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Weekend news roundup

Saturday, Aug 19, 2017

* Since I won’t be around Monday…

* Urban Institute report shows Illinois’ school funding system is most regressive in the nation, has remained regressive since 1995

* Emanuel, Rauner spar in latest front in war over school funding: Emanuel fires back by saying the city has used TIF districts to pump more money into education than it could have in their absence. And he contends that Rauner’s assertions are meant to pit suburban and Downstate children against their city counterparts. A Tribune examination shows that Emanuel is right when he says the city has used the controversial taxing districts to spend more on schools and that state law prevents it from tapping most of the money in those districts for CPS costs.

* Greg Hinz: Don’t buy the spin on CPS. It’s still a dumpster fire: How mismanaged is Chicago Public Schools? While enrollment has dropped roughly 10 percent since 2007, total annual spending is up a third, to a projected $6.48 billion.

* Rauner facing pressure from Downstate Republicans to veto ‘very reasonable’ immigration bill: Also critical of the bill is Rep. John Cabello, a Republican of Mexican heritage who is a Rockford police detective and also co-chair of the Illinois Trump Victory fund. Cabello said the measure puts police in the position of choosing whether to uphold federal law or state law. “We can’t cherry-pick which laws we are going to enforce, it doesn’t matter if this bill is signed into law or not, law enforcement will do what we have to do,” he said. “I think this bill is symbolic, no law enforcement officer is going to follow this bill.”

* Illinois Democrats want to spike Rauner’s Medicaid reboot: The legislation is the second attempt this year to move MCO contracts under the state procurement code. In May, the bill didn’t make it out of committee. But that was before Rauner announced the winning bidders. The bill was resurrected quickly—and passed the Illinois Senate with a 38-18 vote two days later—amid fresh concerns that no minority-owned companies won a bid, said Harris, a Chicago Democrat.

* These Governors Are Rich, But Are They Effective?: “Rather than recognize that he had to deal with strong pro-labor Democratic legislative majorities in a blue state,” says Kent Redfield, a University of Illinois-Springfield political scientist, “he pushed a strong anti-union, right-to-work agenda from the beginning that unified all parts of labor against him.” And those weren’t the only enemies Rauner made, Redfield says: The governor “tried to hold the budget hostage to leverage his ‘Turnaround Agenda,’ which initially included tort reform and cuts in social services spending to health facilities in addition to anti-collective bargaining, worker’s comp reform and pension reform measures. This unified the major funders of the Democratic Party against him — labor, the trial lawyers, and the hospitals and nursing homes.”

* Rauner in Aurora as mayor marks 100 days; Fox River pedestrian bridge ‘will be built next year’

* Rauner pays for private helicopter to public event in northern Illinois: MacNeil is also founder and CEO of Bolingbrook-based WeatherTech, a company that makes products including automotive floor mats. Campaign records show that MacNeil donated $200,000 to Rauner’s 2014 campaign, and made in-kind donations totally $18,750 for “use of personally owned aircraft.”

* Suits linked to Rutherford sex charges cost public $515K

* Drinking soda pop will one day be like smoking on an airplane

* Are Endorsements for the Governor’s Race Getting Earlier?: Based on interviews and an analysis of news reports spanning from the 2002 gubernatorial election until today, Chicago found that primary endorsements have slowly begun to pull away from the fall and winter months preceding the election, instead moving toward the summer months of May through August. Removing the outlying earliest endorsement each cycle, it’s clear the bulk of endorsements are coming earlier and earlier each election

* A coronation for Pritzker?

* State Sen. Biss Kicks Off a Campaign Tour in Peoria

* Gov hopeful Daniel Biss: Faith that fuels divisiveness is ‘dead wrong’

* Sara Wojcicki Jimenez won’t run for re-election to Illinois House: Jimenez acknowledged that the tone of politics has changed for the worse. She said she likes to include her family in events, but the results haven’t always been pleasant. She and her family walked in the Illinois State Fair parade and encountered a spectator who yelled he hated them, something picked up by one of her 4-year-old sons.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

React to Rauner’s Friday vetoes

Saturday, Aug 19, 2017

* Background is here. Comptroller Mendoza…

Comptroller Susana Mendoza is calling on the General Assembly to immediately override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of the Debt Transparency Act (House Bill 3649), legislation supported by members from both political parties aimed at arming the legislature and taxpayers with more information about the state’s finances.

“Don’t Illinois taxpayers deserve to know how much debt the state has run up in their names?” Comptroller Mendoza asked.

The state’s unpaid bill backlog more than tripled in the past two years since Governor Rauner was elected, reaching a record high point of more than $15 billion. This exploding debt makes it all the more urgent that policymakers and their constituents receive timely reporting of outstanding bills and the growing interest costs to taxpayers.

The Debt Transparency Act, an initiative of Comptroller Mendoza sponsored by Rep. Fred Crespo, D-Hoffman Estates and Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, would require state agencies to disclose monthly to the Comptroller the bills they are holding and estimate the amount of late payment interest penalties that will be paid on those liabilities.

Agencies already have the personnel and infrastructure in place to compile the data, but the information is outdated by the time it is received. Current state law only requires agencies to report on Oct. 1 of each year, the aggregate amount of bills being held on the previous June 30.

