Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » This just in… MedMal law overturned *** Guv’s rules blocked *** Daley looks to Kentucky *** Greens oppose candidate *** Daley budget, tax hikes approved ***
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This just in… MedMal law overturned *** Guv’s rules blocked *** Daley looks to Kentucky *** Greens oppose candidate *** Daley budget, tax hikes approved ***

Tuesday, Nov 13, 2007

* 12:33 pm - Expect plenty more appeals before this is over

CHICAGO, Ill. (AP) - A judge here has thrown out Illinois’ law placing caps on some medical malpractice lawsuit awards, reigniting debate over 1 of the Legislature’s most contentious issues.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Diane Joan Larsen today sided with plaintiffs’ argument that the caps on non-economic damages such as pain and suffering in medical malpractice cases violate victims’ rights.

The 2005 caps law limits damages victims can collect for pain and suffering to $500,000 against doctors and $1 million against hospitals. It followed complaints from doctors about soaring malpractice insurance rates.

The state Supreme Court had deemed previous caps unconstitutional. The latest caps only cover malpractice cases.

*** The judge’s opinion can be downloaded here ***

* 12:39 pm - The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules voted to suspend (block) the governor’s proposed emergency healthcare rules this morning. The governor’s rules would vastly expand eligibility for the state’s Family Care program. Background on the rules is here.

All JCAR members voted to suspend the guv’s proposed emergency rules except House Republican members Brent Hassert and Rosemary Mulligan, who both voted “No.” Sen. James Clayborne was not present.

* 1:39 pm - Statements from interest groups regarding the above med-mal decision…

* Medical Society

* Hospital Association

* Trial Lawyers

* Illinois Civil Justice League

* Citizen Action

* The Center for Justice & Democracy-Illinois

* 1:49 pm - More on the JCAR vote

JCAR members encouraged Hoffman’s department to file an emergency rules that would cover an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 individuals who are at risk of being cut from a federal-state program known as “SCHIP.”

Hoffman said her agency had no plans to do that. The department, however, has filed identical rules for the healthcare expansion that will go through JCAR on a slower, non-emergency basis, officials said.

The governor’s only support on JCAR — a 12-member legislative panel evenly split by Democrats and Republicans — came from two Republicans: state Reps. Rosemary Mulligan of Des Plaines and Brent Hassert of Romeoville. One panel member was absent from today’s meeting.

Hassert said the discussion was clouded by animosity between lawmakers and the governor, who had a particularly contentious legislative sessions this year.

“I just felt it was appropriate,” Hassert said of the governor’s plans.

* 2:01 pm - Is Louisville’s police chief on the short list for Chicago police superintendent? Local Kentucky media sure thinks so.

Mayor Jerry Abramson said this morning that a team looking for a new police superintendent in Chicago has contacted Louisville Police Chief Robert White about the job.

* 2:19 pm - More on med-mal from Crain’s

In her 10-page opinion, Judge Larsen ruled that the law violates the Illinois Constitution’s “separation of powers” clause — essentially finding that lawmakers interfered with the right of juries to determine fair damages.

The ruling means the case likely will go directly to the Illinois Supreme Court as early as next summer. The court has twice before struck down laws that limit payments to malpractice victims: once in the 1970s and again in 1997.

* 2:22 pm -
This press release reminds me that I have to make up some t-shirts for our charity store

On Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 11:00 a.m. at the James R. Thompson Center, Lt. Governor Pat Quinn will launch a weeklong cell phone recycling campaign where all used phones and equipment will be donated to victims of domestic violence.

“This recycling drive serves the twofold purpose of making it easy to properly recycle your old cell phone while providing a safe line of communication for victims of domestic violence,” said Quinn, chairman of the Illinois Green Government Coordinating Council. “We want to encourage state employees and everyone to look through their closets and drawers and bring in those old cell phones. There are people out there who need them.”

In honor of America Recycles Day on Nov. 15, the Lt. Governor’s office is joining with Verizon Wireless HopeLine to collect used cell phones, batteries and accessories at state office buildings. The recycling drive will take place from Nov. 13-Nov. 16 and boxes will be placed throughout the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago and in the Stratton and Howlett buildings in Springfield.

