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Obama won’t free Blagojevich

Thursday, Jan 19, 2017

* No surprise here

President Barack Obama made his final grants of clemency on Thursday with less than a day left in office and imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was not on the list.

Blagojevich was handed a 14-year sentence on corruption charges, with one of the most sensational his attempt to “sell” the Illinois Senate seat then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama was vacating after being elected president in November 2008.

The Justice Department earlier confirmed that Blagojevich, in year four of his imprisonment, filed a request to have his sentence commuted. He was arrested in December 2008, a few weeks after the presidential election.

Blagojevich’s bid for clemency from Obama was always extremely unlikely because of the nature of his offense. […]

Obama cut short the sentences of 330 federal inmates convicted of drug crimes on Thursday, with Obama focused on cutting the prison time of offenders with overly harsh sentences that would not be imposed under guidelines for judges in place today.

Some people insisted for years that Obama had some sort of special relationship with Blagojevich which would lead to a pardon. They were living in a fantasy land.

…Adding… Pool report forwarded by the White House press office…

A travel/photo lid has been called at 4:10 p.m. […]

And with that, Barack Obama’s final full day as president has come to an unofficial close.

-30-

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      


Illinois now exporting rat disease

Thursday, Jan 19, 2017

* From the BN-D

State regulators say half a dozen people have developed a virus linked to rats at two Illinois rat farms.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reporting Thursday that there have been six confirmed cases of Seoul virus in individuals who had direct exposure to rats in two different Illinois ratteries, including one in east-central Illinois. Ratteries are facilities where rats are bred.

A rattery in Wisconsin purchased rats from the two Illinois ratteries, and two Wisconsin residents have also tested positive for Seoul virus. Results of laboratory testing of rats at these facilities are pending.

The agency said it is working closely with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and local health departments to investigate the source of the Seoul virus infections, coordinate testing, and prevent possible future cases.

Learn something new every day. I’d never heard of a rattery before, and I didn’t know the state has two of them.

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      


Repub analysis shows 50-50 partisan split on 2016 campaign spending

Thursday, Jan 19, 2017

* Tribune

Illinois politics saw a watershed year for cash on legislative campaigns in 2016, with newly released financial reports documenting Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s lead role in funding GOP candidates and Democrats under House Speaker Michael Madigan relying on union and labor allies to keep General Assembly majorities. […]

All told, the House Republican Organization raised and spent about $30 million on individual campaigns, eroding Madigan’s 71-member, veto-proof majority to a 67-51 edge. Madigan, who was attacked by Republicans as a symbol of what is wrong in Springfield, fought back with about $15.5 million in spending from four political funds he controls.

The Republican State Senate Campaign Committee, focused on fewer contests, spent nearly $8 million and picked up two GOP seats to reduce Senate President John Cullerton’s majority from 39 members to 37 against 22 Republicans — still a veto-proof margin.

On the Senate side, three political funds controlled by Cullerton cycled through $14.5 million in spending. The campaign arm of Senate Democrats spent $9.7 million, with about $5 million coming from two other Cullerton funds.

Those House numbers looked a bit off to me, so I asked Team Rauner if they had compiled anything.

* From Mike Schrimpf…

We took a look at the Tribune story and did our own analysis based on competitive races. Because of Illinois’ unique state campaign finance system and the different strategies used by both parties to fund campaigns, we believe you need to expand what you are looking at to get a complete picture of campaign spending.

As we’ve detailed previously, the Democrats use a number of incumbents as “piggy banks” to transfer significant funds between campaigns while Republicans largely do not. Therefore, we believe the most accurate way to analyze campaign spending is to isolate and exclude transfers out by party and candidate committees (since that money will also be counted in a candidates’ finance report) and then sum the remaining spending by candidate committees and other political committees and outside groups.

Doing that shows total spending by all sides on the general election campaigns were at parity. Please take a look at the attached for a more detailed breakdown.

Click here for his complete analysis.

* Schrimpf pegged total Democratic spending at $50,215,528.21 and total Republican spending at $50,985,565.04.

According to Schrimpf’s analysis, House Democratic candidates outspent House Republicans $19.5 million to $15.7 million. Again, click here because Schrimpfy has all the numbers down to the penny.

Schrimpf says Senate Democrats also outspent SGOP candidates $10.4 million to $5.9 million.

