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AFSCME says layoff notices sent

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

* Subscribers already know about some other layoff notices. From AFSCME Council 31

On Aug. 3, AFSCME received notice from the Rauner Administration of 94 layoffs in state government. The threatened job losses are in the Department of Natural Resources (54 layoffs associated with the Governor’s plan to close the Illinois State Museum sites and the Sparta World Shooting Complex), the Illinois Commerce Commission (24), the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (9) and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (7).

The notices all cited a lack of funds as the rationale for the layoffs, which have an effective date of September 30.

“Most of these layoffs stem from Governor Rauner’s rush to shutter the Illinois State Museum sites, destroying a vital resource for learning and the preservation of cultural heritage and putting professional museum curators, librarians and support staff in the unemployment lines,” AFSCME Council 31 executive director Roberta Lynch said.

“Other layoffs would throw out of work men and women involved with nuclear safety, tourism, recycling and overseeing public utilities.

“Instead of holding hostage the public services Illinois residents rely on and eliminating jobs of public service workers who provide them, the Governor should drop his extreme political agenda that would hurt the middle class and work with legislators to pass a budget that prevents these cuts.”

Illinois has the nation’s smallest state employee workforce per capita. DNR was already cut 40% since 2000, DCEO cut 33% and IEMA cut 39%, hampering the ability of these agencies to meet their goals. At the ICC, this layoff could have a significant impact, eliminating 24 staff from an agency that had just 69 employees at the start of 2015, a 35% cut.

…Adding… The ICC would like you to know that they actually have 222 employees, not the 69 that AFSCME claims.

- Posted by Rich Miller   54 Comments      

Griffin: If not me, who?

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

* The Wall St. Journal interviews our very own Ken Griffin

WSJ: What is it like to see your personal life, business life and political giving become headline news?

KG: For choice, I prefer not to be a public figure. I don’t have Tom Cruise’s good looks. I don’t have a need to be on the front page of fill-in-the-blank. On my political giving, look, there’s probably not a week that goes by that I don’t realize the sacrifices that our forefathers made for this country. Yes, I’m involved in politics. Because frankly, if not me, who?

WSJ: You’ve given millions to back Republican Bruce Rauner for governor of Illinois, yet also boosted Democrat Rahm Emanuel for mayor of Chicago. Where do your politics lie?

KG: I can’t describe myself as a diehard Republication or faithful Democrat. The distinction between our two parties in the United States is pretty narrow. We need a mayor who understands how to get through a balance sheet; it was an easy call to get behind Rahm. I want Bruce to be comfortable knowing that he’s got my support however he feels it’s best to use. Anyone who knows him knows you don’t have influence with Bruce.

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      

What’s left?

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

* If the Senate’s federal spending appropriations bill is signed into law, what’s left to do? From the Senate Democrats…

Click the pic for more info.

Still a lot of pain out there, particularly those human service grants and programs.

…Adding… A bit more info…

Human services programs include addiction treatment, MH, DH, early intervention, home services, child care. The consent decrees only apply to certain populations of people, not all those eligible, only the population tied to the decree.

Other examples are funeral and burial assistance, homeless prevention for adults and youth, breast and cervical cancer screening program, AIDS/HIV treatment services, immunization and outreach.

Public Health depts. are not receiving their GRF funding.

…Adding More… To clarify, this is only GRF money. There are other state funds out there.

- Posted by Rich Miller   39 Comments      

Our historic year continues

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

* It’s too bad that the governor isn’t choosing to highlight this legislation with signing ceremonies. But, whatever, as long as they become law, I don’t really care

Fewer juveniles will be automatically transferred to adult court under a measure Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law Tuesday.

The legislation, which was pushed by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, eliminates the automatic transfer to adult court of 15-year-olds accused of any crime, no matter how serious. For 16- and 17-year-olds, only those charged with murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated battery with a firearm would automatically be sent to adult court.

