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This just in, Part 2… CMS asks agencies to stop bottled water purchases *** Madigan on transit, gaming *** Record filing day ***

Monday, Oct 29, 2007

* 3:46 pm - Acting CMS Director Maureen O’Donnell has sent a letter to all state agency heads asking them to terminate purchasing contracts for bottled water…

As Chief Procurement Officer, I am charged with continually seeking ways for the State of Illinois to reduce its expenditures. I am therefore requesting that all State agencies cease purchasing bottled water with State funds. This shall apply both to purchases of individual water bottles and larger bottles that are dispensed through water coolers… The notification to vendors should be accomplished by no later than Friday, November 16th.

O’Donnell’s request does not cover “water funds” established by employees. The full memorandum can be downloaded here.

* 4:07 pm - Speaker Madigan on the transit bailout bill

If the plan, which failed earlier this year, doesn’t pass Friday, Madigan said he plans to call it again for a vote next Monday. Madigan predicted the bill would pass in the House and suggested there’s a “high level of support” for the sales tax plan in the Senate.

“I think more people in the House and Senate have come to realize that this is a good, solid bill that ought to pass,” Madigan said.

And the gaming proposal…

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan appears to be warming to the idea of a gambling expansion, saying today that the “political conditions” in Illinois leave more casinos as the only way to pay for a state construction program.

Toward that end, the Speaker proposed a fully revamped, independent Gaming Board to regulate what could be a significant expansion of casino gambling and slots in Illinois.

“I should not be viewed as a proponent of gambling,” Madigan told reporters in Chicago. “I don’t gamble. I don’t go to casinos. I don’t go to horse tracks. I don’t play cards. I don’t bet on sports. It’s the last thing I wanted, but … the political conditions in Illinois today are such that, right now, what appears to be the only way to have a viable public works construction program is an expansion of gaming.”

The audio is here.

* 4:18 pm - From the State Board of Elections…

A record 650 candidates filed official nominating petitions by 8:00 am today - the first day of filing at the Illinois State Board of Elections. On the first day of filing four years ago, 350 had filed.

One reason the number of candidate filings is higher is the decision by the Democratic Party to have Presidential candidates and their delegate candidates file at the same time as candidates for the U.S. Senate, Congress, the state legislature and judges.

Last election they filed a month later - as the Republican Presidential and delegate candidates are still doing. The filing period for these candidates begins Nov. 28. […]

“Many of the candidates think they can gain an advantage by being listed first on the ballot, so they arrived at the State Board office in the early morning hours - or a day earlier - to try to win a top spot,” Executive Director Dan White said. “A lottery for ballot order will be conducted Nov. 14 for all those who filed by 8 a.m. Our second busiest day will be Nov. 5, the last day of filing, when some candidates will file near the 5 p.m. deadline because they think they may gain an advantage by being listed last on the ballot.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Afternoon edition

Monday, Oct 29, 2007

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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Candidate filing updates *** Updated at: 8:24, 9:04, 9:19, 9:36; 10:30, 12:26, 12:36; 1:23; 1:41; 2:10; 3:19 *** (Use all caps in password)

Monday, Oct 29, 2007

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This just in… Madigan wants broad gaming reforms before any expansion *** Judge refuses to issue TRO against silence law *** Senate to return Friday *** Guv says he’ll “take a look” at Madigan plan *** Daley talks transit, gaming ***

Monday, Oct 29, 2007

* 9:56 am - House Speaker Michael Madigan is holding a 1 o’clock press conference this afternoon to discuss “gaming.” No further info was supplied. There’s an 11 o’clock briefing for reporters, but the info from that briefing will be embargoed until after the press conference starts, so make sure to check back around oneish.

* 1:09 pm - The press conference has begun, so the embargo is now lifted.

What Madigan is talking about today are specific reforms that he wants to see implemented before he will sign on to any casino expansion. This is the biggest indication yet that we are moving towards an expansion bill, but when that might pop is still anyone’s guess, and this might even be a bit of a poison pill.

