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IFT endorses Quinn

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014

* Not unexpected…

By a vote of its Executive Board today, the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) unanimously endorsed Governor Pat Quinn (D) for reelection.

Elected leaders of the 100,000-member organization said that Quinn is the only candidate who will fight for the high quality public schools and services our children deserve.

“Strong schools start with a strong investment, and Governor Quinn is the only candidate with a commitment to ensure that all students have the resources to succeed from their first day of school through college graduation,” said Dan Montgomery, President of the IFT and a high school English teacher. “Governor Quinn respects and understands working families, and supports our fundamental right to speak with a collective voice on behalf of our communities.”

The IFT Executive Board also expressed outrage over Bruce Rauner’s efforts to demonize teachers and public employees and dismantle the unions who fight for our rights and the communities we serve.

“Given the fairy tales he tells in his commercials, we are committed to making sure voters know how out-of-touch the real Rauner is. He may be a billionaire, but his ideas about what’s best for education and Illinois families are completely bankrupt,” Montgomery added.

Rauner’s financial “plan” would blow a hole in the state budget billions of dollars wide and force layoffs, larger class sizes, and devastating cuts to public education. He has advocated for lowering the minimum wage, destroying unions, and stated that the public employees who work in our classrooms and communities are overpaid by nearly 25%.

- Posted by Rich Miller   39 Comments      


Right and wrong

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014

* The right way to approach a medical marijuana debate…

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) today announced that he is co-sponsoring bipartisan legislation to ensure that children and individuals with epilepsy and other debilitating seizure disorders have access to Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil and therapeutic hemp.

“If one of my children suffered from seizures, I couldn’t imagine being told by a doctor that we’ve run out of options or being forced to split up my family to send a child to a state where CBD is available and legal,” said Davis. “While the state of Illinois has taken steps to legalize the use of supplements like CBD for medicinal purposes, not all states have followed suit. This bill is a narrow, commonsense approach to give individuals and families in all states the access to this potentially life-changing supplement to help treat and deal with seizure disorders.”

Currently, more than 300,000 children in American suffer from some form of epilepsy. Many of these children experience more than 100 violent seizures a day— any one of which could be fatal without proper care. There is evidence that CBD oil has been shown to reduce the amount and duration of seizures in children suffering from epilepsy and other seizure disorders.

H.R. 5226, the Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014, would enable individuals to access this potentially life-saving supplement without having to split up families geographically in order to receive treatment.

* The Sun-Times shows us the near hysterical wrong way

Chicago medical marijuana dispensaries are likely coming to busy shopping areas, despite the city’s initial attempt to hide them away at the edges of the city.

That means a medical marijuana dispensary could potentially open next door to a tony restaurant on Randolph Street or in River North near touristy fast food joints, according to new zoning regulations approved Tuesday by a the Chicago City Council’s Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards.

Essentially most business and commercial strips are fair game.

Sheesh.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      


Question of the day

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014

* Paul Vallas is to ____ as Evelyn Sanguinetti is to ____?

- Posted by Rich Miller   44 Comments      


Department of Insurance says insurers can’t discriminate “based on gender identity”

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014

* From a July 29th press release…

The Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) today issued guidance clarifying that under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Illinois state law health insurers may not discriminate based on gender identity and related medical conditions. The guidance reminds insurers that exclusions and denials of coverage on the basis of gender identity are against the law.

“This is an important step to ending discrimination in Illinois,” DOI Director Andrew Boron said. “Transgender individuals are entitled to the same access to health care as everyone else. Health insurance policies that discriminate against a group of people, or based on any medical condition, will not be tolerated in Illinois.”

With the issuing of this guidance to insurers through an agency Bulletin, Illinois joins a handful of other states which have taken steps to bar discrimination in healthcare against transgender individuals.

“I applaud DOI for working to make certain that all Illinois citizens are given equal access to necessary healthcare services and that people are treated fairly and without discrimination,” State Representative Greg Harris (D-Chicago) said.

“I commend DOI Director Andrew Boron and Governor Pat Quinn Pat for this action which demonstrates that the state of Illinois is strongly committed to fighting discrimination in healthcare against any member of our population,” Illinois Human Rights Department Director Rocco Claps said. “Access to healthcare is a fundamental human right, and no one should face discrimination in their healthcare needs because of their gender identity.”

Under both federal and state law, if a health insurer covers certain services when medically necessary, such as a breast mastectomy or hormone therapy, it cannot deny those services for a transgendered person solely on the basis of that person’s transgender status or gender dysphoria. Currently, some insurers have broad exclusions for gender identity treatment and services. The guidelines issued today prohibit insurers from excluding services that target transgender persons or persons with gender dysphoria. Today’s announcement calls for an end to this disparate treatment of transgendered individuals.

DOI will be reviewing individual and small group policies offered under the ACA for 2015 to ensure compliance with anti-discrimination laws.

* AP

“This guidance helps ensure parity in health care coverage, making certain that services such as mental health care, cancer screenings and hormone therapy are routinely covered for transgender people when the insurer provides those services to non-transgender policy holders,” John Peller, interim president and CEO of the Aids Foundation of Chicago, said in a statement.