In his veto message, the Governor lamented that his staff should not have to work harder to get the numbers out monthly instead of annually. But the truth is, Governor Rauner’s efforts to hold back true numbers from the public cost taxpayers far more than any additional work his staff would have to perform to let the public know the extent of the state’s debt – at least $800 million in late payment interest penalties so far.

“If Rauner does whip out his veto pen, expect words like ‘onerous’ in the message,” the Quad City Times wrote before Governor Rauner vetoed the bill. “It would be a bunk excuse, a dodge that neglects the bill’s obvious links to good budgeting, in either the public or private sector. Those who originally supported the Debt Transparency Act … must stick by their positions and stand up to pressure from the governor’s office.”

“Rather than accuse responsible elected officials of trying to ‘micromanage’ state agencies, the Governor should start managing his agencies’ budgets and honestly disclosing their debts,” Comptroller Mendoza said.

“The level of uncertainty about the amount of debt was made clear recently when the known backlog jumped by $1 billion in a single week as bills for state health insurance, medical services, corrections, human services and more were reported by the Office of Management and Budget,” The Quincy Herald-Whig Editorial Page wrote. “No successful business could be expected to run on such skimpy and outdated financial data, and no government should operate that way, either.”

“The bill holds agencies accountable by requiring they report outstanding bills and interest estimates each month, and it increases transparency for taxpayers because it allows them to find out how much interest they will pay on overdue bills and how long it will take to pay off the penalties,” wrote the

Moline Dispatch/Rock Island Argus editorial board in support of HB 3649. “Even in hopelessly divided Springfield, issues of transparency and accountability should transcend politics.”

The legislation was also supported by the Better Government Association and made the group’s list of “15 good government reforms” approved in the spring legislative session.

The Comptroller’s office estimates that Illinois owes at least $800 million in penalties on its overdue bills. “That’s $800 million of taxpayer money we are just throwing away – it’s not helping kids get day care or go to college. It’s not helping seniors get Meals on Wheels or keep their home health care. It’s money that will never be invested in creating a single job in Illinois” Mendoza said. “I’m disappointed that Governor Rauner vetoed this common sense transparency initiative. Policymakers need this up-to-date fiscal information when making budgeting decisions, and there is no good reason to deny it to them.”

The Quad-City Times editorial board called the Debt Transparency Act “a good piece of legislation that’s in line with the private sector’s best practices.”

* Sen. Andy Manar…

Gov. Bruce Rauner today passed on signing a commonsense law that would save taxpayers millions of dollars in late payment fees because he believes it’s an attempt to “micromanage” state agencies.

It’s another example of how the governor sends mixed messages to the people of Illinois, said Senator Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and the sponsor of House Bill 3649, the proposed Debt Transparency Act, which Rauner vetoed.

“One day Gov. Rauner rails about waste, fraud and abuse in Springfield. The next day, given an opportunity to do something about it, he punts,” Manar said. “It’s maddening.

“Illinois taxpayers shell out $2 million a day in late payment fees and interest because of the state’s bill backlog. This law simply would ask state agencies to help the comptroller manage that debt better by reporting every month on the bills they owe to vendors.”

Illinois’ bill backlog today stands at $14.7 billion.

In addition to micromanagement, Rauner’s reasons for vetoing the legislation included that it’s “time-consuming” and too burdensome because of “asymmetries in technology and variances in the input and calculation of the required information.”

Manar said transparency and accountability aren’t rocket science.

“The only asymmetry we’re dealing with is the amount of complaining versus the amount of action coming out of the governor’s office,” he added.

Rauner vetoed additional Manar-sponsored legislation on Friday, including:

    · House Bill 3216, which would add scrutiny to attempts to enter into third-party contracts by the administration when the work could be done by state employees. In March, the governor attempted to outsource the jobs of 124 prison nurses to an out-of-state corporation.

    · House Bill 3376, which was hoped to be a compromise to address an ongoing disagreement about overtime caps between the Rauner administration and in-home personal assistants who work with people with disabilities.

* Sen. Daniel Biss…

Daniel Biss released the following statement in response to Governor Rauner’s veto of HB2622, a bill Daniel sponsored to create a state-sponsored workers’ compensation insurance company.

“For two years, we’ve heard Governor Rauner beat a drum about how important it is to reform workers compensation. When given that opportunity, he maintains the status quo — choosing instead to protect the insurance industry and punish injured workers who will continue to bear the brunt of a broken system. Once again, Rauner chooses millionaires over working families.”

* Illini Democrats…

In a Friday afternoon bill signing flurry, Governor Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto of HB 3211, a bill which would make it easier for hungry college students to be alerted and notified of SNAP eligibility.

While many students do just fine with finding food on campus, many face food insecurity. At our campus, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, between 800 and 2000 students face food insecurity every day. Furthermore, food insecurity is worst among first generation college students. Since a program is in the works to allow SNAP recipients to swipe into dining halls, increased notification through this legislation could significantly aid students in need.

In his veto message, Governor Rauner states “with limited resources available, the SNAP identification and promotion process required by this legislation for adult college students who may already have a variety of resources available to identify their eligibility for government aid is not the highest and best use of these agencies’ efforts.”

We feel that notifying potentially hungry students of SNAP eligibility will take minimal resources from ISAC and can go a very long way in helping hungry college students across the state get the nutrition they need to succeed in school. It’s unfortunate that the Governor would veto a strong bipartisan piece of legislation. We support a full override of the amendatory veto.

