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Schilling endorses LaHood

Saturday, Mar 28, 2015

* From a press release…

Today former U.S. Representative Bobby Schilling (R-Colona) announced his full support for Illinois State Senator Darin LaHood (R-Peoria) in his run for Congress to represent the Illinois 18th District.

“Darin LaHood is a principled conservative, a man of great character, and a true statesman. There is no doubt in my mind he will be an excellent representative in Congress for central Illinois,” Schilling said. “Darin understands the challenges we face as a nation. As a State Senator, Darin worked to rebuild the middle class and promote policies to strengthen our economy and improve the lives of all Illinoisans.

“Darin will put the dignity of the human person at the center of his agenda in Washington. From protecting the innocent unborn to promoting working families, Darin will always do the right thing.

“Darin’s conservative values are right for the Illinois 18th District and right for America. I’m proud to support him—he’s done great things for the State of Illinois—and I look forward to seeing him take on a new challenge in Washington, D.C.”

The behind the scenes maneuvering on behalf of LaHood has been pretty impressive so far.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Reader comments closed for the weekend

Friday, Mar 27, 2015

* Blogging will be a bit light next week because it’s spring break time. I do plan on being around for a bit on Monday, though.

Ray Wylie Hubbard will play us out

We ain’t ever gonna break loose of these rock and roll ways

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Duckworth to announce on Monday

Friday, Mar 27, 2015

* Lynn Sweet

Rep. Tammy Duckworth D-Ill., will announce a 2016 Senate bid on Monday, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned. She is aiming to win the Democratic nomination to run against Sen. Mark Kirk R-Ill.

She is expected to release an announcement via some media platform and then later in the day head into a fundraiser at the Hancock Center in Chicago with her best supporters.


…Adding…
Roll Call

State Sens. Tom Cullerton and Mike Noland, as well as former Illinois Deputy Treasurer Raja Krishnamoorthi, are considering bids for Duckworth’s seat, located west of Chicago.

Krishnamoorthi lost a 2012 primary challenge against Duckworth — when Democrats were looking to oust then-Rep. Joe Walsh. Duckworth had support from a number of Illinois Democrats, most notably Sen. Richard J. Durbin. Yet Krishnamoorthi stayed in the primary, raising more than $1 million.

Cullerton, who hails from Villa Park, is from a well-known political family in Illinois. His cousin, John Cullerton, is the state Senate president — a powerful position in Springfield. His other cousin, Timothy Cullerton, is from a long line of Chicago aldermen. Cullerton, an Army veteran, has strong ties to labor — a powerful influencer in Illinois politics. He won his competitively drawn state Senate seat in 2012 with union support.

Noland represents a state Senate district that encompasses Elgin, Ill., located in the far western portion of the district. A Marine veteran, Noland has served in the state Senate since 2007.

- Posted by Rich Miller   44 Comments      


Rauner mulls selling Thompson Center

Friday, Mar 27, 2015

* Monique…



* From the Rauner administration…

The Administration is doing its due diligence in determining the value and best use of state assets, including the JRTC.

This is just a request for info, not a formal RFP. From the request

The purpose of this Request for Information is for the Department of Central Management Services to obtain knowledge that will assist in developing and issuing a comprehensive formal solicitation to acquire appraisal services of the James R. Thompson Center.

Rod Blagojevich tried to mortgage the Thompson Center, which was declared unconstitutional by the attorney general and set off a huge row.

Selling the asset outright would be much different than that RRB move.

- Posted by Rich Miller   55 Comments      


Question of the day

Friday, Mar 27, 2015

* I was at DH Brown’s last night and a White Sox spring training game was on TV. Everybody in the stands was wearing short sleeves, with many wearing short pants. It was most definitely summertime gear. I so badly wanted to hop on a plane yesterday and get myself to Arizona for some baseball. If I can find some good deals, I may do that yet. Tired of this weather.

Instead of a question, this is a 2015 Major League Baseball open thread.

- Posted by Rich Miller   45 Comments      


It’s just a bill…

Friday, Mar 27, 2015

* But this one looks like it’s on the fast track

Bills banning powdered alcohol and caffeine cleared a Senate committee on Wednesday with ease.

Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Shorewood, introduced the bill to ban pure, powdered caffeine, while Sen. Ira Silverstein, D-Chicago, pushed a proposal to ban powdered alcohol. Bertino-Tarrant’s bill would ban the sale of pure, powdered caffeine to anyone younger than 18, while Silverstein’s would outlaw powdered alcohol entirely.