Madigan says he wants an “independent” Gaming Board. He wants a “nomination” panel to recommend nominees to the governor, who would then choose from that pool. The nine-member panel would be appointed by the IL Supreme Court. Of those, two would be former federal or state judges; two formal federal prosecutors from IL, one former sworn federal officer with investigatory experience, two former members of federal agencies with experience in regulartory oversight, and two more with at least 5 years’ experiene with nonprofit agencies in Illinois “committed to public-interest advocacy named after soliciting recommendations from the Campaign for Political Reform, Better Government Association, Chicago Crime Commission and League of Women Voters.

The new Gaming Board would be funded directly by the casinos via a fee in order to take it out of the annual budget wranglings. There would be much tougher ethics standards, including five-year revolving door prohibitions. Also, ex parte communications involving any issue would be prohibited, including with the governor and the Senate and their staffs except during open meetings.

* 1:20 pm - There will be no temporary restraining order in the first federal lawsuit filed against the state’s new “moment of silence” law…

A federal judge in Chicago has refused to stop a suburban school district from observing a moment of silence, as required by a new state law. But Judge Robert Gettleman today allowed a lawsuit aimed at ending the practice move forward.

*** 2:16 pm *** The Illinois Senate will return Friday for session, according to the Senate Democrats’ spokesperson.

House Speaker Madigan’s press release on his Gaming Board proposal can be downloaded here. His “fact sheet” can be downloaded here.

*** 2:50 pm *** From the governor’s office…

“The Governor also wants to make sure the board overseeing gaming in Illinois is ethical. We haven’t seen the details of what the Speaker is proposing, but we’ll take a look.”

*** 3:15 pm *** Mayor Daley talks about transit and gaming

“To me, it’s pretty clear,” Daley said. “Either (the governor and the General Assembly) support public transit or they don’t. This is do or die time.”

Madigan also tried to get out front of the latest round of gambling expansion talks by pitching a plan for greater regulatory oversight of gambling in Illinois.

Daley, however, offered little reaction to Madigan’s proposal. The mayor said he’s been talking to legislative leaders, but declined to divulge details. […]

Daley also disclosed the results of a survey conducted earlier this month by the City Colleges of Chicago.

“They found out that more than 41,000 students use the CTA to get to school and that most of them don’t have access to other menas of transportation,” he said. “They found out that 14,000 students said they’d have to drop out of city colleges if the CTA cuts go through, that another 11,000 would reduce their coursework or postpone it.”

*** 3:36 pm *** Audio from Speaker Madigan’s press conference can be downloaded here.

Comments closed. Go here for a fresh post.

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Preliminary details of Madigan’s gaming plan *** UPDATED x2 ***

Monday, Oct 29, 2007

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Question of the day

Monday, Oct 29, 2007

* Some background

Illinois, like other states, is heavily involved in child support enforcement because of the cost to government when noncustodial parents (most of them fathers) don’t support their kids. Illinois’ enforcement tools — including the threat of criminal prosecution — helped collect a record $1.22 billion in child support last year, the third straight year of record-setting receipts, according to the state Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

Still, some $3 billion in back child support remains unpaid in Illinois, with more than a half-million cases pending. Five-figure debts are common, and many noncustodial parents owe six figures. Madison County alone has suspended almost 2,000 drivers licenses in the past decade trying to prod the worst scofflaws into paying up.

* In addition to your drivers license being suspended, you could be put on an Internet list of deadbeats, your hunting and fishing licenses can be denied and your car can be slapped with a Denver Boot if you’re way behind in your child support.

* Question: Too far or are there more punishments that ought to be enacted? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller   42 Comments      


Don’t get your hopes up

Monday, Oct 29, 2007

* As I’ve said before, Chicago Tribune editorials simply don’t pack the political punch that they once did, partly because of the waning influence and readership of newspapers and partly because this has become such a Democratic state that the leaders don’t pay much attention to a Republican-leaning edit board.

