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Puppy lemon law advances

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

* The puppy lemon law passed the House yesterday 67-49 and now heads back to the Senate for concurrence

The measure’s backers include the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, the Puppy Mill Project and Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, but several kennel clubs across the state oppose the idea.

Under the plan - which would not apply to breeders or shelters - consumers who purchase an ill or diseased cat or dog from a pet store would have three options: get a new pet, get a full refund or have the store pay for veterinarian treatment.

A licensed veterinarian would have to deem the pet unfit for purchase within 21 days of the sale date, and only pet’s with certain conditions, not including hereditary or congenital diseases, would qualify. Zalewski said 17 other states have similar laws. […]

Illinois now requires pet stores to provide information about a pet’s health history but gives consumers no remedy if they unknowingly buy an ill animal. […]

“We have bills of great importance,” Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) said. “Now, I want to let you know how important this is. The office of the governor has come in as a proponent for this. [He] can’t stand up for any other thing we’re doing around here, but the puppy lemon law. You talk about somebody riding issues to the hilt. That’s ridiculous.”

* On a related note, Oscar the Puppy took his first pontoon boat ride several days ago. He loved it…

* He really needs a haircut, but so do I. We’ll get it done after session…

* Lately, Oscar has taken to tugging on his leash. Gotta break him of that habit…

* One more…

Oscar is always positive, happy and fun-loving. He’s just a great puppy.

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

Question of the day

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

* Rep. Elaine Nekrtiz released actuarial data for Speaker Madigan’s pension reform bill today. The grand totals…

$21 billion off unfunded liability
$187 billion off total payments
$1.9 billion off first-year payment

From her spokesperson…

We have said from the outset that pensions present a real math-based problem, and any reform must be driven by the math. These numbers prove that Senate Bill 1 is the clear winner in the criteria needed for a real, comprehensive solution to this complex problem. It acknowledges the problem is very real and very significant, and will require an equally significant solution. It provides a solution with certainty — there is no wiggle room in these numbers, and no ranges of savings from scenarios that bring unpredictability into play. And it provides a solution that is clearly sufficient to address the problem while preserving benefits earned by workers and retirees and protecting taxpayers and those who depend on vital state services and programs.

* The Question: Should the Senate pass the House’s pension reform bill? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

customer surveys

- Posted by Rich Miller   107 Comments      

Rep. Moffitt loses 100 pounds, keeps it off

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

* Rep. Don Moffitt (R-Gilson) is my new hero. He sent me this e-mail today…

Dear Rich,

You indicated that you would like to have a “before” and “after” picture of my weight loss efforts, which I have enclosed. The “before” or heavy picture, was at the start of my weight loss journey in December of 2011, and the “after” or lighter picture was taken in January 2013, when I reached my personal goal of losing 100 lbs. I have been able to maintain my new reduced weight since January of 2013.

You also asked me to explain how I was able to lose the weight. In order to reach my goal of losing at least 100 lbs., I consulted with my family doctor and developed my own plan which was to have a target goal of approximately 1,500 calories per day, but never more than 2,000 calories per day. In addition, I wear a pedometer and try to walk 10,000 steps per day, which is about three miles.

There are also many very good, healthy, low-calorie snack items that have been helpful to me. These include products or snack bars made by The Quaker Oats Company, Kellogg’s and Nature Valley, to name a few. The important thing for me was to keep track of my total daily calorie intake with the goal of being between 1,500 and 2,000.

Also, “fast food” does not necessarily mean “fat food” since some restaurants do an outstanding job of listing calories on their menu boards. I frequently eat at McDonalds and stay within my calorie goal. I also eat healthy snacks like baby carrots, fruits, vegetables and peanuts, but always watch my total daily calorie intake.

Losing 100 lbs. in about one year has not been an easy journey, but it has been a worthwhile one. If I can do it, then I know anyone can do it! At my heaviest weight, I was on medications for high blood pressure, cholesterol and would have probably soon needed medication for diabetes. Now I am being phased off of all medications. In addition, I no longer have sleep apnea.

I have been talking with Senator Martin Sandoval and with lobbyist Betsy Mitchell, who have both been very successful in their recent weight loss efforts. The three of us are exploring the possibility of starting a new caucus next spring to encourage a healthier life style for all of us serving in Springfield.


Don Moffitt
State Representative
74th District

As everyone at the Statehouse knows, Rep. Moffitt looks great. I’m gonna have to join that new caucus.

