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*** UPDATED x1 - Cullerton optimistic but firm *** Rauner slams Madigan for refusing to put forward a budget, wanting a tax hike, stalling to force a crisis

Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016

* Press release…

The Rauner Administration issued the following statement after today’s Four Leaders meeting. It is attributable to Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly:

“Today the Speaker refused to put forward a budget proposal and refused to commit to passing any budget whatsoever after December 31st. Republicans will not consider revenue without reform. Only Speaker Madigan has proposed raising the income tax. As the Speaker stalls to force a crisis, we call on the majority to pass term limits and a permanent property tax freeze before any consideration of Speaker Madigan’s stopgap spending plan.”

This post will be updated in a few minutes with post-meeting comments from Senate President Cullerton.

*** UPDATE ***  Always the optimist, Senate President John Cullerton emerged late from today’s leaders meeting to say “We could have an agreement on workers’ comp,” particularly when it comes to reducing abuses and fraud. “That’s where you save your money, and you don’t fundamentally blow up the whole workers’ comp system.”

And while he said that Madigan hasn’t yet committed to supporting pension reform, “The question with pension reform, as I told the governor, is getting enough votes for it.”

On taxes, Cullerton said, “Let me make it clear… We cannot on our own raise any revenue by ourselves. The most important person on revenue is the governor.”

Responding to Republican demands for Democratic “parameters” on the budget, Cullerton said “We want to know what their parameters are too, it wouldn’t just be our parameters,” adding, “So we need to know from the governor at the next meeting what his parameters are on revenue.”

* Cullerton also backed up Speaker Madigan’s contention that the working groups need to be reconstituted. “The working groups is where we got progress,” he said. The working groups can do “the ground work,” while the leaders can make the final decisions. “It’s highly detailed to do a budget. It takes weeks and weeks. So, it’s something that will be helpful.”

But he couldn’t resist a little snark: “I think the complexity of the budgeting process is something that the governor’s actually starting to appreciate.”

* Asked about the ongoing Illinois Republican Party attacks on Speaker Madigan, Cullerton said “I don’t think it’s helpful to start the election cycle for 2018 when we’re still worrying about Fiscal Year 17. The election just occurred a few weeks ago. Could we just legislate for a while? I’m not campaigning anywhere.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   78 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Leaders meeting notes

Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

*** UPDATED x2 - AFSCME responds to TRO - Rauner admin blasts AFSCME’s “hand-picked judge” *** Judge issues TRO in AFSCME contract case

Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016

* SJ-R

The Illinois Labor Relations Board on Monday issued a written version of its Nov. 15 ruling that an impasse exists in contract talks between the state and Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall said after the written version was issued that the union is appealing the ruling to the state appellate court based in Chicago.

The union had filed a lawsuit in St. Clair County circuit court seeking an injunction to block the Rauner administration from implementing its final contract offer before a written opinion was issued. A ruling had been expected as early as Monday. […]

The full board ruled that because privatization - or subcontracting - was such a critical issue, the parties should be considered to have reached overall impasse.

Lindall said the union is asking the appellate court to block implementation of the state’s final offer because many components

The governor’s office claimed yesterday that any TRO by that St. Clair County judge would be moot, but he went ahead and issued it today anyway. Click here to read it

Another hearing is set for January 13th, unless the Rauner administration asks for an expedited process.

Awaiting Rauner administration react.

*** UPDATE 1 ***  Catherine Kelly…

“With this order, AFSCME’s hand-picked judge blatantly ignores yesterday’s written ruling which memorialized and reinforced the Labor Board’s final decision, made at its November 15th meeting confirming that the parties are at impasse. In addition, the order ensures that taxpayers and employees will not be able to benefit from common sense solutions such as overtime after 40 hours of work, workplace safety task forces, bereavement leave, and $1,000 merit bonus payments for eligible employees.”

Back to slamming the judicial branch, I see.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Council 31

Although the Board’s written decision was issued while the TRO request was pending, the judge found that “by implementing new terms and conditions of employment without notice to and the agreement of the union”, the Rauner administration “has violated that Tolling Agreement” that extends the terms of the current contract.