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      

Just go away, already

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

* Boy, is this ever rich…

Background here and here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      

Question of the day

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

* From the twitters…

* The Question: Caption?

- Posted by Rich Miller   86 Comments      

A look ahead

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

* Michael Hawthorne looks at the president’s new power plant emission rules

State plans are due in September 2016, though states that need more time can ask for a two-year extension. In Illinois, overall emissions will need to drop by about 31 percent from 2012 levels to 66.5 million tons — equivalent to taking 5.6 million cars off the roads.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner declined to comment on the new rules pending a more detailed review. Unlike many of his fellow Republican governors, Rauner is not expected to join in the legal challenges, in part because Exelon’s carbon-free nuclear plants account for nearly half of the state’s energy mix. Illinois also is home to the corporate headquarters of more than a dozen wind companies.

Last month, Rauner’s top environmental regulator told an industry forum that Illinois is taking a “no-regrets approach” to complying with the climate rules. State officials have been meeting throughout the past year with officials from other states and various industries to discuss how to meet the EPA targets without disrupting the economy.

“Illinois is well positioned to meet the challenge with targeted policy initiatives that harness the state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy resources to complement our nuclear and coal resources,” said Illinois EPA Director Lisa Bonnett, a longtime agency official retained by the Rauner administration.

Coal and gas plants in Illinois emitted 2,208 pounds of carbon dioxide for every megawatt-hour of electricity generated in 2012, according to updated EPA data. The new rules will require the state to reduce that rate to 1,245 pounds per megawatt-hour — a decline of nearly 44 percent — by 2030.

* The coal-mining industry is super-efficient in this country. Despite Illinois being the fifth largest producer of coal, and producing more coal in this state last year than at any time since 1992, the industry only employs about 4,200 workers here.

One way to partially meet the president’s goals might be to use more Illinois coal, because it burns so hot and can therefore produce more electricity per ton than western coal. But that’s gonna be expensive because of scrubbers.

* Another way is to increase the use of natural gas

It’s a little amazing to me that natural gas trails renewables by so much here. But perhaps with some government incentives, we could kickstart the nonexistent fracking industry here by tying new or converted plants to Illinois natural gas production.

But converting coal-fired plants to gas or building new ones won’t be cheap, either.

Even so, we’re in a much better position than other states, like Indiana, because we have our nukes and significant renewable sources.

- Posted by Rich Miller   39 Comments      

Rauner admin backs Senate Dems’ federal approp bill

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

* The Senate Democrats’ bill we discussed earlier today is now being supported by Gov. Bruce Rauner, according to his spokesman.

That means almost $5 billion will be appropriated for all sorts of purposes. From a subscriber post earlier today

The amendment provides appropriations for the remaining federal funds totaling 4.8 billion for FY16. Public Act 99-05 contains federal education funds and, coupled with the amendment, brings the total FF appropriations to $7.65 billion. All federal funds for the executive agencies mirror the level introduced by the governor.

The state administers many federally funded and/or mandated programs. In many instances, agencies simply serve as a pass-through for federal funds to local providers, and the lack of appropriations authority for funds that have already been approved at the federal level prohibits this pass-through from happening.

Program Highlights


    · $330 million is included for the federally supported portion of the LIHEAP program
    · $275 million is included for job training under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (formerly Workforce Investment Act/WIA)
    o Community colleges and private providers throughout the state can access the funding to provide job training services to adults
    · $260 million for community block grants for small cities to assist Illinois communities in meeting their greatest economic and community development needs, with an emphasis on helping communities with substantial low to moderate-income populations
    · $60 million for the community service block grant program, which provides a range of services that help low-income people attain skills, knowledge and motivation necessary to achieve self-sufficiency. The program also may provide low-income people immediate life necessities such as food, shelter and medicine


    · $304.2 million for family and community services including support for domestic violence victims, food banks, child care and refugees
    · $323.8 million for the WIC program (services are currently being provided by court order)
    · $33.4 million for mental health services for adults and children
    · $80.6 million for alcohol and substance abuse treatment and preventions services
    · $50 million for community services for individuals with developmental disabilities
    · $176.5 million for rehabilitation services to help disabled individuals live independently and become participating members of society

Veterans’ Affairs

    · $125,000 for the homeless veterans program. The veterans home in Manteno provides housing and supportive services for homeless Illinois veterans.


