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Friday, Jul 22, 2016

* George will play us out

Beware of sadness
It can hit you
It can hurt you
Make you sore and what is more
That is not what you are here for

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Rauner vetoes several union-backed bills

Friday, Jul 22, 2016

* From the governor’s office…

Veto message HB 5764
To the Honorable Members of
The Illinois House of Representatives,
99th General Assembly:

Today I return House Bill 5764, which amends the Illinois Act on Aging to establish statutory wage increases for employees providing homemaker services.

This bill provides for successive rate increases in the Illinois Department on Aging’s Community Care Program (CCP) over the next four years and requires an enhanced rate for in-home service provider agencies that offer health insurance coverage for employees. The total projected cost to the Department on Aging of the rate increase over the four year period would be an estimated $1.1 billion. The enhanced rate adjustment for providers that offer health insurance coverage would cost an additional $50 million over four years. In total, this bill would more than double the costs of the entire Community Care Program over the next four years.

The monetary impact of this bill extends to the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), as DHS contracts with a number of vendors that employ individuals providing homemaker services. The costs to DHS would be $66.5 million over the first four years and then $23.9 million annually thereafter.

Importantly, there is no funding in House Bill 5764 to cover the more than $1 billion in additional funding that will be needed pay for this bill. At a time of unprecedented financial difficulty in the State of Illinois, this is unaffordable piece of legislation that will create an even greater financial hole for the State and will ultimately result in cuts to—and eliminations of—other important State programs. I share your desire to support the workers and programs serving our elderly and physically disabled residents. But we must do so in a responsible way that recognizes our current fiscal reality and does not jeopardize the long term sustainability of the very programs that this legislation is intended to support.

Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of Article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return House Bill 5764, entitled “AN ACT concerning State government”, with the foregoing objections, vetoed in its entirety.

Sincerely,

Bruce Rauner
GOVERNOR

Veto message SB 2536
To the Honorable Members of
The Illinois House of Representatives,
99th General Assembly:

Today I return House Bill 5764, which amends the Illinois Act on Aging to establish statutory wage increases for employees providing homemaker services.

This bill provides for successive rate increases in the Illinois Department on Aging’s Community Care Program (CCP) over the next four years and requires an enhanced rate for in-home service provider agencies that offer health insurance coverage for employees. The total projected cost to the Department on Aging of the rate increase over the four year period would be an estimated $1.1 billion. The enhanced rate adjustment for providers that offer health insurance coverage would cost an additional $50 million over four years. In total, this bill would more than double the costs of the entire Community Care Program over the next four years.

The monetary impact of this bill extends to the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), as DHS contracts with a number of vendors that employ individuals providing homemaker services. The costs to DHS would be $66.5 million over the first four years and then $23.9 million annually thereafter.

Importantly, there is no funding in House Bill 5764 to cover the more than $1 billion in additional funding that will be needed pay for this bill. At a time of unprecedented financial difficulty in the State of Illinois, this is unaffordable piece of legislation that will create an even greater financial hole for the State and will ultimately result in cuts to—and eliminations of—other important State programs. I share your desire to support the workers and programs serving our elderly and physically disabled residents. But we must do so in a responsible way that recognizes our current fiscal reality and does not jeopardize the long term sustainability of the very programs that this legislation is intended to support.

Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of Article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return House Bill 5764, entitled “AN ACT concerning State government”, with the foregoing objections, vetoed in its entirety.

Sincerely,

Bruce Rauner
GOVERNOR

Veto Message SB 2964

To the Honorable Members of
The Illinois Senate,
99th General Assembly:

Today I return Senate Bill 2964, an amendment to the Prevailing Wage Act, with specific recommendations for change.

The Prevailing Wage Act requires public bodies, including the State of Illinois, units of local governments, and school districts, to pay prevailing wage rates for construction of public works. The law requires each public body to investigate and ascertain the prevailing wage for each trade every June. The law also requires the Illinois Department of Labor to conduct its own survey. In practice, many local public bodies rely upon the Department’s work and adopt the wage and benefit rates recommended by the Department.

Senate Bill 2964 would fundamentally change the law to delegate the rate-setting responsibility to labor organizations and to eliminate local government involvement. These changes are unconstitutional, would diminish local control over prevailing wage practices, and hurt taxpayers. I am therefore returning the bill with recommendations to address these concerns.