Verizon Wireless began its HopeLine program 11 years ago by donating voicemail boxes so that women in shelters could receive confidential messages from their families and prospective employers. Today, the HopeLine program has collected more than four million phones, donated more than $4 million in financial grants and provided more than 45,000 wireless phones to local domestic organizations nationwide.

* 2:51 pm - From the Illinois Green Party…

Today two concerned voters in the 3rd Congressional District filed objections to the candidacy of Mr. Richard Mayers of Berwyn. The Illinois Green Party fully supports these objections, and will do what it can to ensure that Mr. Mayers is removed from the primary ballot.

The Illinois Green Party wishes to make it clear that Mr. Mayers is not a member of the Illinois Green Party, and the party disavows Mr. Mayers’ candidacy. Furthermore, the Illinois Green Party calls on the Illinois Board of Elections to overrule each of the frivolous objections filed by Mr. Mayers against candidates in all three parties.

Mayers has been described as a “white supremacist connected with Matt Hale’s Creativity Movement.”

* 3:33 pm - No surprise

The City Council today approved Mayor Daley’s $5.9 billion 2008 budget precariously balanced with $276.5 million worth of increased taxes, fines and fees. It includes a revised $83.4 million property tax increase that’s the largest in Chicago history.

Daley loves to “pitch a shut-out” on the budget, the most important City Council vote of the year. Six of his previous budgets have been approved unanimously. It didn’t happen Tuesday. The budget passed 36 to 14, but the property tax package vote was much closer: 29 to 21. It was the narrowest victory for any of Daley’s budgets.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - GoBearsss - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 12:44 pm:

    No surprise on the blocking of the rule.

    Except this: Two republicans were the only ones to vote to keep it in place, according to my reporter friend.

  2. - Pat Collins - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 12:51 pm:

    So, any cap will ALWAYS be thrown out based on that ruling. Maybe a ConCon could have a bit “you can pass this law” as part of it?

    Seriously, the “special legistaion” and “single subject” things are the FIRST things that ought to go if we must endure a ConCon.

  3. - CICERO - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 12:52 pm:

    So Mulligan voted to let Rod do what he wants? If so, that’s strange since she’s such a rabid critic of the Gov and has been for years.

  4. - A Citizen - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 12:56 pm:

    Looks like JCAR’s Special Initiatives money won’t be being released . . . ever! Another failed “cute” trick of the guv’s. Oh! I forget - this is really a victory - awaiting the press release . . .

  5. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 12:58 pm:

    Are the Repubs becoming the defenders of the little guy. The Dems sure aren’t defending them these days.

    There must be some story behind Mulligan and Hassert’s vote. Not necessarily a bad one, but a reason as yet undisclosed.

    The Dems’ vote is hardly a surprise. They have practically free health insurance (paid for by us) like all state employees and of course all the legislators got that huge, huge raise this year. Pushing down those lower on the economic scale is becoming fashionable among our Democratic legislators, who likely see themselves as belonging to the wealthier classes…they do.

  6. - Common sense in Illinois - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 1:07 pm:

    Rich: Any word on why Hassert and Mulligan would vote “NO”? Seems a bit odd.

  7. - A-NON - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 1:09 pm:


    For as much as you comment on this blog, I’m surprised you don’t know that:

    1. Mulligan and Hassert face strong challenges from Democrats next fall. That’s the “as yet undisclosed” reason they didn’t vote to block the governor’s end-run around the legislative process and the constitution.

    2. “Pushing down those lower on the economic scale is becoming fashionalbe among our Democratic legislators…” and the evidence for this would be what, exactly? Or, like your namesake, can you only tell us a “truth” that we won’t believe - did the real Cassandra fail to offer evidence to support her pronouncements? Maybe that was her problem, too.

    3. The reason Dems and Reupbs alike voted against the governor is one of principle: he refuses to use the constitutionally-proscribed way for making policy in this state. Members of the GA, understandably, take umbrage at that.

  8. - Ghostwriter - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 1:12 pm:

    Mulligan and Hassert will targeted races for the Speaker next Fall and Leader Cross will have to protect them. Don’t forget about Capital bill. This vote will result in more projects for their districts at a time when the Speaker is spending big bucks trying to “Terry Parke” them.

