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Madigan addresses Rauner’s workers’ comp, property tax demands

Sunday, May 31, 2015

* Speaker Madigan sat down for yet another interview this morning, This time with WSIU TV’s Jak Tichenor. It’s now online thanks to BlueRoomStream.com. Have a look

* Jak asked Madigan if he thought Rauner’s current non-budget demands were “unachievable.” Here’s his response

Number one, whenever you reduce the benefit level on workers’ compensation, you’re reducing the standar of living for middle class families. You’re forcing injured workers to go to the welfare programs or to the emergency room. And, so I’ve explained to the governor that when he talks in terms of reducing the benefit level on workers compensation, reducing the standard of living for middle class families, he’s running up against core beliefs by both Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly. People are elected to come here not to hurt middle class families, they’re sent here to help middle class families.

On the property tax freeze, a bill was called in the House to freeze property taxes. 37 people voted for the bill, all Democrats, no Republicans. Had every Republican voted for the bill, the bill would be over in the Senate…

My concern… is that he’s functioning in the extreme. He’s not acting in moderation. He’s functioning in the extreme. Let me repeat, both Democrats and Republicans have core beliefs that we shouldn’t reduce the standard of living for middle class families in Illinois.

- Posted by Rich Miller   81 Comments      


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Question of the day

Sunday, May 31, 2015

* Your summer plans?

Snark is heavily encouraged.

- Posted by Rich Miller   71 Comments      


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Radogno: All the Democrats want is a tax hike

Sunday, May 31, 2015

* Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno talked to Statehouse reporters today. Watch it via BlueRoomStream

* She started out by making clear how much she likes and respects Senate President John Cullerton. And then

What I heard is a lot of noise and distraction from what is really going on here…. All the Democrats want is another tax increase. All the chatter about bills filed, or not filed, again, distraction.

We are ranking near the bottom in absolutely everything… And yet the only thing the Democrats want to talk about is another tax increase.

Middle-class families want relief from the enormous taxes we have in this state.

The only ads I’m aware of occurred last week from the Democrat Party of Illinois into Republican districts.

If they’re so proud of what’s going on in this state, why aren’t they running ads?

[Rauner] is ready to take this thing to the people directly.

The Democrats have walked away from the table… Their demand is, we want a tax increase… That’s not going to happen without reform.

I think the governor has made it clear that he’s willing to compromise…. We come back on the last day of session to hear, ‘Hey, Republican governor just ought to raise taxes.”

I do think there is a realistic bipartisan path forward… But reform has to be real… [Illinoisans are] talking about being crushed under property taxes. They’re talking about jobs leaving this state.

It’s a different dynamic now. I think what we’re seeing is [the Democrats are] trying to behave in the same old way.

I don’t think there’s much point hanging around past this afternoon.

I think we all go home, take a break, regroup and talk again [about compromise].

[Cullerton has] always been more willing to compromise on issues [than Madigan].

[About working group failures] What the Democrat leaders didn’t do is send people who were authorized to negotiate.

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      


Madigan: House to return June 4

Sunday, May 31, 2015

* Monique…



- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      


An afternoon thought

Sunday, May 31, 2015

* After seeing the governor crank up the anti-Madigan spin again today, followed by Senate President Cullerton’s harsh press conference and then Speaker Madigan’s comments comparing Rauner to Blagojevich on Rick Pearson’s show, I can only think of this line from The Godfather

Michael: How bad do you think it’s gonna be?

Clemenza: Pretty [g-d] bad. Probably all the other Families will line up against us. That’s all right. These things gotta happen every five years or so, ten years. Helps to get rid of the bad blood. Been ten years since the last one. You know, you gotta stop them at the beginning.

They’re going to the mattresses and it ain’t gonna be pretty.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      


Madigan: Some Rauner actions “clear resemblance to Blagojevich tactics,” says governor is being “extreme”

Sunday, May 31, 2015

* As I told you earlier, House Speaker Michael Madigan appeared on Rick Pearson’s Sunday Spin show. Have a listen

* Some quotes

If you want to have a broad-based approach [on workers’ comp reform] it should include whether the insurance companies are being fair about this and whether they should reduce their premiums.

The number one problem afflicting the government of the State of Illinois is the budget deficit and the accumulated debt. That’s why the focus should be on the elimination of the deficit. Eliminating the deficit is going to happen in moderation. It’s not going to happen in the extreme. People will want to bring non-budget issues to this debate. They’ll be able to do it to the extent that they do it on the extreme, which I think Gov. Rauner is doing, they’re not solving the problems. The solution to the budget deficit problem will be in moderation.

* To the governror’s plans on advertising, again, to the extent that the advertising takes this debate and this discussion to the extreme, it doesn’t help to eliminate the budget deficit, which is the number one problem facing the State of Illinois. The solution to the budget deficit will be in moderation. Everybody being reasonable. To the extent that you take this to the extreme, you get into name-calling, all unrelated to the budget deficit, you hurt the solution, you don’t help the solution.