Unconstitutional Delegation of Government Power

Senate Bill 2964 would require the Department of Labor and each local public body to adopt the rates specified in collective bargaining agreements whenever as few as 30% of workers are represented by the union. The Illinois Supreme Court has previously held this arrangement to be unconstitutional. In 1951 the General Assembly amended the Prevailing Wage Act to provide that where workers’ wages are negotiated under a collective bargaining agreement, the wages specified in that agreement would be the prevailing wage. In Bradley v. Casey (1953), the Illinois Supreme Court held:

“[D]efining wages under a collective bargaining agreement as the prevailing rate of wages in a given locality[] is invalid for the reason that it delegates a discretionary power to private parties and that it tends to be too restrictive and discriminatory in defining that to be fact which is not a fact. Upon close analysis it can be seen that this amendment permits the fixing of the standard rather than finding or ascertaining an existing fact. This amendment then, being vulnerable to the foregoing criticism, is clearly unconstitutional.”

Proponents of Senate Bill 2964 note that, in practice, the Department has historically relied upon wage and benefit rates taken directly from collective bargaining agreements. But as the Supreme Court observed, there is a difference between relying on those agreements in practice and fixing a standard by statute.

Wage and benefit rates determined by a collective bargaining agreement are a relevant factor in determining the prevailing wage. But to limit the prevailing wage to the wage specified in a collective bargaining agreement would mean disregarding all those workers whose wages are not set by that agreement. Senate Bill 2964 would fix the prevailing wage to the wage applicable to as few as 30% of the workers in a given trade, meaning that the wage applicable to the remaining 70% of workers would be disregarded.

The bill also creates a presumption in favor of union rates, even where fewer than 30% of workers are represented by the union. The bill would place the burden on the challenger to prove that fewer than 30% of workers are represented, which would require the challenger to conduct a comprehensive market analysis – a virtually impossible task within the time constraints provided and the resources required.

For these reasons, Senate Bill 2964 does not meet constitutional standards and threatens to disregard a significant portion of the workforce. The changes recommended below would address these concerns while still ensuring that rates established by collective bargaining agreements are taken into appropriate consideration when setting prevailing wage rates. Specifically, with these changes the law would require public bodies to give appropriate consideration to rates established by collective bargaining agreements. The amended law would also permit a public body to rely solely upon collective bargaining agreement rates where the public body has determined that the work is predominantly performed under those agreements and that consideration of other evidence would not affect the prevailing wage rates.

Local Government Involvement

Senate Bill 2964 would also eliminate the role of local governments in setting prevailing wage rates. Illinois prevailing wage requirements add to the cost of taxpayer-funded projects. If the State is going to mandate local government compliance, the State should also respect the role of local governments in determining prevailing wage rates, which necessarily vary by county.

The changes recommended below would retain the role of local governments in ascertaining and adopting prevailing wage rates. The Department would continue to conduct a statewide survey. While local governments may continue to rely on the Department’s investigation, local governments should be ultimately responsible for setting local wage and benefit rates.

* * * * *

Senate Bill 2964 does not meet constitutional standards and would not be the best policy for Illinois or taxpayers. I am returning the bill with specific recommendations to address these concerns, while still ensuring that rates established by collective bargaining agreements are taken into appropriate consideration when setting prevailing wage rates.

Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(e) of Article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return Senate Bill 2964, entitled “AN ACT concerning employment”, with the following specific recommendations for change:

On page 1, by replacing line 5 with “Sections 2, 4, and 9 as follows:”; and

On page 5, by replacing lines 11 through 20 with the following: “locality in which the work is performed. The public body awarding the contract shall ascertain the general prevailing rate of hourly wages pursuant to this Act.”; and

On page 5, by replacing lines 21 through 25 with “(b) (blank).”; and

On page 6, by replacing lines 1 through 14 with “(c) (blank).”; and

On page 7, by replacing line 4 with “ascertained by the public body or by the Department of Labor”; and

On page 7, by replacing lines 11 through 24 with the following: “employed by them in the execution of the contract or such work; provided, however, that if the public body desires that the Department of Labor ascertain the prevailing rate of wages, it shall notify the Department of Labor to ascertain the general prevailing rate of hourly wages for work under contract, or for work performed by a public body without letting a contract as required in the locality in which the work is to be performed, for each craft or type of worker or mechanic needed to execute the contract or project or work to be performed. Upon such notification the Department of Labor shall ascertain such general prevailing rate of wages, and certify the prevailing wage to such public body.”; and