Under the TRO, the administration must honor the tolling agreement and rescind any changes it has made, at least until a hearing now set for January 13 (possibly sooner).

“Although temporary, this order sends a message to Governor Rauner that he is not above the law,” AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said. “Instead of sparking further conflict in the courts and at state worksites, Governor Rauner should return to bargaining and work with us to find common ground.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   64 Comments      

*** LIVE *** Leaders meeting coverage

Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016

* The meeting is scheduled to begin at 2 o’clock. Background on the pre-game skirmishing is here. Follow along with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards

Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016

* The 2016 Golden Horseshoe Award for best political bar goes to DH Brown’s. “Great beer, fun jukebox, bipartisan non uptight crowd,” wrote a commenter. “Always has the most politicos,” says another. “It’s just cool that you can find all kinds of lobsters there in the afternoon, and legislators make it a pit stop through out the night,” wrote yet another. Sangamo Club wins runner-up because it’s a go-to meeting spot for heavy hitters.

* The 2016 Golden Horseshoe Award for best political restaurant goes to, who else? Saputo’s. “Years of meals and deals,” is how one commenter described it. Runner-up goes to Augies, mainly for this nomination…

Augie’s is hands-down the best political restaurant. In addition to good food, you can always “get work done” while having dinner as there are always opportunities to “run into” someone you just happen to need to see on an issue (legislator or staffer). Also, it has become a regular haunt of Gov. Rauner and his wife, which makes Augie’s just that much better as a “political” restaurant.

* On to today’s categories…

* Best Senate Secretary/Admin. Assistant

* Best House Secretary/Admin. Assistant

As always, make sure to explain your votes or they won’t count. Also, please do your best to nominate in both categories. Thanks!

- Posted by Rich Miller   51 Comments      

Poll: Illinois crime victims want less prison spending, more education, rehab and mental health/drug treatment

Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016

* Press release

A new, first-of-its-kind statewide survey released by the Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) bucks conventional wisdom regarding the views of crime victims on incarceration. Despite popular assumptions that victims support long sentences and prison expansion, the Survey of Illinois Victims’ Views finds that seven in 10 victims prefer a more balanced approach to public safety – shorter prison sentences and greater investments in prevention, rehabilitation and trauma recovery for victims to stop the cycle of crime.

By a margin of nearly 3 to 1, crime victims believe that time in prison makes people more likely to commit another crime rather than less likely. These views cut across demographic groups, with wide support across race, age, gender, and political party affiliation.

Nine in 10 crime victims prefer that Illinois invest more in schools and education rather than investing in more prisons and jails. The vast majority of victims also prefer investments in rehabilitation, mental health treatment, and drug treatment to more spending on prisons and jails. […]

The survey also finds that victims of crime experience significant challenges in recovery and healing—seven in 10 report experiencing at least one symptom of trauma. The survey found fewer than half of victims receive help from the police and only two in 10 receive help from the district attorney.

There’s lots to look at so click here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      

Report: White Sox trade Sale

Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016

* I just have no words for this. Or, at least, no printable words

According to FOX’s Ken Rosenthal, the Chicago White Sox traded Sale to the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday in exchange for Moncada, starting pitcher Michael Kopech and two other prospects.

Who can tell me the bright side?

- Posted by Rich Miller   90 Comments      

Could a Kentucky case spur local “right to work” in Illinois?

Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016

* Americans for Prosperity Illinois’ honchos writing in the Wall St. Journal

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month in United Auto Workers v. Hardin County that Kentucky’s local governments—not only the state legislature—can decide whether to implement right-to-work laws, which ban unions from firing workers who refuse to pay dues. This ruling should relieve reformers throughout the Midwest, but it’s particularly good news for Illinois, where unions and their political allies have made securing workers’ freedom an uphill battle.

Right to work is an important part of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s “Turnaround Illinois” agenda. Under his proposal, local governments would have the option to decide for themselves whether to adopt right to work. The policy could apply to workers in the private economy, as well as government employees. Any unit of local government could make this decision—cities, towns, counties, municipal wards and even school districts.