Party spending is where the Republicans had the big advantage, at $22.3 million (mainly Rauner money), versus $7 million by the Democrats. And that helped even the score on the local level.

But the Democrats had an advantage in outside spending (almost $10 million of that by Sen. Daniel Biss’ PAC) with $13 million, versus $7 million by the Republicans (much of that by Dan Proft’s PAC, but $2 million by a Rauner committee).

One big caveat on that last batch of numbers. Biss’ PAC did a statewide buy, so I don’t know if it should be included. But, whatevs. He spent it, let’s tally it.

* The other thing to ponder is that Madigan, Cullerton and others worked very hard to raise about $40 million last year, and Madigan’s and Cullerton’s allies helped boost Biss’ LIFT PAC. They’re gonna have to do that all over again for 2018, which is why some top Democrats want a self-funder candidate for governor.

They were stretched to the very limit last year, but still managed to keep up. If they also have to fund a gubernatorial candidate next year, they may not be able to keep up again.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** New Thompson Center plan pushed

Thursday, Jan 19, 2017

* I’ve lost track of the number of developers who’ve promised to erect the tallest building in Chicago over the years, including, if memory serves, Donald Trump.

Aside from that, selling the Thompson Center and developing the property makes some sense to me. Downtown is full of construction cranes, so the market is hot and property like this doesn’t come around very often…

The state legislature’s GOP leaders, Sen. Christine Radogno and Rep. Jim Durkin, are once again introducing legislation that would allow the state to sell the 16-story, 1.2 million-square-foot structure and move state workers to leased space in other buildings, Durkin said.

This time around, the state’s Department of Central Management Services is providing specific estimates of how much a sale of the Thompson Center would boost the state’s finances. A sale would generate potential net proceeds of $220 million and would prevent the state from addressing $326 million in deferred maintenance on the building, according to CMS. […]

One rendering shows a 115-story, 1,700-foot-tall tower that would be the city’s tallest, topping the 1,451-foot Willis Tower. The tower would include offices, retail, residential units, a hotel and an observation deck. A second plan would have buildings of 40, 60 and 70 stories with mixed uses. […]

The estimated cost to repair the Thompson Center is more than triple the $100 million in deferred maintenance that Rauner first cited in 2015. Commercial real estate experts also say the state would be hard-pressed to get even half of its estimated $220 million net proceeds in a sale, since a buyer would still face extensive demolition costs just to clear the site and start a new development.

Putting the property into private hands would also generate a bunch of property tax revenue for the city.

*** UPDATE ***  From Ald. Brendan Reilly, whose 42nd Ward includes the Thompson Center…

I stand ready to meet with the Administration to discuss zoning limitations & redevelopment parameters for the property before they market it for auction. Potential buyers will want a general sense of what can and cannot be done on that site before they would bid on the property at auction.

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      


Question of the day

Thursday, Jan 19, 2017

* Many of us in this business knew Barack Obama from his days in Springfield. So, for those of you who did know him (or still do), what’s your favorite Obama story?

- Posted by Rich Miller   42 Comments      


Some economic development food for thought

Thursday, Jan 19, 2017

* James Krohe Jr….

Back in 2009, urbanist Aaron Renn wrote about new kinds of economic development that don’t involve things that move on trucks. Pointing to New York City, he noted that there are good reasons why the deal-makers of the big banks and investment houses have to be in Manhattan. However, their back-office operations, where is done the essentially clerical work that cleans up the mess made by traders every day, don’t have to be there. That work can be outsourced to lower-cost cities that also offer workers affordable housing and better quality of life. And that’s what the finance industry has done, sending jobs to Florida, North Carolina, Delaware and the like.

Several kinds of work lend themselves to this separation of functions. One of them is the law. By “offshoring” prep work for big cases to branches in places outside the Loop, Renn argues, the big Chicago firms could tap a pool of lower-cost lawyers. “Chicago,” he wrote, “might be the only elite city in the country where you can get access to a far lower cost point just by going beyond the immediate metro area.”

Renn argues for Milwaukee and Indianapolis as bases for such operations, but might similar possibilities exist for Springfield lower on the food chain? The city has a white-collar workforce, many of whom at the moment haven’t much to do. It also offers some lifestyle advantages to young lawyers. including a quick drive home to a relatively cheap house. That would seem to make it a good place to open what amounts to legal back-office operations, linked with the state’s economic engine via genuinely high-speed public transportation and super-fast broadband. Springfield would have a bright future as, not a branch office, but a branch city.