On page 8, by replacing line 2 and 3 with “that not less than the prevailing rate of wages ascertained as found by the public body or Department of Labor or determined by the court”; and

On page 8, by replacing line 13 with “by the public body or Department of Labor or determined by the”; and

On page 12, by replacing lines 6 through 8 with the following: “be consolidated in a single hearing before the Department. Such consolidation shall occur whether each separate investigatory hearing is conducted by a public body or the Department. The”; and

On page 13, by deleting lines 5 through 18; and

On page 13, by replacing lines 20 through 24 with the following:

“Sec. 9. To effectuate the purpose and policy of this Act, each public body shall, during the month of June of each calendar year, investigate and ascertain the prevailing rate of wages as defined in this Act and publicly post or keep available for inspection by any interested party in the main”; and

On page 14, by replacing lines 1 through 4 with the following: “office of such public body its determination of such prevailing rate of wage and shall promptly file, no later than July 15 of each year, a certified copy thereof in the office of the Illinois Department of Labor. The Department of Labor shall,”; and

On page 14, by replacing lines 8 through 26 with the following:

“ascertained on its official website each year. If a public body does not investigate and ascertain the prevailing rate of wages during the month of June as required by the previous paragraph, then the prevailing rate of wages for that public body shall be the rate as determined by the Department under this paragraph for the county in which such public body is located. As part of its investigation a public body or the Department of Labor shall give appropriate consideration to rates of wages required to be paid under collective bargaining agreements for those crafts and types of laborers, workers, and mechanics in localities. A public body or the Department of Labor may limit its investigation with respect to a specific craft or type of laborer, worker, or mechanic in a specific locality to only rates of wages required to be paid under collective bargaining agreements if the public body or the Department of Labor, as applicable, has first determined with competent evidence that work currently performed in that locality by that craft or type of laborer, worker, or mechanic is predominantly performed under a collective bargaining agreement and that consideration of other evidence would not affect the prevailing rate of wages.

Where the Department of Labor ascertains the prevailing rate of wages, it is the duty of the Department of Labor within 30 days after receiving a notice from the public body authorizing the proposed work, to conduct an investigation to ascertain the prevailing rate of wages as defined in this Act”; and

On page 15, by replacing lines 1 through 18 with the following:

“and such investigation shall be conducted in the locality in which the work is to be performed. The Department of Labor shall send a certified copy of its findings to the public body authorizing the work and keep a record of its findings available for inspection by any interested party in the office of the Department of Labor at Springfield.

The public body except for the Department of Transportation with respect to highway contracts shall within 30 days after filing with the Department of Labor, or the Department of Labor shall within 30 days after filing with such public body, publish in a newspaper of general circulation within the area that the determination is effective or on its public website, a notice of its determination and shall promptly mail a copy of its determination to any employer, and to any association of employers and to any person or association of employees who have filed their names and addresses, requesting copies of any determination stating the particular rates and the particular class of workers whose wages will be affected by such rates.”; and

On page 15, by replacing line 23 through 26 with the following: “objectionable by filing a written notice with the public body or Department of Labor, whichever has made such determination, stating the specified grounds of the objection.”; and

By replacing page 16 with the following:

“It shall thereafter be the duty of the public body or Department of Labor to set a date for a hearing on the objection after giving written notice to the objectors at least 10 days before the date of the hearing and said notice shall state the time and place of such hearing. Such hearing by a public body shall be held within 45 days after the objection is filed, and shall not be postponed or reset for a later date except upon the consent, in writing, of all the objectors and public body. If such hearing is not held by the public body within the time herein specified, the Department of Labor may, upon request of the objectors, conduct the hearing on behalf of the public body.

The public body or Department of Labor, whichever has made such determination, is authorized in its discretion to hear each written objection filed separately or consolidate for hearing any one or more written objections filed with them. At such hearing, the public body or Department of Labor shall introduce in evidence the investigation it instituted which formed the basis of its determination, and the public body or Department of Labor, or any interested objectors may thereafter”; and

By replacing page 17 with the following:

“introduce such evidence as is material to the issue. Thereafter, the public body or Department of Labor, must rule upon the written objection and make such final determination as it believes the evidence warrants, and promptly file a certified copy of its final determination with such public body, and serve a copy by personal service, or registered mail, or electronic mail on all parties to the proceedings. The final determination by the Department of Labor or a public body shall be rendered within 30 days after the conclusion of the hearing.