    · $312.8 million for various programs including:
    o Breast and cervical cancer screening
    o AIDS/HIV prevention
    o Immunizations
    o Perinatal services
    o Rural health centers
    o Monitoring of long-term care facilities

Dept. on Aging

    · $98.7 million to support statewide Area Agencies on Aging, which provide services to seniors in the community including:
    o Home delivered meals
    o Employment services
    o Elder abuse prevention
    o Ombudsmen

Military Affairs

    · $9.8 million for the Lincoln’s ChalleNGe Academy


    · $163.3 million includes funding for Race to the Top, Early learning challenge and student assessments

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      

Today’s quotable

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

* Mayor Rahm Emanuel

“I understand the Governor has an agenda. But having your agenda should not come at the expense of running down either the city or the state you’re out there promoting,” Emanuel said.

At another point during the interview, the mayor said the governor was “running down” Illinois with his constant criticism of the state’s business climate.

- Posted by Rich Miller   53 Comments      

*** LIVE *** Overtime session coverage

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

* Watch it all via ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comment      

This Just In: Exelon Profits Up 22.2 Percent in 2nd Quarter

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

While our state budget crisis becomes increasingly dire, Exelon still demands a corporate bailout despite making more than $1.3 BILLION in profit in the first six months of the year. This is exactly the wrong thing for Illinois’ citizens and businesses.



That’s up 22.2% from 2014! Sounds like Exelon had a pretty good second quarter. And yet this wildly profitable company still seeks a bailout from struggling Illinois ratepayers and threatens to throw thousands of people out of work because they’re supposedly not making enough money.


Belleville said it best:

    “Good old Exelon. The company has come up with legislation to subsidize its nuclear reactors, get electric users throughout the state to pay for it and claim it’s in the interest of clean energy.”

    “State lawmakers need to see this bill for the dirty trick it is and kill it.”

- Belleville News Democrat: “DON’T FALL FOR EXELON BAILOUT”

Struggling Illinois Ratepayers have had enough.

Just say no to the Exelon bailout. Vote no on SB1585/HB3293.

BEST Coalition is a 501C4 nonprofit group of dozens of business, consumer and government groups, as well as large and small businesses. Visit

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

Today’s most interesting read

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

* The Blackhawks, the Senate President, parking lots, Malcom X College and more. Click it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

US Supreme Court agrees to postpone filing deadline in pension case

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

* Greg Hinz

In an action that’s going to set some tongues wagging, the U.S. Supreme Court has cleared the way for a possible appeal of an Illinois Supreme Court decision in May that rejected a state pension reform law.

The action came yesterday when the court granted a request from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to extend from Aug. 6 until Sept. 10 the deadline for asking the court to take up the matter, a legal step known as filing a writ of certiorari.

The request for more time was granted by Justice Elena Kagan, who reviews such requests from Illinois and other states in the federal 7th Circuit. Kagan did not indicate why she approved the application.

Madigan’s office has insisted that its request for more time is routine and had almost no comment yesterday evening. A Madigan spokesman wouldn’t even say whether the office was pleased that its request was approved or whether the high court action makes an eventual appeal more likely.

* From an earlier Hinz story

In her petition to Kagan, Madigan said the case “raises important issues regarding the reserved powers doctrine of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits a state from surrendering ‘an essential attribute of its sovereignty.’ “

The high court may need to decide “whether the reserved powers doctrine prevents a state from abdicating its police powers authority to modify its own contractual obligations in extreme circumstances” and “if not, whether the Illinois Supreme Court identified the correct standard by which the validity of a state’s exercise of its police power is judged,” the petition said.