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      


AFSCME responds to JT: Stop using state email to “spread your falsehoods and fear-mongering”

Thursday, Jan 19, 2017

* AFSCME Council 31

January 19, 2017

John Terranova
Deputy Director, Labor Relations
Illinois Dept. of Central Management Services
Room 501, Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Dear Mr. Terranova:

AFSCME and the State of Illinois have a long history of collective bargaining going back more than 40 years, spanning the terms of seven different governors. Although the parties have not infrequently had serious disagreements with one another, both parties have historically understood the need to conduct themselves with integrity. Employer representatives therefore have had a high degree of credibility with employees and with the Union. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case.

State employees have now learned that, as a general rule, when their employer makes a statement, it is more than likely false. Your most recent missive (1/13/17) is but another shameful example.

You told employees that the Labor Board “approved” the governor’s “reasonable proposals.” There is nothing in the Board’s decision that approved the proposals or found them reasonable. Your statement is blatantly false.

You claimed that in the new framework our union put forth employees would not really forego a wage increase for four years, while your boss called that painful decision “superficial.” The Union was very clear that the framework provided for no “base wage increase,” and that it provided for step increases in only the last two years for those 40% of employees who have not yet reached the full rate of pay for their classification. Surely you are familiar enough with the collective bargaining agreement to understand the distinction between “steps” and “base wages”.

You implied that there is something wrong with letting the judicial system determine whether or not Governor Rauner broke the law by unilaterally deciding to deny employees step increases after the expiration date of the contract. As you are fully aware, the union did not include steps for the first two years of the contract as part of the settlement framework. If the courts determine that the governor did not break the law, then the he has nothing to worry about. If the courts determine that he did break the law, then the courts will also decide on the remedy for that violation. Again, the framework does not propose that the state agree to pay steps in the first two years.

You belittle the offer to pay an additional 8.5% in health insurance premiums, plus increased out of pocket costs, while going four years with no base wage increase. That may seem “tiny” to someone like your boss who makes 188 million dollars in one year, but it is not “tiny” for the average state employee.

You make the outrageous and patently false claim that AFSCME refuses to compromise even though the Union has been telling you for a year now that we have new proposals that provide for further compromise on our part. It is the governor who has refused to allow you to meet with our bargaining committee to receive and discuss those new proposals, thus foreclosing any opportunities for further compromise.

You continue to falsely claim that other unions have agreed to offers similar to the one the governor is seeking to impose on AFSCME members even though the truth is that those unions have not agreed to forego wage increases for four years and also to pay significantly more for insurance.

You attempt to mislead employees by saying that the Administration will offer them health insurance plans with the same or lower premiums while failing to say that all of those plans could cost the average employee thousands of dollars more in out of pocket costs. And you do this even though you know that all of the plans the Administration wants to impose on employees would require the same shift in costs from the State onto the employees. Either way, the average employee would have to lose $10,000 over the term of the contract.

You try to frighten employees by suggesting that a strike could be illegal because the Tolling Agreement might still be in effect, even as you continue to assert in court that it is not in effect.

Fortunately, the union has top flight attorneys, so state employees do not have to rely on your distortions and scare tactics. If the Tolling Agreement is in effect, then the governor cannot impose his terms on employees. If it is not in effect, then employees have the right to strike. There is no valid legal argument that the governor can impose with impunity, while employees have no right to resist. If there is a strike, it will be a lawful one, and employees’ legal right to strike will be protected.

You go to great lengths to describe the cost of a strike that would last a month. I don’t know how you came up with a month, nor do I know how you arrived at the figure you presented, but we do not believe it is accurate. Moreover, there is still ample opportunity for the Administration to avoid a strike by returning to the bargaining table.

You suggest that if there is a strike, the state will somehow be able to maintain services by hiring strikebreakers. The idea that the Administration could readily replace 28,000 skilled, knowledgeable, and dedicated employees is demonstrative of this administration’s lack of respect for the work that state employees do.

Finally, I urge you to immediately cease and desist from using the state’s email system to spread your falsehoods and fear-mongering.

I will close by reiterating that our union is doing everything possible to avert a strike and reach a fair contract settlement. If the Rauner Administration has any genuine interest in those goals, you can return to the bargaining table and work constructively with us to find common ground.