If proceedings to review judicially the final determination of the public body or Department of Labor are not instituted as hereafter provided, such determination shall be final and binding.

The provisions of the Administrative Review Law, and all amendments and modifications thereof, and the rules adopted pursuant thereto, shall apply to and govern all proceedings for the judicial review of final administrative decisions of any public body or the Department of Labor hereunder. The term “administrative decision” is defined as in Section 3-101 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

Appeals from all final orders and judgments entered by the court in review of the final administrative decision of the public body or Department of Labor, may be taken by any party to the action.

Any proceeding in any court affecting a determination of the Department of Labor or public body shall have priority in”; and

On page 18, by replacing lines 3 through 7 with the following:

“In all reviews or appeals under this Act, it shall be the duty of the Attorney General to represent the Department of Labor, and defend its determination. The Attorney General shall not represent any public body, except the State, in any such review or appeal.”; and

On page 18, by deleting lines 9 through 25; and

By deleting page 19.

With these changes, Senate Bill 2964 will have my approval. I respectfully request your concurrence.

Sincerely,

Bruce Rauner
GOVERNOR

Veto Message SB 2931
To the Honorable Members of
The Illinois Senate,
99th General Assembly:

Today I return Senate Bill 2931, one of several bills backed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Illinois & Indiana that would impose unaffordable obligations on the State’s taxpayers.

The bill mandates an immediate increase from $13 to $15 in the hourly wages for personal assistants who perform in-home care for individuals with disabilities pursuant to the Home Services Program operated by the Illinois Department of Human Services. That is an immediate pay increase of over 15 percent. The bill also mandates a level of contributions to the union health care plan that covers these workers and requires comprehensive in-person orientation and training, for which these workers would have to be paid the mandated, higher hourly rate. Taken together, these changes would saddle the State’s taxpayers with almost $87 million in additional annual costs. This bill does not provide for a funding source for that $87 million. This is money that the State does not have and would have to offset through cuts to this and other programs.

Further, the individuals covered in this legislation already earn more than their counterparts, both here in Illinois and in other states. The average hourly wage for personal care assistants in the United States is $10.60. In Illinois, outside the Home Services Program, these workers likewise earn $10.60 per hour on average. Pursuant to collective bargaining agreements with the State, workers represented by SEIU already earn the hourly rate of $13, with more skilled workers earning much more. The State simply cannot afford to increase the hourly rate from $13 to $15. When the rest of State government is being asked to do more with less, it would be irresponsible to give one special group a 15 percent pay hike.

in the parties’ prior collective bargaining agreement, SEIU negotiated and secured the right to provide its own orientation and training to personal assistants. For SEIU now to insist on a mandatory orientation and additional annual training on taxpayers’ dime is troubling enough. It is doubly so when the bill would require that the workers receive a higher hourly wage for all of that time, and on an annual basis.

Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of Article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return Senate Bill 2931 entitled “AN ACT concerning State government”, with the foregoing objections, vetoed in its entirety.

Sincerely,

Bruce Rauner
GOVERNOR

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      


This just in… Illinois Supreme Court accepts direct appeal of remap case

Friday, Jul 22, 2016

* 3:34 pm - That was fast…

The complete document is here.

* 3:53 pm - From Dave Mellet at Independent Maps…

“We’re very excited that the Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to immediately review our case on an expedited schedule. The Supreme Court hasn’t ruled on a citizen initiative since 1994, but they will now have the opportunity to preserve this important constitutional right of Illinois voters. The lower court ruling - which agreed that redistricting reform is an acceptable subject for citizen initiative - left Illinois voters with no opportunity to make the changes needed to stop politicians from drawing their own legislative maps.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      


Social service providers claim administration has “unchecked discretion” over paying off old contracts

Friday, Jul 22, 2016

* From Pay Now Illinois, the group of social service providers suing the state. All emphasis is in the original…

Hi Rich,

Attached, please find the latest amended complaint from Pay Now Illinois and the 98 plaintiffs, which continues to demand full and immediate payment for services rendered under FY 2016 contracts. The complaint seeks declaratory and permanent injunctive relief, noting that the stop-gap budget leaves uncertain when and how much social and human service agencies will get paid.