  9. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 1:13 pm:

    CSI, A-Non’s point in “1″ above should explain some things.

  10. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 1:19 pm:

    First of all, there is no “real” Cassandra; she was a mythological character.
    Second, the reason no one believed her (according to Greek mythology) was because of a curse placed on her by one of the gods (I think it was Apollo) after she ticked him off in some way. It had nothing to do with proof or lack of proof of her predictions.
    Third, the “undisclosed reason” Mulligan and Hassert voted not to suspend the healthcare rules may not have anything to do with who’s running against them. You will find out soon enough.
    Fourth, when will our Cassandra get it through her head that state workers PAY FOR their health insurance like everyone else… perhaps not as much as some private employers would make us pay, but we do pay.

  11. - In the air tonight - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 1:23 pm:

    Boy, is Rod going to be in a bad mood for tomorrows “Big Meeting” at his office downtown.
    Wonder if the participants will come bearing gifts? Hear Rod likes gifts.

  12. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 1:24 pm:

    Another blow for democracy against His Imperial Rodness.

  13. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 1:27 pm:

    Pat - Yeah, pretty much. Caps are unconstitutional because they deprive victims of full restitution, despite the verdict of a judge or jury.

    On a policy level, they reward companies for gross negligence, and in the case of medical malpractice, do nothing directly to reduce insurance rates paid by doctors.

  14. - Princeville - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 1:45 pm:

    I don’t think Blago was under any delusions that his emergency rule would get through, but after his little field trip to Washington DC with a bit of spotlight, now he can say ‘ hey, I tried my best, they wouldn’t let me’.

    ‘Practically free’ healthcare for state empoylees. Cassandra, would you like to take a guess at how much I fork out every month for my ‘practically free’ healthcare as a state employee family? Like to take a stab at how much cash I’ve handed out in return for care the last few years? I get enough of the ‘leeches on society’ jaw on newspaper message boards, gonna attack our ‘lavish’ pension and workday perks now too?

  15. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 1:50 pm:

    Princeville, knowing the governor as I do, I doubt he’s gonna let it go at this.

  16. - Princeville - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 1:59 pm:

    With JCAR’s ‘no’ , what happens to the perm. rule change that DHS was going to push for after the 5 months was done? Can Blago do much more this FY or does it have to wait til FY09? I’m asking, not agruing, the guy never ceases to amaze me.

  17. - Common sense in Illinois - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 2:12 pm:

    Rich and A-NON…thanks. From today’s vote both are already running scared. Had anyone had a lick of sense in eithers’ campaigns, they would have spent the weekend calling out their opponents on this particular vote. Since democrats on JCAR didn’t support the Emergency Rule, is it all that likely that a newbie candidate running against long-time members would step out in favor and against democrat leadership? Maybe they would, but it would have neutralized today’s vote a bit better. All this did was tell those candidates that both Hassert and Mulligan can be had.

  18. - Levois - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 2:17 pm:

    Oh lord they’re going to Kentucky to look for a police superintendant!!!

  19. - jerry 101 - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 2:34 pm:

    If malpractice is such a problem, why aren’t we demanding more qualified doctors.

    I strongly disagree with attempts to cap malpractice lawsuits. If a professional in any field, whether law, medicine, engineering, my own (accounting), or any other fails to perform their duties up to a reasonable standard, they should have their pants sued off.

    I’d rather see a public database formed of doctors who get sued a lot, so I know to avoid them. Those doctors would be forced out of the field, and malpractice suits would drop off naturally.

    If it was you who had a doctor fail to properly deliver YOUR kid resulting in brain damage, don’t you think you’d want to sue the doctor’s pants off?

    The biggest problem with medical costs are insurance companies jacking up rates and making insane profit margins while denying people the care they need. Not freaking malpractice suits.

  20. - Greg - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 2:38 pm:


    Can you show me the financial statements backing up this statement: “The biggest problem with medical costs are insurance companies jacking up rates and making insane profit margins while denying people the care they need. Not freaking malpractice suits.”

    I guess I’m looking at different profit margins than you (or in some cases no profits.)

  21. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 2:44 pm:

    Malpractice caps are an infringement on our judiciary branch. No surprises here, except what too so long?