* Pritzker campaign…

Even Bruce Rauner can’t name a single accomplishment from his time in office, and we know why: because he’s nothing more than Governor Veto. Late Friday, Rauner announced that he vetoed several bills passed by the legislature. This is no surprise given his history of reckless vetoes on a state budget and school funding formula.

Rauner’s vetoes include bills that increase transparency in state spending, expand democratic elections, and let caretakers who serve Illinoisans with disabilities work overtime. These new vetoes come after Rauner suffered five bipartisan veto override votes in five weeks on major pieces of legislation.

“Bruce Rauner has earned himself the title of ‘Governor Veto’ as he continues standing in the way of any efforts to move Illinois forward,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “After vetoing bill after bill, Rauner is unable to name a single accomplishment and Illinois families continue to pay the price.”

I received no press releases in favor of the governor’s vetoes.

* News coverage…

* Rauner vetoes bills on spending transparency, home health care worker OT: Of the bills Rauner did approve, one would require schools to provide feminine hygiene products in bathrooms for free. Supporters say it’s a public health issue that will prevent students from missing class. He also signed into law a bill that will ban employers from requiring low-wage employees from signing noncompete agreements that would prevent them from moving on to new jobs. Rauner said lawmakers should consider expanding the measure.

* Rauner vetoes plan requiring overdue bill reporting

* Rauner signs law to eliminate township collector in Sangamon County: Sangamon is one of only four counties that still have township collectors. The others are Peoria, Will and Madison.

* Rauner signs bill creating agency to govern ALPLM: Rauner created the stand-alone agency for the Lincoln facility by executive order and put the duties of the historic preservation agency under a different department. But lawmakers adopted a law to prevent a future governor from reversing the order.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Reader comments closed until Tuesday

Friday, Aug 18, 2017

* I’m going to hang out with my brother Devin and some friends in southern Illinois and watch the eclipse on Monday. Unless the world ends, I’ll be back Tuesday morning. Ozzy will be playing this song Monday during the eclipse and I’m kinda stoked to see it

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Rauner vetoes several major pieces of legislation

Friday, Aug 18, 2017

* Just about every one of the governor’s vetoes today is a story on its own. But it’s Friday afternoon and nobody is paying attention, so we’ll circle back next week.

I assume the comptroller will have something to say about the veto of her bill (HB3649), and others will object as well. I’ll update when I can. What follows is a quick summary of what he vetoed today. For the full list of bills the governor signed today and his full veto messages, click here

Today I veto House Bill 2622 from the 100th General Assembly, which will create a state-sponsored workers’ compensation insurance company. This bill will also require the Department of Insurance to provide a loan of $10 million out of the operations fund of the Workers’ Compensation Commission to capitalize the new organization. […]

Today I sign House Bill 2966, which cleans up discrepancies and creates clarity in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund section of the Pension Code regarding eligibility for the board of trustees. […]

Today I veto House Bill 3143, which amends the State Prompt Payment Act to add certain human services providers to the list of those eligible for interest penalty payments from the state. […]

Today I veto House Bill 3167, which requires the Department of Human Services to conduct costly and duplicative surveys regarding the early childhood education workforce without allowing other ongoing support initiatives to come to fruition. […]

Today I return House Bill 3211 with specific recommendations for change.

This legislation addresses eligibility for certain college students to participate in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides access to funds for food to eligible low-income individuals. Hunger is a very real challenge, and for students it can lead to an inability to participate in the very programs of study that will contribute to their future development and career opportunities. But this legislation goes further than is necessary to address this challenge. […]

Today I veto House Bill 3216 from the 100th General Assembly, which will place additional requirements on third-party contracting by the State. […]

Today I veto House Bill 3376 from the 100th General Assembly, which restricts the state’s ability to place a limit on the number of weekly hours a provider may work in the taxpayer-funded Home Service Program that serves many of the state’s physically disabled residents. […]

Today I veto House Bill 3419 from the 100th General Assembly, which prohibits companies that have restructured through corporate inversions from bidding on or entering into State contracts. It also precludes State retirement systems from investing in any such companies. […]

Today I veto House Bill 3649, which requires state agencies to report every month to the Comptroller on their current liabilities, interest, and the appropriations status of those liabilities.

The inclination to provide more transparency about the state of our finances is a good one. Unfortunately, this legislation more closely resembles an attempt by the Comptroller to micromanage executive agencies than an attempt to get the information most helpful to the monitoring of state government. […]

Today I veto Senate Bill 669 which would create an unnecessary new process for a Lake County to change the way it selects its county board chairman. […]

Today I veto Senate Bill 789, which expands the authorized uses of motor fuel tax funds.

This bill would allow for these funds to be directed away from traditional infrastructure projects toward other tangential transportation initiatives including those capital projects focused on pedestrian, bicycle, or electrical vehicles as well as for the operation costs of public transit.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Four leaders meet in Chicago, plan another sitdown on Tuesday

Friday, Aug 18, 2017

* The four legislative leaders met in Speaker Madigan’s Chicago ward office today to see if they could work out an education funding reform compromise. The meeting was scheduled to start at 1 o’clock.

I called Senate President Cullerton’s spokesman John Patterson late this afternoon to ask how the meeting went. “It was a good meeting,” he said.

OK, but did they get anything accomplished? “It was a good meeting.”

