now. If it fails, we’re back at square one, and the meltdown accelerates, putting state-provided pensions, jobs and services in jeopardy, perhaps sooner than anyone imagines.
Credit unions were first exempted from federal income tax in 1917 because of their unique structure as not-for-profit financial cooperatives. Contrary to what some banks may suggest, credit unions pay property, payroll, and sales taxes. Yet while banks decry the credit union tax exemption, nearly 40 percent of banks in Illinois elect Subchapter S status under the Internal Revenue Code to avoid federal income taxation. That’s $58 million in diverted tax dollars. These for-profit Sub-S banks also pay dividends and fees — not to customers, but to directors/investors/stockholders who may or may not be depositors — to the tune of nearly $1.1 billion. This is far in excess of the estimated federal income tax credit unions would pay. In contrast, credit unions return net revenue to their members. The banker argument against the credit union tax exemption is simply disingenuous. If banks really believed that credit unions operate with an unfair competitive advantage, they would restructure their institutions to credit union charters. None would, however, because doing so would expose them to becoming democratically controlled, locally-owned financial cooperatives governed by their very own volunteer members that put people before profits — all the virtues that define the credit union difference.
Passed in 2007, Illinois’ renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requires 25% of the state’s power to come from renewable sources by 2025. To date the RPS has attracted more than $5 billion in investment, created thousands of jobs and cut wholesale power costs, according to the Illinois Power Agency (IPA).
Unintended Conflict Broke the Law
As reported on the front page of Monday’s Chicago Tribune (“Energy Fund Lacks Power”, May 13, 2013) and in Crain’s Chicago Business (“A Mighty Wind Problem”, April 8, 2013), because of a conflict with the municipal aggregation tidal wave, the RPS law has broken down as “customers of the state’s two major electric utilities defected en masse.”
A No-Cost Fix
SB 103 contains a simple solution to resolve this problem. Rate caps remain in force and increased efficiencies ensure no additional costs for ratepayers or utilities.
$4.7 Billion Dollars in Illinois Investment at Risk
Renewable developers have more than $4.7 billion in Illinois projects ready for development. Unless the RPS is fixed, billions in investments and thousands of jobs will remain on the drawing board.
*** UPDATE *** SB2193 passed with 85 votes. Some of the more interesting “Yes” votes were Democrats from the Chicago area. Black Caucus members in bold…
Toni Berrios, Dan Burke, Monique Davis, John D’Amico, Anthony Deluca, Mary Flowers, LaShawn Ford, Fran Hurley, Thaddeus Jones, Rob Martwick, Rita Mayfield, Al Riley, Bob Rita, Silvana Tabares, André Thapedi, Mike Zalewski.
[ *** End Of Update *** ]
* As of this writing (10:34 am), the House’s concealed carry bill is up for floor debate. Check the live blog for constant updates. You can also listen or watch here.
“This legislation as written is a massive overreach that goes far beyond the conceal carry issue,” said Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson. “The measure would repeal Chicago’s assault weapons ban and put public safety at risk. We oppose this.”
After lawmakers had gone home for the day, Emanuel’s office issued a statement opposing Madigan’s plan, saying the mayor is “committed to working with the leaders” on legislation to combat gun crimes and keep illegal guns off the street. […]
Even before a House committee advanced the bill on a 13-3 vote, Senate President Cullerton released a stinging statement that contended the National Rifle Association’s “fingerprints” can be found “all over” the bill. Cullerton criticized the House bill as an “NRA dream” because it gives state government “exclusive authority to regulate any matter related to firearms” beyond just concealed carry. […]
Raoul’s bill stalled in the Senate last week when Madigan made it clear to lawmakers, including senators, that the House was working on what he indicated may be a better bill.
That’s not all Madigan did last week. Subscribers know more.
Those with reservations about the bill say that even though the NRA is neutral, they can see the group’s influence in the proposal. They note that the group rarely, if ever, sits quietly and allows legislation it does not favor to pass. No one representing the NRA or the Illinois Rifle Association testified during the committee hearing today. Before the hearing, the usually talkative NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde declined to comment on the bill.
“That speaks volumes to me,” Daley said. Ronald Homes, spokesperson for Senate President John Cullerton, also noted the association’s silence. “This is still the template that the NRA wanted to get done. … The NRA is often loud about bills that they don’t like.”
Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, said there are things that his group does not like about the bill. “We feel that the fees are too high and the training is too long.” The steep license fee and cost of training could make the constitutional right of carry inaccessible for some. But he says there are components of the proposal that he supports. “It also has some good things in the bill. It’s got [home rule powers] preemption in the bill, which is very very important.” […]
Pearson said his group is not trying to sway House members. “We’re not saying it’s OK to vote for the bill; we’re not saying it’s not OK. We’re saying we’re neutral.” He added, “I’m sure the representatives will be more than able to make up their minds.”
Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said, “It was thought that you wanted to have one law for one state.” He noted that weekly votes earlier this year in the House on separate gun issues showed tougher restrictions would be difficult to get through the House and that the legislation was an attempt to “fashion a commonsense approach.”
A quickly drafted House concealed-carry measure backed by House Speaker Michael Madigan passed a preliminary panel Thursday but was deemed an “overreach” by Gov. Pat Quinn and the Senate’s top Democrat, citing key ideological differences.
They’ve been working on that bill for weeks. The final draft emerged Thursday morning.