    I haven’t commented on Blagojevich’s “emergency” because I wanted to learn a bit more. It looks like a lot of nothing, except another PR stunt intended to prop up his poll numbers.

    He is backbenching again, and trying to stir up some chaos which might make him look good. He got a couple of nice headlines out of this, and I think he just wants his supporters to know he is still breathing although he is still in a self-induced political coma.

    Maybe he will now turn to streaking to get attention - you know, show off that testicular virility he bragged about a couple years ago. He’s going to need a back razor for this stunt.

  22. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 2:49 pm:

    Princeville, the permanent rule will continue to go through the regular rulemaking process, which includes a 45-day public comment period. Further JCAR action on the permanent rule may come after that.

  23. - DC - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 3:23 pm:

    The permanant rules are as constitutionally flawed as the emergency rules — they lack statutory authority, plain and simple. It’s not rocket science. The Governor tried an amateur trick (again) and he was humiliated in yet another public forum with a recorded vote. Hope Chambers amends his article from last week to include today’s sad but humorous addition to the “legacy”.

    Rich, thanks for the update on the JCAR vote. A lot of people depend on you for the up-to-date news. I appreciate your commitment to your readers and subscribers.

  24. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 3:35 pm:

    It’s been a while, so I’m not sure, but I don’t think JCAR can block permanent rules when the process has been followed. Anyone know for sure?

  25. - Levois - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 3:38 pm:

    Daley likes to pitch a shutout. LOL!!! Not this time.

  26. - Well Schooled - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 3:41 pm:

    Ahh yes, the exodus from Chicago continues. Paying taxes in Chicago is like paying for protection from the mob.
    Thanks Little Richie

  27. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 3:41 pm:

    Yes Steve, they can. A rule can go through public comment and all other Administrative Procedure Act requirements, and JCAR can still prohibit it from taking effect. The prohibition remains in place until JCAR removes it — usually after the agency has modified the offending parts of the rule.

  28. - One_Mcmad - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 3:41 pm:

    Good for Judge Diane Joan Larsen. Another Judge does the right thing. Many people told Blagojevich that that law was unconstitutional. This is one of two laws enacted by Blagojevich and shot down by Courts, this Court and the U.S District Court (Video Game Legislation).

    Blagojevich needs a new legal team.

  29. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 3:45 pm:

    I should add that an agency only has 180 days after a prohibition to work things out with JCAR if it wants the rule to take effect. After 180 days, a prohibition becomes permanent.

  30. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 3:45 pm:

    From JCAR’s site…

    If JCAR determines that a rulemaking constitutes a threat to the public interest, safety or welfare, the members can, by a 3/5 (8 members) vote, prohibit filing of a proposed rulemaking (or suspend an emergency or peremptory rulemaking).

    As a result, the proposed rulemaking may not be accepted for filing by the Secretary of State or enforced by the agency.

    An emergency or peremptory rulemaking, which is already a filed and adopted rule, becomes null and
    void. A Prohibition/Suspension is permanent unless: (1) the agency agrees to satisfactorily modify or withdraw the proposed rulemaking or satisfactorily modify or repeal the emergency or peremptory rulemaking; (2) JCAR withdraws the Prohibition/Suspension within 180 days; or (3) the General Assembly passes a joint resolution within 180 days stating that the GA desires to discontinue the Prohibition/Suspension.

  31. - Anon - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 3:50 pm:

    Jerry 101, included in the law the judge just ruled unconsitutional was a database, or physician profile as it is called, run by IDFPR that includes malpractice history for every physician in the state. Emil Jones and Mary Flowers insisted that it be included in the legislation. There was an inseverability clause with that legislation, so who knows what will happen to the databse, which is supposed to be completed by November 15th.

  32. - GoBearsss - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 4:00 pm:

    Rich - thanks for the quote.

    I guess it is very good to know that all those JCAR members believe that allowing people to buy-in to FamilyCare is “a threat to the public interest, safety or welfare”.

    God help us from discounted health insurance!!!!

  33. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 4:05 pm:

    Bearss, it’s not the insurance itself that constitutes a “threat to the public health, safety or welfare.” It’s an executive branch agency (and by extension the governor) taking action without legal authority that constitutes the “threat.”

  34. - GoBearsss - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 4:10 pm:

    Anonymous - just to be clear here.