[The governor’s pending advertising is] a new element of consideration. We’ve thought about it, we’ve planned for it. We’re not going to move away from our belief that the governor’s non-budget issues will hurt the middle-class families of Illinois.

Every member of the General Assembly was elected based upon a campaign in their districts. For the Democrats, they were elected by middle-class families of Illinois and they’re not prepared to walk away from those middle-class families.

The governor apparently is spending time on fundraising and dispersing funds. I’m not doing that.

It’s incredible that there hasn’t been more reporting on something like this. A governor of a state files a budget, the budget presumes spending $2 billion in savings from a pension proposal and he never filed the bill.

I know you’re going to be surprised that the end game is in moderation.

I’m rejecting that linkage [to the governor’s Turnaround Agenda items] when it’s in the extreme.

* [Do you agree with one of your members that Rauner reminds him of Rod Blagojevich?] Well, I would be concerned if Mr. Rauner does start to act like Blagojevich. The governor one or two days ago said he was not going to call a special session because that would be like Blagojevich. It is true that there have been certain actions taken by Gov. Rauner which clearly look like the things that were done by Rod Blagojevich when he was in office. And I just don’t think Illinois needs Rod Blagojevich.

[What type of things?] Um, negotiating positions, and, uh, statements in these working groups that were set up by the governor. There, there was a, a clear resemblance to the Blagojevich tactics. And I know that Gov. Rauner was concerned about that. He has said he doesn’t want to be viewed as another Blagojevich.

* [Why aren’t you voting that much on bills this year?] If you would review my voting record over the entire session, you’ll find that I’m a very active voter on the bills, and you can check the last few days. Sometimes I don’t vote on a bill simply because I don’t feel comfortable that I have enough knowledge about the bill to vote on a bill.

[You’re the Speaker of the House, you’re the only guy in this building who reads every bill.] Yeah, but I’m busy talking to people like you.

* Madigan also appeared on Craig Dellimore’s program

While Governor Rauner castigates House Speaker Michael Madigan for rejecting most elements of his turnaround agenda, Madigan says it’s the governor whose staked out positions on non-budget items like term limits and workers compensation.

“What we need is for everybody to be reasonable,” Madigan said. “I’ve been through these disputes in the legislature in the past. I know from my experience that you don’t solve these problems by working in the extreme. You solve these problems by working in moderation. That’s what happened in the past when I worked successfully with Governor Edgar, Governor Thompson, Governor Ryan. When people are functioning in the extreme, they are not working toward a solution.”

He says he’s told the governor that Democrats are willing to make cuts in Medicaid, for example, but not lower the standard of living for the middle class.

“Illinois has severe budget problem,” Madigan said. “You cannot cut your way out of the problem. You need cuts such as the Medicaid program cuts and you need new revenue. On new revenue, you need reasonable people to come together, look at each other, commit to be reasonable and not functioning on the extreme.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      


Cullerton: “Gov. Rauner has chosen to hold the budget hostage” … “Unlikely we can get anything done”

Sunday, May 31, 2015

* Senate President John Cullerton held a news conference today. Whew

* Cullerton’s complete statement…

When I became Senate President 6 years ago, my top priority was ending the political rancor that had paralyzed this state. After of years of stalemates and political fights, I was committed to changing the tone in Springfield.

It was a goal that I was able to largely accomplish thanks to Republican Leader Christine Radogno. As many of you recall, she and I were elected to the leadership posts in large part because of our personal commitment to working together.

No, it hasn’t always been easy, but we have tackled huge issues and, up until this session, we’d almost always done it together.

Capital bill. McCormick Place reforms. Education reform. Marriage equality. Immigrant drivers licenses. Medicaid reforms. Workers Compensation reforms.

Nothing has been more important to me than working together in a civil, respective manner.

I make it a point to go to dinner over the course of the session with every Republican member. And every year I ask the entire senate, including the Republican caucus to a bipartisan dinner.

I do it because we need to work together. I do it because I respect the Republican members. I do it because we are all elected to come here and solve problems.

Today, I’m disappointed.

The road we started down together six years ago I fear has been abandoned by many Republicans, lured away by the siren song of Bruce Rauner’s campaign cash.

And once again we find ourselves trying to work with a governor who continues to run campaigns rather than run the state that elected him. Rather than roll up his sleeves and work on solutions, he dictates demands and threatens those who defy him.

As you know, a few days ago I attended an end of session leaders meeting.

When I emerged from that meeting I restated my commitment to work with the governor on compromises that will move this state forward. Because I am committed to compromise.

But there was something that I left out of my comments – and that is my disappointment in the direction that this state is about to take under Governor Rauner’s leadership.