Madigan spokeswoman Eileen Boyce downplayed the significance of the petition, terming it “a fairly routine request. We’re reviewing all of our options before deciding on the next step.”

But Boyce could not immediately say when—or if—an Illinois attorney general had ever considered appealing an Illinois Supreme Court decision of this magnitude to the U.S. Supreme Court. And she said the office also is reviewing last week’s Cook Cook County Circuit Court decision that threw out city pension reform on the same constitutional grounds.

Asked flatly if Madigan is considering taking the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court, Boyce replied, “We are continuing to consider all of the next best steps.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraiser and event list

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Duckworth heads to Israel as hearing held on “whistleblower” case

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

* AP

A lawsuit alleging ethics violations nearly a decade ago has become an issue in a Democratic congresswoman’s bid to unseat first-term Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk in what is expected to be one of the country’s most competitive 2016 Senate races.

The complaint alleging workplace retaliation was filed by two employees of a southern Illinois veterans home against Tammy Duckworth, now a Chicago-area congresswoman who at the time led the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.

The suit was dismissed by a federal judge in 2008 as a “garden variety workplace case.” It was refiled in state court and dismissed again, but then narrowed and brought back a third time. A judge has scheduled a hearing on the complaint for Tuesday, with a trial date tentatively set for next April, a month after the Senate primaries.

Illinois Republicans have highlighted the case, seeking to thwart Duckworth’s bid against Kirk, a moderate in a Democrat-leaning state who is seen as one of the most vulnerable Republican senators next year. Kirk, who had a stroke in 2012 and has been criticized lately for a string of public gaffes, can expect a tough re-election challenge in a presidential year, especially if Illinois-born Hillary Rodham Clinton is also on the ballot.

The Republicans have portrayed the lawsuit as a “whistleblower” case against Duckworth. The congresswoman denies treating the employees unfairly. Duckworth’s defense is being handled by the state attorney general’s office.


The NRSC released a new paid web video today to coincide with the beginning of Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth’s trial for silencing whistleblowers at the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Tammy Duckworth was appointed to run the IDVA by corrupt former Governor Rod Blagojevich and her management of the department was straight out of the Blagojevich playbook,” said NRSC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek. “When Illinois’ veterans needed her most, Tammy Duckworth was too busy silencing whistleblowers to protect her own political career instead of working to improve conditions for veterans.”

* The web video

* From DPI…



Plaintiffs Refused To Turn Over Documents To Duckworth’s Attorneys For 3 Years, Documents Were Requested Five Times. In February 2015, the attorney general’s office filed a motion to compel discovery responses. The attorney general’s office contended they asked for documents from the plaintiffs on March 7, 2012 and received no replay. Duckworth’s attorneys also contended that asked for discovery documents five times and received no response. [Case: 2009-L-2, Motion To Compel Discovery Responses, 2/13/15]

Duckworth’s Attorneys Asked For Dismissal Due To Lack Of Prosecution, Plaintiffs Had Not Turned Over Documents For Over 3 Years. On April 2, 2015 the attorney general’s office asked for dismissal for want of prosecution because plaintiffs had not provided discovery in over 3 years. [Case: 2009-L-2, Motion To Dismiss For Want Of Prosecution, 4/2/15]


Duckworth Declared For Senate On March 30, 2015. [Politico, 3/30/15]

Trial Date Was Set Two Months After Duckworth Declared For Senate. The trial date of April 4, 2016 was set in a motion hearing held on June 2, 2015, 2 months after Duckworth filed for Senate On March 30, 2015. [Politico, 3/30/15; First Judicial Court of Illinois, 6/2/15]