    JCAR never questioned the legal authority to do it by rule, just said it wasn’t an emergency. Which I don’t think they have the authority to make that determination.

  35. - loose cannon - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 4:12 pm:

    Wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last time Governor Blago oversteps the bounds of the L-A-W.

  36. - Mr. W.T. Rush - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 4:22 pm:

    Remember the post here last week that revealed Slick Willie Quinlan had one of his hacks calling around telling folks how the Blaggo Braint Trust (tee hee) was preparing to declare JCAR action’s unconstitutional!
    That should be Blaggo’s latest effort to confirm the new slogan —”Dumber Than You Think”

  37. - GettingJonesed - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 4:26 pm:

    Guess most JCAR members wanted to avoid being questioned by the G for selling their votes for pork projects. I am sure Brent and Rosemary will ‘xplain all that at the ribbon cutting (that assumes blaggo will release anything —he hasn’ so far)

  38. - Mr. W.T. Rush - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 4:42 pm:

    Will Blaggo skip Big Meetin’ w/DaMayor
    Gov Doyle just went thumbs up on FutureGen
    THe following from the Milwaukee newsies…
    Governors, premier to attend energy summit
    Governors from five Midwestern states and the Manitoba premier are expected to join Gov. Jim Doyle at an energy and climate change summit that starts Wednesday at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee.

    The summit will be co-hosted by Doyle and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Other governors expected to attend are M. Michael Rounds of South Dakota, Chester J. Culver of Iowa and Jennifer Granholm of Michigan. Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois is tentatively planning to come, the governor’s office said today.

    The two-day conference is expected to result in governors signing a regional accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and boost the use of renewable energy. The accord may be modeled on similar regional initiatives launched in recent years on the West and East coasts.

  39. - Just the Facts - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 4:43 pm:

    W.T.there is an interesting constitutional issue involving the authority of JCAR to prohibit the implementation of a rule. I don’t believe the executive branch has ever challenged the constitutionality of the statute granting JCAR the authority to prohibit the adoption of a rule.

  40. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 4:50 pm:

    ===I don’t believe the executive branch has ever challenged the constitutionality of the statute granting JCAR the authority to prohibit the adoption of a rule.===

    I’m pretty sure you’re right, and I believe that’s the next step here. Oy vay, this place will explode if he does that.

  41. - Huh! - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 4:53 pm:

    Will Blaggo skip Big Meetin’ w/DaMayor????????
    BLAGGO is the one who set up the meeting.
    BLAGGO’s a piece of work!

  42. - honest trial lawyer - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 4:58 pm:

    The reason it took so long to declare the caps on damages unconstitutional is because the trial lawyers and Democrats were very worried about judicial elections in Southern Illinois in 2006. They did not want to give the doctors a reason to get involved the way they din in 2004. They wanted the voters to think that the med mal crisis had been dealt with. A party cant slate a judicial candidate if the vacancy occurred because nobody filed. The Republicans did not file a candidate for Appellate Court and in some of the Madison County judicial races. The time has passed, the coast is clear– throw out the caps on damages.

  43. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 5:00 pm:

    The Repubs can always appoint candidates to the ballot. They have lots of time for that.

  44. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 5:02 pm:

    Rich, if you can give us your usual early warning in the event Rod & Co. try to take on JCAR on Constitutional grounds, AA (and many others, I’m sure) would be most appreciative.

    We’ll need extra time to get the family out of town and throw down the mattresses.

  45. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 5:04 pm:

    Make sure to board up your windows before you leave. That explosion at the power plant was nothing compared to the political explosion if the guv tries to take away the GA’s role in the rulemaking process.

  46. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 5:13 pm:

    My memory is getting even fuzzier as the days go by, but I recall maybe JCAR was a Jim Edgar/Doug Kane deal? And everyone around Springfield has wondered for 30 years if it was constitutional. Witness medmal and the court telling the legislative branch that its authority over the other branches of government has limits because of separation of powers. Branches can’t delegate their particular powers nor usurp others’ powers. This could get very interesting.

  47. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 5:16 pm:

    True, Steve. Very true. Check the Constitution…

    ===The General Assembly shall enact laws only by bill.===

  48. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 5:16 pm:

    The other side would be that the guv is trying to enact a new law by rule. So, it could be a fun court battle.