The governor made it clear that in the next few days, he will launch a multimillion dollar negative ad campaign designed to demonize those who are standing up for the middle class.

Nothing could be more damaging to the prospects of compromise than deploying Washington style campaign tactics rather than working on bipartisan solutions for this state.

* A few quotes and paraphrases from the Q&A

Gov. Rauner has chosen to hold the budget hostage

Instead of working on his budget, he’s sitting down with his ad writers

When did Giv. Rauner start filming ads…while we were here working on the budget?

He won the campaign, but now he’s gotta govern.

Middle class workers lose, corporate CEOs win. Slash pay, benefits, protections and make more for CEOs. Have nothing to do w state budget.

We don’t have any bills in front of us that would resolve the conflict that he’s created.

In spite of governor’s stated concerns about a balanced budget, his own budget wasn’t balanced from the start:

That budget we passed is going to be very close to the final budget

It’s unlikely we can get anything done.

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      


Cranked back up

Sunday, May 31, 2015

* I told subscribers this morning that after Speaker Madigan objected to all the governor’s recent negative press releases about him, the press releases stopped.

Maybe I shoulda kept my mouth shut. This just landed in my inbox…

What They’re Saying about Speaker Madigan’s Refusal to Compromise or Reform

State Journal-Register:

    Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has said he needs some indication by Sunday that Democrats are serious about taking up his reform agenda. Rauner last week zeroed in on workers’ compensation reform and property tax relief as two absolute priorities.

    The governor said he has taken numerous items from his “turnaround agenda” off the table over the past few weeks during discussions with lawmakers. For example, he did not include creation of local right-to-work zones in a package of five proposals Republican legislative leaders introduced a week ago on his behalf.

    Despite that, Rauner said Democrats have been unwilling to engage in serious negotiations about other parts of his agenda.

Peoria Journal Star:

    Indeed, if there has been a theme in this session of the Legislature, it is majority Democrats under the leadership of Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton rejecting one plank after another of Rauner’s “Turnaround Agenda.”

Champaign News-Gazette:

    The Democrats’ disappointment at losing the governor’s office last November as well as 12 straight years of one-party rule is understandable. But the voters’ decision to put Rauner in the chief executive’s post gives him something to say about the affairs of state.

    The power in state government is divided now; compromise is required. Instead, there is a standoff while Madigan waits for Rauner to capitulate.

    Illinois is at a crossroads. Will it change its fiscally irresponsible ways or cling desperately to a status quo approach that has reduced it to effective bankruptcy.

    A big, potentially ugly fight looms, but it’s a fight worth having.

Chicago Tribune:

    A note to Gov. Bruce Rauner…

    Madigan and Cullerton scold you for pitting your demands for tort, worker’s comp and other reforms against their demands for high spending. Their minions keep whining that the budget process is sacrosanct — you shouldn’t use it as a tool. The paradox is that, for decades, they’ve used the budget as their tool for rewarding and punishing and getting their way.But, as of 2015, a budget can’t be leveraged? Is that so.

    Many reforms you propose make sense to voters. One example: paying public employees more, but tying their raises to the quality and scope of their performance, not on how long they keep breathing and coming to work. Let Madigan and Cullerton explain why this and your other ideas are cruel and unreasonable…

    You may be the last, best chance to protect that future by restoring growth. By restoring Illinois’ prosperous past.

    The Madigan-Cullerton strategy here couldn’t be clearer: to obstruct any and all reforms, to vilify you for four years, and to install some malleable flunky in the governor’s office.

    Their strategy, though, is also their weakness: They’re always angling for position, always wanting something.

    You, Governor, are free to keep calm and stand pat. How liberating to answer only to the voters who sent you.

    To want nothing, that is, but to revive the moribund Illinois of Mike Madigan, John Cullerton and … their followers.

Belleville News Democrat:

    The people of Illinois know all about broken processes. That’s why they elected Rauner – to fix those processes, not to play along.

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      


Chicago pension payment plan advanced

Sunday, May 31, 2015

* AP

A bill that supporters say gives Chicago some “breathing room” in making payments to its police and fire pension funds has advanced in the Illinois legislature.

The Illinois House and a Senate committee approved legislation Saturday to reduce Chicago’s annual mandatory payment for the next five years. The bill now goes to the Senate floor.

Chicago’s payments to the two funds were set to jump from about $300 million this year to roughly $840 million next year. The legislation sets the 2016 payment at about $620 million.

* Tribune

House Republicans opposed the measure, saying putting off pension payments helped create the funding problem in the first place. They questioned the wisdom of relying on money from a Chicago casino that has yet to be approved by lawmakers and is unlikely to pass before lawmakers adjourn on Sunday.

“Talk about putting the cart before the horse,” said Rep. Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove. “This is not a panacea, it’s actually a step backwards.”