Alright, but a good meeting could mean that tasty pizza was served, right? Did they find common ground? “It was a good meeting.”

How long did the meeting last? “A long time.”

I asked Patterson if he realized that I was quoting everything he said.

“I am accurately relaying to you the message out of this meeting. It was a long meeting, met for a long time. It was a good meeting. How long did they meet? A long time.”

I laughed through most of that and then called Patty Schuh. No answer. Left a message.

* So, I called Steve Brown and told him what Patterson had said. His response: “I was going to use the word ‘productive’ and they’re going to meet again Tuesday in Springfield.” They started at about ten minutes after 1 and finished about 3:30, Brown said.

Patty then called me back. “The four leaders believe it was a productive meeting. They reviewed all the issues and will meet again Tuesday. OK? That’s all I got.” Then we chatted a bit and I finished writing this post.

…Adding… A text from House GOP Leader Durkin’s new spokesperson…

Wanted to provide an update now that the leaders mtg has finished. The leaders felt it was a productive meeting, and will be meeting again on Tuesday. Have a great weekend!

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      

Kennedy delivered an unusually somber Democrat Day speech

Friday, Aug 18, 2017

* Chris Kennedy caught a little flack for quoting Walt Whitman at the Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association brunch this week. It was most certainly a different sort of speech than the loud and raw red meat served up by most of the other gubernatorial hopefuls that day. But I thought you might want to watch it yourself

I’m not sure he successfully closed the circle, but not a bad speech.

The transcript is here in case you can’t watch videos at work.

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      

Governor signs River Edge bill in Rockford… err… Aurora

Friday, Aug 18, 2017

* Press release…

Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed Senate Bill 1783, bipartisan legislation that extends the River Edge Redevelopment Zone tax credit program. The tax credit program has helped preserve historic buildings and grow local economies in the five communities where the credit is applicable: Aurora, East St. Louis, Elgin, Peoria and Rockford.

“This program has already been a huge success,” Gov. Rauner said. “The River Edge Redevelopment Zone Program helps stimulate the state’s economy and the local economies where the program is available. It’s an important tool for municipalities to utilize to spur economic development while saving and restoring historic buildings, and it’s the right move to extend this program through Dec. 31, 2021, so these communities can continue to grow and prosper.”

The redevelopment program is credited with creating a $10 return for every $1 of credit, and a series of success stories have materialized as a result of the program. For example, the St. Charles Senior Living Center ─ a rehabilitated, 60-unit independent living facility in downtown Aurora ─ was a beneficiary of the tax credit and subsequently received the 2017 Landmarks Illinois Award for Rehabilitation. In Peoria, an old barrel-making facility was transformed into luxury apartments that still reflect the historic building’s original charm. And in Rockford, the program supported the very successful Prairie Street Brewhouse.

“On behalf of the residents of Aurora, I thank our state legislators and the governor for their support of this integral bill that will potentially create hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in economic development in the state’s second-largest city,” Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin said. “The quality of Aurora’s 180-year-old downtown is integral to the success of the entire city.”

“The River Edge Redevelopment Zone initiative has been a critical tool for economic growth in downtown Rockford and provides a strong return on investment,” Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said. “The incentive has helped us fill vacant properties and attract new capital investment to the city, while, at the same time, preserving culturally and architecturally significant buildings.”

Specifically, SB 1783 extends the River Edge Redevelopment Zone tax credit until Dec. 31, 2021. The program allows for an income tax credit to be awarded for the restoration and preservation of a qualified historic structure located in a River Edge Redevelopment Zone, which is a specific area designated by the state of Illinois, in cooperation with a local government, to safely revive and redevelop environmentally-challenged properties that will stimulate economic revitalization and create jobs in Illinois.

“For years, I have been a strong advocate for historic preservation, not only so that we can keep our history alive, but also because of the economic impact these sites have on our communities here in Illinois,” said state Sen. Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry), a co-sponsor of the bill. “By preserving local history, we are also supporting and promoting economic development.”

The bill was sponsored by a bipartisan group of legislators.

* Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) was a chief co-sponsor…

“This tax credit is an example of what happens when lawmakers put aside their differences to do what is best for their communities and the entire state. In this era of hyper-partisan tension, it is reassuring to see overwhelming bipartisan support for a measure that spurs economic growth in places like Peoria’s Warehouse District.”

* Despite a big “Aurora” sign behind him, the governor got a bit confused when he began to speak


- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      

Caption contest!

Friday, Aug 18, 2017

* From Chris Kennedy’s Twitter feed…

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      

All’s well that ends well, I suppose

Friday, Aug 18, 2017

* Tribune

The record-breaking bid Gov. Bruce Rauner made for a prize-winning steer at last year’s Illinois State Fair charity auction has finally been collected — with a little help from Chicago Inc.

A year to the day after Rauner made the winning offer of $104,000 for the 1,324-pound animal, his donor, Chicago financier R.J. D’Orazio, on Wednesday wired the $20,000 share of the price he’d long ago promised to pay.

This column on Tuesday reported that D’Orazio held out on honoring the governor’s debt because he felt he had not received “recognition” for his generosity.

But the publicity seems to have spurred D’Orazio into action: He sent the $20,000 plus an additional $20,000 donation as a goodwill gesture to charities including the Illinois 4-H Club on Wednesday morning. D’Orazio told Inc. he was doubling the donation “as a result of the delay” in paying up.