Plaintiff’s First Filed Suit Against Duckworth In May 2008. On May 15, 2008, Goins and Butler filed suit against Duckworth and Simms in the United State District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. [U.S. District Court For The Southern District Of Illinois, Civil No. 08-354-GPM, Complaint, 5/15/08]
• Suit Was Dismissed In December 2008. “A practical view of the complaint in this case is that Plaintiffs are complaining about matters within the scope of their job duties at the Anna Veterans Home. Plaintiffs are irked at the way they were treated by their supervisors. But this happens in every organization, public and private, and is best addressed by state law and collective bargaining. The First Amendment is not implicated by office backbiting or petty managers. Plaintiffs spoke as employees and not citizens, so their speech is not protected by the First Amendment. The Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims, and they are dismissed without prejudice.” [U.S. District Court For The Southern District Of Illinois, Civil No. 08-354-GPM, Decided 12/12/08]


U.S. District Court Judge Dismissed VA Employees’ Complaint, Saying The Plaintiffs Had No Protection Under The First Amendment And That Their Allegations Were Best Addressed By State Law And Collective Bargaining. “A practical view of the complaint in this case is that Plaintiffs are complaining about matters within the scope of their job duties at the Anna Veterans Home. Plaintiffs are irked at the way they were treated by their supervisors. But this happens in every organization, public and private, and is best addressed by state law and collective bargaining. The First Amendment is not implicated by office backbiting or petty managers. Plaintiffs spoke as employees and not citizens, so their speech is not protected by the First Amendment. The Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims, and they are dismissed without prejudice.” [U.S. District Court For The Southern District Of Illinois, Civil No. 08-354-GPM, Decided 12/12/08]

Judge Dismissed Plaintiff’s Case Without Prejudice. In August 2009, the Court found “the complaint and demand for jury trial is so confusing that it cannot properly rule on the Defendants’ combined section 2-619.1 motion to dismiss. The plaintiffs allege that each defendant was acting with her respective capacity as an employee of the IDVA. However, their prayers for relief are vague and ambiguous. Accordingly, Counts II, IV, VII and VII should be dismissed without prejudice and Plaintiffs given leave to file an amending pleading.’ The Court also found “the Plaintiffs should allege which law or regulation the Defendants have violated. Accordingly, those counts should be dismissed without prejudice and Plaintiffs given leave to file an amending pleading.” [Case: 2009-L-2, Order, 8/21/09]

Court Dismissed Emotional Distress Allegations Brought Against Duckworth. Court found “in this case, each and every action taken by Defendants Duckworth and Simms alleged in the Plaintiffs’ first amended complaint and demand for jury trial occurred during the course of their respective official responsibilities and in their respective administrative IDVA positions. Each and every action alleged occurred during the scope and course of employment while at the Veterans Home in Anna, Illinois, and not in a public forum. Therefore, the Court finds that the plaintiffs’ claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress are barred by the principles of collateral estoppel and absolute privilege, and the Defendants’ respective motions for summary judgment are granted.” [Case: 2009-L-2, Order, 1/2/14]

Federal Judge Called The Case “A Garden Variety Workplace Case” Over “Office Backbiting”
Federal Judged Called The Case “A Garden Variety Workplace Case” While Dismissing The Lawsuit.Federal district court Judge Patrick Murphy wrote, while dismissing the case, “This is a garden varietyworkplace case that pits Plaintiffs against their bosses and resulted in what Plaintiffs think is unfair disciplinary action against them. [U.S. District Court For The Southern District Of Illinois, Civil No. 08-354-GPM, Decided 12/12/08]

Federal Judge Said Plaintiff’s Brought Suit Over Allegations Of “Office Backbiting And Petty Managers” While Dismissing The Lawsuit. Federal district court Judge Patrick Murphy wrote, “Plaintiffs are irked at the way they were treated by their supervisors. But this happens in every organization, public and private, and is best addressed by state law and collective bargaining. The first amendment is not implicated by office backbiting or petty managers.” [U.S. District Court For The Southern District Of Illinois, Civil No. 08-354-GPM, Decided 12/12/08]