Yet Mr. Rauner has faced hurdles at every turn. Mike Madigan, Illinois’s powerful speaker of the house, almost immediately shot down the idea of serious right-to-work legislation. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the speaker’s daughter, issued a legal opinion arguing that right-to-work laws for local governments within a state are illegal. The Sixth Circuit’s judgment may help overcome such resistance. […]

Although Illinois isn’t under the Sixth Circuit’s jurisdiction, a similar challenge is already under way. The village of Lincolnshire, about 30 miles north of Chicago, enacted a right-to-work ordinance last year. Lincolnshire immediately faced lawsuits from unions, including the AFL-CIO. […]

Lincolnshire isn’t the only municipality where right to work would be beneficial. These laws would help Winnebago County, next to Wisconsin, and many of the southern counties that border Kentucky, Missouri, and Indiana, where coal-related jobs have disappeared.

I seriously doubt coal-related job losses have been due to the lack of right to work laws, but whatever.

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      

A bill so nice, he’s signing it twice

Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016


Illinois governor Bruce Rauner will be in the [Quad Cities] this week to sign the Future Energy Jobs Bill.

The bill was passed last Thursday and reportedly will ensure that Exelon nuclear plants in Cordova and Clinton, Illinois will remain open for at least the next ten years.

Governor Rauner will sign the bill in the gym at Riverdale High School at 9:30 on Wednesday.

But he can’t actually sign a bill that isn’t on his desk.

* Dan Petrella

Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to visit Clinton on Wednesday to sign a bill overhauling Illinois’ energy policy and creating $235 million in annual ratepayer subsidies to keep open Exelon Corp.’s nuclear power plants there and near the Quad-Cities.

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce announced Sunday on its Facebook page that Rauner plans a bill-signing ceremony at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Clinton High School. The governor’s office did not respond immediately Monday to a request for confirmation, and as of Monday afternoon, the bill hadn’t been sent to his desk. [Emphasis added]

The Senate still has the bill. I was told by the Senate Democrats today that they weren’t sure when they could get it to Rauner’s desk. So, stay tuned.

…Adding… Not long after this post appeared, the Senate sent the governor the bill.

* Meanwhile..

The typical Ameren Illinois residential customer will pay about $1.93 less per month for power after a far-reaching energy bill goes into effect June 1, 2017, according to an analysis of the Future Energy Jobs bill by the Illinois Commerce Commission.

Eventually, however, rates will start to increase beyond today’s levels around 2023, according to the ICC model.

The energy bill, promoted for almost two years by Exelon Corp. to preserve its nuclear plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities, was approved by the Illinois Legislature on Thursday. The main feature of the measure is a subsidy of up to $235 million a year to keep the two nuclear plants open for at least 10 more years. […]

“Based on our analysis,” said ICC Executive Director Cholly Smith, “we expect residential customer caps will reduce rates in the first few years and meet the goals of the legislation to limit increases throughout the life of the law. As an agency whose mission is to balance the interests of consumers and utilities, we stand ready to enforce these caps.”

* But

While proponents of the bill tout “rate caps,” sadly these caps are a sham, gamed by Exelon using technical language to mask artificially high baselines against which caps will be measured. For commercial and industrial customers, the gaming of the rate caps will cost them more than $100 million per year.

For residential ratepayers, the gap between rhetoric and reality is extreme. Exelon has said their bills will go up by no more than 25 cents a month, but that’s an average of all residential customers, not individual homeowners. An independent analysis by Illinois’ leading energy expert, the Power Bureau, finds the bill will cost the average residential ratepayer an additional $4.54 a month for ComEd customers and $2.01 a month for Ameren customers in downstate Illinois.