* Reuters

House Republicans chastised the bill for letting Chicago off the hook for the larger payments the city has been aware of for years and for promising benefits to its workers it could not afford.

* ABC 7

“So instead of a $600 million increase, we’re talking about a $200 million, $225 million dollar increase,” said state Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Hyde Park. “That is sustainable, that is palatable.”

The measure, opposed by most Republicans, also says any city revenue from a yet-to-be-approved Chicago casino must be applied to pension payments. It now goes to the Senate, where one Republican called it another example of Chicago kicking the police and fire pension can down the road.

“They need to start facing this problem,” said State Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine. “They can’t continue to put it off. They’re going to really hurt their police and fireman one day.”

* Another topic mentioned over and over during yesterday’s debate was Chicago’s low property tax rate for homeowners. Several Republicans said the city needed to face up to that fact.

I don’t disagree at all.

However, when Cook County’s pension reform bill was debated last year, Republicans said they couldn’t vote for it because it would lead directly to a property tax hike.

* The reality is that the governor doesn’t want to give Chicago anything until he gets his Turnaround Agenda passed. It’s just another Rauner brick on the road.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      


It’s more than just body cams

Sunday, May 31, 2015

* It is so very heartening to see law enforcement groups saying positive things about the police body cam bill, which has now passed both chambers. This appears to be a pretty darned good bill

Officers who wear body cameras will be required to record any incident with the public. The only time they could cease recording is when interviewing a witness or victim. Personal and strategic conversations also merit turning the camera off. New training is also a cornerstone of the bill. […]

[Sean Smoot, chief legal counsel for the Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association] said the training should leave officers better prepared to deal with the mentally ill, addicts and victims of abuse. Procedural training should create a better relationship with the public at large, he said.

“A member of the community should feel a certain level of comfort after interacting with an officer, whether they’re arrested or not,” he said.

Law enforcement groups are also pleased with the idea of having a database of officers who have been fired with cause or who resign during an investigation. The groups see it as a way to weed out bad police.

Most of the language is here. Cleanup is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   4 Comments      


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Caption contest!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

* From the twitters…


The podcast should be up soon. I’ll put it in a separate post when it’s available.

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Follow the Rauner brick road

Sunday, May 31, 2015

* Forget about the stalled budget deal for a second and consider what Kurt Erickson wrote about a possible strike or lockout

State government is already messed up. A strike or lockout of the 38,000 AFSCME workers would mean major upheaval at facilities that treat the mentally ill and developmentally disabled.

It could mean public health workers wouldn’t be around to fight infectious disease breakouts. Imagine what it would be like for a temporary employee to get hired to run the dispatching operation for the state police. Who will help people sign up for food stamps and unemployment?

Could temp workers suddenly be tasked with overseeing orphans and juvenile offenders?

So far, the governor’s rhetoric has been just that. But, come July 1, it could turn into a reality Illinoisans have not witnessed before.

* And speaking of that topic

A union-backed bill to prevent strikes or lockouts of state employees during their current contract talks is on its way to Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The Senate voted 38-17 to approve the measure, which allows a new contract for state workers under the governor to be determined by an independent arbitrator if either side in the talks thinks negotiations have reached an impasse.

Even supporters of the bill said they expect the Republican governor will veto it. The administration did not directly answer a question about whether the governor will veto the bill.

He’s gonna veto it, for sure.

But check out the House roll call. Two Democrats, Jack Franks and Andre Thapedi, took a walk and didn’t vote.

If those two stay off the legislation on an override, it’s going to be really difficult to pass it. If one of them is forced back on, perhaps Springfield Republican Raymond Poe can be convinced to climb on board because he was the only Republican with the guts to buck Rauner on that “right to work” bill. Poe took a walk on AFSCME’s strike bill.

Several other House Republicans walked as well: Anthony, Bourne, Brown, Bryant, Cabello, Cavaletto, Davidsmeier, Hammond, Hays, McAuliffe, Bill Mitchell, Pritchard, Reis, Stewart and Unes. But Rauner is gonna make this override a point of honor.

Rauner’s brick is gonna be the heaviest thing on the planet.

* Today’s headline was the product of a sort of group think project at dinner last night with a bunch of pals. One of those pals even designed a quickie logo…

Heh.

We were also wondering if y’all could match Statehouse names to that movie’s characters. Have at it.

* By the way, Senate President John Cullerton filed a motion to reconsider the vote after yesterday’s roll call, so he’s going to hold onto that one for a while.

*** UPDATE *** A quickly done variation of a commenter suggestion…

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      


Thoughts from the leaders on today’s big deadline

Sunday, May 31, 2015

* From the AP’s John O’Connor...

Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, is brainstorming on mutually acceptable ideas, spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon said, “but he disagrees with the idea that we need to stop budgeting and shut down the government while we negotiate with the governor.”

