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AG Madigan: Filing will “solve the crisis, not create it”

Friday, Jan 27, 2017

* Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s spokesperson responds to Gov. Rauner’s claim that her legal motion to stop paying state workers without an appropriation will create a crisis…

What’s truly shocking is the claim that our filing created a crisis in state government. We are in a crisis and we have been for more than 18 months.

The claim that this filing has created a crisis ignores the reality that nonprofit organizations, grantees, vendors and universities have been living in crisis for a year and a half. Many of these organizations that provide critical services to the people of Illinois have been irreparably harmed during this impasse.

Our filing explicitly recognizes the difficulty the Governor and Legislature are having in enacting a full budget. We have asked the court to set a date over a month away – to give the Governor and Legislature even more time to enact a budget that avoids hardship not just to state employees but for all the organizations that serve people in this state.

Asking the court to impose a deadline for the Governor and Legislature to do their jobs will solve the crisis, not create it. The Governor and Legislature can resolve this situation at any time and they have had ample time to do that.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

A message from Steve Schnorf

Friday, Jan 27, 2017

* Steve Schnorf sent me this a little while ago and asked that I share it with you…

I read the comments and am awestruck to find that I have affected so many people’s lives. Fortunately it sounds like I’ve impacted them in a positive way. Those of you who know me best know that I am an imperfect man with many faults and shortcomings, but you also know that I try to never let those human failures impinge on what needs to be done in government and in politics.

I had it easy: I had a wonderful mentor in Jim Edgar for whom I worked 18 years. I was then able to finish my full-time career in state government working for the most decent man I’ve ever known in state government, George Ryan. I have known and worked with multiple iterations of the four leaders in the General Assembly. They have all been extraordinary public servants. You could find no finer than the current four.

Do not lower yourself to thinking of Governor Bruce Rauner or House Speaker Mike Madigan as base or thoughtless, much less evil. Help them help us do what must be done; abandon your silly partisanship. Be inclusive and growth will come from that. Protect the state’s working men and women by improving the state’s economic environment and by defending the virtues we have held dear over the years.

Unapologetically old school all day, every day.

Comments are now closed for the weekend, but you can still post well-wishes by clicking here and I’ll unblock them so that Steve can read them.

* And here’s his song request. I’ll talk to you next week

My strongest trials now are past, my triumph has begun

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Rep. Kelly Burke makes pitch for “aggressive” reforms

Friday, Jan 27, 2017

* Press release

State Rep. Kelly Burke (36th District), is calling for aggressive economic reforms that will improve Illinois’ business climate, invest in education and provide immediate relief to hardworking middle-class families in response to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s annual State of the State Address.

* Her agenda, which is actually the House Democrats’ official agenda these days

* Closing loopholes and cracking down on large corporations that currently pay nothing in taxes.
* Reinstating the EDGE tax credit for businesses that create jobs.
* Passing reforms to the workers’ compensation system that require insurance companies to pass savings onto employers.
* Outlawing any future tax incentives for businesses that ship American jobs overseas.

* Allowing working families to keep more of their hard-earned money by increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit.
* Raising the minimum wage.
* Requiring millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share to fund elementary and secondary education by creating a small surcharge on annual income greater than $1 million.

Not exactly the Chamber’s idea of “aggressive” reforms.

* Her closing pitch

“Closing loopholes that unfairly advantage big corporations, reducing workers compensation costs and expanding tax credits for job creators will improve Illinois’ business climate and put more people to work,” Burke said. “These economic reforms, in conjunction with a fair and responsible budget, can help Illinois move on from the past two years of gridlock and partisanship and allow us to tackle the other serious challenges facing our state.”

The House Democrats apparently still haven’t come to terms with the fact that Illinois elected a Republican governor two years ago.

But, like I said yesterday, this could be Speaker Madigan’s way of setting down some markers.

…Adding… Like I said, they haven’t come to terms with this reality even after two years…

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

Bond doubles, but jail time craters

Friday, Jan 27, 2017

* Much higher bonds for gun defendants aren’t working

Since 2012, the median amount of bond set by Cook County judges for people charged with felony gun crimes has doubled — from $25,000 to $50,000. But over the same time period, the average number of days a defendant spends in jail before posting bond for a gun charge has fallen by more than half, from 42 to 18 days, according to the Tribune analysis. […]

But defendants accused of theft, who often can’t afford bond, typically spend more time in jail than those facing gun charges, the Tribune found.