Federal Judge Said lawsuit Was Brought Because “Plaintiffs Are Irked At The Way They Were Treated By Their Supervisors” While Dismissing The Lawsuit. Federal district court Judge Patrick Murphy wrote, “Plaintiffs are irked at the way they were treated by their supervisors. But this happens in every organization, public and private, and is best addressed by state law and collective bargaining. The first amendment is not implicated by office backbiting or petty managers.” [U.S. District Court For The Southern District Of Illinois, Civil No. 08-354-GPM, Decided 12/12/08]

* From Duckworth’s office…

This week, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (IL-08) is traveling to Israel on a fact finding mission with Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and several other members of the House of Representatives. The trip is an opportunity for Members of Congress to meet with Israeli leaders and tour strategically important locations. Duckworth is a Member of the House Armed Services Committee and spent 23 years as a member of the Armed Reserve Forces. She retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel last year.

“I am honored to take part in this trip and continue to build upon the strong bonds between our two great nations,” said Duckworth. “Israel is one of the United States’ most important allies and as a Member of the Armed Services Committee it is a priority of mine to find ways to strengthen our strategic partnerships in areas such as missile defense and Iron Dome. As a prospering democracy in a tumultuous region, Israel faces unique challenges and I hope to further my understanding of how the United States can stand shoulder to shoulder with our great ally.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

Senate moving bill to appropriate federal dollars

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

* From a press release, with emphasis added…

Community Action Agencies throughout Illinois have begun to close, forcing agencies to turn away thousands of Illinois’ most vulnerable residents. These families will not receive the vital services and support they need because the state budget impasse has no resolution in sight.

Community Action Agencies (CAAs), which are the largest poverty-fighting network in Illinois, are federally designated to locally address the root causes of poverty. In Illinois there are 36 agencies that address poverty through programs and services in all 102 counties. Collectively, CAAs in Illinois serve more than one million individuals on an annual basis.

Many Illinois CAAs are engaged in community and economic development activities that range from affordable housing, housing rehabilitation, supporting local businesses, and employing small contractors to work in programs such as the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program. These agencies use a combination of federal and state funding to address local poverty issues.

“Many of our agencies do not have non-grant resources to keep doors open and continue to provide services during the budget impasse,” said Dalitso Sulamoyo, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies. “The federally funded programs have no bearing on the state budget. We do not understand why agencies cannot receive federal funds during the budget impasse. We are deeply concerned that our working families who are struggling will fall deeper into poverty because they will not be able to get the necessary help from our agencies.”

Community Action Agencies have already laid off over 1,000 staff and have begun to shut down facilities and services to seniors, children, and persons with disabilities due to the budget impasse. The absence of a state budget means that these agencies are now not able to help thousands of families with services.

“We are hopeful that the budget issues will be resolved before it is too late for many of our vulnerable families. We realize that tough decisions have to be made to balance our budget. However, federally funded programs that do not require a state match need to be authorized immediately. Without the federal programs our most vulnerable citizens will be on the verge of catastrophe. We are imploring that our legislators and Governor must consider authorizing federal spending so that critical services can continue to be provided. It is simply not fair that federal funds are being tied to our broken budget” said Sulamoyo.

* From the SJ-R, with emphasis added

Springfield School District officials say they plan to look into alternatives for keeping the doors open at Lawrence Adult Education Center this year if state funding is scaled back.

Superintendent Jennifer Gill told the school board Monday the district still doesn’t know if it will receive the same, reduced or any funding for the post-secondary school.

Lawrence, 101 E. Laurel St., is funded through a combination of state and federal dollars administered by the Illinois Community College Board.

Gill said the district has been told by the agency it can’t approve grants until lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner reach a deal on a state budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.

* From the Randolph County Herald Tribune, with emphasis added

The effects of the budget impasse in Springfield have hit Randolph County, as senior centers in Red Bud and Chester were forced to close their doors on Friday until at least an agreement has been reached.