  49. - for what it's worth - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 5:20 pm:

    I don’t believe that the administration will challenge the very existence of JCAR, but rather will say that JCAR acted improperly with respect to this specific decision.

    If they were to challenge JCAR’s authority, look for the GA to move but quick to clarify JCAR’s authority - and then some.

    This is NOT the fight he should pick.

  50. - Bookworm - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 5:39 pm:

    The GA amended the Administrative Procedure Act several years ago to strengthen JCAR’s ability to prohbit rules. Originally, a prohibition could last no more than 180 days unless the GA voted to continue it. Now, the prohibition becomes permanent unless JCAR or the GA withdraw it within 180 days. If I’m not mistaken, this change was prompted by the current administration’s tendency to abuse the rulemaking process.

  51. - GoBearsss - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 5:43 pm:

    One of the quotes from the hearing today that was passed along to me was that the spokesperson was asked whether they had the authority to do this without GA approval. She responded that the General Assembly had already given them the authority under the Public Aid code.

    So - It seems that any challenge would be on this issue alone. That they were acting under existing law, and that JCAR acted improperly.

    We’ll see if that has any weight.

    But I think the big myth here is that the General Assembly has to approve eligibility level changes. That isn’t necessarily true, considering all the eligibility changes done by rule in the research I did last week on this.

  52. - Just the Facts - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 5:44 pm:

    Steve - I believe Edgar and Kane were two of the original JCAR members.

  53. - GoBearsss - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 5:47 pm:

    Now that I think of it…

    This whole rule submission seemed very brief. No hoopla around it, etc.

    I think either one of two things happened:

    1) he thought he had the votes and someone turned on him (though he may have done more hoopla if he thought he had the votes)

    2) He knew he didn’t have the votes and today wasn’t the final stop in the JCAR train.

    I think I agree with Rich. I don’t think this is the last of this issue.

  54. - no vacancy - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 6:18 pm:

    Rich, I think the person that posted about slating judges is correct. The courts have decided that the law on slating candidates after a primary does not apply to judicial races. If the GOP or the DEMS dont have a candidate on the ballot for the primary, they cant put one on afterward. No party can fill a vacancy created by the failure to nominate a candidate.

  55. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 6:22 pm:

    If Blago were to challenge JCAR’s very existence, a lot of his agency heads would not be happy because that’s where they hire their rules coordinators from! Where else can they find people with a better understanding of the rulemaking process? No, more likely the challenge would be over how far JCAR’s ability to prohibit rules can go.

  56. - Budget Watcher - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 6:33 pm:

    Actually, there’s no myth to the fact that the legislaure capped SCHIP parent coverage at 200% of the FPL contingent upon federal waiver approval. The feds had approved coverage up to 185%, so that’s effectively been the max level. It’s true, GoBearss, that the level has been raised by rule incrementally over the years to 185%, but not beyond that level.

    Having said that, I think there may be an interpretation of the eligibility provisions of the Public Aid Code that allows open ended coverage of families who otherwise would have qualified for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families except they didn’t qualify for need. Maybe that’s where HFS is going with this.

  57. - GoBearsss - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 6:46 pm:

    Maybe - I don’t know…

    Is the rule they filed available somewhere? That would probably have the info on it.

    And after looking more, I think I was right in what I said last week - The statute for the SCHIP program didn’t limit eligibility for parents in general, just for that particular funding criteria.

  58. - GoBearsss - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 6:50 pm:

    Rich - Can I bring your attention to one thing?

    How can one of the members of JCAR be so far off on what the issue actually was? Take a look and tell me this is not comicly inaccurate:

    “Skokie Democrat Lou Lang is on the committee. He says it offered to support a plan dealing specifically with children’s healthcare, but the Governor’s administration turned it down.

    LANG: To make sure these children were covered, we would approve that but they indicated on the record that they weren’t interested in doing that which means to me that it wasn’t an emergency in the first place.”

    From everyone’s understanding - this had absolutely nothing to do with children. This whole discussion of FamilyCare has only been about parents.

    I know Madigan put Lang on JCAR just to vote against this issue, but he could have at least done so quietly and hid his ignorance of the issue.