The complaint states: “The so called stop gap budget does not guarantee any meaningful payment at any level and thereby further violates the constitutional rights of plaintiffs to equal protection and due process of law and to be free of impairment of contracts.” The complaint goes on: “Public Act 99-524 largely gives unchecked discretion by the defendant Governor and agency heads to determine how much to pay and whom to pay - not for contracts to be entered in the future but for contractual services already rendered.”

The suit continues to seek full payment on all amounts due on FY 2016 contacts, and an order that the Comptroller “pay immediately all such vouchers more than 90 days overdue out of general revenue or specific funds, regardless of whether there is a specific legislative appropriation or not.”

The complaint also notes the increasingly dire situation of the plaintiffs.

The next hearing date is 10am on Monday.

* Documents…

* Third amended complaint

* Renewed motion for preliminary injunction

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      


GOP poll: Kirk and Duckworth essentially tied, Clinton leads by 14

Friday, Jul 22, 2016

* The Super PAC helping Mark Kirk’s Senate bid has released a poll to Greg Hinz. It was taken by GOP pollster Basswood Research

The poll has Kirk edging ahead of Democratic nominee Tammy Duckworth 41.9 percent to 40.4 percent, within the poll’s plus or minus 3.5 percent margin of error, but better than the narrow 42.5 percent to 42 percent lead Duckworth held when Basswood last surveyed in April. […]

Normally I’d say an incumbent with only 41.9 percent backing is in some trouble. But this is a strange leader, and it’s hard to say without knowing more about the roughly one in five voters who is undecided.

In comparison to the Senate contest, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has a wide lead in her home state over the GOP’s Trump.

Specifically 46.4 percent of likely voters surveyed by telephone said they favor Clinton, 32.5 percent are for Trump, 5.2 percent for Libertarian Gary Johnson and 2.6 percent for the Green Party’s Jill Stein. Just over 13 percent were undecided.

Back on the Senate race, Basswood says Kirk is doing 22 points better than Trump among moderates, and 24 points better among women. Basswood’s research memo didn’t say what the relative margin is among Republicans and men, but it obviously is much smaller.

There are other Senate incumbents polling around 42 percent, so it’s not completely unusual, but he really ought to be doing better than that.

…Adding… I was just reminded by a “helpful” Democrat that the poll was taken when Kirk was the only Senate candidate on the airwaves with ads. Duckworth went up the next day.

* Eric Elk, who commissioned the poll, told me that the poll’s partisan makeup was Dem+10. The survey size was 800 and it was conducted July 12-13. No word yet on what percentage of respondents were mobile phone users, which is an important thing to know these days.

…Adding… Mobile phone users were 25 percent of respondents. Could be higher, but better than nothing.

The pollster’s memo is here.

…Adding More… Kirk is actually doing much better vis-à-vis Trump than some of his GOP colleagues

“We’re not running presidential races,” said Ward Baker, the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “We’re running sheriff races.”
So far, the divide is holding. Sen. Marco Rubio polls about 5 percentage points ahead of Trump in Florida, Sen. Rob Portman is 4 points up on him in Ohio, and Sen. Pat Toomey has a 6-point edge over the nominee in Pennsylvania, according to RealClearPolitics rolling averages.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/senate-republicans-trump-225637#ixzz4FAUQF4hJ
Follow us: @politico on Twitter | Politico on Facebook

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      


Today’s quotable

Friday, Jul 22, 2016

* CBS 2

Levine asked Kirk about a series of controversial statements he has made in recent memory. That includes a reference last year to Chicago’s South Side, when he referred to an unmarried colleague as a “bro with no ho.”

“When you’re in a race like I’m in, everything is taken the wrong way,” Kirk says.

But then he almost immediately let fly another headscratcher about the therapeutic benefits of pinot grigio. He says the wine has helped him talk more clearly.

“Suddenly, as the pinot grigio hit the brain stem, my speech abilities came back. And I said to my girlfriend, ‘OK, it’s going to be only pignot grigio.’”

I’m not sure how that could be taken the “wrong” way, unless it was the wine talking. /snark

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      


The Roger Ailes connection to Illinois

Friday, Jul 22, 2016

* I’d completely forgotten about this until Mike Miner wrote about it in the Reader

In 1988 Roger Ailes fashioned the media strategy for George H.W. Bush’s successful campaign for president, and in 1996 he became the first CEO of Fox News. Between these two historic events, he came to Illinois.