* Rep. Moffitt before…

* After…



- Posted by Rich Miller   57 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Obamacare implementation passes House with all Republicans opposed

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

* The federal government will pick up 100 percent of this program for the first three years and then 90 percent after that

After nearly three hours of debate, the House approved a key part of President Barack Obama’s health care law. The proposed Medicaid expansion would cover low-income adults who don’t have children at home, and up to 500,000 uninsured Illinoisans would be newly eligible for coverage. Under the multifaceted measure, 342,000 people are expected to enroll by 2017.

“This is the cornerstone of our president’s agenda. Many of us have been waiting for this moment,” said Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, a Chicago Democrat and bill sponsor. She tamped down questions from Republicans over timing by saying those who need care can’t wait another day.

The Republicans have been arguing for delay for a very long time. Last year, House GOP Leader Tom Cross urged the House to wait until after the presidential election, to see if Obamacare would survive. Obama won, but yesterday they came up with more reasons, including waiting until after the debt ceiling talks in September - as if Obama would negotiate away his signature achievement.

* More

House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), who voted for the plan, said it would result in a financial windfall for Illinois because of an influx of $5.7 billion in federally-reimbursed Medicaid expenditures in Illinois, including for 48,000 veterans who would be newly covered under Monday’s expansion.

“The real point of this bill isn’t dollars and cents, although we make out like bandits if we pass Senate Bill 26,” Currie said. “The real point of Senate Bill 26 is to make for healthier Illinoisans.”


Sponsoring Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, argued the plan would allow 342,000 poor adults to be eligible for the state-federal Medicaid health care plan who have long been denied coverage because they had no children.

* SB 26 passed with 63 votes with no House Republicans voting for it

Monday’s roll call included seven Democratic “no” votes. They included Reps. Jack Franks (D-Marengo), Stephanie Kifowit (D-Aurora) Martin Moylan (D-Des Plaines), Natalie Manley (D-Joliet), Sam Yingling (D-Round Lake Beach), Katherine Cloonen (D-Kankakee) and Sue Scherer (D-Decatur).

All targets, or, at least, people who believe they’re targets. And I cannot see how Rep. Franks thinks he can run in a Democratic statewide primary after voting against Obamacare.

*** UPDATE *** Thanks to Wordslinger for pointing out this letter to the editor from Doug Whitley, President and CEO, Illinois Chamber of Commerce, David Vite, President and CEO, Illinois Retail Merchants Association and Jerry Roper, President and CEO, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

As Illinois’ Legislature heads into the final weeks of the spring session, the business community is acutely aware of the serious decisions lawmakers must make to restore security to the state’s economic future. While it may seem counterintuitive to argue in favor of expanding Illinois’ Medicaid program to serve single, childless adults at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, our organizations believe expansion is an important part of a very complex equation in alleviating overall costs on employers in the short and long term (”Not enough doctors in Medicaid, state director says,”, April 10). That’s why we urge the General Assembly to approve Senate Bill 26.

Illinois stands to gain more than $12 billion in federal funding under the expansion over the next seven years, but not without incurring some additional costs—albeit a fraction of the funding gained.

Beginning in 2014, all employers with 50 or more employees must offer full-time employees and their dependents coverage that meets minimum criteria outlined under the federal health reform law. Failure to do so will result in a penalty if an employee obtains subsidized coverage on the insurance marketplace-exchange, but no penalty is assessed if the employee enrolls in Medicaid. According to a recent Jackson Hewitt study, without Medicaid expansion, Illinois employers would face up to $106 million more in penalties assessed annually. For employers in the nonprofit sector—many of which serve the Medicaid population and support low-wage staff—the added financial penalties could mean drastic cuts in services or even shuttered doors.

We ask lawmakers to support SB 26 to expand Medicaid in Illinois to protect employers from even higher short-term costs and employees from missed coverage opportunities, and to provide additional certainty in planning for 2014.

* Other important stuff…

* Illinois House committee approves $9B human services budget: Rep. Greg Harris is chairman of the committee. The Chicago Democrat says the state is able to use unanticipated revenues to make payments that qualify for federal matching dollars. Those federal funds will lead to an overall increase in the state’s human services budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Larger agencies still will face cuts of about 2.5 percent in their operations budgets.

* Recommended Illinois education budget $6.6B: Democratic Rep. Will Davis of Homewood is the chairman of the committee. He says the budget will fund schools at 89 percent of the amount recommended by a state commission. The proposed funding level averts schools from cuts in general state aid for the first time in at least four years. Davis says the funding for school transportation, early childhood education and bilingual education will remain the same as the current fiscal year.

* Tax hangup stalls bill to expand gambling: Rita said negotiations are centered around both the rates that are paid and when they will go into effect. He acknowledged that in some cases, the negotiations could lead to lower taxes for some casinos. Rita also said discussions are taking place about earmarking some of the gambling revenue for specific purposes. The expansion bill, which was previously approved by the Senate, calls for some money to be allocated to economic development programs in black and Latino areas and for specific agriculture programs like extension services and to repair the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The amounts of those various earmarks are under discussion.