  59. - Lotta Liaison - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 6:55 pm:

    Just because a rule may be good policy or in the best interests of the people (”appropriate”) doesn’t mean that JCAR has the authority to decide that. JCAR is not a policy-making, law-making body. Agencies can only promulgate rules, and JCAR can only approve of rules, where there is a specific statutory grant of authority from the GA to an agency to act in regulate in a certain way.

    5 ILCS 100/5-45 (IL Admin Procedures Act) says that JCAR can’t adopt an emergency rule with the same purpose or effect in a 2 year period. A new emergency rule limited to SCHIP could arguably have the same purpose and effect as this failed rule.

  60. - Lotta Liaison - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 7:03 pm:

    Yeah, Bearsss, Rich is right, it’s not the last of the issue because the administration is going to challenge the constitutionality of JCAR.

    Madigan didn’t put Lang on JCAR to challenge this one issue (and “issues” shouldn’t be going through JCAR, just agency regulations where agencies have the clear statutory authority to do so). He put Lang on JCAR because he’s one of the few people around the statehouse who understands the powers, duties, and limitations of the committee.

    And last, if this had nothing to do with children, why did the people from DCFS say that this emergency rule was filed in response to the federal government’s failure to reauthorize SCHIP?

  61. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 7:09 pm:


    Actually, I don’t object to state employees having health insurance paid for by the taxpayers. I just think that all those taxpayers should have the same access to reasonably priced health insurance as the state employees whose health insurance coverage we subsidizing in a major way.

    And as to Democrats pushing down, how about Chuck Schumer’s attempt to shield hedge fund traders
    who make billions a year from somewhat higher taxes even at the risk of extending the AMT way down into the middle class.

  62. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 7:19 pm:

    Very good institutional memory, Steve. I had completely forgotten about that “unholy alliance.” As I recall, the Sangamon County R’s were miffed that Edgar would work on anything with the Antichrist Doug Kane, but they were pacified when House Leadership (guess who) reported back that “no one expected this committee to really do anything.” I am not making that up, to quote Dave Barry.

    The 2004 changes were part of a larger revision after that overtime session (the MOU session) that gave more clout to JCAR and COGFA after Blago hijinks with rules and HMO bids (Fed investigation #7) were revealed.

  63. - GoBearsss - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 7:23 pm:

    SCHIP - in relation to the coverage of parents.

    SCHIP has covered parents in Illinois. That is what the discussion was about.

  64. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 7:32 pm:

    Hey Cassandra, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good populist rant.

    First of all, “billionaire hedge fund traders” are about as small a group as “honest Illinois Governors.” The big dough is not made by the traders, but by the dudes with their names on the door. Hedge fund partners have done very well, and there are some billionaires in the group.

    However, that’s not who Schumer is shilling for. He’s trying to help an even wealthier group, the private equity lobby, where it’s not so hard to find a billionaire. (They’re even seen now and then in Springfield.)

    The taxation of private equity profits, or hedge fund profits, at the manager level, is a very legit tax policy question that has nothing to do with the awful AMT. Direct your ire there to Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid and that swell “PAYGO” idea they put in place that has effectively linked the two issues.

    PS: can you estimate to the nearest $1000 the “major subsidy” that is paid for state employees’ group insurance per employee?

  65. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 7:47 pm:

    Lotta Liason, the IAPA says that an AGENCY cannot adopt the same emergency rule more than twice within a 2-year period.

    Take a look at the relevant parts of the IAPA and you will notice something else… the GA used to routinely exempt HFS from the 2-year provision, but in recent years, they have not done so.

  66. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 7:51 pm:

    Oops — I meant to say agencies can’t adopt the same emergency rule more than ONCE every two years.

  67. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 8:04 pm:

    I don’t think the SCHIP veto was the real impetus behind this rule — maybe just a convienient excuse to act — because there have been rumors flying since at least August that an expansion of healthcare by emergency rule was coming. In fact there was some concern that HFS would wait until right after a JCAR meeting to file such rules. Back in August, JCAR advised Tammy Hoffman that they were prepared to convene an emergency meeting if HFS pulled that tactic.