His fingerprints were all over a nasty 1990 Senate race between two by-no-means-nasty people: Democratic incumbent Paul Simon and his Republican challenger, Lynn Martin, a moderate congresswoman from Rockford.

Ailes thought Simon, who won by a whisker in 1984, was vulnerable: arguably too liberal for the state, and after making a run for the Democratic nomination for president in 1988, perhaps not sufficiently committed to the job, in the minds of Illinois voters.

So Ailes rode into town to see to it Illinois sent Martin to Washington.

Ailes was already notorious, and Simon “had tremendous success raising a ton of money by using Ailes’s name as a scare tactic,” says Kerwin Swint in his 2008 biography of Ailes, Dark Genius. His hackles up, Ailes called a news conference. It didn’t go well.

Go read the whole thing.

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      


Even more editorial support for the Independent Map Amendment

Friday, Jul 22, 2016

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Some additional editorial support for the Independent Map Amendment from news outlets across Illinois:

“The Independent Map Amendment would change a system that welcomes partisan power brokers to draw legislative district boundaries that enhance their strength into a system requiring boundaries that ensure citizens have choices to select leaders who truly represent their interests and values.”
-The Daily Herald; May 9, 2016

“There’s a remedy to this gerrymandering, called the Independent Maps Amendment. A bipartisan group of Illinoisans is trying to get this constitutional amendment on the November ballot. If voters approve it, political gerrymandering would be replaced by a nonpartisan independent commission that would draw legislative districts starting after the 2020 census.”
-Rockford Register Star; July 12, 2016

“Good government reform groups seeking to change Illinois’ badly broken and undemocratic mapmaking process deserve to celebrate an epic achievement—regardless of what happens next.”
-The Dispatch and Rock Island Argus; June 15, 2016

“Redistricting abuse by parties in power limits competition and accountability for state representatives and senators, who come to care more about pleasing political bosses in Springfield than the folks back home.”
-Sauk Valley Media; June 8, 2016

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Question of the day

Friday, Jul 22, 2016

* One of the more overlooked aspects of last night’s Trump address…


* From his prepared remarks

At this moment, I would like to thank the evangelical community who have been so good to me and so supportive. You have so much to contribute to our politics, yet our laws prevent you from speaking your minds from your own pulpits.

An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson, many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views.

I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and protect free speech for all Americans.

* The Question: Should churches be allowed to actively participate in and fund campaigns without any danger of losing their tax exempt status? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


survey tools

- Posted by Rich Miller   73 Comments      


Today in Illinois history

Friday, Jul 22, 2016

* This is why the State of Illinois has both a comptroller and a treasurer…


- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


*** LIVE COVERAGE *** Rauner education press conference

Friday, Jul 22, 2016

* BlueRoomStream.com’s live coverage is here. Watch it all with ScribbleLive


- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      


Trump’s best point of the night

Friday, Jul 22, 2016

* From Donald Trump’s speech last night

“In the president’s hometown of Chicago, more than 2,000 have been the victims of shootings this year alone,” Trump said. “And more than 3,600 have been killed in the Chicago area since he took office.”

The rest of Trump’s speech was often bizarre, loud, angry and incredibly pandering (”Instant” solutions to huge problems without a bit of detail? Really?), but that passage resonated with me.

Barack Obama ran as a city Democrat, which this nation hasn’t had as its president since John Kennedy (and Boston is a pretty small city). But he’s barely lifted a finger for Chicago. It’s mired in problems, shootings being just one of them.

It is one of my two greatest disappointments about his administration.

- Posted by Rich Miller   77 Comments      


Mrs. Rauner appears to support Turnaround Agenda strategy

Friday, Jul 22, 2016

* AP

A proposal bolstering Illinois funding for early education is now law.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the plan Thursday at an event with his wife, Diana Rauner. She runs an early education organization called The Ounce of Prevention Fund.

Under existing state law, 14 percent of grant money for early education was set aside for children up to age 3. Under the new measure, it eventually will grow to 20 percent.

