* I know he doesn’t like marijuana, but, c’mon, man…
Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration has again rejected expanding the list of diseases that can be treated with marijuana in Illinois.
The Department of Public Health announced the decision Friday, spurning eight recommendations from an expert advisory board.
The panel had recommended post-traumatic stress disorder, which affects many military veterans. Also recommended and rejected Friday were autism, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoarthritis and four pain syndromes.
It’s the second such sweeping rejection from the Republican governor. Rauner in September vetoed legislation that would have added PTSD, and his health chief at that time rejected nearly a dozen conditions the expert panel had recommended.
* Maze was referring to an Operation PUSH press conference today featuring Senate President John Cullerton, Rep. Mary Flowers and Rep. Dunkin…
So, what’s going on?
It looks like a classic sandbag.
* Cullerton, according to his press secretary, absolutely did not know Dunkin would be there. “This was not our event,” he said.
Cullerton went and subsequently went through with the event because Rev. Jesse Jackson asked him to.
Rep. Flowers apparently didn’t know about Dunkin’s attendance, either. She didn’t seem too pleased.
But at least we now know that Rev. Jackson isn’t going to be a bystander.
…Adding… Rep. Flowers says she was completely surprised by Dunkin’s presence. She did say, however, that she was pleasantly surprised when Dunkin called on Gov. Rauner to sign the MAP grant bill passed yesterday.
Despite increased costs resulting from the regulatory environment, credit unions are the only financial institutions which overwhelmingly offer free checking accounts. A recent study by Moebs Services confirmed that nearly 74% of credit unions offer free checking to their members, while only 46% of banks offer the same. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, new regulatory requirements have significantly increased compliance costs for all financial institutions. For many, the cost has been passed on to customers in the form of fees associated with financial transactions. However, credit unions continue to offer financial services at the lowest possible cost – sometimes even free – to consumers.
Experience the credit union difference. Visit ASmarterChoice.org to locate a credit union near you!
Haymarket Center is closing its social setting detoxification program. This was Haymarket’s first program, the start of our mission 40 years ago.
In FY 2015, this program had 1,047 admissions of 903 unique individuals.
As a social setting detoxification program, it is not eligible for a Medicaid certification, and relied on State funding. With the end of our federal portion of our DASA contract growing near, the 22% cut in our contract, and other programs such as Recovery Homes also relying on State funding, we believe we had no choice but to close this program.
We will be announcing further reductions within the next few days.
Founded in 1975 by the late Monsignor Ignatius McDermott and Dr. James West, McDermott Center dba Haymarket Center is the largest not-for-profit community-based adult detoxification, residential, and outpatient substance abuse treatment facility in Chicago. Haymarket Center has continued to grow into a comprehensive alcohol and other drug treatment organization, licensed by the state of Illinois, which receives funding from the private sector, as well as city, county, state and federal agencies. The treatment programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Rehabilitative Facilities (CARF).
Msgr. McDermotts and Dr. West’s understanding of addiction as a disease provided the motivation for their call for treatment in lieu of criminalization. This fundamental perspective continues to guide Haymarket Center in pioneering innovative, high quality, community-based, social setting behavioral health programs that are gender responsive, culturally appropriate and population specific. Although Haymarket serves primarily homeless, indigent and ex-offenders from the south and west side communities of Chicago, it extends its services to the entirety of Illinois.
President Barack Obama will return to his old stomping grounds Feb. 10 and deliver an address to the Illinois General Assembly.
Obama will talk about “what we can do, together, to build a better politics — one that reflects our better selves,” according to a travel advisory from the White House.
The visit will come nine years after Obama announced his candidacy for president, and amid a historic budget impasse between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats who control the General Assembly.
*** UPDATE *** Gov. Bruce Rauner…
“I look forward to welcoming President Obama to the State Capitol and hearing him speak about finding common ground between Republicans and Democrats. Despite our political differences, the President and I share a passion for improving education, especially for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, a belief in the benefits of term limits and redistricting reform for restoring good government, and a strong desire to see more economic opportunity for all Illinoisans. I know we can achieve great things for Illinois by having mutual respect for one another and focusing on bipartisan compromise to achieve what’s best for the long-term future of our great state.”