Even so, yesterday’s Tribby editorial is worth a look. Entitled Removing a Governor, it’s a searing indictment of Rod Blagojevich…

The bill of particulars against Rod Blagojevich is numbingly familiar. His is a legacy of federal and state investigations of alleged cronyism and corruption in the steering of pension fund investments to political donors, in the subversion of state hiring laws, in the awarding of state contracts, in matters as personal as that mysterious $1,500 check made out to the governor’s then-7-year-old daughter by a friend whose wife had been awarded a state job. […]

Blagojevich is an intentionally divisive governor and a profoundly unhelpful influence. He is unwilling or unable to see the chaos all around him. This year, lawmakers failed to make progress on schools, on state pension reform, on any number of critical matters. Mass transit in the Chicago region is about to implode, largely because of the state government’s failure.

Yet Blagojevich said 10 days ago that “If you measure success on whether or not you are doing things for people, this is the most successful session in years.”

* The Trib claims that it’s doubtful that the General Assembly will impeach him, but goes on to suggest the possibility of amending the state Constitution to remove him from office…

The Blagojevich experience suggests that the answer is yes, Illinois should write a recall mechanism into its constitution. Having endured the Blagojevich era, we believe voters never should have to endure another one like it. They instead should have the power to recall an inept governor.

The National Conference of State Legislatures offers a succinct summary of how a recall provision would be useful in a predicament such as Illinois’: “Proponents of the recall maintain that it provides a way for citizens to retain control over elected officials who are not representing the best interests of their constituents, or who are unresponsive or incompetent. This view holds that an elected representative is an agent, a servant and not a master.” (The NCSL takes no position on whether states should have recall provisions.)

* My own opinion is that if the governor doesn’t get his horrifically poor polling numbers up, then voters will almost assuredly vote for a Constitutional Convention next year in the hopes that a recall provision will be implemented…

* Rich Miller: New poll shows unanimity, everyone unhappy with Blagojevich

* Schoenburg: Poll shows governor wearing thin in Cook Co.

* Statehouse Insider: If the governor can’t get his way, we pay

* But a Con-Con wouldn’t come early enough to change the Constitution in time to remove him. The Legislature would have to pass a recall provision in the spring, put it on the fall ballot and provide for a special election sometime between the ‘08 election and the end of his term.

Unless things change dramatically in the Senate, where Sen. President Emil Jones would undoubtedly block the proposal (he has kept the ethics bill locked up until after the governor’s annual fundraiser, and perhaps beyond), then we can’t expect an amendment, either.

In other words, you’re probably just gonna have to get used to him. That is, unless you have other ideas.

Please, don’t post silly drive-by comments like “Impeach the jerk.” They’ll be deleted. I’m curious if you have any thoughts about how a removal could be accomplished, or if you’ve resigned yourself to three more years.

- Posted by Rich Miller   64 Comments      


Morning shorts

Monday, Oct 29, 2007

* Senate Republican leader frustrated by lack of action

* CTA dramatizes ‘crisis’ in store without funding

* John Hilkevitch: Hidden cost of CTA cuts

The cash-strapped CTA would be forced to spend thousands retesting laid-off employees who are eventually reinstated if “doomsday” service cuts set for Sunday and Jan. 6 are implemented as a result of funding shortfalls.

The retesting costs could be a maximum of $92 per employee, depending on whether the CTA manages the testing in-house or hires an outside firm, said CTA spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney. About 2,400 CTA employees have been sent layoff notices.

CTA officials have said more than $2 million has been spent on contingency planning for service reductions and fare increases Sunday.

* Opinion: What will you be getting for the CTA’s planned fare hike?

* One week and counting for CTA doomsday

* CTA Tattler: Funding outlook before deadline is bleak and bleaker

* Editorial: Amid Springfield follies, Metra faces cuts, fare hikes

* No bids for wireless plan at interstate rest stop

* Editorial: The chief and free speech

* Kiyoshi Martinez: Chief Illiniwek comes back for Homecoming

* Editorial: Spotlight on pay to play politics

* Dan Walker: Ryan conviction should be spur to halt pay to play

* Editorial: taxpayers should welcome the tool to ‘follow the money’

* Carol Marin: Local heroes keep fighting the good fight

* Without save, ex-Gov Ryan to prison on Nov. 7th

* Editorial: Ryan needs to start doing his time

* Attorney seeks more freedom for ex-Governor Ryan

* Tribune Editorial: Forcing silence on schools

* Atheist’s teen daughter fights moment of silence law

* Editorial: Moment of silence, frivolous bill or welcome break?