House Speaker Michael Madigan facilitated the day’s agenda from his office but did not hear from Rauner, spokesman Steve Brown said.

Rauner told reporters Friday he would not drag lawmakers back to Springfield for a special session after Sunday’s curtain, but would meet with legislators anywhere to keep the talks going.

House GOP Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs believes a breather would be beneficial, his spokeswoman said.

“The real negotiations, if they haven’t already begun behind the scenes, are going to happen over the next 45 days,” agreed Republican Rep. David Reis of Willow Hill.

Madigan heard from Rauner on Friday. In my opinion, it’s pretty much up to Madigan and Cullerton to tell Rauner now what they would be willing to do after Rauner pared his massive Turnaround Agenda down to just two items.

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      


*** LIVE *** Session coverage

Sunday, May 31, 2015

* Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! But we’re not at smoking US 30 dragstrip. Instead, we’ll just have to settle for our up to the second ScribbleLive coverage, sponsored by The Illinois Kids Campaign. It’s where the not so great ones run

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      


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Willie Wilson to announce bid for… President?

Saturday, May 30, 2015

* He apparently didn’t get enough of an ego boost out of his mayoral bid…

Wilson to Announce Run for President

Saying he has made up his mind about a possible run for President of the United States, Chicago millionaire businessman Willie Wilson is set to deliver that decision on June 1st.

“This has not been an easy decision for me”, says Wilson. “But I know that it is the right decision.”

Wilson announced earlier in the month that he had launched an exploratory committee that would ultimately advise him on what he should do.

Wilson has made it clear that if he decides to get into the ever-growing field of presidential hopefuls, that he would be “a people’s candidate.”

The former Chicago mayoral candidate says, “The citizens of America want a national agenda that focuses on their needs and improves their lives.”

Wilson will reveal his much-anticipated decision during a Southside news conference on Monday, June 1, 2015.

    WHO: Dr. Willie Wilson

    WHAT: News Conference to announce his decision on a run for President

    WHERE: Chicago Baptist Institute

    5120 South King Drive

    Chicago, Illinois 60615

    WHEN: Monday, June 1, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Let’s play: “Brick Or No Brick”

Saturday, May 30, 2015

* This passed on a bipartisan roll call. So, no Rauner brick

Post-traumatic stress disorder would be considered a debilitating illness that can be treated with medically prescribed marijuana under legislation headed to Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The House approved state Rep. Lou Lang’s measure 68-36 on Saturday. The Skokie Democrat says marijuana can help people suffering from PTSD.

* A whole lot of union-friendly House Republicans took a walk and didn’t vote on this bill, so there’s most definitely a heavy Rauner brick

The Illinois House approved legislation Friday prohibiting state workers from going on strike or being locked out of their jobs if negotiations on a new labor agreement stall.

The House voted 67-25 to approve the measure, which now goes to the Senate for approval.

Under the bill, either side in labor talks could declare an impasse, starting a process in which the contract would be sent to binding arbitration.

*** UPDATE *** The Senate is, at 2:30, poised to pass the AFSCME bill. Track it via our live coverage post.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Another brick

The House approved a measure Friday creating two state agencies for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

The bill passed by a 69-47 vote, with Republicans criticizing the Democratic-led bill as needlessly partisan. A previous version of the bill would have separated the two agencies but also rolled Historic Preservation into the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. It also would have privatized some of DCEO’s operations. […]

Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, said he agreed with some parts of the proposal, but he ultimately voted against it.

“Once again, as we’ve seen over the last few weeks, the process is wrong,” he said. “The governor’s office needs to be involved in this operation.”

* No brick in either chamber

A first-of-its-kind heroin bill is now in passage stage in the state Senate after being unanimously approved by the House this week.

But a local judge who heads Champaign County’s drug court thinks the legislation is misguided.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, said the Heroin Crisis Act would be the most expansive heroin bill ever enacted and a potential model for the nation.

The bill passed the House unanimously and only a handful voted “No” in the Senate.

* No bricks

The House has unanimously advanced legislation to require land surveyors to give notice to landowners before beginning construction of high-voltage transmission lines. […]

The House also has endorsed legislation without opposition that clarifies zoning laws for wind turbines.

The House sponsor of the legislation, state Rep. Thomas Bennett, R-Gibson City, said the measure will help regulate where turbines can be constructed.

* I don’t know if there was a brick on this one, but if Rauner did brick it, GOP Rep. Dave McSweeney either didn’t get the memo or ignored it because he was the only HGOP to vote for the legislation

ollowing a rise in concern over data breaches and identity theft, state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego, worked with Attorney General Lisa Madigan to pass legislation Thursday offering consumers stronger protections against cyber criminals.

“Technology has benefited our society in many ways and has enabled us to do normal every-day tasks by the touch of a button,” Kifowit said. “In these changing times, it is important to update our laws so we can better prevent identity theft and safeguard private medical information.”