Bertino-Tarrant introduced the bill after Logan Stiner, a high school athlete from Ohio, overdosed on the substance. […]

The Illinois bills passed the committee with no opposition. Bertino-Tarrant and Silverstein both said they expect the bills to pass the Senate floor easily.

* This one? Maybe not

Public universities would be prohibited from using public funds to pay for commencement speakers under legislation approved by the House Higher Education Committee on Wednesday.

The approval came with a proviso, however, that sponsor Rep. Reggie Phillips, R-Charleston, would return to the committee with revisions to the bill before a full House vote.

“This is just a small way of reducing costs,” Phillips said. “We’re just asking so that the universities not use state funds, but try to find private funds to pay for the commencement speakers.”

* And this bill doesn’t do what this lede claims it’ll do

School prayer would come to public classrooms in Illinois if some state lawmakers get their way.

C’mon. Prayer is already allowed. Underlined content is the proposed newly added content to existing law

105 ILCS 20/5)

Sec. 5. Student prayer. In order that the right of every student to the free exercise of religion is guaranteed within the public schools and that each student has the freedom to not be subject to pressure from the State either to engage in or to refrain from religious observation on public school grounds, students in the public schools may, during the school day, voluntarily engage in individually or collectively initiated, non-disruptive prayer or religious-based meetings, including without limitation prayer groups, B I B L E (Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth) clubs, or “meet at the flagpole for prayer” days, that, consistent with the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the United States and Illinois Constitutions, are is not sponsored, promoted, or endorsed in any manner by the school or any school employee. (Source: P.A. 92-832, eff. 1-1-03.)

The bill cleared committee 23-0.

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Brown: Exploring an exploratory committee is “under review”

Friday, Mar 27, 2015

* Every fake campaign needs a fake campaign announcement, so Steve Brown addressed the public last night about his “possible” 18th Congressional District bid

*** UPDATE *** We may be seeing a “real” campaign announcement soon

Former Congressman Bobby Schilling is scheduled to make a “special announcement” Saturday afternoon, according to a news release from Terry Schilling, listed on Google as “Campaign Manager.”

Schilling will speak at the Peoria County GOP Headquarters at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. No other details were available about the announcement.

It was reported this week that Schilling could be considering a run in a special election for the 18th Congressional seat to be vacated by Congressman Aaron Schock at the end of this month.

The political website and newspaper Roll Call reported Tuesday that former Congressman Schilling hasn’t ruled out running for the 18th District seat, according to “a knowledgeable GOP source.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      


Rauner administration denies union report of progress on fair share suit

Friday, Mar 27, 2015

* From an internal union e-mail…

Startling new development in the fair share case.

You may know that the 27 unions filed for an injunction in St. Clair County to keep Rauner from implementing his anti-fair share Executive Order.

We were poised to file and go to court for a Temporary Restraining Order today – which we are confident we would have won, however, late last night the lead union lawyer received a call from the Rauner lawyers.

The Rauner lawyers said they had been rethinking their position and they were willing to AGREE that they should be enjoined from implementing the Executive Order until the case could be heard on the merits.

* From the Rauner administration…

There’s no agreement.

When I followed up to ask if there was a miscommunication or misunderstanding, I got this reply…

There’s no agreement.

OK, well, there you have it.

* Meanwhile, in other labor-related regional union news

Wisconsin recently was all over the news for becoming the 25th right to work state. But in a USA Today opinion piece, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka pointed out what the media hasn’t made as much of: state legislatures in New Hampshire, West Virginia, New Mexico, Maine and Montana turning thumbs down on right to work.

Right to work failed in the current session of the Kentucky General Assembly, to boot.

Anyway, the union-busters are one for seven in states this year. In baseball, my favorite sport, that’s a .143 bench-warmer batting average.

In the Bluegrass State, where I live, the union-busters have made the news big-time for pushing county right to work ordinances. They bragged that 30 counties would approve local right to work measures by the end of January, Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan recalls.

We’re past the Ides of March, and only 11 counties have endorsed right to work.

Anyway, Kentucky has 120 counties. Back to the national pastime: 11 for 120 is a .092 couldn’t-hit-water-if-you-fell-out-of-a-boat batting average. It’s not even within shouting distance of the Mendoza line. (If you’re not a baseball fan, click here.)