* And the infamous Grover Norquist ain’t happy, either

Illinois lawmakers recently passed the Future Energy Jobs Bill (SB 2814), which would create the biggest rate hike in U.S. history. Proponents of the legislation claim it will “create jobs” and reduce energy rates. This is not true. This anti-free market legislation will kill tens of thousands of Illinois jobs, increase rates in the state by more than $13 billion and prop up politically connected corporations at the expense of Illinois residents. […]

The state’s economy would likely be the hardest hit. The legislation would cause a projected loss of over 44,000 jobs and a reduction in Illinois’ economic activity of $14.7 billion. State and local governments would also see an estimated tax revenue loss of $429 million.

Given the drastic impact of this legislation on Illinois residents, businesses, and the state’s economy as a whole, one can only ask is this cost truly worth bailing out two insignificant nuclear plants in the state, while also doling out billions of dollars to special interests? The answer is obviously no.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) has the ability to save his constituents from this needless and burdensome legislation, simply by refusing to sign the Future Energy Jobs Bill and ensuring Illinois residents and businesses are not subjected to the highest rate hike in history, thousands of jobs lost and billions of dollars in reduced economic growth.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

*** UPDATED x2 - Radogno responds - GOMB responds *** Harris wants budget working group reinstated

Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016

* Subscribers were tipped to this earlier today, as well as the reason why…,

State Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, released the following statement Tuesday, after delivering letters to Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic and Republican legislative leaders urging a working group of lawmakers to immediately begin negotiations on a state budget:

“With only weeks before the stopgap budget expires, passing a responsible and comprehensive budget for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2017 and a full-year budget for Fiscal Year 2018 must be a priority. The governor and caucus leaders have been open to forming a bipartisan, bicameral budget working group. House Democrats are ready to do their part to end this gridlock and pass a budget that protects vital programs and services for families throughout Illinois. I am hopeful this group will begin meeting immediately and work throughout the coming weeks to achieve a budget solution.”

The letters are here.

*** UPDATE 1 ***  GOMB’s response…

The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget Chief of Staff Scott Harry released the following statement in the lead-up to today’s budget presentation from Speaker Madigan to the Governor and legislative leaders:

“The budget working group has gone as far as it can in putting together a balanced budget framework to accompany key reforms that grow the economy, lower property taxes, improve education and bring government pensions under control,” Harry said. “Now it’s time for the four leaders and the governor to reach agreement on these key reforms and give final parameters for a balanced budget framework.”

Yesterday, GOMB Director Tim Nuding met with budget directors from all four legislative caucuses to answer any remaining questions about the stopgap funding bill or issues needed for final decision-making on a FY17-FY18 balanced budget framework. The administration looks forward to seeing Speaker Madigan’s budget proposal in today’s Four Leaders meeting, including specific parameters for funding levels, cuts, revenue and/or reforms.

Notice there’s no mention of revenues in that budget framework. There were, but they don’t like to talk about that.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno…

Dear Representative Harris:

Thank you for your most recent letter regarding budget working groups. I refer you to my letter sent to you last week that already addresses the topic. I am attaching a copy of that letter.

I look forward to seeing you at today’s meeting at 2pm to discuss the budget.

Her letter from last week is here. Basically, she said that she already did the working groups thing and now it’s up to the leaders.

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

There are only two “sides” to pick from

Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016

* Belleville News-Democrat

Which brings to mind the Republican effort to “out” the downstate Democrats ahead of the Illinois House electing its next speaker. Mike Madigan’s 32-year lock on that spot, and all the dysfunction that has flowed from that leadership, is under attack and local Democrats are under the microscope at The site names state Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Eldorado; Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville; Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton; and Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton.

Costello said he doesn’t know how he’ll vote.

“I think my constituents know I’m a very conservative Democrat, and I consider myself to be exactly in the middle,” Costello said.

But exactly in the middle is a very bad place to be. If anything is to change in Illinois, Costello and the rest of Illinois’ leadership must choose sides.

Continue to follow Madigan, to what destination is anyone’s guess. Try something different than the insanity of topping two decades of unbalanced budgets by shirking the obligation for two years to even have a budget, by ignoring a $130 billion pension deficit and by continuing to bleed jobs and population that are destroying our middle class.

Serve yourself. Serve your master. Serve the people who elected you.

This shouldn’t be a hard choice.