“We berated this guy for months,” said the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s general counsel, Craig Sondgeroth, who was delighted to confirm the state received $40,000 from D’Orazio later Wednesday. The department organizes the charity auction. “This was really sad because the money was for children.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      

Question of the day

Friday, Aug 18, 2017

* From comments

How about a Friday “question of the day” where everyone gives us examples of the craziest thing [Speaker] Madigan told us in private? Maybe it will give the Governor some new material.

Have fun.

- Posted by Rich Miller   100 Comments      

SDems have most seniority, HGOPs the least

Friday, Aug 18, 2017

* Interesting…

If you need a bigger pic, click here. A spreadsheet with the underlying data is here.

* More…

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      

Asked when he’ll take responsibility, Rauner blames Madigan

Friday, Aug 18, 2017

* From WBEZ’s interview of Gov. Rauner this morning…

* The exchange

LIZ: Thank you for taking my call. Thank you, governor, for coming on. I have a question that’s, kind of similar to what we’ve been talking about. I have heard a lot of answers, your answers to the questions that you’ve given are, the bad state of our state in the past decades, and Michael Madigan. And you have been governor for 2 years. So my question is, when, in your opinion, is the time that you take responsibility for what’s going on in the state?

RAUNER: If we had truly divided honest government, if we did not have the Speaker’s lock on power, and let me be very candid with you. When I asked him 9 years ago, when I first met him, what he wanted to do to improve the quality of life for the people of Illinois, he laughed, and he said to me, ‘Bruce, I don’t think about that, I don’t have any goal like that. I do two things: I manage power and I make money from managing power.’

SARABIA: We should say there’s no way we could corroborate that.

RAUNER: So look at his behavior, you can see it’s true. But here’s what we need. If the Senate were to stay Democrat, Democratic controlled, that’s fine. Divided government would be fine. I would have already worked out a balanced budget, term limits, property tax relief, and regulatory relief, and workers comp, if the Senate Democrats were able to do what they want rather than what the Speaker told them. The Speaker’s control in the House has blocked everything that we’ve tried to do on a major scale. Things that honest Democrats in other states have done. Term limits, pension reform, workers comp reform, regulatory relief for businesses. They’ve done it in other states and we can do it if we break Speaker Madigan’s lock on power.

- Posted by Rich Miller   64 Comments      

Do Your Job, Inc. puts latest online ad on TV

Friday, Aug 18, 2017

* As mentioned in the release, this is the same ad we’ve already discussed when it was just an online spot…

Last night, Do Your Job, Inc. placed a nearly half-million-dollar ad buy on broadcast television which will run ahead of the IL House’s vote to override Gov. Rauner’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1.

Do Your Job, Inc. is on air with the ad “Déjà vu” which debuted on digital platforms last Sunday ahead of the IL Senate’s bipartisan vote to override the Governor. The House is expected to reconvene on August 23rd to vote on that motion after Governor Rauner’s education funding plan failed to receive a single vote on the House floor.

“Déjà vu” can be viewed here: and contains the following narration:

    It’s déjà vu.
    After losing the budget fight, Governor Rauner is targeting our schools.
    Principals, teachers and parents statewide support SB1 for fairer funding across the whole state but Rauner has vetoed SB1 creating chaos and another crisis.
    Without the funding bill schools will close.
    Rauner won’t compromise.
    Republicans and Democrats have to fund our schools without him.
    Sound familiar?
    Tell your legislator override Rauner. Fund our schools.

The ad will run in the following media markets on broadcast television:


Do Your Job, Inc. is led by IL Sen. Michael E. Hastings of South Suburban Cook County, IL Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie and Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael T. Carrigan.

- Posted by Rich Miller   5 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - IDHS responds *** What’s the holdup on domestic violence funding?

Friday, Aug 18, 2017

* For months and months, whenever a state vendor or social service provider was having financial troubles, the Rauner administration pointed the finger of blame at the comptroller, even though she has no control over how much money flows into the state checkbook and which contracts are signed by the administration. Well, now the shoe is on the other foot

Even though a state budget was finally passed earlier this summer, the process for paying allocated funds is not automatic. Social service agencies are waiting for money owed to them by the state.

Before a budget was approved, the Sojourn Shelter in Springfield laid off staff members and was considering further cuts. The agency serves domestic-abuse victims, providing housing and resources to help them get back on their feet. It’s still waiting for money due for fiscal years 2017 and ‘18. […]

Bertoni said that, having worked a long time for non-profits, she’s well aware the process could take months. Other such agencies in the state are also waiting for funds. The Illinois Comptroller’s Office writes the checks for organizations like Sojourn, but it can’t until the Illinois Department of Human Services releases payments.

The Comptroller’s Office said in a statement that it “has not received vouchers from the Department of Human Services for Sojourn Shelter and other providers that protect and care for domestic violence survivors. Once those vouchers arrive, they will be treated as a priority.” […]

Illinois Department of Human Services spokesperson Meghan Powers said in a statement, “The FY18 budget passed by the General Assembly required changes in our accounting systems in order to release payments for domestic violence providers. IDHS has prioritized domestic violence funding and our team has been diligently working to make the required changes and to communicate these changes to the Illinois Office of the Comptroller. We will be releasing payments to the Comptroller’s Office on a rolling basis as the system changes are completed. We anticipate releasing payments to the Comptroller’s Office within the week. We appreciate our providers’ continued patience with this process.”