When data breaches occur, companies are required to notify customers that their financial information might be at risk. Kifowit’s Senate Bill 1833 extends these protections to include medical information and online accounts. Under her legislation, data collectors must notify the Illinois Attorney General’s office if a security breach occurs involving a consumer’s personal information. The Attorney General’s office will create a website to post information on the latest breaches to keep consumers up-to-date.

* There was a weighty brick on this one, but from what I’m told the Republicans actually pushed back against the governor and he lifted it

The Illinois House approved legislation Friday that will alter the fee people pay for 911 emergency phone service.

Under a proposal crafted over the past year, the cost of 911 will be 87 cents per month. That figure will be the same for both mobile phones and landline phones.

The measure was sent to the Senate on a 94-15 vote. […]

Without legislative action, the law governing 911 service in Illinois will sunset on July 1.

- Posted by Rich Miller   44 Comments      


Adventures in lobbying

Saturday, May 30, 2015

* From Sen. Daniel Biss…

Today the Illinois General Assembly took a stand against subjecting Illinois children to harmful mental health practices. Sadly, many have been victims of a harmful pseudo-scientific procedure. It is called “gay conversion therapy,” and is an attempt to change a young person’s sexual orientation from gay to straight.

To eradicate this practice and protect our young people, Senator Daniel Biss (D – Evanston) passed legislation through the General Assembly today that will prohibit licensed mental health professionals from providing such therapies.

The legislation states that no one under 18 should be given therapy or referred to therapy that has a goal of changing his or her sexual orientation, and mental health providers that do so will be considered to have unprofessional conduct and will be disciplined accordingly.

“We must confront the reality that conversion therapy can cause anxiety, mental illness, trauma and can increase the risk of suicide,” said Senator Biss. “I will continue to fight for the rights and health of the LGBTQ community in Illinois, and to keep our children safe, just the way they are.”

Many organizations of mental health professionals, such as the Illinois Psychological Association, the American Psychoanalytic Association and the Illinois Psychiatric Society are strongly opposed to this practice because they deem it to be dangerous.

* From the Illinois Family Institute…

Yesterday afternoon, the Illinois Senate voted 34-19-1 to pass HB 217, a bill that will censor professional therapists who want to help children who suffer from unchosen, unwanted same-sex attraction. Republican State SenatorsChristine Radogno (Lemont) and Chris Nybo (Hinsdale) voted with the majority of Democrats to pass this tyrannical legislation. Five state senators did not vote, while State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) voted present — which is as good as a “no” vote. […]

The bill now moves to Governor Bruce Rauner. While he campaigned as a “no social issues” candidate in 2014, he now has to face the reality that the Illinois General Assembly is filled with politicians who want to advance radical legislation dealing with social issues–many of whom want to champion a far left social agenda agenda. Gov. Rauner will now be compelled to reveal his position on this highly divisive and controversial “social” issue.

* From Kyle Hillman yesterday…

In the time I have been lobbying for social workers rarely have I seen an opponent help me close a bill as well as [the Illinois Family Institute] and Concerned Christian Americans did today.

The Chicago Tribune ran an Op-Ed yesterday titled “What should you do if your son says he’s a girl?” by Northwestern professor J. Michael Bailey.

The article was picked up by the Illinois Family Institute today and faxed to every Senator. Rev. Bob Vandenbosch is even hand delivering a copy of the article to Senate legislators while we speak. Except there was one problem, no one asked the author about HB 217.

So I did.

Turns out he is adamantly against efforts to convert a child’s sexual orientation and even supports the bill. (The subject in the article he wrote - HB 217 specifically does not ban.)

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Michael Bailey [mailto:xxxxxx.edu]
    Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2015 12:27 PM
    To: Kyle Hillman
    Subject: Re: Bill Language.

    Left you a phone message. The bill seems to be about sexual orientation, only, and as such, I support it.

Oops.

Also, Gov. Rauner is expected to sign the bill.

Game over.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      


Question of the day

Saturday, May 30, 2015

* Erickson

Hoping to salvage some of his business-friendly agenda, Gov. Bruce Rauner said he wants to strike a deal with Democrats on issues like a property tax freeze and workers compensation reform by a midnight Sunday deadline.

With the clock ticking toward the legislature’s Sunday adjournment, the Republican governor said Democrats who control the General Assembly must act on those issues before he will sign off on a tax hike to balance a budget that is at least $3 billion out of whack.

“We can’t just raise taxes,” Rauner said. “If they really are sincere about making significant reforms, we’ll know by Sunday night. We’ll either have a deal Sunday night or we won’t.”