Sincerely,

Mike Newman
Deputy Director

* Related…

* AFSCME strike vote is an insult to middle-class Illinoisans

- Posted by Rich Miller   75 Comments      


Rauner not thrilled with Medicaid block grant idea

Thursday, Jan 19, 2017

* After dodging questions Tuesday about where he stands on “repeal and replace” of Obamacare, Gov. Rauner talked a tiny bit more yesterday

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says President Barack Obama’s health care law has “massive flaws,” but he’s cautious about repeal “with nothing to replace it.”

Rauner spoke to reporters Wednesday after an event in Springfield. The Republican says he’s encouraging Illinois officials to talk with President-elect Donald Trump’s team and “encourage them to be thoughtful about it.”

* More

“I don’t think it works very well to just take it away and have nothing to replace it with,” he said. “I don’t think that works.”

He also spoke out against changing Medicaid into a block-grant program, something supported by U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Health Secretary nominee Tom Price.

“Illinois is not well-positioned if they do that,” he said. “Illinois has been mismanaged on its Medicaid program for years. We’re trying to fix it but we’ve only been at it for two years and it takes a while.”

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      


Progress?

Thursday, Jan 19, 2017

* From the Illinois Policy Institute’s Facebook page

A new bill in the Illinois Senate is taking aim at soda drinkers.
The Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Act, introduced by State Senator Toi Hutchinson, would place a penny-per-ounce tax on bottled sugar-sweetened beverages, syrups or powders. The new tax would supposedly raise an estimated $560 million annually for Illinois.

But the law would raise this money on the backs of poor Illinoisans.

Like sales taxes, a tax on soda is regressive. It would place a larger share of the tax burden on residents least capable of paying it. On top of that, many residents from Hutchinson’s district would be hit the hardest.

So, that means the “Institute” now wants progressive taxes?

Cool.

Maybe they’ll help pass petitions to put a progressive income tax on the ballot.

* Related…

* A new tax on sodas, sugary drinks? It might be part of Illinois budget deal

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      


Pawar talks about his plans and addresses the “Madigan question”

Thursday, Jan 19, 2017

* Announced Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar was in the Quad Cities this week

Pawar says he believes in a graduated income tax rate for the wealthy to pay their fair share.

He’s also campaigning on providing universal daycare, increasing funding to local schools and equitable funding that makes districts less reliant on property taxes. […]

“I also want to run on a vision,” Pawar said. “And, what I’m trying to present to people is to say we need a new deal for Illinois. Enough of this shaking up Springfield and cutting benefits and wages, we need a deal, a new deal for all Illinoisans that helps them get a fair shake of the middle class and the American dream.”

* And

He said government, whether local, state or national, is getting a bad name from those claiming and repeating “that everything government does is broken or evil or corrupt.” However, he said, government “created the largest middle class we’ve ever seen after the Great Depression,” citing the New Deal, Civil Rights Act and Great Society programs.

“So I think government can be a force for good,” he said on a visit to the Quad-Cities on Wednesday to attend a Democratic Party rally. “And that means you have to elect people who believe in government and not people who want to run government like a business. So I think that means going out and talking to people and changing the narrative. […]

He also favors universal day care and criminal justice reforms.

“It doesn’t matter where you go in Illinois, it’s poor people being incarcerated for substance abuse and mental health issues,” Ald. Pawar said. “That’s got to change.”

That comment about government creating the middle class could get him in some trouble, but he is, after all, the leftie in the race.

* I was interested, however, in his response to a question about where he stood on Speaker Madigan, which wasn’t reported but is in the raw video of a TV interview. He started out by repeating something he’s said many times: “I’ve only met him once, after I won in 2011.” The interviewer followed up by saying Madigan has a record as well

“He has a record as well, but I think if you turn everyone into a bogeyman you can’t expect them to come to the table and work with you.

“I’ll put it in these terms, private sector terms, since that’s what the governor likes. What CEO of a company comes in and says ‘I can’t do my job because the operations manager won’t let me?’ You have to be able to work with people.

“He’s basically turned over the keys to the governor’s mansion and office to the Speaker and says ‘I can’t do anything, it’s all his fault.’ He ran for the job, but now he says he can’t do the job because of one person. That’s not how it works in any other level of government in any time in history.

