Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » 2016 » March
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Reader comments closed for spring break

Friday, Mar 25, 2016

* Gonna see some spring training baseball so I’ll be back on Monday, April 4. I’ll have my laptop in case something huge happens, but other than that, I’m going to try and disconnect as much as possible. The late, great Levon Helm will play us out

The expenses are all a dream

* But, wait, I’m not leaving you high and dry. I put together a comprehensive ScribbleLive feed to help you keep up on just about everything while I’m gone. Enjoy

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Your weekly Oscar the Puppy pic

Friday, Mar 25, 2016

* As I told you the other day, I’m heading to Phoenix to watch some spring training baseball games and try to decompress. I’ll miss this little guy something fierce. When we’re not in session, I spend most of my day working out of my home, so he keeps me company and helpfully distracts me when I get too into work. I just don’t know what I’d do without him…

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

CET Survey: 113,918 Illinois Clean Energy Jobs, But Wind and Solar Jobs cut 6.9% in 2015. Time to fix our energy policy!

Friday, Mar 25, 2016

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

 Clean Energy Trust just released their annual Clean Jobs Illinois survey and it shows a mixed bag. Illinois leads the Midwest in clean energy jobs, but is losing wind and solar positions to other states due to Illinois’ broken Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).

The Good News? 

  • Clean energy jobs grew 9% overall in 2015, exceeding the previous year’s projection
  • At 113,918 jobs, clean energy employs more people in Illinois than the fossil fuel sector

 The Bad News? 

  • Wind and solar jobs were down 6.9% year over year because of Illinois policy headwinds 

Fixing the Illinois RPS would solve this problem and help drive job creation in the state’s wind and solar sectors. Clean energy is a major job creator in Illinois, and smart policies can accelerate job growth in the state.

It’s time to act. To build Illinois jobs and keep pace with other states, let’s fix the RPS now. Don’t let Illinois fall further behind. 

Learn more about clean energy jobs in Illinois at


- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

Today’s number: $2.8 billion

Friday, Mar 25, 2016

* Clawing out of this hole gets more difficult by the day

Approaching a 10th month without a budget, Illinois has racked up a mound of unpaid claims, about $2.8 billion worth, in its state employee group insurance program.

Payment delays to health insurers and providers are now averaging 15 months, according to Meredith Krantz of Illinois Central Management Services. That’s due not only to the current budget impasse but years of under-funding in the group insurance program that has caused regular payment delays of eight months or longer, she said.

The current hold on claims is split nearly down the middle, with $1.4 billion owed for the state’s self-insured plans, and $1.5 billion for the fully insured plans, she said. Fully-funded plans are the HMOs and Medicare Advantage plans; the self-insured plans include Coventry Health Care Open Access Plan, Health Link OAP, Cigna (Quality Care) and Delta Dental.

As of today, the state owes one local carrier, Carle-owned Health Alliance Medical Plans, $720 million for 16 months’ worth of premiums at $45 million a month, according to Health Alliance spokeswoman Laura Mabry.

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      

Question of the day

Friday, Mar 25, 2016

* News-Gazette

Rauner said revising the [K-12] funding formula “is a hard thing to do.

“I’m a moderately intelligent person and I’ve studied it and it’s hard to follow. It’s moving numbers and percentages and it’s a very complex thing. I think it’s broken. And I’m willing to work as hard as anybody to try to change it,” he said. “Speaker (Michael) Madigan has already said publicly that he really doesn’t want to tackle that himself. I’ll try. I’m wiling to do it if that’s what it takes to get a grand bargain done, I’ll do it.

“But what I’ve said is that if it takes longer than August to get it done, then let’s not hold up the rest of the budget and let’s not hold up school funding. What we can’t do is hold our kids and our teachers hostage in K-12 schools. That would be wrong.”

Um, Madigan has set up a bipartisan formula reform committee, so I’m not sure what the governor’s talking about.

* Sen. Andy Manar’s response

“I have advised the governor that he is making the same mistake as his predecessors,” Manar said. “He thinks we can spend our way out of this problem. We spend $12 billion today on schools and we have the least equitable system in America. We can spend $12 billion better, to drive better results and bridge the inequity gap.”