Paulette Hamlin, executive director of the Western Egyptian Economic Opportunity Council (WEEOC), released a letter to the effected sites on Wednesday announcing the closures and said that the WEEOC had been made aware on Tuesday that it will only receive partial payment (50 percent) for the services the organization has already provided in July. […]

In a Friday news release, State Rep. Jerry Costello II (D-Smithton) said the funds that keep senior centers open are mostly federal, but the state is in charge of distributing them.

“With the budget process currently stalled, the federal funds that would provide meals, cooling centers and other services for the elderly are sitting in the state accounts, unable to be disbursed,” Costello said in the release. “That is unacceptable.”

* From a story we covered here yesterday, with emphasis added

Low income mothers who rely on a supplemental nutrition program for their children may get less help because of the state budget crisis. The organization that operates the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program in Illinois says it will no longer be able to provide crucial services to tens of thousands of women.

At issue: federal money for WIC must pass through Springfield before it can be distributed in Illinois by the Community Economic Development Association (CEDA).

* From the AP, with emphasis added

Illinois lawmakers are considering a new plan to provide almost $5 billion in federal funds for social services during the state’s budget stalemate.

The Illinois Senate is expected to vote on the measure Tuesday. It would authorize spending $4.8 billion in federal dollars for programs that help domestic violence victims, low-income seniors and disabled people, among others.

Majority Democrats and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner have been at an impasse over the budget for the fiscal year that started July 1. Without authorization to spend the federal money, many social service agencies have had to cut services or eliminate programs.

Subscribers have lots more details.

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      

Today’s number: 2,000

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

* SJ-R

In January, before the Republican governor issued an executive order to prevent fair-share dues from being collected, about 3,900 of the 38,000 state employees represented by AFSCME, or 10 percent, were fair-share payers. The rest were paying full dues, Lindall said.

Since then, the executive order has been blocked so far by legal challenges, and the number of fair-share fee payers has been cut in half, he said.

“Some 2,000 state employees joined the union in the wake of the governor’s attacks,” Lindall said. “So today, only about 2,000 state employees pay fair share instead of being dues-paying union members. As a result, we have about 95 percent union members and 5 percent fee-payers in state government.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   103 Comments      

The big picture

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

* From a press release…

Governor Bruce Rauner and Jake Steinfeld, Chairman of the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils, announced [yesterday] the three winning schools that will each receive a state-of-the-art Live PositivelyTM Fitness Center. This multi-million dollar physical fitness campaign has named Abbott Middle School in Elgin, Drake Elementary School in Chicago and Lincoln Middle School in Rockford as Illinois’ most outstanding schools for demonstrating new and innovative ways for promoting student physical activity and wellness.

“Healthy habits begin in childhood, and these new fitness centers will help students build a solid foundation of physical activity at a young age,” Governor Rauner said. “With childhood obesity rates in Illinois among the highest in the nation, it’s imperative we take steps to reverse the trend. I’m happy to see three Illinois schools benefit from this public-private partnership, and thank Jake and the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils for providing them with this incredible opportunity.”

One of the greatest features of this program is that the Live Positively Fitness Centers are fully funded through public/private partnerships with companies like Coca-Cola, Anthem Foundation and Nike; and even better, there is absolutely no government funding or any costs to taxpayers.

“Childhood obesity is not a partisan issue; it’s a kids’ issue, and Governor Rauner has fully embraced our program and it’s been inspiring,” said Jake “Body by Jake” Steinfeld. “Since 2012, the National Foundation has provided fitness centers to more than a MILLION school kids and community members across the U.S.A. We are thrilled to award three Illinois schools with new fitness centers that will have a lasting impact on kids well into their future. I’ve always said that when you give the schools the tools, amazing things will happen. Not only will kids become more active and fit, they will also have increased confidence, improved self-esteem and will achieve greater academic success!”