* More from the Tribune

In the same time period, shootings increased by 42 percent while the number of firearm recoveries, as well as firearm-recovery arrests, have plunged. Firearm recovery arrests dropped by 9 percent, and gun recoveries fell by about 33 percent, from 12,650 in 2012 to 8,416 last year, according to police data.

That last part is a bit misleading because arrests appear to be slightly on the rise after a drop a few years ago

Still, this is not heartening at all.

* Meanwhile

Following the U.S. Department of Justice’s withering criticism of the Chicago Police Department’s training efforts, top police officials have vowed to improve a field training program that matches rookies with seasoned cops for on-the-job mentoring and education.

Yet two cops currently in training to become field training officers were themselves involved in separate controversial fatal shootings. Both fatalities resulted in multimillion-dollar legal payouts by the city.

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      

JT rubs it in

Friday, Jan 27, 2017

* Yet another e-mail to state employees…

Dear Colleagues,

I wanted to follow up on the Governor’s message below and assure all employees that, in addition to other resources, they can reach out to our labor relations team for updates on the employee pay lawsuit. The Attorney General’s move to halt employee pay is truly unfortunate. The least my office can do in response is to keep everyone informed.

Staying informed is especially critical for those of you who are about to decide whether to authorize AFSCME to call for a strike. The decision belongs to each employee and we trust that everyone is going to seek out accurate information to make an informed choice. With the Attorney General’s move to cut off employee pay, AFSCME members should consult with their union representatives and ask whether a strike for higher wages would be lawful if the Attorney General succeeds in her quest. In addition, because the Attorney General’s argument implicates the provision of health insurance to state employees-a benefit for which the General Assembly also has not appropriated sufficient resources-AFSCME members should consult with their union representatives on whether a strike over health insurance would likewise be lawful. We know that the decision to strike is yours and yours alone, and we continue to encourage all employees to get accurate information as they decide whether to strike​. Please continue to visit the FAQ website and submit your questions for our team.



John Terranova

Deputy Director

CMS Office of Labor Relations

Of for crying out loud. This is a labor dispute over the contract, not the appropriations.

* Anyway, I’ve been quietly wondering last night and today whether one reason the governor doesn’t want a court ruling on worker pay is that he won’t be able to pay “replacement workers” if AFSCME employees do walk out. He also wouldn’t be able to shift currently non-union workers to union positions because they wouldn’t be paid, either.

- Posted by Rich Miller   54 Comments      

Question of the day

Friday, Jan 27, 2017

* From the Illinois Republican Party

Capitol Fax reported this morning that Mike Madigan showered his legislative enablers this week with engraved crystal clocks.

The cost? Nearly 50 grand.

Madigan’s campaign fund reported spending over $46,000 at the end of 2016 at “Sawbridge Studios”, where engraved crystal clocks from Simon Pearce are sold.

What’s worse? The clocks apparently feature the inscription, “The honorable Michael J. Madigan. Longest serving Speaker of a state House of Representatives in United States history.”

House Democrats sold out the people of Illinois and Mike Madigan paid them off with thousands of dollars in expensive clocks while mocking the people of Illinois with gifts as tone deaf as the Chicago agenda he supports.

Now House Democrats and other Madigan cronies can be constantly reminded that they are always on the clock for Mike Madigan.

Man, I hate getting dragged into this stuff, especially since that story was behind a subscribers-only firewall. I’ll be having a chat with those boys and girls.

Sawbridge Studios is in Winnetka, by the way. Madigan sends people on his Christmas gift list a Simon Pearce piece every year. Pearce is an Irish-American, so it’s kinda fitting.

I didn’t look at his campaign committee spending for my story this morning. But I just did and Madigan’s campaign committee has spent a total of $535,127.03 at the place since 2005. In October of 2015, Madigan reported spending $39,312.50 at Sawbridge, and this past November, he spent the identical $39,312.50. He reported spending $7,312.50 on December 20th. So, that $50K number quoted above may not be accurate. We’ll see if MJM demands a retraction.

* The clock…

They have some heft, for sure.

* The Question: Caption?

- Posted by Rich Miller   71 Comments      

AFSCME’s Lynch: AG Madigan action “harmful and irresponsible,” Rauner caring about workers is a “bunch of baloney”

Friday, Jan 27, 2017

* Council 31 executive director Roberta Lynch e-mailed her members today. The e-mail’s subject headline was: “Attorney General Is Wrong”…

Dear [redacted],

Last night AFSCME’s attorney received official notification that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a motion yesterday in St. Clair County Circuit Court to dissolve the preliminary injunction that AFSCME secured nearly two years ago to ensure that state employees would continue to be paid despite the state’s budget standoff.