So, now they’re blaming the General Assembly. I really hope they’re not playing games with domestic violence money.

I mean, the budget veto was overridden more than a month ago, so accounting issues sounds a little suspect. Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), the House’s chief budget negotiator said he didn’t know what accounting systems changes IDHS is talking about.

* And it’s not like there’s no available money

According to the Comptroller’s Office, they have $15 million set aside to fund domestic violence shelters.

It’s just sitting there waiting to be spent.

*** UPDATE ***  

Hi Rich,

IDHS is not “playing games” with domestic violence funding. Our Department has made domestic violence funding a top priority.

The newly enacted budget required adjustments to providers’ contracts and changes in our accounting systems. We communicated these requirements to our providers. Our team has moved as quickly as possible to execute these adjustments and we released the first set of payments to the Comptroller’s Office this morning.

Thank you,

Meghan Powers
Illinois Department of Human Services

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      

Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez says she won’t run again

Friday, Aug 18, 2017

* Another House Republican budget and tax hike veto overrider…

State Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez announces she will not seek re-election in 2018

This statement was released today:

It is an honor to serve as your state representative in my hometown and home county here in Illinois. My number one priority coming into office was to focus on the budget and to make sure we passed a balanced budget to help stabilize our economy here in Sangamon County and the state of Illinois. I was able to help accomplish that goal as well as help shepherd through reforms to our procurement system, pension system, and criminal justice system.

We have an open door policy in our office and have kept three principles in mind each day as we serve constituents in the 99th district: be grateful, be kind and help as many people as we can. We’ve been able to help a lot of people and I plan to continue those efforts as well as work to make our community a better place for the remainder of my term.

Every two years, members of the Illinois House must consider if they will run for another term. After thoughtful consideration and discussions with my family, I have decided that I will step aside after serving this term in the 100th General Assembly. I have been so humbled by my family, friends, staff members, and residents of the district who have supported my vision of government and believed in me to do what’s best for Illinois. I am proud of my service to Sangamon County for the last several years in the Illinois House of Representatives and on the Springfield Park District Board. Next year, there will be an opportunity for someone else to run and eventually serve in the Illinois House of Representatives. Until then, I look forward to continuing to work with my constituents and my colleagues to make progress on many important issues until the end of my term in January 2019.

Sara Wojcicki Jimenez

State Representative, 99th District

I’m kind of stunned about this.

- Posted by Rich Miller   79 Comments      

Rauner calls TRUST Act a “very reasonable” bill, won’t commit to signing it

Friday, Aug 18, 2017

* The governor said on the Fox News Channel a week ago that his staff was still “evaluating” the TRUST Act, which would do this

Prohibits law enforcement agencies and officials from detaining or continuing to detain an individual solely on the basis of an immigration detainer or non-judicial immigration warrant or from otherwise complying with an immigration detainer or non-judicial immigration warrant. Provides for law enforcement training on compliance with the Illinois TRUST Act.

As we’ve already discussed, the far right is up in arms about this bill. The truth is, however, that it’s a compromise with law enforcement interests, which got pretty much everything it wanted in the final legislation.

* From an August 17th letter to the governor…

Dear Governor Bruce Rauner

As law enforcement officials, we support and ask you to approve TRUST ACT SB 31. TRUST ACT SB 31 is a sensible policy to effectively devote our time and taxpayers’ money going after true threats to public safety and security and not wasting limited resources apprehending and removing immigrants who are merely seeking to work or reunite with family.

SB 31 is not “sanctuary” bill because it explicitly allows communications between local police and federal agents. SB 31 is compliant with federal statutes.

SB 31 will strengthen our collective public safety. Going after hardworking immigrants has adverse effects that go beyond straining our budgets and manpower.

We have spent years developing relationships of trust with our immigrant communities. We need everyone in the community, no matter where they were born, to feel comfortable calling on first responders in an emergency, including when they are a victim or witness of crime.

Fears that law enforcement and immigration enforcement are one and the same have a chilling effect on reports of crime among minority communities. Already this year, some police chiefs have reported that members of the Hispanic community are calling in fewer reports of rapes, even though reports otherwise have not decreased.

SB 31 TRUST Act will help with this very real concern. None of us wants rapists or other criminals to get away with crime. Discouraging victims and witnesses of crime from coming forward makes our jobs harder and does not make you safer.

As law enforcement leaders, we applaud bipartisan legislators from Illinois’s General Assembly for passing SB 31. We ask the Governor to approve this legislation to make community safety easier for us to achieve, not harder.


Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran
Melrose Park Chief of Police Sam C Pitassi
Stone Park Chief of Police Christopher P. Pavini
Franklin Park Chief of Police Michael Witz
Chicago Heights Chief of Police Tom Rogers
Elgin Chief of Police Jeffrey Swoboda
Berwyn Chief of Police Michael D. Cimaglia
Elmwood Park Chief of Police Frank Fagiano

* Tribune

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said Friday he plans to announce “in the next couple days” whether he’ll sign a bill aimed at limiting the role of local law enforcement in federal efforts to detain and remove immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

Asked during a Friday morning radio appearance if he would sign the bill, Rauner said the legislation was supported by immigration advocates and the business community, “so it seems like a reasonable compromise.” He said he would be “making an announcement about that in the next couple days,” and that he was “very excited.” The governor did not, though, say whether he’d sign it.