However, some question the move. The Illinois Family Institute’s Executive Director David Smith said the guidelines put some religious business owners in a position that forces them to compromise their faiths.

“To succumb and be made to submit to a rule that violates their freedom of conscience,” Smith said.

* Windy City Times

Transgender people often face discrimination when seeking insurance coverage of medically-necessary treatments prescribed by their physicians, even though such treatments are routinely covered for others. For example, hormone therapy and regular blood tests to guard against any negative medical consequences are routinely covered for many people, such as post-menopausal women, but are currently denied to many transgender people. Likewise, breast reconstruction surgery is routinely covered for women after surgery for breast cancer, but is routinely denied for transgender people, even if ordered by a physician.

There are many other medical procedures and treatments that are covered routinely each day — from surgery to mammograms to Pap smears — for non-transgender people that are often denied to transgender people, even though they are prescribed by a physician as medically-necessary treatment.

The Department of Insurance bulletin says such denials are discriminatory and not permitted under existing law. In recent months, insurance authorities in Oregon, California, Colorado, Vermont, Massachusetts, Washington and the District of Columbia all have made similar statements, making clear that health insurers in those states cannot discriminate on the basis of gender identity. The American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians and other national medical organizations all have called for an end to insurance discrimination based on gender identity. […]

The bulletin from the Department of Insurance cites three laws that prohibit discrimination against transgender people: the Affordable Care Act, the Illinois Human Rights Act and the Illinois Mental Health Parity Act. The bulletin explains that a plan may not be certified in Illinois ( a prerequisite to a plan being marketed and sold in the state ) if the plan discriminates against transgender people.

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      


Today’s quotable

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014

* US Sen. Mark Kirk

After Senator Mark Kirk spoke to the pro-Israel rally, he told FOX 32 News that President Obama is wrong to push for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, where more than a thousand have reportedly now lost their lives. Kirk compared Israel’s war with Hamas, the Palestinian faction that rules Gaza, to World War II.

“Hamas is like Nazis. The more Nazis you got, the more Hamas you get, the more death you get,” Kirk said. “It was worth thousands of lives to wipe out the Nazis. And then the world was much better once they were wiped out. The only way to secure peace in the Middle East is to wipe out those who would bring terror to the Middle East.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   90 Comments      


Rauner group files appeal in term limits case

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014

* Not much info out of the AP’s Chicago bureau

A group pushing for lawmaker term limits has filed a court appeal to get their question on November’s ballot.

The Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits filed a motion Tuesday with Illinois’ First District Appellate Court asking it to reverse a June Cook County Circuit Court ruling.

The circuit court said the measure didn’t meet constitutional requirements and ruled it invalid.

Committee spokesman Mark Campbell believes the appellate court can rule in the group’s favor.

Click here to see the full appeal.

* One of the main arguments advanced by Bruce Rauner’s group is that the IL Supreme Court upheld Pat Quinn’s 1980 “Cutback Amendment,” which did three things: Abolished cumulative voting, reduced the size of the House and instituted single-member districts. Rauner’s group argues that its multitude of issues (veto powers, term limits and reducing the size of the Senate while increasing the size of the House) should be viewed as similar to Quinn’s push.

The Supremes have ruled previously (on another Pat Quinn initiative) that term limits involved neither a structural change of the Legislature as an institution, nor a procedural legislative issue - the only two things that can be changed via citizens referendum. The Rauner folks get around that ruling thusly

(T)he amendment here does not merely limit legislative terms in isolation. Rather it changes the entire structure of legislative terms… incorporating term limits as an integrated element of this larger structural change. […]

All the [Pat Quinn term limits case] did was to rule that one particular term limits proposal, in isolation, affected invidual legislators and not the structure of the institution as a whole. That cannot be said of the present proposal, in which term limits are simply one part of the package of structural reforms.

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      


Inversion politics

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014

* From a July 28th press release…

Governor Pat Quinn today issued the following statement in favor of legislation supported by President Barack Obama to close the corporate tax inversion loophole:

“Big corporations should not be allowed to exploit the tax code to avoid paying their fair share. Members of the House and Senate supporting closure of this loophole are right – corporations should not be allowed to shirk their own responsibilities while passing on the burden to everyday taxpayers.

“These corporations benefit from America’s world-class infrastructure, education system, skilled workforce and competitive economy – not to mention U.S. customers. Yet they’re looking to renounce their citizenship and shortchange America and the everyday people who helped them grow and thrive.

“I urge Congress to take swift action on the President’s proposal to end this abuse and close this unpatriotic loophole. It’s the right thing to do.”

* NBC5 has Bruce Rauner’s react

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner blames the state’s business climate for Walgreens’ flirtation with Switzerland.

“America needs to compete, Illinois needs to compete. The right answer is not to create walls, to block companies and people,” Rauner said. “That’s terrible. We should be about freedom, choice and competition.”

Video is here. Quinn went on to call companies like Walgreens “corporate deserters.”