There are only two sides in the House: Madigan and Rauner. What the BN-D essentially proposes here is that Costello and other Democrats side with Rauner. They don’t come out and say it, of course, but that’s what this is really all about.

Being “exactly in the middle” is a good thing, by the way. He can help nudge people on both sides to an agreement. Costello worked hard on the higher education stopgap earlier this year to make it more equitable for Downstate. Illinois needs more legislators like him, not fewer.


- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      

Because being governor apparently isn’t enough work

Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016

* AP

Gov. Bruce Rauner is calling on new Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza to fight a lawsuit filed by her fellow Democratic lawmakers seeking to collect paychecks they haven’t received since May.

Speaking in Chicago, the Republican governor says it’s clear the lawsuit was “orchestrated” with Democratic party leaders such as Rauner’s rival, House Speaker Michael Madigan. […]

Rauner says he hopes Mendoza will “fight as hard as Comptroller Munger has.”

He says she should hire outside legal counsel rather than be represented by Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office. Lisa Madigan, a Democrat, is Michael Madigan’s daughter.

* Sun-Times

“I hope that she’ll speak out about it every day. I hope that she will get her own special counsel and not purely count on Attorney General Lisa Madigan to fight the lawsuit,” Rauner said. […]

Mendoza’s office responded to calls for an independent counsel in a statement, citing her office’s independence from the governor’s office.

“We appreciate the governor’s advice but as an independent constitutional office, we’ll explore our best legal options on this case and any others,” Mendoza spokesman Abdon Pallasch said.

The Illinois Attorney General’s office, however, on Monday said it’s reviewing the lawsuit and plans to represent the comptroller’s office.

Abdon’s response was pretty darned polite, considering the situation. But, hey, he just started a new gig.

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

Yingling’s second inartful Madigan dodge

Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016

* From the ILGOP

Yingling Dodges the Madigan Question, Again
“If, if that, you know, I’m working through that right now.”

Rep. Sam Yingling was asked again last night whether he will support Mike Madigan for Speaker, and again Yingling dodged the question.

Yingling responded, “If, if that, you know, I’m working through that right now.”

Watch the video here.

“Sam Yingling’s flustered response to a simple question shows just how loyal Yingling is to Mike Madigan. Yingling knows that a vote for Madigan is a vote against a property tax freeze, pro-growth economic reforms, and term limits, but Yingling will not dare speak out against his political patron.” – Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Steven Yaffe

Yesterday’s dodge comes after Yingling was asked last week whether he would support Madigan, to which he responded “I don’t know, you should talk to him.”

* Oof

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      

It’s time to start taking this threat seriously

Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016

* Sun-Times

Rauner said he warned the speaker last week that he’ll only approve another stopgap budget with term limits and a property tax freeze.

Besides deep fundamental disagreements about reforms, the two are so at odds that they disagree over the word “stopgap.” Last week, Madigan said it was the governor’s office that coined the term in late May, and that he preferred it to be called a budget. They also disagree about whose idea it was to try to pass a stopgap budget, which began in July.

The governor on Monday called that “semantics.”

“I call that a stopgap. He calls it a budget. Semantics. It’s not a real budget,” Rauner said.

And while the governor has said he’s still “fighting” for his reforms, he warned a stopgap budget may be where the state is heading.

“I will insist that those be part of any stopgap plan, Rauner said. “Be ready, because that’s where we’re going.”

We already know about these two demands in exchange for a stopgap, but have people really internalized them yet? All we’ve seen so far is straight reportage on his demands, but we are heading for a serious meltdown here and more people need to speak up. So far, I’m getting a lot of private feedback that people are still holding out beyond all hope for a deal. Does this sound like a deal is imminent?

* No stopgap could mean very real problems. Social service agencies are already crumbling. You can kiss many of them goodbye if they don’t get any more cash. Same for some of our universities.

And when a prison is about to close is he really gonna say “We’ll be glad to keep it open if we get term limits”?

I went over some of the scenarios with subscribers last week. Suffice it to say here that the administration thinks it can tough it out, move money around and confine most of the damage to Democratic areas.