Over the past month, Democrats have voted down pieces of the governor’s pro-business proposals, saying they would gut labor unions and hurt the middle class. During a 15-minute chat with reporters at the Executive Mansion on Friday, Rauner said he has pared down his once expansive “Turnaround Agenda” in order to forge a compromise to keep the state operating.

* Tribune

Democrats and even some Republicans are unsure how much Rauner wants and how far he will go to achieve his short-term and long-term goals.

“Well, the governor…made it clear that he is ready to dig in for the long haul, that he is not going to be, you know, forced into some short-term solution that is not good for the state in the long run. That was made clear,” Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno of Lemont said of the current gridlock.

* The Question: What is the likelihood that House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton will bow to the governor’s demands and work out an agreement with Rauner on his workers’ compensation reforms and property tax freeze by Sunday night? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


surveys

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      


My two cents: Overtime, budget, TV blitz, reform

Saturday, May 30, 2015

* From a May 21st SJ-R op-ed by Gov. Bruce Rauner

If legislators are willing to reform how we do business, they will find me an eager partner. If they are not, then they should expect a very long extra session because I will keep fighting for major reforms that will grow jobs and help properly fund services by shrinking waste inside government.

* From today’s SJ-R

Rauner said he will not call the legislature back into special session because it will add needless costs to the state.

Now, maybe you think he flip-flopped. But I don’t believe that he ever intended to keep legislators in session all summer.

History teaches us that legislators milling about Springfield during the summer with nothing to do often find themselves wandering over to the press box and bad-mouthing the governor. It happened all the time during the Blagojevich overtimes.

What RRB never understood was that when the General Assembly leaves town the governor has the statewide stage all to himself.

* Meanwhile

Democrats’ $36 billion budget have now been approved by the General Assembly. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to the governor - at least not yet. […]

As with all legislation, Democrats get 30 days to send the budget bills to Rauner - which is right about when that spending plan should take effect; the new fiscal year begins July 1.

A veto from Rauner then could send affected programs and agencies that depend on that state money into a tailspin.

There’s no telling when Democrats will forward the budget bills to the governor for him to take action; however Sen. President John Cullerton has put a parliamentary hold known as a motion to reconsider on the nine budget measures the Senate took final action on today. His spokeswoman says that’s because some pieces of the budget haven’t been acted on yet, and the plan is to put it all together.

Until there’s a deal, the Democrats have no reason to send him that budget. And the Dems can hold onto it indefinitely with a motion to reconsider. The 30-day clock doesn’t start until after the motion is removed.

But it seems unlikely that the Democrats will hold the budget beyond the start of the new fiscal year on July 1st.

* Pearson on the coming Rauner advertising blitz

Armed with a campaign war chest of more than $34 million including some from his allies, Rauner has at the ready a summer TV and mail campaign he can deploy to attempt to win over public opinion and lay blame for Illinois’ financial problems and poor job growth at the feet of Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and the legislature’s Democratic majority. […]

During closed-door meetings with House and Senate Republicans, Rauner displays the results of polling he’s conducted that contends Madigan has become one of Illinois’ most unpopular politicians and is ripe to be taken out. District maps were drawn by Democrats, however, and that makes the task of unseating the current Democratic supermajorities in the House and Senate a yearslong task. […]

That’s where the Rauner TV ad campaign comes in, though there are questions about its effectiveness in stirring public opinion in summer, when many viewers are focused on the outdoors rather than televisions showing political advertising.

Democratic Sen. Terry Link of Waukegan said the ads may come, but he believes voters are unhappy with any politician, regardless of their partisanship.

“What works is people want to see you, both sides, Democrats and Republicans, governors and legislators, sitting at a table and getting done what’s of a benefit to the state of Illinois. They’re going to be as upset at Republicans as they are at Democrats. It’s everybody that’s bad. There’s no good guy out of the deal,” Link said.

I don’t think the Democrats even partially appreciate the consequences of what’s about to hit them. Subscribe to learn more, but it’s gonna get exponentially uglier than anything we’ve ever seen around these parts.

And the polling shows that Madigan is the most unpopular politician in the nation, by the way. At least, that’s what the Rauner folks are saying.

…Adding… Every governor going back to I think Dan Walker has been ripped for this at one time or another. In that context, it’s really not a huge deal...

One of the representatives sitting at the testimony table was Jennifer Hammer, who was described by her colleague as ”the governor’s senior policy adviser.”

It’s an interesting title given that Hammer isn’t being paid by the governor’s office.

Instead, records show, her $115,000 salary is being drawn from the cash-strapped Illinois Department of Human Services, which provides funding for some of the neediest populations in Illinois.

However, Rauner clearly wants to slash the Human Services budget and that makes this particular move noteworthy.

- Posted by Rich Miller   49 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition and some mailer updates

Saturday, May 30, 2015

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Today’s quotable

Saturday, May 30, 2015

* Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights)

“Now, there are a lot of negotiations that are happening in this building, but I don’t pretend to believe that I’m going to negotiate you into becoming a Democrat, any more than I think you can negotiate me into becoming a Republican.”