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      


*** UPDATED x2 - Durbin out of the running? *** Illinois Republicans react to potential Durbin elevation

Friday, Mar 27, 2015

* From the ILGOP…

BREAKING: Harry Reid Announces Retirement

This means Dick Durbin would become Majority Leader if we allow the Democrats to regain control of the Senate. We can’t let that happen!

Donate $3, $10, $25 or $50 to help us stop the Democrats.

Tammy Duckworth has recently begun raising money to take on Mark Kirk. This is all part of the Democrats’ secret plan to win back control of the Senate and ram through more dangerous legislation like Obamacare and blocking the Keystone XL Pipeline.

DONATE NOW to help the Illinois Republican Party put a stop to Dick Durbin taking over the Senate.

The Dems have a “secret plan” to win back the Senate?

I thought it was quite public.

* Durbin’s statement…

Harry Reid is one of the ablest leaders of the Senate Democratic caucus in modern history—he has served our country and the people of Nevada with a tenacity and passion rarely seen. The former boxer from Searchlight never forgot his roots and never went down without a fight. He and Landra have been dear friends for more than 30 years, and it has been an honor to be part of his leadership team for the past decade. The Senate will miss his leadership and I will miss his friendship, but with the 114th congress only just underway, Leader Reid and Senate Democrats have a lot of work to do on behalf of working families in this country. I will be by his side every day in that fight.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Well, that didn’t take long

Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has endorsed Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) to succeed him after he retires at the end of 2016.

“I think Schumer should be able to succeed me,” Reid said in a Friday morning interview at his home in Washington’s West End.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Politico

Sen. Dick Durbin is telling senators privately he will not challenge Sen. Chuck Schumer for the top spot in the Democratic caucus, sources said Friday.

Durbin’s private comments likely clear the way for Schumer to replace Minority Leader Harry Reid, who surprised the political world when he announced Friday he would not run for reelection next year. Reid promptly said he would endorse Schumer, No. 3 Senate Democrat, which he relayed in a private call to Durbin Friday morning. Durbin, who is the No. 2 Democrat, did not object, sources said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   51 Comments      


Is a new era finally dawning in Illinois?

Friday, Mar 27, 2015

* For years, Republican legislators have been content to sit back and throw partisan bombs at the Democrats over just about every issue, but particularly the budget. The shoe was on the other foot yesterday when the Senate Republicans unanimously voted for the FY 15 budget patch

Just two years ago state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, said an audit that he had requested showed that Democrats were “stealing” from the road fund.

On Tuesday, however, he voted in favor of diverting cash from the fund.

“It wasn’t an easy thing to do,” Brady said. “This may not have been perfect, but I applaud Democrats for working with Republicans and the governor to get this job done.”

State Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, said Republicans still believe the road fund is important.

But, he said, “Sweeps in previous years were just fueling additional spending.”

* And after years of going it alone (whether intentionally or not), the Democrats were given an opportunity to do a bit of stone throwing themselves yesterday

Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, said he couldn’t support it because it cuts education, even though the $150 million reduction would be offset by the $97 million available to help distressed schools.

“We’re removing significant amounts of money from a program that is needs-based, and we’re creating a new program with no rules attached to it,” Manar said. “My opposition is strictly on this continuation of what I would call an addiction in state government that you balance the budget by reducing education spending.”

Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, voted against the bill because it takes $350 million from various funds used for road construction and repair.

“That’s less money that we are going to have to build and maintain roads,” Sullivan said. “There’s been discussions there was surplus money in the road fund. Nothing could be further from the truth. This time of year, there’s always a pretty sizable amount in the road fund because we’re just getting ready to start construction season.”

The Illinois Department of Transportation submitted a letter to the General Assembly saying that using the money would not jeopardize any projects. Sullivan said he believes the letter was just intended to give cover to lawmakers to support the plan.

* But bipartisanship was the order of the day

Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, acknowledged that the crisis was of the Democrats’ making when she urged her caucus to support the measure.

“We knew it was an incomplete budget,” Steans said. “This takes care of that without adding any debt and without any new tax revenue.”

Rauner issued a statement thanking the Republican and Democratic legislative leaders “for their leadership in fixing this year’s fiscal crisis.”

“With their help, a bipartisan group of legislators sent a strong message that the culture in Springfield is changing for the better,” Rauner said.

* And this is what happens when the leaders put together a structured roll call

Overall debate on the two bills took only 10 minutes or so

That would’ve been impossible in previous years.