But more people need to be demanding answers about what, exactly the future holds.

- Posted by Rich Miller   109 Comments      

“Personal economic coercion” harshly denounced

Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016

* Mark Brown on the lawsuit filed by six legislators over delayed lawmaker paychecks

We can’t allow the executive branch of government to illegally use personal economic coercion to make the legislative branch fall in line on policy disputes, even if sticking it to politicians makes everyone feel good. […]

As somebody who has tried to illuminate the plight of the little people getting mistreated by the state’s failure to pass a budget, I can appreciate there’s a certain appearance of fairness in treating elected officials as poorly as other state vendors are being treated.

Rauner piled on the paycheck issue again Monday, calling the lawsuit “frivolous” and an “insult to taxpayers.”

“Only in Illinois would politicians who have failed to pass a balanced budget put their own personal gain before taxpayers and critical human services,” Rauner said.

This from a man who reported an adjusted gross income of $188 million to the IRS for 2015, a year in which he was the full-time governor of Illinois. And we’re supposed to be impressed he voluntarily refuses his state salary. […]

Despite all Rauner’s money, I think the governor appreciates how withholding six months pay squeezes lawmakers to bend to his will. They’ll go broke long before he will.

Go read the whole thing.

…Adding… Related…

* Bruce-ters Billions

- Posted by Rich Miller   54 Comments      

Emanuel wants Rauner to publicly side with him on sanctuary cities issue

Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016

* Tribune

Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants Gov. Bruce Rauner to publicly back his efforts to promote Chicago as a welcoming place for immigrants as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office.

A resolution sponsored by Emanuel, new Democratic state Comptroller Susana Mendoza and 35 of the city’s 50 aldermen calls on Rauner to issue a statement of “support for cities that welcome our undocumented family members and neighbors and condemn any effort to strip the city of Chicago of federal funding.”

Chicago Democrats also are attempting to whistle in the Republican governor — the resolution, which was advanced Monday by a City Council committee, calls on Rauner to speak at a special council meeting “held solely for the purpose of discussing the president-elect’s plans for cities that welcome and protect immigrants.”

Asked to respond to the specifics of the city resolution, a Rauner spokeswoman instead issued a general statement reiterating the governor’s support for immigration reform. Rauner has spent much of the last year avoiding even the mention of Trump’s name.

Your thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller   63 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016

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* *** UPDATED x2 - Cullerton responds *** Rauner won't schedule leaders meeting until Dems "are ready"
* Mendoza bumps manager bonuses to back of the line
* Caption contest!
* CPS prospectus includes mention of "hypothetical bankruptcy"
* Fun with numbers
* Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards
* CMS blames AFSCME for halt to bonuses
* Good news and not so great news in Site Selection report
* Chris Kennedy added to "Boss Madigan" list
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Are we really going to have to wait until 2018?
* Rauner's dark money prince could wind up running the RNC
* Madigan on the attack, offers to discuss modified version of "Turnaround Agenda"
* IMA says Rauner signature on Exelon bill weakens manufacturing
* It's more than just a website and e-mails
* Kennedy may file candidate papers "in short order," while Bustos moves up DC ladder
* Del Mar gets his plum
* Emanuel meeting with Trump this morning
* So now they tell us
* *** UPDATED x1 - Cullerton optimistic but firm *** Rauner slams Madigan for refusing to put forward a budget, wanting a tax hike, stalling to force a crisis
* Yesterday's blog posts

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* Mendoza on state's financial crisis: 'We're going to get out of this'
* State employee's friends, coworkers rally after stroke
* Labor board formalizes AFSCME ruling; union will fight

* Chicago is getting another newsroom
* Another newsroom is coming to town
* Boeing sweats under Trump spotlight as SoftBank feels warmth
* What's pushing the markets to new highs today?
* A new chapter in one of the year's ugliest merger spats