* The Question: Do you think the funding formula will be reformed before August? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

- Posted by Rich Miller   49 Comments      

Friday random linkage

Friday, Mar 25, 2016

* Possibly interesting politics…

* Writing on the wall for area political dynasties

* Progressives join forces with the Machine to realign Chicago’s Democratic Party - The Garcia crowd teamed up with the Madigan bunch in last week’s Illinois primary

* Spitting at the inferno…

* Phil Luciano: Illinois high schools should kill costly sports programs to get Springfield’s attention

* Editorial: Call your local legislator, ask why

* Dave Bakke: Illinois budget stalemate going right into the toilet

* Captain Obvious strikes again…

* Political expert: “If you are a Democratic member of the House, you are going to be for Michael Madigan and that’s understood.”

* And again…

* SIU President Randy Dunn: “If we’re sitting in mid-summer, and we have no FY17 budget, and the current status continues, and the General Assembly is no longer in session - if they’ve adjourned - then this Board at that point is probably going to have to come back together and make some very, very tough decisions.”

* I didn’t realize DNAInfo Chicago paid per click…

* WWE Champion CM Punk Slams Gov. Rauner, Defends Teachers On Twitter

- Posted by Rich Miller   6 Comments      

Caption contest!

Friday, Mar 25, 2016

* From the twitters…

- Posted by Rich Miller   59 Comments      

No loophole for you!

Friday, Mar 25, 2016

* The Tribune on yesterday’s Supreme Court pension ruling

The city’s top attorney, Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton, had tried to squeeze the city through a loophole. He contended that the [pension] funds themselves, and not the city, were solely responsible for paying out benefits to retirees.

But Justice Theis considered the argument — benefits would be severely diminished if the funds went broke — and concluded that scenario “would lead to an absurd and unjust result.”

“The General Assembly and the city have been on notice since the ratification of the 1970 constitution that the benefits of the membership must be paid in full, and that they must be paid without diminishing or impairing them,” she wrote.

Clint Krislov, who represented the retired workers that sued, called that part of the court opinion “perhaps the most significant.”

That “eliminates the city’s threat that we’ll just let the funds go bankrupt, and you’ll be stuck with a claim on a fund that has no money. This makes it clear that the city is going to be on the hook to make sure that these pensions are paid,” Krislov said.

* More from the Sun-Times

“The city was essentially threatening and saying, ‘If you don’t go along with this, we’re going to walk away from the funds.’ The city can’t do that now. This puts a dagger in that argument,” Krislov said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

Really? Let’s see the plan

Friday, Mar 25, 2016

* News-Gazette

Asked by Elisabeth Miller, a senior from Paxton, about scholarship funding at public colleges and universities, Rauner said he hoped “to get more state support for universities but we also want to help them bring their costs down.

“One of the challenges in our university system is that a lot of the money that goes to the schools is going to the administrative costs, the pension costs, the layers of bureaucracy, and it’s not going into the classrooms with the kids. We’re trying to change the system so the money is going into the classroom so it brings down the costs and the tuition won’t have to go up.”

I don’t know if he understands what an appropriations veto does, but it doesn’t do that.

Seriously, though, that sounds like an interesting idea. So, how about we see some details? All we have so far is “Squeeze the beast.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   70 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - “What the Governor said is true” *** Madigan spokesman denies a one-on-one invite was extended by Rauner

Friday, Mar 25, 2016

* News-Gazette

Rauner also said he hopes to meet soon with Madigan to start working on a series of budget and government reform compromises.

“I was told the speaker would be up for maybe working out compromises after the primary, that he was waiting for the primary election,” he said. “My office reached out to the speaker’s office last week after the primary and said, ‘OK, the election’s over; can you and I meet, Mister Speaker, and try to work out some reforms and to try to get a budget and get some compromises? We’re still waiting for the speaker’s office to give us any dates.”

* But Madigan’s spokesman said that’s not the way he heard it

“Somebody from his staff wanted to have a dinner meeting with somebody from our staff, not last week or this week but next week. And then there was talk that part of the topic of that dinner would be a meeting,” he said. “So that’s where we are.”

*** UPDATE ***  From the governor’s office…

​Hi, Rich -

Reaching out because of the below post.

What the Governor said is true.


- Posted by Rich Miller   98 Comments      

Not an Onion headline

Friday, Mar 25, 2016

* “City To Quit Ordering Police-Shooting Investigators To Change Findings”

The agency that probes shootings by Chicago police says it will no longer order investigators to change their findings.