I want you to know that AFSCME is prepared to return to court in opposition to the Attorney General’s motion and to pursue every available legal means to halt her action. Other unions representing state employees were our partners in securing the original injunction and I’m confident they will stand with us now.

The Attorney General is justifying her action by citing the urgent need for a resolution of the state budget stalemate.

Of course, we all agree that such a resolution is long overdue. That’s why AFSCME has repeatedly called on Governor Rauner to end his insistence that enactment of a state budget must be tied to his personal political agenda which is aimed at weakening workers’ rights.

However, the need for a budget resolution can in no way justify the Attorney General’s harmful and irresponsible legal maneuver.

AG Madigan’s action is particularly objectionable coming as it does at a time when Governor Rauner has already been waging a relentless assault on state employees—seeking to impose his own contract terms that would drastically drive down employees’ incomes and weaken rights on the job.

Our union has said repeatedly that we do not want to see a shutdown of state government. We have done everything possible to avert a strike. But we are determined to resist the governor’s efforts to impose his terms—which would set us back for many years to come.

That’s why it is more critical than ever that union members vote “YES” to give your Bargaining Committee the authorization to call a strike if that becomes the only recourse to gain fair treatment and respect.

Today Governor Rauner will be claiming that he is a friend of state employees and wants to make sure you get paid. We know well what a bunch of baloney that is. After nearly two years of unremitting hostility toward state employees—doing everything possible to inflict damage to our working conditions and our economic security, there’s no way Bruce Rauner has decided to be our buddy now. Rather, his phony sympathy is nothing but an effort to protect his own position in the state budget battle.

You and your fellow state employees are on the job every day providing vital services that Illinois citizens depend on—often under difficult, even dangerous, conditions. It is deeply disturbing when it appears that our state’s political leaders see you as no more than pawns in their games—failing to respect or value the vital work that you do.

But we won’t be discouraged or beaten down. We have won so many battles standing together and fighting back—and we can win this one too!

In Unity,

Roberta Lynch
Executive Director

…Adding… From SEIU President Keith Kelleher…

“On behalf of our home healthcare and child care workers who have collective bargaining agreements with the State of Illinois and provide vital care for 30,000 people with disabilities and 61,000 children, we obviously oppose any efforts to stop payments or efforts that delay payments to our workforce, who struggle to get by as it is. But we all know how we got here–because of a governor who ran on shutting down government.

“Bruce Rauner NEVER will know the real pain that is endured by those he causes to suffer. But he has welcomed it in a shameful fashion by abandoning his constitutional duty to present a balanced budget to the General Assembly. Instead he has held Illinois hostage to his political wish list. The Attorney General’s action is a symptom. This governor is its cause.

“We call on Rauner to present a budget that funds vital services for the most vulnerable in our state.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   62 Comments      

We love you, Schnorf!

Friday, Jan 27, 2017

* Pretty much everyone who knows Steve Schnorf respects him as a professional and loves him as a human being. The former CMS and budget director has forgotten more about running a government than most everyone will ever know. And he’s one of the kindest, sweetest souls you will ever meet.

We had dinner a month or so ago and he looked great and we had a very nice evening. A few days later, though, Steve called from the hospital to tell me that he had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

That’s the bad one. It moves very fast. An experimental treatment from the University of Chicago was supposed to prolong Steve’s life, but it’s not working as billed. He developed a nasty infection and was in intensive care here in Springfield when I visited him yesterday. He said he was being moved out of the ICU to palliative care. Steve said he expects to be sent home in a week for hospice care.

Steve told me yesterday that he and his wife Jane are planning a celebration of life event and he wants it to be held somewhere at his beloved Capitol Complex after he’s gone. He and his daughter, a musician, are working on the music.

* Steve has been an integral part of this blog. His comments carry great weight. He told me yesterday the tubes in his hands have prevented him from commenting on or even reading the blog, which caused him to realized how much this website and all the characters who populate it have meant to him over the years.

I asked him if he was OK with me doing a post. He made a joke about how he figured I’d eventually try to monetize his impending demise. We had a good laugh about that one. But, hey, I always laugh a lot when I’m around Schnorf. He’s a super guy and I cannot tell you how much I will miss him without breaking down. My heart and the hearts of the few who’ve known about this sad development have been broken for the last month or so.