* Both the governor and Mrs. Rauner were asked about the lawsuit that the Ounce had joined to force payment of state contracts to social service providers. Raw audio is here, but this is part of Gov. Rauner’s comment

I don’t blame the agencies and the human services and the community leaders who are very frustrated by the process. I’m with them. I share their frustration.

* Mrs. Rauner

I’ll just say that the Ounce of Prevention joined this lawsuit as a business decision to support and serve the organizations that we work with. And that was a decision that we made which I think is understandable considering the situation. I share the governor’s frustration with the lack of a balanced budget and structural reforms and hope that we can get to a position where all programs for vulnerable families are supported appropriately and all agencies are paid in a timely fashion.

That appears to be as close to an endorsement of the governor’s much-criticized “hostage” strategy as I’ve yet seen by her.

* Tribune

But when the first lady was pressed to weigh in on whether too much damage had already been done to social services, the governor stepped to the microphone instead.

“There are many, many human services, many social service agencies supporting our most vulnerable families that have not received the support they deserve. And that’s a tragedy,” the governor said. Then he moved on to a new question.

- Posted by Rich Miller   39 Comments      


Caption contest!

Friday, Jul 22, 2016

* From a longtime commenter…

Meanwhile, at “Symphony at the Park”… Pat Quinn… gathers signatures. He seems a bit oblivious that people are trying to escape from politics right now… Scoffs at people when they say no.

* The pic…

- Posted by Rich Miller   79 Comments      


Adding some context to Rauner’s e-mail diatribe

Friday, Jul 22, 2016

* Subscribers have a different sort of context regarding Bruce Rauner’s e-mail five years ago about how half of Chicago’s school principals were allegedly “managerially incompetent” and half the city’s teachers were “virtually illiterate.” Here’s more from the Tribune

Appearing at a panel discussion in September 2012 as teachers were on strike, Rauner outlined a long-term plan to try to split “good teachers” from organized labor’s grasp using the issues of evaluations and merit pay.

“The good teachers know they’ll do fine. They’ve got the confidence. I’ve talked to them. I know,” Rauner told an audience of business and political leaders at a seminar held jointly by the Dallas-based President George W. Bush Institute and the right-leaning Illinois Policy Institute. “It’s the weak teachers. It’s the lousy, ineffective, lazy teachers that — unfortunately there are a number of those — they’re the ones that the union is protecting and that’s where there’s a conflict of interest between the good teachers and the union bosses.”

A week earlier, Rauner penned an opinion piece for the Tribune saying the strike “provides us all with a clear opportunity to examine the grossly inadequate performances of many public school teachers and highlight and reward the great performances of other teachers.”

“I have sat in a CPS math class and watched division being taught incorrectly. I have seen the standardized test scores of CPS teachers that indicate many of them aren’t even capable of scoring 21 on the ACT, the absolute minimum score needed to be ready for college. How can we believe that these teachers can prepare our children for success?” Rauner wrote. […]

“My wife and I have spent more than $20 million trying to donate to teacher training, principal development, charter schools,” [Rauner] told an education conference in 2012. “And I would say probably 80 percent of the dollars that we donated have been wasted. Lost. No result.”

* More from the Sun-Times

While Chicago teachers walked the picket lines for seven days, Rauner kept himself busy excoriating the union in scathing op-eds in the Chicago Tribune.

“While there are many excellent CPS teachers, the reality is a tragedy of epic proportions. Hundreds of thousands of children are being doomed to an unacceptably poor education and the diminished lives that come with it,” he wrote in one of those op-eds.

“It’s time we say ‘enough.’ Let’s recognize the CTU strike for what it is. Plain and simple, it is about the union’s drive to protect Chicago’s incompetent teachers at the expense of students and good teachers. We must not be fooled by the rhetoric that teachers are striking in the interests of students. Baloney. This strike is about protecting political power.” […]

“It will take a tremendous fight for us to take our schools back from the union bosses and their fellow bullies,” he wrote [after the strike was settled].

* Also

Last month, Rauner provoked a mighty backlash from teachers, parents and local officials when he compared the city’s public schools to “crumbling prisons.”

* And check out this e-mail passage not mentioned in the Trib

Rauner also advocated for “system structure, competition and incentives” as “key” to making sure that only “superstars” took jobs as network chiefs supervising the principals.