Sharon Fairley, chief administrator of the city’s Independent Police Review Authority, said at a Wednesday news conference that investigators can stick to their findings even if superiors overturn them.

Fairley also promised a paper trail in the case file. “We would document that kind of conflict going forward,” she said.

WBEZ revealed that Scott Ando, Fairley’s predecessor, fired Supervising Investigator Lorenzo Davis last July after he resisted orders to change findings that officers were at fault in six shooting cases.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

RNUG looks at the Cullerton pension plan

Friday, Mar 25, 2016

* AP

Gov. Bruce Rauner is touting a Senate plan to fix Chicago’s pension system after the Illinois Supreme Court rejected the city’s bailout plan.

The court ruled unanimously Thursday that the law reducing benefits and increasing employee contributions to fill an $8 billion hole in two retirement programs violated the state constitution’s protection of promised benefits. It ruled the same way on a state-pension overhaul last year.

According to audio released by his office, Rauner told reporters at a school visit in Paxton that benefits already accrued should be untouched. He backs a plan by Senate President John Cullerton — a Chicago Democrat — to offer employees a choice of less-expensive future retirement options.

* From yesterday’s Supreme Court decision

Even taking as true the facts advanced to support the City’s claim, we hold that as a matter of law, members of the Funds did not bargain away their constitutional rights in this process. To be sure, ordinary contract principles allow for the modification of pension benefits in a bargained-for exchange for consideration. Buddell v. Board of Trustees, State University Retirement System, 118 Ill. 2d 99, 104-05 (1987) (pension rights can be modified “in accordance with usual contract principles”). As we explained in Heaton, the pension protection clause was not intended to prohibit the legislature from providing “additional benefits” and requiring additional employee contributions or other consideration in exchange. Heaton, 2015 IL 118585, ¶ 46 n.12. Likewise, nothing prohibits an employee from knowingly and voluntarily agreeing to modify pension benefits from an employer in exchange for valid consideration from the employer. Kraus v. Board of Trustees of the Police Pension Fund, 72 Ill. App. 3d 833, 849 (1979); see also York v. Central Illinois Mutual Relief Ass’n, 340 Ill. 595, 602 (1930) (“one party to a contract cannot by his own acts release or alter its obligations. The intention must be mutual.”).

* Now, here’s the Cullerton plan as described by Mike Schrimpf on Jan 22, 2016

Pension Plan Summary

    Tier 1 members (hired before January 1, 2011) in SERS, SURS, TRS, and GARS are provided two choices and must make an election between the two choices.

Choice 1

    · COLA is the lessor of 3% OR ½ CPI, simple interest on the originally granted annuity.
    In Exchange For
    · Future increases in salary will count as pensionable salary.

Choice 2

    · No changes to current level of pension benefits; COLA remains at 3% annually, compounded.
    In Exchange For
    · Future salary increases will not count as pensionable salary.​

* From the Illinois Constitution


Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.

* From our resident pension expert RNUG, who has been proven right every time…

Let’s take a look at the legislation through the lens of the most recent decision that basically says you can’t change things except, MAYBE, by the consideration contract model.

A court would take up the issue of diminishment under the Pension Clause first, then look at contract law consideration.

First, there is no “keep what you have” option. The proposed choice is coerced, so it’s not going to be judged as voluntary under contract law and that is before we even look at any consideration or diminishment issue.

In Choice 1, the so-called consideration is that future salary increases will count as pensionable salary. How is that different from today? It isn’t; today any raise received will be part of the salary used in the pension calculation formula. So you get nothing new in exchange for giving up your 3% compounded AAI. Doesn’t sound like any kind of valid consideration and, in fact, diminishes your future pension payments.

In Choice 2, the so-called consideration is keeping your existing 3% compounded AAI in exchange for diminishing the salary basis used for calculating the pension. You get to keep what you are already entitled to in terms of pension payments, but we won’t let you have a higher Final Average Compensation than you have today. In other words, we will limit one of the factors used to calculate your pension. That is clearly diminishment, and there have been a number of prior rulings that, to paraphrase, say you don’t have to give raises, but if you do, it counts towards the pension.

Without citing the various cases, it’s clear to me that both Choice 1 and Choice 2 would likely be ruled unconstitutional.

Now if you added “keep what you have”, it might be legal enough to pass the constitutional test but it might still have issues as to whether or not is was “valid” consideration … although the IL SC did tend to imply if you were fool enough to voluntarily agree to a bad deal, it might be legal.