* Illinois preschool program still in its early stage

“Nothing is more important to parents than their children,” Blagojevich said in a written statement when he unveiled Preschool for All. “And nothing is more important to a child’s future than getting a good education. And that’s where preschool comes in.”

Not everyone agreed with the governor.

In a column published in The State Journal-Register in March 2006, Collin Hitt of the Illinois Policy Institute cited the claims of some researchers that “early formal education is ineffectual.”

“Whether a student attends public or private preschool, whether she enters kindergarten with skills superior to her classmates, she likely will lose that edge by the end of kindergarten,” wrote Hitt. “And it is all but guaranteed that that child’s prekindergarten education will have been a nonfactor by the time she exits elementary school.”

* Sun-Times Editorial: Hey Hoosiers, keep it clean

But even under wider public scrutiny after the BP controversy, U.S. Steel Gary Works hopes to cash in a new proposed wastewater permit that likely would increase the levels of chromium and other toxic chemicals it is permitted to discharge into the Grand Calumet River — which flows into Lake Michigan.

Once again, the Illinois contingent, including Senators Dick Durbin and Barack Obama and Representatives Rahm Emanuel and Jan Schakowsky, is shouting no. And this time, so is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

* State EPA sues over toxic chemicals in North Chicago

* Think illegals are more likely to be involved in crime? Think again.

* UIS’ Government Accountability and a Free Press project to start

* RedEye to expand circulation to suburbs

* Steve Huntley: Aldermen don’t need names of accused officers to examine citizen complaints

- Posted by Paul Richardson   8 Comments      


« NEWER POSTS PREVIOUS POSTS »
* Question of the day
* Rauner calls marijuana a "very dangerous drug" as he plans court appeal
* *** UPDATED x3 - Pritzker, Biss, Kennedy respond *** Rauner campaign echoes Blagojevich demand to release the FBI tapes
* Jimenez wants Sangamon County to get priority for most new state jobs
* Ives' state budget solution: Slash CPS funding and repeal Obamacare expansion
* *** UPDATED x1 - Ives responds *** Rauner promises to patch $2.3 billion hole, balance next year's budget, start rolling back the tax hike and provide "record funding" for K-12
* Dick Uihlein gives Proft group another $3 million
* Legionella bacteria might have been found at Capitol Complex
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Unclear on the concept
* Yesterday's stories

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* Ex-doctor gets 20 years for trying to kidnap prosecutor
* Legionella bacteria possibly at Illinois Capitol Complex
* Democratic governor candidates to have 1st televised forum
* Police: Man who shot at motorist was angry about truck crash
* Retrial to begin in 1995 arson, murder case
* Popular Lincoln sculpture in Bloomington needs cleaning
* Bill would require state jobs be located in Sangamon County
* Legionella bacteria possibly at Illinois Capitol Complex
* Board approves plan to create Will County's 1st solar farm
* William Cousins, prominent in Illinois law, dead at 90

* Former Springfield Ald. Jobe added to State Fair Advisory Board
* Democratic governor candidates to have 1st televised forum
* Popular Lincoln sculpture in Bloomington needs cleaning
* Legionella bacteria possibly in Capitol Complex water system
* Rauner wants to 'step-down' income tax increase
* Sangamon County should get first dibs on state jobs, lawmaker says
* Report: State agencies holding nearly $2.5 billion in bills
* Illinois lawmakers hold hearing on marijuana legalization
* Illinois hunters harvest 2 percent more deer than last year
* New session will bring new efforts at pension reform

* Tax winnings in hand, Chase shares some with 2,700-plus local workers
* Chicago Stock Exchange bidders may seek extension
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* Tick tock: Bid for Chicago exchange involving Chinese investors delayed
* Chinese-backed bid for Chicago Stock Exchange hits a snag