The National Foundation’s goal is to build a nation of the fittest, healthiest kids in the world. Physical activity and exercise are shown to help prevent and treat more than 40 chronic diseases, enhance individual health and quality of life and reduce health care costs. In schools, studies show that physical activity improves academic achievement, increases confidence and self-esteem, reduces discipline problems, cuts absenteeism and fosters better interpersonal relationships.

That’s great news for those schools.

* But I wondered what Emily Miller at Voices for Children thought. Miller (no relation that we know of) is a tireless and relentless Statehouse advocate for kids. Here’s her take…

Given this announcement, the Governor seems to understand that some state investment and commitment is necessary to put kids on a healthy path. I agree with him that “healthy habits begin in childhood.”

I wonder, though, if the Governor is aware of his record on supporting programs for kids. Afterschool programs provide combinations of academic and physical fitness programs to get kids off on the right track, headed toward academic success– the same goals the Governor praises in his announcement of the winning schools. But he totally eliminated afterschool funding in his budget, then vetoed $13 million in state funding that came over in the spending plan from the General Assembly.

I wonder if the kids who used to go to the Rockford YMCA will be invited over to use Lincoln Middle School’s new gym since they don’t have anywhere else to go? Or maybe the kids who used to go to the Elgin YMCA will be invited over to use the new gym at Abbott Middle School?

The Rockford YMCA already closed its doors, and the Elgin YMCA program shutdown will coincide with the start of the school year. Any Chicago afterschool programs receiving state afterschool money were also cut completely.

“… Governor Rauner has fully embraced our program and it’s been inspiring.”

Oh, yes. I’m truly inspired.

* Emily also sent this along today…

The attached spreadsheet contains survey results from 35 TeenREACH agencies (of about 122 sites) from this last week. As you can imagine, lots of sites are dealing with how to communicate what’s happening to their kids, parents and staff, so survey response was not perfect. This is a fairly accurate picture of what’s happening across the state, and what’s about to happen.

In total, teen reach served about 15,000 youth in 2015 at about 122 sites across the state.

Between this, child care cuts, and cuts to human services across the board, it’s going to be a very, very rough “back to school” season this year for Illinois families.

Click here to read the survey results. It ain’t pretty.

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      

Recovering from surgery, Mautino responds to Rauner attack

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

* Rep. Frank Mautino told local reporter Steve Stout that he’s “feeling better every day,” in the wake of cancer surgery. He was also asked about a Bruce Rauner attack mailer which hit the boxes last week

Mautino said he walked around the DePue Boat Races during last weekend and was overwhelmed and grateful for the hundreds of well wishes he received from people while moving through the crowds.

“It was a wonderful feeling that I have touched so many lives over the years,” he said. “I was moved.” […]

With a strong voice, he promised, “I’ll be back in Springfield sometime next week for sure.”

Asked about recent advertisements produced by the Turnaround Illinois organization, a political action committee, and Gov. Bruce Rauner, which were recently circulated through the district, Mautino was pragmatic.

The flier criticized the long-time lawmaker as nothing but a puppet of House Speaker Mike Madigan and asked residents to lobby Mautino and other certain state house members into accepting the governor’s budget proposals.

“It shows that the governor’s agenda is not successful and I had the most calls from constituents who were greatly upset by both the content and timing of the piece,” Mautino said.

Background on that mailer is here. Subscribers have a copy of an identical piece targeting a different member.

- Posted by Rich Miller   57 Comments      

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Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

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Good morning!

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2015

* A lot of folks we know have been in Seattle for the annual NCSL confab, so this one’s for them

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      

* AFSCME says layoff notices sent
* Griffin: If not me, who?
* What's left?
* Our historic year continues
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* Question of the day
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* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraiser and event list
* Duckworth heads to Israel as hearing held on "whistleblower" case
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* Recovering from surgery, Mautino responds to Rauner attack
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