I can’t imagine anyone who understood it taking either choice voluntarily.

And if forced to make a choice, personally, I would refuse to choose - while undoing things after any court ruling - so I could later argue to the IRS that “irrevocability” did not apply because I never agreed to the change.


- Posted by Rich Miller   121 Comments      

* Here we go again...
* Who raised what in AG race?
* Warning issued over putting medically fragile children in Medicaid managed care
* Schakowsky, Gutierrez endorse Lipinski's Democratic opponent
* Rauner tied to Greitens, Pritzker tied to Blagojevich
* Some states looking for ways around federal tax law
* *** UPDATED x1 - Rauner, RGA respond *** Watch Dem candidates appear at Sun-Times
* Poll: Rauner leads Ives 65-21
* Not the governor's greatest day
* Kennedy needs to dig deeper, but can he?
* The fight for second place
* Group offers possible fix to problems with Rauner's AV
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...






* Ill. governor signs bill to focus on needs of f.....
* University of Illinois Trustee Seat Has Been Em.....
* University of Illinois trustee seat has been em.....
* Gauen: Raid on county offices, Missouri sex sca.....
* Gauen: Raid, Missouri sex scandal weigh on Illi.....
* University of Illinois still has vacant trustee.....

* University of Illinois trustee seat has been empty a year
* 6 face charges involving drugs, stolen electronics
* Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in Illinois
* Meteor credited for bright light, noise rattling Michigan
* UIC breaks ground on $100M academic, residential complex
* Deadline to redeem unclaimed $1 million lottery ticket nears
* Deadline to redeem unclaimed $1 million lottery ticket nears
* Rauner spokesman: 'Governor believes David Duke is a racist'
* Recently retired US judge, Milton Shadur, dies at 93
* Woman paralyzed by collapsed bus shelter settles for $115M

* Rauner campaign: 'Governor believes David Duke is a racist'
* Rauner defends amendatory veto of school funding bill
* Rauner signs bill to focus on needs of female prison inmates
* Rauner tours Lincoln prison, touts reforms helping female inmates
* Fact check: Rauner Legionnaires' claim downplays facts
* PolitiFact: Rauner Legionnaires’ claim downplays facts
* Democrat Kennedy calls Republican Ives' gun crime solution ignorant and stupid
* Trump says his words on immigration were misrepresented by 'Senator Dicky Durbin'
* How Illinois governor candidates would address gun violence
* Kennedy targets gun violence in Illinois governor campaign

* Apple to build 2nd campus, hire 20,000 in $350B pledge
* Theresa Mintle is trying on academia for size
* Emanuel picks up a re-election rival
* Tax code change dings ADM
* Kennedy, Emanuel and race: Where's the truth?

* City Council approves $5.5M Presence Health subsidy after emotional debate
* Protesters demanding Obama sign community benefits agreement make voices heard
* Second phase of Metra’s Ravenswood station construction plans unveiled
* New fast-casual restaurant planned for Logan Square
* Autopsy: Death of person found after 2017 East Chatham fire was homicide
* Chicago goes 6 days without a fatal shooting
* First blue catfish from the wintry scene of Powerton Lake: Fish of the Week
* Lee Ann Womack more ‘down home’ on latest album
* The war horsemen ride to Afghanistan’s rescue in cliché collection ’12 Strong’
* Autopsy: Woman burned to death in Hyde Park fire

* Jordan Bell starts for Warriors vs. Bulls
* Honey's closes abruptly, lays off staff
* The #MeToo movement is at a dangerous tipping point
* Steve Bannon attorney relayed questions to White House during interview, was told when not to respond: AP sources
* Apple to build 2nd campus, hire 20,000 in $350B pledge
* Cary man charged with attempted murder for allegedly stabbing relative
* Worst to first? A look at the climb ahead for Bears
* Republican Sen. Jeff Flake compares Trump's attacks on media to rhetoric of Stalin
* 13 children held captive in California home were denied contact with outside world, aunts say
* After less than 2 years, Divvy bike sharing to end in Oak Park due to low ridership