  68. - JakeCP - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 8:28 pm:

    It dissapoints me that the 2008 budget was approved. There were so many flaws that should have been improved. Oh well that’s “Chicago Politics” for you. Da Mare always gets his way even when it isn’t the right thing to do. I wonder how many aldermen might be affected by this approval.

  69. - Disgusted - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 8:55 pm:

    I’m not surprised at the belligerent attitude of the HFS Chief of Staff. At HFS, if you don’t fall in line for the administration, everyone gets painted with the same brush, guilty or not. She’s been known to call a whole bureau of state employees “troublemakers” to their faces, when problems involved only 4, all former employees. Might makes right, I guess except in the social skills department.

  70. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 9:06 pm:

    NV, I defer.

  71. - fredburd - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 9:25 pm:

    If you read the Statehouse press corps previews of the JCAR vote beginning sometime last week, you will find very little defense of the “emergency” maneuver from within the administration. The administration appeared to be running silent on the whole thing. However, those who think this was part of a tactic aimed at eventually taking a legal shot at the JCAR process obviously haven’t been watching the administration very closely over the past five years. There is no long term strategy. They have a pinball approach to governing with a meatball in charge.

  72. - Bookworm - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 9:35 pm:

    Fred, if that’s the case, why did HFS apparently refuse to take advantage of the “out” JCAR offered them — filing another emergency rule applying only to those losing SCHIP coverage? Why the stubborn fixation on massively expanding healthcare eligibility at all costs?

  73. - Princeville - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 10:08 pm:

    Thanks all for the JCAR lesson.

    Cassandra, do you realize , right, that I’m a taxpayer too? And that my state worker provides a service for his wages, we get paid for services rendered. Paid less per services than if you hired several private sector persons to a do multi task. It’s all in the tradeoff. The state’s share of my monthly premium cost is considered part of the wages. I pay my taxes, I pay my share of the premiums, I pay my medical and prescription copays which have risen sharply, and do the services to earn the wage/benefit.

  74. - Randall Sherman - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 11:37 pm:

    I cas’t blame the Green Party for challenging the petitions of Richard Mayers. It should also be noted that at the 5 pm deadline for filing petition objections Mayers filed an objection to the petitions of Barack Obama (this after filing an initial objection to Obama’a nominating papers on November 8). Mayers has also filed objections to the nominating papers of democratic Presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Bill Richardson; Green Party Presidential candidates Howie Hawkins and former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney; 3rd District incumbent Dan Lipinski; Republican US Senate hopeful Norm Hill (Mayers had also filed objections to Dick Durbin’s nominating papers, but has since withdrawn them); 3rd District Green Party Congressional candidate Jerome Pohlen and Green Party candidate in the 21st State House district, Rita Maniotis.

    Can you say a circus will be in play when these cases come up before the respective election boards?

  75. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Nov 14, 07 @ 8:41 am:

    The story here says the budget vote was 36-14. The Trib is reporting 37-13.
    Any idea what happened? Did somebody get the story wrong, or did a vote change?

  76. - Concerned Chicagoan - Wednesday, Nov 14, 07 @ 10:39 am:

    In light of the fact that we have two more tax hikes coming from the county and state level - For those of you who do not want the Olympics here in Chicago - and I am now one of them - send a letter or fax to IOC President Jacques Rogge and tell him why. They have an executive board meeting scheduled for December 12. Here’s the address info and a link to the website.

    I am disgusted with our elected officials. Yes, I vote, I participate in the democratic process - such as it is - to the extent that I am able. The lack of respect shown to the citizens of Chicago by the mayor (did you hear him giggling as Ald. Carruthers berated his peers for not doing “the heavy lifting?” and his “no pain, no gain” rant) and the disregard to the pleas from citizens, nonprofit groups, and other elected officials is the final straw.

    And I’m not moving, I’m a patient person who will be working on all subsequent elections to get rid of those elected officials who do not listen to their constituents, make poor fiscal decisions at our expense, and who in my mind do not earn or merit the high five- and six-figure salaries they earn. If you’re not registered to vote please do so - go to if you live in Chicago or for those who reside outside of Chicago in Cook County.

    Mr. Jacques Rogge
    IOC President
    International Olympic Committee
    Château de Vidy
    1007 Lausanne

    Tel: (41.21) 621 61 11
    Fax: (41.21) 621 62 16

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