“I think it seems very reasonable,” Rauner said on the WBEZ-FM 91.5 show “Morning Shift.”

* Press release…

Appearing on WBEZ’s Morning Shift program this morning, Governor Bruce Rauner spoke enthusiastically about about the Illinois TRUST Act, noting the broad support behind the bill among immigrant communities, business, law enforcement, and other allies. He called the bill “very reasonable” and said that an announcement regarding the bill would come shortly.

“We are encouraged by Governor Rauner’s positive comments this morning regarding the Illinois TRUST Act,” said Andrew Kang, legal director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago. “This moves Illinois one step closer to common-sense, Constitutional, state-level public safety policy.”

Under the TRUST Act, local police cannot comply with federal immigration detainers and warrants not issued by a judge. Local police also cannot stop, search, or arrest anyone based on that person’s immigration or citizenship status.

“Over 60 community organizations across the state want the TRUST Act to become law,” said Lawrence Benito, chief executive officer of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. “We will continue to join faith communities, business owners, and law enforcement leaders in supporting immigrant families and public safety until TRUST is signed.”

“Governor Rauner has the opportunity to join a broad coalition of communities, law enforcement, and elected officials to support bipartisan common-sense public policy,” said Mark Fleming, associate director of litigation at the National Immigrant Justice Center. “Upholding basic civil rights and improving trust between residents and law enforcement is more important now than ever, and essential to protecting families and communities across our state.”

The Campaign for a Welcoming Illinois will join faith leaders and elected officials on Friday at 11:30AM outside the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      

Drury says he has a “good sense” of how government works

Friday, Aug 18, 2017

* The Pantagraph interviews Democratic gubernatorial candidate and state Rep. Scott Drury

“I’ve been in state government for five years. I have a good sense of how it works and of what doesn’t work,” said Drury during a campaign stop Wednesday night in Bloomington. “What the public wants is someone who’s going to do what they’re saying. … I’m happy to compare my record with anyone else’s.”

Drury’s resume includes working as a federal prosecutor and serving in the Illinois House, where this spring he became the first member in 30 years to not vote for Michael Madigan as speaker. He insists that wasn’t for publicity, however.

“That’s where my district is at. … It shouldn’t be that shocking,” Drury said of the vote. His district, the 58th, is on Lake Michigan north of Chicago.

“The General Assembly doesn’t believe it can vote as it wants to,” he said. “It doesn’t represent its constituents. And that’s very problematic because you get two people running the state, and when they don’t get along, you have two-and-a-half years of no budget while everybody around us is suffering.”

* Meanwhile, here’s a Drury campaign e-mail entitled “Are you sick of Mike Madigan?”…

Last Tuesday, Mike Madigan became the longest serving Speaker of the House of any state legislature in United States history.

We all know Madigan cares about power, not us - and that has destroyed our State.

If you are one of the overwhelming majority of Democrats in Illinois who is disgusted with Mike Madigan’s rule, sign our petition today.

The Democratic Party in Illinois should be about taking care of hardworking families, investing in the next generation, making our communities safer and caring for those most in need. Instead, under Madigan’s leadership, our state is deep in debt, we have the worst-funded public schools in the country, gun violence is at an all time high, and the most vulnerable can’t get the vital social services they need.

In every corner of the State, Democrats are joining our campaign because they want a Governor with a proven track record of standing up to Mike Madigan and working for all of us.

If we keep electing politicians who are in Mike Madigan’s pocket, nothing will change.

If you want to rebuild Illinois, sign our petition today and take a stand against Mike Madigan.

Thank you,

Team Drury

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      

The story behind that Facebook pic of Madigan

Friday, Aug 18, 2017

* Douglas County resident Isaac Partenheimer posted this photo on his Facebook page last night. He wrote that he was “Sitting next to this crooked son of a [redacted] at alexanders in Springfield”…

* And then

Frankly, I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often. And if you click here and read through the comments, you’ll see why.

* “It was not the most coherent message,” Madigan’s spokesman Steve Brown said of the sleeveless man this morning. As you can see from the second pic, Brown was with Madigan at the restaurant.

Brown said the guy said something like “I never voted for you and I probably never will,” and then said something about how people should “work together.” And after saying that several times, he left. It lasted about 30 seconds, according to Brown. The governor’s name wasn’t mentioned, Brown said, and alcohol may have been involved.

Several years ago, I was walking with Madigan at the Statehouse trying to get him to tell me something when he was accosted by a very angry man. Madigan remained cool and calm and the man said his piece and eventually walked away. It kinda spooked me, but Madigan went on chatting after the dude departed.

- Posted by Rich Miller   108 Comments      

Rauner explains his weight loss

Friday, Aug 18, 2017

* Tribune

The lanky governor — he’s 6 feet 4 inches — didn’t exactly carry excess baggage on his frame to start with, but he’s lost 20 pounds since his election, he said on WTTW-Ch. 11’s “Chicago Tonight” earlier this week.

Asked about it during the Illinois State Fair this week, Rauner said there’s no secret, special diet or workout regime behind his weight loss.

“It’s just hard work,” he told Chicago Inc.