Well, now we know where his much-beloved “superstars” label comes from.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      


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Friday, Jul 22, 2016

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Oh, this ought to be good

Friday, Jul 22, 2016

* After it was reported that Bruce Rauner wrote an e-mail five years ago saying about Chicago Public Schools, “50% of principals are managerially incompetent and half of teachers are virtually illiterate,” check out what he’s gonna do today…

Daily Public Schedule: Friday, July 22, 2016

What: Governor Rauner Signs Legislation to Increase Transparency for School Testing and Honor Training for Teachers
Where: James R. Thompson Center – Blue Room
100 W. Randolph, Chicago
Date: Friday, July 22, 2016
Time: 11:00 a.m.​

You gotta figure this will be a well-attended press conference with some sharp questions. He’ll get his own chance to apologize in public while likely enduring some grilling.

* And he will likely be called upon to respond to this…

IFT President Responds to Governor Rauner’s Trump-esque Affront to Educators
Rauner Revealed: “Half of [Chicago] teachers are virtually illiterate”

CHICAGO – As GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump prepares to take the convention stage in Cleveland, Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery responded to revealing emails written by one of Trump’s supporters, Governor Bruce Rauner.

    “Governor Bruce Rauner’s statement that half of Chicago teachers are ‘virtually illiterate’ is a grotesque affront to the thousands of dedicated, hardworking, and talented educators and, indeed, the children who learn from them and love them,” said Montgomery, a high school English teacher.

    “Perhaps the Governor is trying to one-up Donald Trump, whom he said he would support, in the level of hate and impropriety in civic deliberations.

    “While Rauner publicly claims to love Illinois teachers, his private emails reveal the appalling truth: he holds them in contempt. No public servant, let alone a governor, is fit to oversee the education of our children when he or she has so little regard for those who teach.”

* And this

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis described Rauner’s comments as “ridiculous” and “silly.”

“That’s on him, that has nothing to do with reality,” said Lewis, who like Rauner graduated from Dartmouth College. “Am I virtually illiterate? I have the same degree he has. Guess what? They didn’t just pass that out to me. … And if he threw everybody out who he claims is virtually illiterate, who would want to come into this system?”

* And

CTU president Karen Lewis took offense, saying she has yet to meet an illiterate teacher.

“Doesn’t that speak to his elitism and his attitude toward who we are?” she said by telephone of the governor she has long sparred with. “If he said that and put in an email, think about what he really says when he feels comfortable.”

Hopefully, the Rauner presser will be livestreamed. Either way, we’ll have a ScribbleLive feed set up by then.

…Adding… BlueRoomStream.com will livestream the event.

- Posted by Rich Miller   69 Comments      


Rauner apologizes for making “unfair, untrue” comments in old e-mail

Friday, Jul 22, 2016

[Bumped up for visibility.]

* Uh-oh

Gov. Bruce Rauner once told some of Chicago’s wealthiest and most influential civic leaders that half of the Chicago Public Schools teachers “are virtually illiterate” and half of the city’s principals are “incompetent,” according to emails Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration released Thursday under a court order.

Rauner made the assertion five years ago when he was a wealthy private equity executive and an active participant in Chicago school reform. His emails were part of a discussion with affluent education reform activists connected to the Chicago Public Education Fund, including Penny Pritzker, now U.S. commerce secretary; billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin; Chicago investment executive Mellody Hobson; and Helen Zell, the wife of billionaire real estate magnate Sam Zell.

“Teacher evaluation is critically important, but in a massive bureaucracy with a hostile union, where 50% of principals are managerially incompetent and half of teachers are virtually illiterate, a complete multi-dimensional evaluation system with huge subjectivity in it will be attacked, manipulated and marginalized – the status quo will prevail,” Rauner wrote in a December 2011 email arguing for a strong system of teacher and principal evaluations in the district. “It’s much more critical that we develop a consistent, rigorous, objective, understandable measure and reporting system for student growth upon which all further evaluation of performance will depend.”

* The good news is that Rauner’s spokesman Lance Trover apologized, which is a highly unusual move

“Significant change can be frustratingly slow; this is especially true in public education. Many of us, at one time or another, have sent hastily crafted emails containing inaccurate or intemperate statements,” Trover’s statement said in part. “This particular email was sent out of frustration at the pace of change in our public school system. The governor regrets writing it and apologizes to CPS educators for making an unfair, untrue comment.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   71 Comments      


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* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
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* Rauner apologizes for making "unfair, untrue" comments in old e-mail
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