The governor needs to remember that the Democrats have super-majorities in both legislative chambers. But the Democrats need to finally come to terms with the fact that Illinois voters chose a Republican governor last year, 50.3 to 46.3 percent.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      


*** UPDATED x2 - A bit of levity *** Temper, temper

Saturday, May 30, 2015

* Let’s go back to this report from yesterday

“You go right to the heart and cut that off because you want to go after collective bargaining,” said [Sen. Kimberly Lightford] following a tense exchange in which [Richard] Goldberg, Rauner’s aide, at one point tried to speak over her in an attempt to rebut her argument.

Goldberg received a scolding from Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat who chairs the committee.

“When a senator is speaking to you, I would strongly counsel you to close your mouth and open your ears and then you’ll have a chance to respond,” Harmon said.

Goldberg has built a reputation this spring as a super-direct, aggressive defender of Gov. Rauner. I’ve known him for about a year or so, and have seen his temper, but I also like the dude a lot, even though he has made more enemies among rank and file Democrats than just about any legislative director I’ve ever covered.

* So, I was pleased to see that Illinois Review posted the video of the above exchange. It’s a must-watch

The Rauner administration witness clearly deferred to Goldberg and Richard began answering the question. Yes, there was some subsequent cross-talk, but I’m not sure it rose to the level of deserving that particular smackdown - at least in this instance.

Taken in context, a blow-up was about to happen sooner or later, and a Democratic escalation could be in the cards.

Everybody needs to take a breath here.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Check out this video for an even harsher exchange between Democrats and Republicans during a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing

Whew.

Man.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Not all is hyper-partisan gloom and doom. Watch this comedic exchange from around noon today in the House

Heh.

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      


Report: Two alleged Hastert victims interviewed by feds

Saturday, May 30, 2015

* Ugh

Federal authorities have interviewed at least two victims of sexual misconduct in the case against former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

The longest-serving GOP speaker allegedly paid hush money to cover up sexual misconduct with one male student dating to his time as a coach and teacher in Yorkville, the source said.

The source said federal investigators identified, then interviewed, at least one other alleged victim in the case against Hastert. The second victim’s statements to investigators were critical to corroborating allegations of past sexual misconduct, the source said. There was no allegation of a financial relationship involving the second individual, the source said.

These are usually not isolated incidents, so it’s no surprise and, heck, we could see more. But keep in mind that these are only allegations at this point.

* Even so

I’m told Hastert could have kept the entire thing covered up, if he’d gone to certain lawyers, the kind who are practiced in paying off sexual partners.

The technical problem, if you’ve followed the story, is that Hastert set off alarm bells by first withdrawing too much at one time, and later, by consistently withdrawing less than $10,000.

And I’m sure there are lawyers good enough to arrange hush money payoffs and call it legal. That’s what they do.

But Hastert didn’t go to the lawyers known for this work. He didn’t trust them. If he had, then his secret would have been theirs and apparently, he couldn’t handle it.

So he did it himself. And though I’m speculating here, I think we can see why:

He was ashamed.

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      


*** LIVE *** Session coverage

Saturday, May 30, 2015

* The weekend is upon us, but the our ScribbleLive coverage continues, sponsored by The Illinois Kids Campaign. Will it all burn to the ground? Watch it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Saturday, May 30, 2015

This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Good morning!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

* Been a long session week, eh? Been out way too late way too many nights, have you? Feeling tired? Exhausted, even?

Yeah, well, join the club, mate. We’ll sleep when we’re dead.

Until then, check out two of the coolest kids ever

My job ain’t a job

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      


PREVIOUS POSTS »
* The updated legislative retirement list
* Question of the day
* Today's quotable
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Campaign news; Supplement to today's edition; More candidate announcements
* Poll: 66 percent of Chicagoans think the city is on the wrong track
* Our new and unbalanced budget
* Proft calls HB40 "integrity test" for Rauner
* There will be no kid glove treatment for Drury now
* Madigan denies "reports" that Rauner has asked him for budget meetings
* Catholic group warns Rauner against signing "electoral suicide note"
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Nekritz out, Raoul backed by Cullerton as unknowns ask "Why not me?"
* We need a capital bill, but don't hold your breath
* Biss starting to get questions about his voting history
* SEIU derides "3 strikes" rule, Rauner admin defends
* Preckwinkle tries again to defend pop tax
* *** UPDATED x4 - DGA, Pritzker, Pawar, Biss respond *** Rauner speaks out on NFL protests
* *** UPDATED x6 *** Harmon will lift the hold on HB40
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax
* Personal PAC planning newspaper ad claiming Gov. Rauner and First Lady "lied"
* Yesterday's stories

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