“His goal is to reduce benefits and destroy collective bargaining rights. And the Speaker is standing in the way of that. Do I agree with the Speaker on everything? Absolutely not. I also don’t know him. But I’m also not going to sit and demonize someone who I might have to work with.

“That includes the Republican leaders. I don’t think Republicans are bad, they’re just a different party. But they’re people who care about their constituents.

“I just can’t say the same thing about Gov. Rauner in terms of whether he actually just cares about his wealthy friends and an agenda or whether he has a real goal in Illinois other than just creating constant chaos.”

He needs to tighten that up a lot, and drop the “operations manager” analogy because it doesn’t quite work. In the private sector, a CEO can just fire an operations manager.

Other than that, it’s not a bad way to deal with the “Madigan question” that every candidate at every level will get as 2018 nears.

* Related…

* Charlie Wheeler: Check The Facts Before Buying Into The King Madigan Storyline: However, even a rudimentary understanding of state government and a cursory online search of past Illinois leaders would disclose how Madigan’s supposed “running” of the state for 34 years — his “kingship” — is nonsense. For starters, while speaker is undeniably a powerful position in the House, the post has little to no sway in the other legislative chamber, the Senate. And, of course, whatever legislators decide to do, the governor has almost the final say with a range of veto powers. But wait, can’t the legislature override vetoes? Sure, but despite their veto-proof majorities on paper, Democrats overrode only two of more than 100 vetoes in Rauner’s first two years, one of them with his blessing.

* Austin Berg: Madigan makes history as Illinois bleeds: Madigan decides which bills receive a public hearing, who chairs committees and receives the $10,000 stipends that go with them, who votes in committees, and when bills are called before the full House. That’s not democracy. That’s a dictatorship.

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      


Today’s number: 50 years

Thursday, Jan 19, 2017

* From the Southern Illinoisan

The three longtime lawmakers from Southern Illinois whose legislative jobs have officially ended represent more than 50 years of combined experience.

With the swearing in of the 100th General Assembly on Wednesday, the terms of Sens. Gary Forby and Dave Luechtefeld have officially come to a close. Rep. John Bradley’s legislative career ended Jan. 1 when he resigned a few days ahead of the scheduled end of his term.

Forby and Bradley, both Democrats, were defeated in November as a Republican wave swept across Southern Illinois. Luechtefeld, a Republican, chose not to run again after his home was drawn out of the district he represents in the decennial redistricting process.

The transition marks a substantial loss of clout and experience at one time for the Southern Illinois delegation under the dome, where seniority plays a role in everything from committee assignments to parking spots. […]

There also are returning members of the Southern Illinois delegation. Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, has served since 2003, and now is the most senior member of those representing deep Southern Illinois. Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Red Bud, has served since 2011. Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, has served since 2015.

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      


*** UPDATED x2 - Rauner admin responds to SEIU *** Rauner blasts basic child care service as “institutionalized brain damage”

Thursday, Jan 19, 2017

* Tribune

At a later stop in Springfield, Rauner noted the importance of early childhood education and blasted the current state of child care.

“Too often in Illinois and around America, especially for lower-income communities, child care has no education component,” he said. “And in fact, good child care is regarded as ‘strap a child in a car seat and turn the TV on.’ That is institutionalized brain damage. To me, it should be criminal.”

Um, OK, so maybe now we know why he cut child care program funding?

And an upgrade like what he’s talking about will not be cheap. At all. We’ll need a bigger tax hike if he wants to actually do it.

*** UPDATE 1 ***  Response from Faith Arnold, SEIU Healthcare Illinois executive board, vice chair, child care division…

“Bruce Rauner’s insensitive characterization of the state of child care in Illinois shows his gross disregard for providers and the children and working parents we serve. Our choice of profession reflects our commitment to children and families and is NOT a reflection of our education. And it certainly is not a reflection of our character. However, the governor’s insulting choice of words serves as a poor reflection on HIS.

“Rauner knows better than anyone that HIS cuts to service have caused incredible damage to the Child Care Assistance Program, which at one point was among the most successful in the nation. No more. As a result of his arbitrary administrative maneuvering, and his failure to reach a fair contract with the state’s child care providers, he has engaged in a full-scale dismantling of the program which has cost jobs, slowed economic growth and harmed Illinois families.