* Deadline near, Illinois pension reform snarled in state politics

* UNO makes changes to win back state money, restart work on Southwest Side school

* Editorial: How to save the United Neighborhood Organization

* ADDED: UNO makes changes, ‘I have failed,’ CEO Rangel says

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      

Illinois Voters age 18+ Say Natural Gas Rate Increases are a Bad Idea!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A recent telephone survey to Peoples Gas, Ameren and Nicor customers who are Illinois voters age 18+ found:

    • The overwhelming majority (71%) of Illinoisans oppose the state’s leading natural gas companies’ proposal to raise customer rates for extra infrastructure and non-infrastructure improvements beyond what is required by law.

    • Further, Illinois natural gas customers do not believe their state officials are doing enough to lower the cost of their natural gas bills (61%).

    • And, along with electric utility customers, they do not believe their interests are represented and taken into consideration when rate increases are proposed (60%).

AARP urges Legislators to represent their constituents
Vote NO on SB2266 (Natural Gas Rate Increase Surcharge)

For more information go to

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

A little help, please?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

* From the Hollywood Reporter

First lady Michelle Obama will make a visit to Manhattan’s Park Ave. on May 29 for an exclusive LGBT reception, headlined by singer Sara Bareilles and NBA star Jason Collins, to benefit the Democratic National Committee.

Tickets to the 5 p.m. event, which is being hosted by the LGBT Leadership Council, are scaled from $32,400 to $1,250 apiece. Bareilles is expected to perform her new song “Brave” (from the forthcoming album The Blessed Unrest) which has become an anthem for gays struggling with coming out.

So, she can attend a swank LBGT event but not get involved in helping to pass a gay marriage bill in her home state?

No offense to the First Lady, but priorities, please.

* Then again, as a gay marriage lobster told me yesterday, a few stern words to recalcitrant members from Speaker Madigan might do a whole lot more to pass the bill than any phone call from FLOTUS.


- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

New Senate concealed carry “compromise” surfaces

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

* I’m not so sure that this “compromise” concealed carry bill is gonna be all it’s cracked up to be

The House has already passed a bill, and the Senate may yet take it up. But State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) says he is working on another compromise which, he says, combines the best of the House bill and a stalled Senate bill.

“There were some good things from my perspective in the House bill, that was not in my bill. So I will add those,” Raoul said.

Raoul said he would take out language allowing police to object to a concealed-carry applicant based on “moral character” and add a House provision listing places where no weapons would be allowed.

Though Senate President John Cullerton does not like the House bill, he says “We’re gonna send both bills to Executive Committee and see what happens.”

The new amendment has surfaced and can be read by clicking here. Tell us what you see in comments.

Keep a close eye on our live coverage post for all updates. Live video will be here. Senate Exec convenes at 10:50 this morning.

- Posted by Rich Miller   60 Comments      

To Modernize Our Natural Gas Distribution System, Illinois Needs a Legislative Solution – Vote YES on the 2013 Natural Gas Consumer, Safety and Reliability Act (SB 2266, HAM #3)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

The 2013 Natural Gas Consumer, Safety and Reliability Act (Senate Bill 2266, HAM #3) passed yesterday by 84-32 in the Illinois House and now awaits the Senate’s vote.

If enacted into law, this legislation will bring the Illinois regulatory system into the 21st century. This bill will provide a cost-recovery mechanism that will allow for gas utilities to recoup investments made to upgrade and improve Illinois’ natural gas distribution system.

These improvements and enhancements will make natural gas delivery safer, quicker and more reliable. This will benefit Illinois consumers and improve our state’s economy. It will be better for the environment, and it will create jobs.

With natural gas prices at near historic lows, we need to focus on replacing these outdated mains and modernizing our aging gas infrastructure. Illinois’ natural gas utilities need a legislative solution to have the continued confidence to invest and provide customers with the safe and reliable service they expect.

Members of the Illinois Senate: Vote YES on SB 2266, HAM #3. Click here to learn more:

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

The satellite television industry serves a crucial role in connecting Illinois to the rest of the world with content that informs, entertains and educates – in many instances it’s the exclusive broadcast service provider available to Illinois homes. In addition, the satellite TV industry is an important economic driver creating hundreds of jobs in our state.