But he’s taking it like the man he is, and so will I. No tears - just the joy of knowing that I and many others are darned lucky to know this gentleman.

Schnorf has been my friend and my mentor for many years. He has helped so many people and has meant so much to them that I’m not really sure this very modest man understands the full impact of his life.

* So, the point of this post is for all of us to tell Steve what he means to us and to wish him well on his journey. He’ll be reading your comments.

This is my favorite photo of Schnorf from last summer before we took Oscar for a spin on the pontoon…

I love you, Steve. Hang in there, buddy.

- Posted by Rich Miller   200 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - Governor vows “all legal options” in e-mail to employees *** Rauner: “Let’s not block our progress by creating a crisis”

Friday, Jan 27, 2017

* While speaking at an event, Gov. Rauner gave a statement to reporters today about AG Madigan’s motion to stop paying state workers without a valid appropriation…

I am deeply disappointed, very upset about this court filing that Attorney General Madigan has made in St. Clair County seeking to block state employee pay.

I hope this is not a direct attempt to cause a crisis, to force a shutdown of the government to force another stopgap spending plan, short-term, unbalanced, incomplete, as a step to force a tax hike without any changes to our broken system.

I hope that’s not what this is. I hope the attorney general will reconsider. This is gonna hurt workin’ families, the good hard-workin’ employees of Illinois, who deserve to be paid, deserve to stay workin’.

The people of our state need our state employees to continue workin’. I hope the attorney general will reconsider this move.

And let’s not block the great work that the Senate is doing to come up with a compromise and a truly balanced budget, which is what we need, along with changes to the system so we can grow the economy and create more jobs.

Please do not take steps to disrupt the Senate’s work. And please respect the fact that we are making progress.

I want to thank, again, the House that did pass the property tax freeze and has said that we need economic reforms to grow jobs.

Let’s not block our progress by creating a crisis.

Um, OK, but this crisis started when he vetoed the budget in 2015.

* Raw audio…

*** UPDATE ***  The governor just sent an e-mail to all state workers…

Dear Employees:

By now you’ve heard the shocking news that Attorney General Lisa Madigan went into court late yesterday to petition a judge to halt state employee pay.

It’s disappointing to see any move to stop employee pay and disrupt government services, especially now as the Senate is on the verge of a bipartisan agreement to enact a balanced budget with changes to create jobs and lower property taxes. The Attorney General’s court filing seeks to directly harm thousands of employee families and even more who rely on your hard work every day.

Our Administration will use all available legal options to continue employee pay and avoid any disruption to government services. I am hopeful Comptroller Mendoza will stand with state employees - just as Comptroller Munger did previously - and support our legal arguments to continue employee pay.

No matter what, we will work tirelessly on your behalf to stop this attempt to undermine good-faith bipartisan negotiations in the Senate - ensuring employee pay continues, government services remain intact and the General Assembly enacts a bipartisan balanced budget with changes to our broken system.


Governor Bruce Rauner​

- Posted by Rich Miller   87 Comments      

One of Trump’s claims about Chicago murders doesn’t check out

Friday, Jan 27, 2017

* Remember this from yesterday?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: But so far they have been unable. It’s been going on for years. And I wasn’t president. So, look, when President Obama was there two weeks ago making a speech, very nice speech. Two people were shot and killed during his speech. You can’t have that. […]

They weren’t shot at the speech. But they were shot in the city of Chicago during his speech. What — what’s going on?

* Buzzfeed checked into it

Chicago Police, however, told BuzzFeed News there were no fatal shootings in the city on Jan. 10, the day the former president gave the speech.

A police record of shootings in the city that day provided to BuzzFeed News also shows no shootings from about 8 to 9 p.m. while Obama spoke. According to the records, five shootings were reported in Chicago on the day of Obama’s visit, but none of the victims were fatally wounded.

* So did the Tribune

According to the Tribune database, the city had no slayings for about 24 hours before and after Obama’s speech, which lasted from 8:02 to 8:53 p.m. A man was shot about 20 minutes after the speech about eight miles away in the West Side’s Lawndale neighborhood, but that victim survived, according to Police Department data.

Calls and emails seeking comment from the White House media affairs office were not immediately returned.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      

More finger-pointing

Friday, Jan 27, 2017

* The AP has a story out entitled “With eye on 2018, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says ‘Don’t blame me’”

With crises mounting around him, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s strategy for fending off potential Democratic challengers and keeping his job in 2018 includes stressing the bright spots while blaming others for the things going horribly wrong.