“But more than that, his regrettable use of language to insult people like me shows someone entirely disconnected from the working families he claims to serve. It’s no wonder we enter a new year without a budget and with little hope for true leadership or compromise from Bruce Rauner, who is resorting to bully language once again.”

*** UPDATE 2 *** From the governor’s office…

Hi, Rich:

The governor and First Lady have spent more time working to improve the lives of young children than almost any couple in America. And as Governor, he has successfully increased early childhood funding by $100 million. His comments were not attacking the hardworking men and women who care for children so parents can go to work, go to school, and allow kids to flourish – but he is concerned about cases where children are placed in front of a TV with few toys and even fewer books.

The governor wants to ensure that every child arrives in kindergarten developmentally prepared. His Children’s Cabinet is working to address this very issue, bringing together state agencies to improve state credentialing and licensing programs. It is disappointing that instead of joining in those efforts, SEIU is choosing to mischaracterize the Governor’s words and intentions.

Best,
ck

- Posted by Rich Miller   94 Comments      


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* Police: 16-year-old boy stole packages, left baby in getaway car
* Man critically wounded in Austin shooting
* “Hawk,” feathered, in winter. What winter? Chicago outdoors notes
* 2 wounded in South Side shooting
* Police: Person killed in Bishop Ford crash


* Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, ex-player Andy Marte killed in separate car crashes in Dominican Republic
* Aaron Rodgers' playoff wizardry for Packers makes Chicago green with envy
* 'It's not even summer yet,' witness says as 29 people are shot in about 24 hours
* Waukegan superintendent to host second round of listening, learning tour
* Donald Trump tweets about Women's March, TV ratings for inauguration
* In 'SNL's' first post-inauguration episode, Putin roasts Trump on crowd sizes
* 'Grannies protect what they love:' Why my mom joined the Women's March
* Women's march follows anti-abortion vigil in Valparaiso
* Taraji P. Henson rents Southwest Side theater for free 'Hidden Figures' screening
* LINDA C. BLACK HOROSCOPES for 1/22/17


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* Illinois treasurer seeks payout of unclaimed life insurance
* Illinois Senate to try again on pension reform
* Illinois Senate 'bargain' includes hike in minimum wage
* Our View: Give President Trump a chance to succeed
* Angie Muhs: Teaming up to tackle community needs in Springfield
* Schoenburg: Rauner's lawyer takes comfort in high court budget decision
* Big Brothers Big Sisters to note National Mentoring Month
* Local generosity inspires record-setting grant potential
* Statehouse Insider: Will this week break the budget logjam?
* Guest Column: Put politics aside and pass a state budget


* Schock case headed for Urbana federal court
* Farm advocates hopeful as new administration, Congress take over
* Divorces 1/22/17
* Pantagraph Fish and Feather Expo bigger than ever
* John A. Logan College celebrates its 35,000th graduate
* Author: Abuse of disabled children often part of complex cycle
* PFOP: Tiny Cropsey county champs in 1938
* Health care leaders: Key ACA provisions should remain in place
* Wired In: Kevin Guo
* Letters from Birdland: Another victim of the budget battle


* The Latest: Georgia governor declares state of emergency
* The Latest: Trump aide says tax returns won't be made public
* More tornadoes ahead as death toll reach 15 in southeast US
* Villains and vixens dominate cartoon roles for women
* Plea says Bastia fans racially abused teammate Balotelli

* 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

* More than 1000 Attend Springfield Call 2 A......

* What happened in week three of the Colonie......

* Ella’s Song. Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely. Women’s March on Washington version.
* Mom said, “Never go alone.”
* What is the difference between Betsy DeVos and Davos, Switzerland?
* On Saturday four million in the streets made America great.
* Ross Dress For Less Nears Completion, Is Hiring
* Free Enterprise? Buffett Counts On Bailout
* GOP Fallback: When In Doubt Blame Pelosi
* Buy Hasty Fed Bailout Now, Regret It Later
* Why I Won't Shed Tears For Wall Street
* In A Gloomy Economy, Signs of Light


* New Authority Allows DCFS to Strengthen and Preserve Families - Federal waiver grants DCFS flexibility to better care for fostered youth
* Illinois Film Industry Generates $499 Million in 2016 - Chicago named #5 Best Place to Live and Work as a Moviemaker
* State Announces Free Tax Preparation for Low Income Families
* Governor Announces Appointments
* Governor Takes Bill Action




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