» Rauner Spokesman: 'Governor Believes David Duke Is A Racist'
» Rauner Signs Law To Help Women Behind Bars
» A Poor Neighborhood In Chicago Looks To Cuba To Fight Infant Mortality
» Democratic Candidates In Lockstep At Justice Forum
» Dem Candidates In Lockstep At Justice Forum
» Chicago Sees Record Number Of Visitors In 2017
» Art Exhibit Delves Into Chicago Police Brutality
» Chicago Schools Chief Pledges Major Changes To Special Education
» Chicago’s Police Reform Is A ‘Long-Term Project’
» Chicago Needs ‘Substantive, Foundational Change’ To Police Department

* Rauner campaign: 'Governor believes David Duke is a racist'
* Our View: Dubious tariff endangers newspapers' future
* Byron York: Paul Manafort has a point
* EJ Dionne: Will Trump exhaust our democratic capacities?
* Ralph Martire: Evidence-based school funding formula makes most sense
* Catherine Rampell: Trump is hoping you won't notice his backdoor repeal of Obamacare
* Rauner defends amendatory veto of school funding bill
* Rauner signs bill to focus on needs of female prison inmates
* Rauner tours Lincoln prison, touts reforms helping female inmates
* Fact check: Rauner Legionnaires' claim downplays facts

* Jan. 18 prep sports chat
* Songs of the ’60s highlight ‘Breaking Up Is Hard to Do’
* Get an inside look at Hard Road Theatre’s latest musical
* Bass Pro Shops founder to restore historic Missouri mill
* Noon update: Warmer in the Q-C
* O’Fallon Township Youth Committee seeks members
* LISTEN: Sharon Gramm of the Peoria Riverfront Association
* Suspect’s boyfriend says sex-change ‘mood swings’ led to kitten killings
* Rauner spokesman: 'Governor believes David Duke is a racist'
* Sen. Dick Durbin talks Trump comments on 'The View'

* Humans will review video from most popular YouTube creators
* East Carolina hires ex-Tennessee football assistant Mahoney
* Fundraiser saves pony who lost penis to cancer, frostbite
* Police interview friends of quarterback who killed himself
* American, Canadian kidnapped by gunmen in central Nigeria

* Our view: End patronage at Algonquin Towns...
* Hultgren behind effort to expand energy re...
* Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and...
* Lawmakers back renaming Warrenville post o...
* Tioga State Bank leader addresses Congress...
* Teacher raised in Yorkville running agains...
* Kane County assessor: No guarantee your ta...
* Algonquin Township fires Ryan Provenzano a...
* Dissident artist Ai Weiwei and US Rep. Ran...
* This RSS feed URL is deprecated

* This RSS feed URL is deprecated...
* Meghan McCain asks Dick Durbin about his '......
* Sen. Dick Durbin talks Trump comments on '......

* This RSS feed URL is deprecated...

* EXTRA: Ives a movement, or nobody?
* From the archive: The man who built a 33-foot-tall metal Madonna
* This is not a drill.
* Sketchbook.
* Sunday week in review.
* WTTW’s Paris Schutz and the myth of averages.
* Di Leo: The Founding Fathers and the Immigration Debate
* Democrat Pritzker calls for legalizing marijuana in Illinois
* Cook County GOP chairman slams Chicago GOP for endorsing Ives over Rauner
* University of Chicago top ranked school for viewpoint diversity

* Illinois Awarded Funds to Offer Advanced Training on Detecting Impaired Driving
* Illinois EPA Announces Upcoming Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events
* IEMA Highlights Emergency Preparedness for People with Access and Functional Needs in May - Ready Illinois website offers preparedness tips for people, caregivers
* First Lady Launches Illinois Family Connects
* Governor and Lt. Governor Unveil 2016 Journal of Local Government Shared Service Best Practices

* Siri’s podcast-promoting ‘Give me the News’ feature is now out of beta
* Google will make page speed a factor in mobile search ranking starting in July
* Apple Seeds Sixth Beta of tvOS 11.2.5 to Developers and Public Beta Testers
* Samsung has produced a stunning Limited Edition Galaxy Note 8 for the Winter Olympics that you can’t buy
* Honor 9 Lite gets a price and release date in India, coming soon to ‘other global markets’
* Google’s Project Fi now caps data bills at $60
* Best Chargers For Your Android Phones and Tablets [2018]

* Pirates rebuild not met with enthusiasm
* White Sox announce player development staff
* Robert at ease during Sox hitters mini-camp
* Moncada guiding Robert during mini-camp
* White Sox announce player development staff
* Hitters’ mini-camp underway in Glendale
* Kopech close to joining White Sox rotation

Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller