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It’s just a bill…

Thursday, May 7, 2015

* But, man, I hope this passes

Legislation that would make the possession of small amounts of marijuana punishable by a fine has been approved by an Illinois Senate committee.

Officials say Senate criminal law committee members passed the measure in a 9-3 vote on Wednesday. The legislation’s sponsor, State Representative Kelly Cassidy, says it would help prevent discrimination of enforcement based on race. The bill passed the Illinois House last week.

It could, however, simply be a stalking horse to convince the governor to sign the medical marijuana pilot project extension into law.

* Probably not a bad idea at all

A suburban lawmaker’s proposal in Springfield could put a halt to the creation of new units of local government in Illinois.

State Sen. Michael Connelly, a Lisle Republican, says the proposal would put a four-year moratorium on the state’s ability to create new layers of local government.

Originally proposed by state Rep. Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat, the bill would apply statewide “except a unit created as a result of combining, consolidating or annexing previously existing units of government,” Connelly said.

* AP

A state lawmaker wants to undo a portion of Illinois’ concealed-carry law that prevents cities from banning assault weapons.

Sen. Julie Morrison said her legislation is in response to a federal appeals court ruling last month that upheld Highland Park’s ban. The Deerfield Democrat said her measure would allow other cities to prohibit assault weapons.

“This is about local control,” she said.

Illinois’ 2013 concealed-carry law included a provision that gave local governments a 10-day window to enact their own assault weapons bans.

* If it’s passed and signed into law, this could wind up making some folks happy

Legislation to provide $63 million in back wages owed to state workers is heading to the Illinois Senate.

The Senate executive committee approved the measure on a voice vote Wednesday. The House passed it last month.

The money is for raises approved for unionized workers in 2011. Former Gov. Pat Quinn later reneged on the raises, saying the Legislature hadn’t appropriated enough money.

* I’m not sure what I think of this. I don’t like government interference in the arts, but when you take the money, I suppose you sometimes have to pay the piper, or however that saying goes

If movie director Spike Lee insists on maligning Chicago by calling his upcoming movie on black-on-black violence “Chiraq,” he should forfeit the right to a $3 million tax break he wants, a South Side alderman said Wednesday.

Ald. Will Burns (4th) took the municipal angst over Lee’s working title to a whole new level in a way that could run afoul of the First Amendment.

He introduced a resolution at the last City Council meeting before new aldermen are sworn in calling on the Illinois Film Office to reject Lee’s application for a $3 million film production tax credit if he chooses to name the film “Chiraq.”

“There’s nothing anti-First Amendment about it at all. If he wants to name the movie `Chiraq’ and film it in the city of Chicago, he should be able to get the permits for that and he should be able to do it. But we shouldn’t give him money as taxpayers to brand a part of the city as Iraq. That doesn’t make sense,” Burns said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

24 Comments
  1. - Downstate Illinois - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 1:36 pm:

    Burns clearly doesn’t understand the First Amendment. That’s like trying to hurt a film on Al Capine because it might show Chicago in a bad light.


  2. - Team Sleep - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 1:38 pm:

    Rich - did you see that a Texas House Committee passed a bill to LEGALIZE pot?! Wow.

    http://www.wfaa.com/story/news/politics/2015/05/06/bill-to-legalize-pot-clears-texas-house-panel/70918838/

    If even a Texas House Committee can pass that out of a hearing, there is no reason for Governor Rauner to veto or AV the bill.


  3. - ChrisB - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 1:40 pm:

    Agree with Ald. Burns. Why are we paying a New Yorker to trash Chicago? If Lee really wanted to help, he would pay the taxes in full that would go towards solving the problems he wishes to display to the world.


  4. - Snucka - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 1:41 pm:

    Burns seems to understand the First Amendment just fine. The government is not trying to shut down Lee’s movie. However, the First Amendment does not give anyone the *right* to a $3 million tax break.


  5. - Belle - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 1:42 pm:

    The other side of this movie-deal is that he could film it in Toronto which frequently masquerades as Chicago. Then, Chicago won’t get any of the jobs or other superfluous money that city’s make from movies.
    Who cares what he calls the movie as long as we get the money. Chicago is going to look bad no matter what the title. It’s not the name that looks bad, it’s the subject matter.
    Does Ald Burns think they cannot make the slums of Toronto look as bad as Englewood? Politicians seem to be crazier than usual this week—is it the full moon effect?


  6. - Just Observing - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 1:48 pm:

    1. Attn: Reps/Senators — Stop being cowards already and decriminalize (and eventually legalize marijuana). Polling clearly shows your constituents want this, and we all know you agree too but are generally too scared. Just do what is right.

    2. The cap on units of local government is probably good.

    3. Morrison’s “assault rifle” bill is stupid for a number of reasons, including that these should be state, not local matters.

    4. Burns’ bill sets a dangerous precedent. Either offer the tax breaks or not, but the breaks shouldn’t be subject to government approval of the subject matter. What a great way for politicians to hinder those that may cast them in a bad light.


  7. - ??? - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 1:48 pm:

    ==If it’s passed and signed into law, this could wind up making some folks happy…==

    Re: the back wages to be paid to state workers…yes, it would make a large number of folks happy. Unfortunately, I can’t imagine Rauner would ever sign legislation to give more money to state workers who, in his mind, are already overpaid.


  8. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 1:48 pm:

    MJ and back pay, I hope they both pass and was encouraged to see the bills make it to the Senate floor. They are a big part of my bill wish list this session.

    Getting a little ahead of myself here, but I hope the governor sees the wisdom of not wasting resources prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana cases, and the value of not legally harming Illinois residents via criminal records.


  9. - Anon. - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 1:52 pm:

    ==Burns seems to understand the First Amendment just fine. The government is not trying to shut down Lee’s movie. However, the First Amendment does not give anyone the *right* to a $3 million tax break.==

    The first amendment doesn’t give you the right to do a lot of things. But, if the law does give people a tax break, denying that benefit to someone who otherwise meets all the qualifications for that tax break because the government doesn’t like what he says is constitutionally suspect.


  10. - Great Caesar's Ghost! - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 1:54 pm:

    Curious … when’s the last time the state created a unit of local government? You could still create them by local referendum under this bill which is the way most all of them are created anyway. This bill may be more about press releases than actual accomplishment.


  11. - Homer J. Quinn - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 1:56 pm:

    “Unfortunately, I can’t imagine Rauner would ever sign legislation to give more money to state workers who, in his mind, are already overpaid.”

    I agree with this, but, small detail: this isn’t “more money.” it’s money the workers are still owed for work that’s already been done.


  12. - Federalist - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 2:09 pm:

    Interesting that this Democratic Rep wants local control over an issue (firearms) that IS specifically mentioned in the U.S. Constitution.

    I assume that she backs local control over issues that are not even specifically mention in the federal Constitution as the list is almost endless.


  13. - Federalist - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 2:15 pm:

    Our drug laws for personal ownership of small amounts of pot must be overhauled. They make no sense, divert law enforcement from real crime and fill up our prisons.

    My only concerns are still the prosecution of those who have larger (amount to be reasonably defined so as to stop pushers) amounts of pot.

    And we really need a device like a breath analyzer for alcohol to measure its effects. I don’t want drunks or those ‘high’ on the road or causing problems in public places.

    And by the way the federal drug laws are another overreach by the Feds when it does not cross state lines. Not mentioned in the Constitution and is legislation of the states. Of course constitutional Amendment could change that but instead Congress in 1970 passed a federal drug law and no oen really questions it.


  14. - Anon221 - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 2:27 pm:

    I don’t know if the formation of Drainage Districts is as popular as it was 20 years ago in this state (and they can be made of multiple layers of “local” government), but I’ll bet the Illinois Drainage District Association will fight that one. The Drainage Law in Illinois is very archaic, but extremely profitable for some landowners (getting others to pay for the majority of drainage for their farm fields) and for the lawyers serving them. Our little 5 mile stretch only took 20% of the landowners owning at least 1/4 of the land (70 ILCS 605/3-3) (from Ch. 42, par. 3-3) to force the other 75% of owners (who unfortunately did not own 75% of the land- (70 ILCS 605/10-5) (from Ch. 42, par. 10-5). To date it has cost over $550,000 in assessments (they aren’t taxes, BUT they are placed on your tax bills!). Here’s a “history lesson” if you are interested: http://nationalaglawcenter.org/publication/hannah-history-and-scope-of-illinois-drainage-law-1960-univ-illinois-l-r-189-197-1960/wppa_open/


  15. - walker - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 2:33 pm:

    “Local control” cuts both ways.


  16. - A guy - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 2:38 pm:

    Slinger, if this pot bill passes, I’m gonna buy you some. lol


  17. - Weltschmerz - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 2:42 pm:

    I have a theory that Sen. Julie Morrison and her ilk get large campaign contributions from the NRA. They introduce a variety of bills that are lost in the courts and the states have to pay the plaintiff’s attorneys’s fees.


  18. - yinn - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 2:54 pm:

    My community has had a decriminalizing ordinance on the books for several years. Unfortunately, drug forfeitures and administrative towing fees are too lucrative to allow the ticketing option with any regularity. Local revenues are still running flat so good public policy has become secondary to budgetary considerations. Instead we are criminalizing everything in sight.


  19. - Federalist - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 3:16 pm:

    “Local control” cuts both ways.

    It sure does. Well, at least it should


  20. - Homer J. Quinn - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 3:33 pm:

    yinn @ 2:54 gets at the real reason legalization is coming in baby steps. prohibition is still what it’s always been: a convenient excuse for cops to prey on citizens.


  21. - Southside Markie - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 3:47 pm:

    Agree with Great Ceasar’s Ghost about limitation on new units of local government being PR. The number being created are near zero and the new ones never have taxing authority.


  22. - Belleville Rookie - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 3:52 pm:

    Spike Lee would probably gain some new admirers (and investors, potentially) if he stood firm with the CHIRAQ bit and turned down the tax breaks.


  23. - Freezeup - Thursday, May 7, 15 @ 9:39 pm:

    Nobody is in prison for possessing 15 grams of cannabis. Anybody who thinks that is a bit… Paranoid maybe?

    I’m not necessarily against this.

    Here is what I want to know: will the cannabis in all of these arrests still have to go to the crime lab to be analyzed? Will that crime lab employee still be required to travel a few hours to court to testify that the cannabis was cannabis and he knows that because it was tested?

    Police don’t have to send an open Budweiser to the lab to prove it was really alcohol that was in an open container in a vehicle. Make it easy for the cops to arrest for small amounts of cannabis, make it not a criminal offense, remove the expense of prosecution and this is a winner.


  24. - Carhartt Representative - Friday, May 8, 15 @ 7:53 am:

    Chyria just doesn’t have the same ring to it.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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