* Democratic Governors Association spokesman Rikeesha Phelon…

“Does Bruce Rauner believe that corporations who profit from conditions created in the United States - including transportation infrastructure, competitive economy and our skilled workforce - should be under no obligation to secure these conditions like the rest of us? Does Bruce Rauner believe that corporations and the super-rich have any responsibility to the country in which they live, or can they all take their money and hide it elsewhere?”

* From yesterday

Sen. Dick Durbin today decried U.S. firms that renounce their corporate citizenship to avoid taxes and said he was introducing a measure to put them at a disadvantage for federal contracts.

“When it comes to a competition between companies, if we have, on one hand, an American company paying its fair share of American taxes, competing with an inverted corporation that has decided to go overseas, we believe, advantage America,” the Illinois Democrat said.

He said the measure would send a message to companies seeking to invert: “Think twice.” The measure is called the No Federal Contracts for Corporate Deserters Act..

Oberweis response

“Dick Durbin and his job-killing policies have produced the worst economic recovery in U.S. history and this is just more of the same. It is a poor excuse for tax reform and not a serious attempt to fix our country’s anemic economy.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   65 Comments      


$300,000 a week in July

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014

* CBS Chicago’s Jay Levine

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has joined challenger Bruce Rauner on TV, with an unusually early series of campaign commercials.

Ironically, the new Quinn ads started airing the same day a new poll commissioned and carried by GOP linked organizations shows Rauner with a double digit lead.

CBS 2 Jay Levine reports as predicted several months ago, this could go down as the most expensive Illinois race ever. With broadcast sources telling us both candidates are now spending more than $300,000 a week on TV and it’s not even Labor Day, which traditionally is the start of the heavy spending home stretch.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


About those new polls

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014

* Sun-Times

Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday dismissed a recent poll giving his Republican opponent Bruce Rauner a 14-point lead as “phony-baloney” and suggested it’s a bit early to write his political obituary. […]

“A lot of these polls are supported by my opponents supporters, so you gotta be careful there.” […]

Madeleine Doubek, chief operating officer of Reboot Illinois, said she stands behind the poll and its methodology.

“I am completely comfortable with the results. The firm doing polling for us is reputable,” Doubek said.

She said the race is in its early stages and cautioned that the poll only represents a snapshot in time.

We got a lot of comments yesterday (many of them deleted) flat-out claiming that We Ask America is intentionally altering results because the company is owned by the Illinois Manufacturers Association, which has endorsed Bruce Rauner.

That’s ridiculous. I’ve worked with that firm a long time. No way are they doing that. The Quinnbots are hereby on notice to stop it right now or face permanent banishment.

* But the governor’s campaign is clearly not happy with the new WAA poll and sent this along yesterday…

Applying 2010 Exit Poll Party ID to today’s crosstabs gives

Rauner 42.83
Quinn 38.73
Undec 18.44

* And there are some other polls out there. For instance, a CBS/New York Times YouGov online poll found this

Rauner 46
Quinn 43
Other 2
Won’t vote 6
Not sure 1

* As can be expected, the move to an online poll has produced some sharp criticisms, but also some praise. Washington Post pollster Scott Clement…


Amy Walter, national editor of the Cook Political Report…


* Another poll taken by Mike Mckeon’s outfit found this

Rauner 40
Quinn 34
Undecided 26

But that poll also found Attorney General Lisa Madigan leading her totally unknown GOP rival by just nine points 46-37.

And the YouGov poll had Sen. Dick Durbin leading Jim Oberweis by just 48-41.

* Meanwhile, in the mayor’s race

The survey of 600 likely Chicago voters was conducted July 24-27 by San Francisco-based pollster David Binder Research, a firm known its work for President Barack Obama and numerous West Coast politicians, including mayors of Los Angeles and San Francisco.

In a head-to-head matchup, the poll found that 45 percent of those questioned are committed to or leaning toward Mr. Emanuel, compared with 33 percent for Ms. Lewis. That’s a near reversal of a We Ask America poll taken for the Chicago Sun-Times this month that showed the mayor losing to Ms. Lewis by 9 points.

Just 27 percent of those sampled said they were “certain” to vote for Mr. Emanuel. And 22 percent are undecided.

- Posted by Rich Miller   50 Comments      


Today’s number: 59 percent

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014

* Former Champaign County Clerk Mark Shelden matched up the state employee list with the voter file

I was able to match up 78% of the 76,000 state employees (including part time employees) with a voter record. […]

This analysis is just for the state employees. It does not include annuitants of any public pension and does not include any teacher or state university employees. […]

In 2010, of the identified state employees, 9,189 voted in the Republican Primary. In 2014, that number increased to 14,590, a 59% jump. By contrast, in the 2010 Democratic Primary, 11,073 state employees voted. That number dropped by 36% to just 7,151 this past March.

* His conclusion

It’s apparent that there was a high degree of motivation among state employees to participate in the Republican Primary. At the same time, Dillard’s loss by 25,000 votes could have been made up by moving even more state employees to the polls. If the participation rates of university and teaching staff as well as annuitants mirror this analysis, it will mean that Dillard had the means of winning without the ability to execute.

- Posted by Rich Miller   49 Comments      


PREVIOUS POSTS »
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