* Man tries to kidnap girls in Fuller Park
* Blachawks goalie Corey Crawford works out again, could be on the ice ‘soon’
* Mary J. Blige thrilled at becoming a double Oscar nominee
* LETTERS: Change state constitution and make pensions less generous
* Legionella bacteria possibly at Illinois Capitol Complex
* Police: Man in custody after holding girlfriend, kids hostage in Riverdale
* Schumer takes back wall offer in new immigration push
* Bulls guard Zach LaVine is finding out that minute restrictions have no give
* Alex Rodriguez, Matt Vasgersian join Jessica Mendoza for ‘Sunday Night Baseball’
* Rahm’s running mate rises to defense of potential mayoral challenger


* 'The Shape of Water' leads Oscar nominees with 13 nods
* 2 dead, 19 injured in rural Kentucky high school shooting; suspect held
* Bank of America ends popular free checking option, causing customer uproar
* Man dead after Evanston apartment fire
* Hush money President Trump’s lawyer allegedly paid porn star Stormy Daniels broke election laws, new complaint charges 
* Flu season causes more challenges for Barrington-area blood banks this winter
* Joe Walsh — who promises to vote for Chuy Garcia if he's proved wrong — is proved wrong
* Are the Bears exciting now?
* P&G CEO says company working to stop 'Tide pod challenge'
* Trial date set for former Lincoln-Way superintendent Lawrence Wyllie's federal fraud case


» State Pays $1 Billion In Late-Payment Charges
» CHA To Add More Mixed-Income Housing In Bronzeville
» National Study Hammers Illinois Budget Practices
» Hundreds Of Thousands Gathered For Women's March In Chicago
» Women's March Chicago Stays on Message - Get to the Polls
» Chicago Schools Chief: Cost A Driver In Special Ed Overhaul
» One Year Later, Women’s March Demands More Than Attendance
» State Week: Education Funding, Pritzker-Blagojevich, Rauner-Duke
» Sheriff Offers To Help Review Police Shootings In Suburban Cook County
» A Prescription For Fruits And Veggies: One Solution To Food Insecurity in Illinois


* Democratic governor candidates to have 1st televised forum
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* Legionella bacteria possibly in Capitol Complex water system
* IBHE: There is a need for bold changes for Illinois' higher education system
* Rauner wants to 'step-down' income tax increase
* Sangamon County should get first dibs on state jobs, lawmaker says
* Report: State agencies holding nearly $2.5 billion in bills
* Illinois lawmakers hold hearing on marijuana legalization
* Illinois hunters harvest 2 percent more deer than last year
* New session will bring new efforts at pension reform


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* Harrisburg man gets 20 years in attempted kidnapping of prosecutor; in jailhouse tapes, he offered $1K for the job
* UPDATE: I-74 reopens after crash spills cash
* Bishop Edward Braxton talks about being racially profiled in Chicago
* Noon update: Breezy afternoon, oscar nominations and Super Bowl data bank


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* Sketchbook.
* Ahead of Janus, union haters are collecting teacher names.
* Two more candidates removed from ballot
* Documentary on violence in Roseland
* Martin D. Reggi fundraiser set for January 25
* Moore withdraws from countywide McGinnis race
* In 1924 Maxwell Street regular Daddy Stovepipe became one of the first bluesmen ever recorded


* Illinois Awarded Funds to Offer Advanced Training on Detecting Impaired Driving
* Illinois EPA Announces Upcoming Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events
* IEMA Highlights Emergency Preparedness for People with Access and Functional Needs in May - Ready Illinois website offers preparedness tips for people, caregivers
* First Lady Launches Illinois Family Connects
* Governor and Lt. Governor Unveil 2016 Journal of Local Government Shared Service Best Practices

  
* HomePod AppleCare+ plan will cost $39
* RED’s ‘holographic,’ ‘SOLID’ Hydrogen phone will ship this summer
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* [TA Deals] Pick up the Ethical Hacking A to Z bundle for just $19 right now
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* Notable 2018 Spring Training non-roster invitees
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* Baseball America top 100, Sox-Brewers rumors, and other reading
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