Facts About Satellite TV in Illinois:

    • Serves 1.3 million households in Illinois (almost a third of homes that subscribe choose satellite)
    • Employs over 790 people, plus more than 1,000 technicians at 481 local retailers
    • Rural Illinois depends on satellite TV since cable does not often provide service to their area
    • Satellite TV offers a wider range of foreign language programming in comparison to cable

Lawmakers continue to be prodded by the cable TV industry to place a NEW 5% monthly tax on satellite TV service. Previous versions of this discriminatory tax proposal have been defeated in Springfield—and similar bills are regularly defeated in other states including three times in neighboring Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota. This revenue generator needs to be clearly labeled what it is: An unfair tax increase on the 1.3 million Illinois families and businesses who subscribe to satellite TV.


- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

Scott Ives

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

* I’m pretty sure that if we let legislators vote on who is the most obnoxious and goofy freshman, Rep. Scott Drury (D-Highwood) would win hands down.

Yesterday, the House took up SB 1872 as amended. The bill, which would eliminate the felony prostitution penalty, is being pushed by groups like Protestants for the Common Good

Illinois’ felony punishment for a second prostitution offense is an expensive, ineffective use of diminishing local and state public safety resources. Illinois’ Department of Corrections reported 127 felony prostitution admissions for 2012, costing the state $2,011,680.

Felony prostitution unfairly targets women for harsher punishments. The “solicitation” offense for customers does not have a felony upgrade for subsequent offenses. In 2011, when law enforcement charged under the state criminal code, there were 1,875 arrests for prostitution and 95 arrests for solicitation.

Felony prostitution sentencing is rare in the United States – only seven other states have a felony prostitution sentencing option for subsequent offenses.

* No law enforcement or prosecutorial opposition ever surfaced. The bill passed the Senate 53-1.

* But Rep. Drury, who never stops reminding people that he is a former federal prosecutor, began by asking the sponsor, Rep. Mike Zalewski: “I mean, you know that I’m a former federal prosecutor, right?”

Drury then said that he worked on prostitution cases, claimed he rarely speaks of his former job (when he does it all the time) and actually charged that the measure “is a pro child prostitution bill.” Listen…

Drury’s remarks created a huge uproar in the chamber, with Republicans rushing to the Democratic sponsor’s defense and a fellow Democrat rising to ask Zalewski if he knew that she was “not a former federal prosecutor.”


* Drury demanded that everyone vote against the bill, but it passed the House with 82 votes, mainly with “targets” voting against it. Proponents said that Drury’s comments likely added 18 votes to the roll call.


* Runner-up might go to Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton). Last week, Ives spoke against a bill to waive collegiate requirements for certain military veterans applying to become state police officers “notwithstanding any Department of State Police Merit Board rule to the contrary.” The bill passed 109-1.

* Yesterday, Rep. Ives rose to speak about Memorial Day…

“I’d like to just simply add to the others’ remarks by thanking all the veterans’ groups and the individuals and the old soldiers who come out this day and pull out the faded Confederate uniform and plan for the ceremony and prepare remarks and actually hold something so dear to us as a rememberance of those who died.”


Confederate uniforms?

This is a Republican legislator speaking in the Illinois House, a body in which Abraham Lincoln once served, and she’s talking about the Confederacy?

As one of Ives’ fellow House Republicans cracked last night, “Will southern DuPage rise again?”

* Rep. Ives was approached on the floor by at least one fellow member who pointed out the Lincoln portrait on the wall and rose later to “clarify” her remarks…

“I inadvertently used the term ‘Confederate’ when I meant to include those who wear the ceremonial Union uniform as well.”



Many thanks to my buddy Dave Dahl for the audio files.

- Posted by Rich Miller   72 Comments      

Storm report

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

* I lost a tree in yesterday’s very powerful storms…

I hate losing trees, but, thankfully, nobody was hurt. My wind sculpture was also roached, but I think it can be fixed. A neighbor wasn’t so lucky. One of his trees fell onto his house.

What happened in your neighborhood?

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

* Blackberry users click here

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      

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* Dunn out at SIU
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* This won't show up in a TV ad. No way. Not a chance
* Unsurprisingly, Raoul and Harold differ on suing the Trump administration
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - This just in...
* Question of the day
* Eight days of intense and comical weirdness
* Cook: Rodney Davis "remains the favorite," but chances improve for Dem
* Did AFSCME gain members here after Janus?
* *** UPDATED x3 - ISBE "very likely" the hacked board described in indictment *** 12 Russian military officers indicted for elections interference, including at least one Illinois angle
* "There is a greater racial gap in infant mortality rates today than there was during slavery in America"
* A "revolving door of failure" at DCFS
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* *** UPDATED x1 *** Rauner taking heat for introducing VP Pence, will face DPI protest led by Rep. Mitchell
* AP fact-checks Pritzker's new TV ad as the candidate triples-down
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
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