* Pretty much everybody who has seen him up close, particularly when he’s not wearing a jacket or a vest, has noticed how thin he is these days. You can really see it in his own video…

- Posted by Rich Miller   60 Comments      

Today’s quotable: “No one’s going to locate there”

Friday, Aug 18, 2017

* USA Today reporter who covers business automotive news…

- Posted by Rich Miller   65 Comments      

*** UPDATED x3 - Still hasn’t seen it - DGA criticizes Rauner *** Rauner points to WVON host’s defense of Illinois Policy Institute cartoon as legislators to protest HQ

Friday, Aug 18, 2017

* The AP picked up the Illinois Policy Institute cartoon controversy

Still, the image put a spotlight on Rauner and his links to the institute. Rauner, a wealthy businessman, donated to the group before he became governor and recently hired several top aides from the organization including his spokeswoman, Diana Rickert, and former Policy Institute president Kristina Rasmussen, who is his chief of staff.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s onetime chief of staff, issued a joint statement with city school officials accusing the governor’s “brain trust at the Illinois Policy Institute” of contributing to the school funding debate by publishing an “unambiguously racist cartoon.”

Rickert said Thursday that Rauner hadn’t seen the cartoon and wouldn’t comment on it.

“It’s a terrible thing for people to be bringing up now,” she said. “To be accusing somebody falsely of racism, or try to insinuate that people in this office are racist, is disgusting when the country is trying to recover from this tragedy.”

Pretty full-throated defense of her current and former employers.

* The governor said on WBEZ this morning that he hadn’t seen the cartoon, but he’d heard about it. He claimed that a radio host on WVON yesterday said he didn’t think the cartoon was racist and neither did his listeners. WVON, of course, is one of the nation’s most famous African-American radio stations. But the host, Maze Jackson, has close ties to former Rep. Ken Dunkin, who was backed by Rauner forces in his Democratic primary last year.

* Meanwhile…

Numerous state legislators will be joining civil rights and social justice organizations tomorrow to protest a recent Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) editorial cartoon that has been universally condemned by Democratic and Republican members of the General Assembly.

Attendees are calling on Governor Bruce Rauner, who has financially supported the IPI and recently hired high-ranking officials from the organization, to join the Democrat and Republican elected officials who have publicly condemned the racist cartoon and are demanding the IPI publicly apologize for the drawing.

    Who: Illinois State Representatives, civil rights and social justice organizations
    What: Protest Against Rauner-Backed Illinois Policy Institute’s Racist Cartoon
    When: Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, 10 a.m.
    Where: Illinois Policy Institute Headquarters, 190 S. LaSalle St., Chicago

* Pritzker campaign…

Just days after Bruce Rauner refused to call attacks by white supremacists in Charlottesville terrorism, Rauner‘s allies at the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) published a flagrantly racist cartoon to advance their divisive agenda. While members of both parties rebuked the cartoon from the House floor this week, Bruce Rauner’s chief spokeswoman — who was hired directly from the IPI — said that Rauner hadn’t seen the cartoon and then flatly denied that it was racist.

Rauner’s silence comes despite close ties to the Institute, with many of his senior staff coming directly from their ranks. The IPI has since pulled down the cartoon, but refuses to apologize.

“When Bruce Rauner was asked to take a principled stand on the white supremacist rally and terrorist attack in Charlottesville, he waited for Donald Trump before giving a half-hearted response,” said Pritzker campaign communications director Galia Slayen. “Now, Rauner’s refusal to respond to an obscenely racist cartoon from the Illinois Policy Institute is on a similar plane of moral bankruptcy. This is what happens when you staff your administration with radicals from a far-right think tank and would rather divide and pit communities against each other than help this state heal. There aren’t two sides to what happened this week — there is right and there is wrong — and it is abundantly clear which side Bruce Rauner and Donald Trump are on.”

…Adding… Tweet from after Rauner’s WBEZ interview…

*** UPDATE 1 ***  DGA…

For all the time that the Governor’s office has spent talking about or hearing about the IPI cartoon, it’s strange that Rauner never found the time to actually look at it. Weird how that works.

Governor Rauner has had a tough week. On Monday, he failed to call the attack in Charlottesville “terrorism.” And it was not until Wednesday that Rauner finally criticized President Trump for his incredibly insensitive comments about Charlottesville.

“This is Bruce Rauner’s failed leadership in action,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Governor Rauner would rather defend his political allies than tackle a sensitive subject head-on. This is not new - Illinois families have repeatedly seen Rauner dodge on issues of importance to them but politically inconvenient for Rauner. From his awkward comments on Charlottesville to his belated criticism of President Trump, Governor Rauner spent the week failing the leadership test. Today is just another example.”

*** UPDATE 2 ***

*** UPDATE 3 *** To some, the fact that Gov. Rauner wore a Maze Jackson t-shirt during the Bud Billiken Parade might possibly help explain the WVON angle…

- Posted by Rich Miller   42 Comments      

* Weekend news roundup
* React to Rauner's Friday vetoes
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* Rauner calls TRUST Act a "very reasonable" bill, won't commit to signing it
* Drury says he has a "good sense" of how government works
* The story behind that Facebook pic of Madigan
* Rauner explains his weight loss
* Today's quotable: “No one’s going to locate there"
* *** UPDATED x3 - Still hasn't seen it - DGA criticizes Rauner *** Rauner points to WVON host's defense of Illinois Policy Institute cartoon as legislators to protest HQ
* Yesterday's stories

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