* Bears continue to be banged up at wide receiver
* Bears DE Jonathan Bullard on benching: ‘They want a little more’
* OLB Sam Acho is Bears’ nominee for Walter Payton Man of the Year
* Chicago man found guilty of defrauding state out of $400K
* Could 3-win Bears’ Akiem Hicks push for a Pro Bowl berth?
* Rauner delays leaders meeting, wants Dem budget proposal
* Trump talks to Boeing CEO after threat to nix Air Force One deal
* Two traffic stops yield $53K worth of narcotics in Aurora
* Man ordered at gunpoint to take money from ATM in Buffalo Grove
* White Sox deal Adam Eaton to Nats for top prospects

* Man punched by off-duty officer at Portillo's files suit alleging cover-up
* How Emanuel worked to maximize his meeting with Trump
* Trump picks retired Marine Gen. John Kelly to head Homeland Security
* Fire at Oakland warehouse trapped people on second floor, official says
* White Sox trade Adam Eaton to Nationals for three pitching prospects
* Doctor says Naperville North gummy bear candy contained marijuana
* A broad rally drives Dow, S&P 500 indexes to record highs
* 4 shot on West, South sides
* Nation of Islam calls former ally Keith Ellison a 'hypocrite'
* Ohio legislators approve what would be the country's toughest restriction on abortion

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* Rauner signs Exelon subsidy to spare 2 nuclear plants
* Rauner to sign Exelon subsidy to spare 2 nuclear plants
* Judge blocks administration from imposing contract on AFSCME
* Guest Column: Electoral College reforms — be careful what you wish for
* State budget still elusive as leaders lash out
* Michael Gerson: 3 American texts for Donald Trump to read before Inauguration Day
* Guest Column: The Electoral College and prospects for reform — be careful what you wish for
* Catherine Rampell: Trump should keep this part of Obamacare
* E.J. Dionne: The new politics of fear evident in Paris
* Illinois budget still elusive as leaders lash out

* Gov. Rauner at Clinton High School
* Street closures listing
* Murdale Water District lifts boil order
* 12-07-16 News-Gazette Prep Sports Podcast @urbanahs
* In Ballet Quad-Cities' 20th Nutcracker, a dream comes true for 14-year-old dancer
* Updated: Judge temporarily blocks Rauner from imposing contract terms
* Creve Coeur marks 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor attack
* Central Illinois Daily Life: December 2016
* Jimmy John's to pay $100,000 in settlement over non-compete clause
* The Health Reporter Is In: Dec. 7, 2016

* Congress cracks down on "bots" that snap up concert tickets
* Canadiens' Galchenyuk, Desharnais out with knee injuries
* From bubble to huddle, Petty ready to be Jets' starting QB
* Feds: Woman made death threats to Sandy Hook victim's parent
* Trump chooses hardliners but talks softer on immigration

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* Politically Speaking: Sen. Durbin on the S......
* Durbin, Graham Praise Trump's Remarks on D......

* Sen. Mark Kirk Praised During Senate Floor......
* Sen. Mark Kirk Praised During Senate Floor......

* Roller Skate With Santa At Margate Park
* Illinois Bible Colleges Head to Court of Appeals
* Thorner: Grassroots pushback essential for Trump to appoint pro-life nominee
* IL GOP jabs possible Dem gubernatorial nominee, three more lawmakers
* Trump taps Iowa Governor Branstad for Ambassador to China
* Chicago YPN raises more than $400 for Salvation Army
* Governor Announces Appointments to Illinois Bicentennial Commission
* Skillicorn refuses legislative pension, plans to introduce ban for state office pensions
* 13 Facts that Should Be Etched on Castro’s Tombstone and Highlighted in Every Obituary
* Naperville North students hospitalized after eating drug-laced gummy bears

* Governor’s Export Awards Recipients Announced
* Governor Signs Legislation to Protect Jobs, Ratepayers and Taxpayers
* Give The Gift Of A Lifetime With A College Illinois!® 529 Prepaid Tuition Plan - College Illinois! can help limit or even eliminate future student loan debt
* Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Hosts 75th Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Ceremony
* IDHR Issues Reminder of Fair Housing Rights During Holiday Season - State law prohibits targeted, discriminatory restrictions on decorations and celebrations

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