* I’m hearing there was strong pushback against this position from some of the ICIRR’s coalition members. The Chicago archdiocese being one of them. The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago is also a gay marriage opponent and is an ICIRR partner. It’ll be interesting to watch this one play out.
From a press release…
As an organization dedicated to the full inclusion of all Americans, whether foreign-born or native-born, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) supports marriage equality. ICIRR believes that full equality and civic participation should extend to recognition of all families, including those involving same-sex partnerships. Such recognition should extend to our immigration laws, our family laws, and to other areas of law that affect our families.
While we recognize that there are differences of opinion within immigrant and faith-based communities regarding same-sex marriages, including among our members, the majority of our members - and therefore our organization - believe that a full respect for our state’s and our nation’s diversity demands that we not discriminate based on whom we love, and that we call upon an end to such discrimination in our local, state, and federal laws.
House Republican leaders don’t have Rep. Tammy Duckworth in their sights.
In a state where four of the five Democrats newly elected to Congress last year have been targeted for defeat, Ms. Duckworth is not a high GOP priority — at least for now. […]
The NRCC laid out its priorities for the 2014 election at a briefing for reporters Wednesday.
Among them is the re-election of freshman Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, who narrowly won his downstate seat last year by only about 1,000 votes. […]
Among 52 Democrats targeted for defeat nationwide, the four from Illinois are Reps. Brad Schneider of Deerfield, Cheri Bustos of East Moline, William Enyart of Belleville and Bill Foster of Naperville, who previously served in Congress from March 2008 to January 2011.
Schneider will face Bob Dold in a rematch, and Bustos will also likely face a rematch against Bobby Schilling. Foster won by 17 points, but he showed in 2010 that he can be a very weak incumbent. Still, that’ll be tough.
An O’Fallon veteran and former sports journalist has announced his intention to run for congressman in the 12th District as a Republican.
Doug Bucshon, a 20-year veteran of the Illinois Army National Guard, has never held a political office. After his retirement from active duty, he has worked as a sports journalist covering University of Illinois basketball and football.
His campaign slogan is “Change the Future.”
Word is that the GOPs are hoping to recruit state Rep. Mike Bost.
* Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) shared with me a couple of postcards he received this month postmarked in Carol Stream but without return addresses. The postcards strenuously, and disgustingly objected to Raoul’s proposed concealed carry bill. The full pdf file with the postmarks can be seen by clicking here.
The postcards contain some really harsh and totally inappropriate language. I apologize for exposing you to this, but, hey, I didn’t write them and I think we all need to seem them…
Discuss. But don’t quote directly from the postcards because my automated system will delete your comment.
How can you be a leader if nobody is following you?
This week on my blog (CapitolFax.com) I wrote that Gov. Pat Quinn is honest, but “no leader.” His press secretary fired off an angry retort:
“Give me a break.
“Real leadership requires honesty and making hard but necessary decisions for the common good. Real leadership requires telling the truth, looking at the big picture and doing what’s best for generations to come. Prior governors got things done like approving big early retirement initiatives, pension holidays and unaffordable contracts that helped create the crisis we’re in now. Gov. Quinn has gotten things done like pension reform for new hires, Medicaid restructuring, the first capital bill in a decade, worker’s compensation reform and more.
For starters, that definition of “real leadership” is incomplete.
As I said, leaders have followers. Quinn has few if any followers, either among the public or in the General Assembly.
His poll numbers are the worst in the country. Only the hardest core of hard-core Democrats really support him, and even they’re not all that enthused.
Every governor in anyone’s memory has had what’s known as “floor leaders” in each legislative chamber. Those floor leaders stick up for the governor when other legislators balk. They fight for his interests and pass his bills. Quinn has never had a floor leader in either chamber. And if he asked around today, I doubt if he could find one.
For crying out loud, the woman he plucked out of semi-obscurity to be his running mate in 2010 unceremoniously dumped him a while back. Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon would still be teaching some boring class at Southern Illinois University if it were not for Pat Quinn, but even she’s running away from him as fast as she can. It’s not that I blame her, but it doesn’t make her behavior any less gauche.
Other governors did indeed ignore the pension problems, and Quinn deserves credit for pointing out those problems and demanding a solution. But he’s been little help in devising a solution or getting a solution enacted into law.
Right now, for instance, the House and the Senate are deadlocked over competing pension reform plans, one backed by the unions, the other by big business. A real leader would find a way to bridge this gap between the House speaker and the Senate president.
And the list of accomplishments isn’t really Quinn’s. Yes, he signed those bills into law, but he didn’t lead the effort to hash out the difficult details or get them passed.
Too often, Quinn’s idea of leading is to threaten to veto bills unless certain conditions are met instead of actively working to do something positive. The gaming expansion bill is a perfect example. There is no doubt the governor wants the revenues from more gaming, but he isn’t willing to do the hard work to resolve the contentious issue and contents himself with throwing bricks from the sidelines at those who are working.
Illinois is adrift. Without a firm hand on the tiller, all heck is breaking loose at the Statehouse. Factions are warring over everything imaginable, and the big issues are still unsettled.
Meanwhile, our state’s unemployment rate is about the highest in the country, our population growth rate is infinitesimal, and the government continues to cut sweetheart, taxpayer-financed deals to keep big businesses from relocating elsewhere while ignoring the dire need for healthy, balanced economic growth.
I don’t think Illinois can take six more years of this “real leadership.”
An online poll was requested yesterday, so here we go…
* The Question: Is Gov. Quinn showing real leadership? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.