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      


Meanwhile, in Opposite Land…

Friday, Mar 27, 2015

* Everybody keeps saying we should be more like Indiana. Well

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) quietly signed legislation Thursday that could legalize discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act would allow any individual or corporation to cite its religious beliefs as a defense when sued by a private party. But many opponents of the bill, which included business leaders, argued that it could open the door to widespread discrimination. Business owners who don’t want to serve same-sex couples, for example, could now have legal protections to discriminate.

“Today I signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because I support the freedom of religion for every Hoosier of every faith,” Pence said in a statement Thursday. “The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action.”

The bill received national attention, but Pence signed it with little fanfare in a ceremony closed to the public and the press. The Indianapolis Star reported that members of the media “were asked to leave even the waiting area of the governor’s office.”

* They’s sooooo pro-business

The business community also suggested the law would impact the quality of their workforces. In testimony in the legislature while the bill was debated, several businesses said the law would hamper efforts to retain employees and recruit new hires because some might object to living in a state with a religious freedom law in place. […]

Tim Brown, CEO of Meetings Sites Resources of Irvine, Calif., said it’s unlikely that conventions or other groups will cancel already scheduled meetings in Indiana because they’d have to pay stiff cancellation fees to hotels. But the multimillion-dollar convention industry in Indianapolis could be hurt if groups that book conventions years ahead of time decide to avoid Indiana, he said.

“It’s hard to quantify,” how strong the anti-Indiana feeling will be in the convention and meeting industry, he said. “But you really are talking about the potential loss of revenue and jobs if it gets legs.”

* I mean, look at them, they are hosting the Final Four

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s decision to sign into law a measure that could allow businesses to turn away gay and lesbian customers in the name of “religious freedom” has left the NCAA fretting ahead of next week’s men’s basketball Final Four in Indianapolis.

“We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

He said the NCAA will “work diligently” to ensure competitors and visitors at next week’s Final Four are not “negatively impacted by this bill.” Emmert also said the organization, which is based in Indianapolis, will “closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce.” […]

Indiana doesn’t currently have a law on the books protecting Hoosiers from discrimination based on sexual orientation. But a dozen counties do — and opponents of the “religious freedom” law have said they’re worried the new measure will be used to allow businesses to get around those local rules.

* And they’re so hip, man

The organizers of Gen Con, the city’s largest convention in attendance and economic impact, are threatening to move the event elsewhere if Gov. Mike Pence signs controversial religious freedom legislation that could allow business owners to refuse services to same-sex couples.

“Legislation that could allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees will have a direct negative impact on the state’s economy, and will factor into our decision-making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years,” said Adrian Swartout, owner and CEO of Gen Con LLC, in a letter sent to Pence just hours after lawmakers sent the measure to his desk.

* To the bill

Religious freedom restoration. Prohibits a governmental entity from substantially burdening a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless the governmental entity can demonstrate that the burden: (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest. Provides a procedure for remedying a violation. Specifies that the religious freedom law applies to the implementation or application of a law regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity or official is a party to a proceeding implementing or applying the law. Prohibits an applicant, employee, or former employee from pursuing certain causes of action against a private employer

Discuss

- Posted by Rich Miller   138 Comments      


Good morning!

Friday, Mar 27, 2015

* Yeah, running a bit late today. Long day, long night. AP

A Grammy-winning polka is closer to becoming the official Illinois polka.

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports a House committee OK’d enshrining the Illinois-written “Polka Celebration” along other designations such as the state bird and flower.

The tune was written and composed by Chicago native Eddie Blazonczyk Sr. It won a Grammy Award in 1986.

* It’s actually a pretty good tune

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      


PREVIOUS POSTS »
* Schilling endorses LaHood
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Duckworth to announce on Monday
* Rauner mulls selling Thompson Center
* Question of the day
* It's just a bill...
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Brown: Exploring an exploratory committee is "under review"
* Rauner administration denies union report of progress on fair share suit
* *** UPDATED x2 - Durbin out of the running? *** Illinois Republicans react to potential Durbin elevation
* Is a new era finally dawning in Illinois?
* Meanwhile, in Opposite Land...
* Good morning!
* Yesterday's blog posts

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          * Health Matters: 2015 Illinois Minority Health Efforts - Creating & Sustaining Healthy Communities
          * ‘Text First, Talk Second’ Often Best Way to Contact Loved Ones When Disaster Strikes - IEMA Encourages People to Have Plan for Communicating with Family Members, Friends during Emergencies
          * New Illinois Server Training Law effective July 1 - State currently offering FREE responsible beverage server classes




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