House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, D-Chicago, issued the following statement Friday, mourning the passing of former Senate President Phil Rock:
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Senate President Phil Rock. He was a great friend, mentor and member of the General Assembly for many, many years. His accomplishments, especially in the area of bettering the lives of children, are legion. Shirley and I join with his many friends and colleagues in offering sympathy and prayers to Sheila and their children for comfort and strength in these difficult times.”
“The way I look at it is: Could Ted Cruz win a Senate race in Illinois? I don’t think so,” says Josh Holmes, a former senior adviser to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He notes that the state’s Republican senator, Mark Kirk, has “outperformed” the ticket in the past. […]
While waiting to figure out who will become their nominee, Law says that the most effective Senate GOP candidates, like Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, are “hugging the ground,” focusing on state issues like the heroin epidemic. That, and remembering the first rule of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
“The first habit is to focus your energy on your circle of influence versus your circle of concern, which basically means you focus your attention on things you can affect rather than the things you worry about,” said Law.
It appears the candidates agree.
“For me, you could drive yourself crazy, in a targeted race like mine, of what will happen,” Kirk told National Journal. “And I’m just focused on the people of Illinois.”
* Part of that local focus is pinning his probable Democratic opponent to Speaker Madigan, who has lower poll numbers than just about anybody in the country. It started when Duckworth visited Chicago State University this week and blasted Gov. Rauner…
“Because of the stubbornness of the governor, it’s a month away from shutting its doors to these kids,” Duckworth said, according to remarks released by her campaign. “We can’t punish kids like this.” […]
“By attacking Gov. Rauner, it is clear that Rep. Duckworth is siding with Speaker Michael Madigan and his agenda of higher taxes and no reform,” Kirk campaign manager Kevin Artl said in a statement. […]
“The problem is, Duckworth’s record on higher education is just as bad as Kirk’s,” a statement released by Zopp’s campaign manager Bryce Colquitt read. […]
In debating who supported federal efforts to make college more affordable, Duckworth compared Kirk to Rauner. Kirk compared Duckworth to Madigan. And Zopp compared Duckworth to Kirk.
Illinois’ junior Senator, Mark Kirk, like fellow Republican Rep. Rodney Davis, was a strong supporter of the “Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA),” which replaced the “No Child Left Behind Act.” In addition, though it was not included in the final bill, Kirk and Davis fought hard to get the NEA-backed “Accountability Dashboard” included in ESSA.
Shhhh. Don’t tell Rauner.
* Also, here’s some Kirk campaign oppo on Duckworth for your perusal…
In 2012, Tammy Duckworth Attended A Caterpillar Worker’s Strike Rally. “Tammy Duckworth and Bill Foster also joined the strikers, Democrats running for US Congress in two of the national battleground congressional races to regain a Democratic majority.” (John Bachtell, “Strikers blast Caterpillar greed, reject concessions,” People’s World, 5/14/12)
· “Among the guests and speakers at the rally were Tom Buffenbarger, International President; Robert Roach, Jr., General Secretary-Treasurer; Phil Gruber, Midwest Territory GVP; Tom Giarrante, Mayor, Joliet Illinois; Pat McGuire, Illinois State Senator 43rd Legislative District; Larry Walsh, Will County Executive; Tammy Duckworth, Candidate for Illinois’ 8th U.S. Congressional District; Bill Foster, Candidate for Illinois’ 11th U.S. Congressional District and Tim Drea, Secretary Treasurer, Illinois AFL-CIO.” (“Solidarity Rally for Machinists at Caterpillar,” International Association Of Machinists And Aerospace Workers, 5/15/12)
Duckworth Used The Rally To “Voice Her Disdain For Caterpillar the Company.” Back at the stage, Congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth used the opportunity to voice her disdain for Caterpillar the company. (Pat Barcas, “Fighting Machinists,” IAM Leadership, 5/11/12)
At The Rally Duckworth Admitted She Was A Stockholder But That She Did Not Like What The Company Was Doing At The Time Of The Rally. “She explained how she and her husband had invested in Caterpillar stock years ago when she received a payment from the government over her military injuries. ‘I’m a stockholder. We believed in the company back then and what it stood for. Now, this is not OK. I don’t like this,’ she said.” (Pat Barcas, “Fighting Machinists,” IAM Leadership, 5/11/12)
A Couple Months After The Rally On July 26th 2012, Tammy Duckworth Purchased Between $1,001-$15,000 In Caterpillar Stock According To Her Personal Financial Disclosure. (Rep. Tammy Duckworth Financial Disclosure Report, Accessed 1/25/16)
Tammy Duckworth Still Owns 2 Sets Of Stocks In Caterpillar Inc. Both Worth Between $1,001 And $15,000 That Each Earned Her Dividends Worth Between $1 And $200 In 2013. (Rep. Tammy Duckworth Financial Disclosure Report, Accessed 7/22/15)
* The Tribune quotes Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Gov. Rauner’s abrupt shift in tone this week…
“I welcome a more congenial tone of cooperation, because the state has lost a year based on name-calling,” Emanuel said at a Near North Side event to promote an education program. “And we can see by the results, I don’t think name-calling is a way to get people to cooperate and work together.
“Calling people from the Supreme Court to others names has led to the most unproductive first year of any governor in recent memory,” the mayor said.
“And so I welcome the tone of openness. I welcome the tone of trying to hit the restart button, given the last year. Illinois students, schools, teachers, people providing basic social services, investments in our future, have been put on hold in an acrimonious environment because of name-calling,” he added.
I agree that the governor’s tonal shift is welcomed news, as long as it lasts longer than a few days.
But the real problems are the numerous stark, gargantuan policy differences. The name-calling (on both sides) has only made those policy positions more intransigent.
So, we need more than just a more measured rhetorical approach, which, again, is nonetheless encouraging to me. We need a far more moderate policy approach - by both sides.
* Yesterday, Rep. Scott Drury (D-Highwood) said he was voting “No” on a bill to appropriate over $700 million for MAP grants, community colleges and adult education programs because appropriating the money would take pressure off the General Assembly to get a budget deal with the governor.
That’s a fine theory. And he may even be right. And even if he’s wrong, and even if the governor flip-flops and signs the bill, there is no funding source to pay for it.
Decatur school board members expressed aloud their reluctance to approve the suspension of adult education classes until funding is restored by the state but did approve the decision at the Tuesday meeting.
“We never talk about adult education, probably because it runs so well,” board member Fred Spannaus said. “They serve a population that might never get into the work force without their help. The money’s there, but it’s caught up in this incredibly stupid political dispute.”
Adult education, with the exception of the current certified nurse assistant class that will end March 2, will be discontinued indefinitely.
Many of the adult students are taking the classes in order to better themselves. For example, as reported by Herald & Review reporter Valerie Wells, Robert Brown comes to class even though he works an overnight shift that end at 6 a.m. He is working on improving his reading skills and hopes to enroll in a nurse assistant class and eventually study to become a nurse practitioner.
“You’re taking away from people who are trying to learn,” he said. Brown said he was more than a little angry that the state government can’t come up with a budget.
Courageous Lawmakers Fight for Student Privacy
Written By Laurie Higgins
State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) introduced the bi-partisan Pupil Physical Privacy Act (HB 4474), which if passed would require the following:
[A] school board to designate each pupil restroom, changing room, or overnight facility accessible by multiple pupils simultaneously, whether located in a public school building or located in a facility utilized by the school for a school-sponsored activity, for the exclusive use of pupils of only one sex. Defines “sex” as the physical condition of being male or female, as determined by an individual’s chromosomes and identified at birth by that individual’s anatomy.
Signing on as co-sponsors are John D. Anthony (R-Morris), Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield), John M. Cabello (R-Loves Park), C.D. Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville), Mary E. Flowers (D-Chicago), Jeanne M. Ives (R-Wheaton), Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon), Sherry L. Jesiel (R-Gurnee), Bill Mitchell (R-Decatur), Reginald Phillips (R-Charleston), David Reis (R-Olney), Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake), and Keith Wheeler (R-North Aurora). Who knew Illinois had this many wise and courageous leaders willing to endure the deceitful epithets hurled at anyone who dares to dissent from the foolish views espoused by “progressives”?
If we lived in a rational society committed to sexual sanity, such a bill would be wholly unnecessary, and anyone who sponsored such a bill would be thought of as daft. But we don’t, and therefore the bill is necessary. These lawmakers deserve many thanks for their courage and wisdom.
* From Equality Illinois…
Joint Statement on Stopping Discrimination Against Transgender Students
January 22, 2016
We stand with transgender and gender nonconforming students in Illinois and denounce the blatantly discriminatory bill recently introduced in the Illinois House by Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine). HB-4474 would force transgender and gender nonconforming students to use separate bathrooms and locker rooms and that’s plain wrong.
Not only does this bill promote fear mongering, but its sponsor appears to be out of touch with what is happening in education. More schools across Illinois, and across the nation, are adopting humane policies that respect and affirm all students, including students who are transgender and gender non-conforming. This practice has been endorsed and encouraged by noted researchers and leading authorities on education and student development, all of whom encourage the recognition and support of transgender students and how they wish to express their gender identity in a safe, responsible, and dignified manner.
HB-4474 would compel many schools who are dealing with this issue in a sensitive way, educating their schools and the public about what it means to be transgender, and fostering a sense of community and acceptance on their campuses to reverse those policies and create unnecessary division and segregation.
The Department of Education recently issued a set of very strong findings, in a complaint brought against suburban Chicago District 211, which found that denying a student who is transgender access to an appropriate restroom or changing area is in violation of federal law, specifically Title IX. Rep. Morrison’s bill would force schools to operate in conflict with that finding, at the risk of losing critical federal funding. With these factors in mind, this does not result in sound and responsible public policy, especially considering the budget challenges facing the state.
The real harm is not just for transgender students but all students regardless of their gender identity. It promotes bullying, gender policing and body shaming – all practices that hurt all students and can be devastating for transgender students trying solely to get the good quality education they deserve.
This bill also feeds into the false narrative that sex and gender fit neatly into a binary model and it should not see the light of day. As organizations that work exclusively or significantly with LGBTQ communities, we encourage the State of Illinois to use its resources to advance supportive and inclusive work that moves all Illinois residents toward full equality.
Affinity Community Services
AIDS Foundation of Chicago
American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois
Association of Latino/as Motivating Action (ALMA)
Center on Halsted
Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus
Chicago House and Social Service Agency
Chicago Youth Storage Initiative
Howard Brown Health Center
Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health
Illinois Safe Schools Alliance
La Casa Norte
Pride Action Tank
Whatever your position, this is mainly just lots of heat over a bill going nowhere. Democratic super-majorities and a governor who has shied away from traditional social issues mean it’s doomed.
Both sides will raise money on it, but in the end this bill is DOA.
Competitive Power Ventures announced Thursday its intention to open a state-of-the-art electric generating facility in the Three Rivers area of unincorporated Grundy County.
The CPV Three Rivers Energy Center is a nearly $1 billion privately funded project designed to meet the future electricity demands of Illinois. The 1,100-megawatt natural gas-powered 2-by-1 combined cycle facility will provide enough electricity to power about 1.1 million homes.
With a lengthy permit process ahead for the facility, Three Rivers project director Michael Bruno said the company has set a goal of beginning construction in 2018 and supplying electricity by 2021. The 21⁄2-year construction process is expected to create 300 to 500 locally sourced union jobs.
“Grundy County has an amazing, ready-made union workforce,” Bruno said. “That’s huge for us. We see unions as an essential partner.” […]
Norton Ammer said the tax base enhancement will be huge. Seven taxing bodies would receive funds, including Coal City schools and protection agencies, Goose Lake Township and Grundy County.
I’m thinking we won’t see a triumphant press release from DCEO on this anytime soon.
“This is the home of the first police torture reparations fund in the country, and no one’s been prosecuted for police torture,” said [Democratic Cook County State’s Attorney candidate Kim Foxx], a former assistant state’s attorney and onetime chief of staff to County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who backs her candidacy. “So the lack of prosecutions, or what’s happened in the Laquan McDonald case, is an indicator or a pattern of a lack of prosecutions for this type of misconduct by the state’s attorney’s office and particularly this state’s attorney.”
Alvarez, the two-term incumbent, hit back with a defense of the thoroughness of her investigation into McDonald’s death and her record on police prosecutions. She said she remains focused on helping the victims of crime in the county, many of whom are minorities.
“I take great insult to the implication that I’m not open to the community,” Alvarez said. “I meet regularly with community members, and I think what we have to keep coming back to is what neither of my opponents want to talk about, and that is the victims, the victims of crime. That’s who we serve.”
A day after Gov. Bruce Rauner called on Springfield to come together, the same old Capitol infighting resumed, as Democrats ran a bill to restore some funding to state colleges and student scholarships, and the GOP governor promptly promised to veto it. […]
The Republican version would have appropriated $1.6 billion. The figure is higher because money would have been restored not only to community colleges, but also to state universities, such as the University of Illinois, Northern Illinois University and Southern Illinois University. Those institutions tend to be located in downstate areas often represented by Republicans.
The GOP version also included a controversial funding mechanism: It would have given Rauner extensive and unilateral authority to move money from one portion of the state budget to another, something Republicans say is fiscally responsible but Democrats argue he cannot be trusted to do.
“He’s just like (ex-Gov.) Rod Blagojevich: He wants all the power,” said Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, suggesting that Rauner would use such power to “go after” working-class families and others.
Speaker Madigan repeated his pledge Wednesday to “work cooperatively” with Gov. Rauner. Apparently, that pledge doesn’t include comparing Rauner to an imprisoned former governor.
After a period of intense and difficult bargaining, the Chicago Teachers Union has received a serious offer from CPS. The CTU requires that any Tentative Agreements be made by its Big Bargaining Team—a 40-member committee of teachers, PSRPs and clinicians—which will convene, deliberate and vote on Monday.
While the Union will not release details of the offer without Big Bargaining Team approval, the basic framework calls for economic concessions in exchange for enforceable protections of education quality and job security. If the Union is able to reach a Tentative Agreement, delegates will be apprised of details shortly.
As the CTU leadership said, CPS has put a serious offer on the table that would prevent midyear teacher layoffs. This offer is a true compromise that requires sacrifices from both sides so that we can protect what is most important: the gains our students are making in their classrooms. We will continue to work around the clock to reach consensus on an agreement that is the best interests of our students, educators and parents.
Speaking on WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight” on Thursday, Mayor Emanuel declined to talk about the specifics of the offer, but he called the talks “honest.”
“I think it’s better for me to characterize it as very good discussion with a lot of respect on both sides for the challenges. . . . But to try to create a win-win situation for both teachers, taxpayers and most importantly for our students, I don’t want to go farther than that in trying to characterize it. Because it’s been a very honest and I think healthy working relationship over a number of weeks to get to a place where I think that we would see what the teachers need to see and the type of protections, but also the type of things that are necessary for taxpayers and students to see. I think that kind of mutual respect, I want to maintain.”
Any deal would have to be approved by the union’s House of Delegates before a contract could be finalized. That body meets Wednesday.
The union’s announcement came a day after CPS put off an offer to borrow up to $875 million. District CEO Forrest Claypool said earlier Thursday that the district expects to complete the deal by early next week at the latest.
In recent days, negotiators on both sides of the table have said that talks have gained steam following Republican proposals that would allow the state to take over the cash-strapped district, and also allow the district to declare bankruptcy. […]
Last week, Lewis voiced optimism about the progress of contract negotiations and acknowledged that her members could be in line to “lose certain things.”