As a Republican in a solidly Democratic state, the wealthy former private equity investor would have been one of the country’s most endangered GOP incumbents even under the best of circumstances. Adding to his task are a state budget impasse that has dragged on for most of his two years in office, decimating many social service agencies and creating billions more in debt, and a labor dispute that has Illinois’ largest public-employee union holding its first strike-authorization vote.

Rauner didn’t make more than a fleeting reference to the budget until the end of his annual State of the State address on Wednesday. Instead, he highlighted accomplishments such as ethics reforms, increased funding for schools and improved cybersecurity of state records and said he was “deeply optimistic” about Illinois’ future.

When he made it to the budget issue, he was quick to point the finger at his predecessors for creating a mess that includes $130 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and the worst credit rating of any state.

Yeah, and then things got worse on every fiscal front.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      

More on AG Madigan’s motion

Friday, Jan 27, 2017

* A couple of things got lost in the crazy shuffle last night when Barton and I were posting statements regarding Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s legal motion to dismiss the state employee pay order. For instance, Barton rightly asked the AG’s office this last night…

The question I keep getting is why now? Why not weeks or even months ago?

The second paragraph from the AG office’s response was inadvertently left out, so here’s the statement in full…

It has always been our goal to allow the executive and legislative branches to do their job without further litigation. While the stopgap budget was in place, it was our hope that the Governor and Legislature would continue to work to enact a full fiscal year budget. The Legislature and the Governor now face the need to enact a budget for the rest of the fiscal year. With the legislature in session, this is an appropriate time to address the need to pass a full budget to cover all operations.

Also, the burden of the budget impasse has unfairly fallen on the non-profits and vendors that serve millions of Illinois residents. Some of these organizations have been irreparably harmed in the process. The State can avoid causing further damage to them and avoid any impacts to State employees if the Governor and the Legislature take action to enact a full budget.

The AG’s motion is here. Last year’s Supreme Court ruling on an almost identical matter is here.

* The last part of Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s statement also wasn’t posted…

The Office of the Comptroller is currently moving forward with contingency plans to meet the technical adjustments that a payroll stoppage would require. For example, employees in certain categories would receive partial payments and their paychecks and deductions would have to be adjusted accordingly.

Despite the possibility of a payroll stoppage over the last 18 months, the previous administration did not put in place policies to deal with this scenario.

You can’t force someone to work for no pay. The Civil War decided that question. But you can use federal law to designate “essential” workers and then pay them minimum wage. The previous comptroller argued in court that this would take months and may have even been impossible.

However, I am told that former Comptroller Munger’s office had developed a list of workers who could be labeled as essential. Maybe somebody in Mendoza’s office should pick up a phone.

* I was in Decatur about to give a speech to the local Chamber of Commerce when I found out about the filing and called Barton in a panic. Thank goodness for Barton! Anyway, for some reason, my speech was deemed newsworthy by the Herald & Review

A judge had previously ruled state workers could continue being paid throughout a standoff between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrat-controlled legislature, although nobody knew that the impasse would last as long as it has, said Rich Miller, founder of CEO of the Capitol Fax, a daily newsletter about Illinois government. […]

The lawsuit puts pressure on Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, the attorney general’s father, to come together on a budget agreement by the end of February, Miller said. […]

“We could be seeing the end of this stalemate,” Miller said. “I would have given [the Senate grand bargain] a 50-50 chance. We need more than that or we’ll be in trouble like nobody has ever seen in the history of history. Illinois is already a national and in many ways an international embarrassment.”

What a crazy night. I had prepared a speech about the Senate’s grand bargain and then this AG thing happened so I had to retool the whole speech on the fly.

* Let’s move to the Tribune story

Madigan’s office filed the request Thursday afternoon in St. Clair County Circuit Court, seeking to undo a July 2015 ruling from St. Clair County Circuit Court Judge Robert LeChien that said the state must pay workers in full despite a lack of a budget agreement.

Madigan makes it clear in the court paperwork that she’s trying to raise the pressure to get a budget in place, saying the judge’s order “has allowed the legislative and executive branches to fail to fulfill their constitutional duties without facing the real threat of a government shutdown.” […]

“With no possibility of a government shutdown to force action by the legislative and executive branches, the state has continued to operate without a budget to fund many services provided by vendors and grantees,” Madigan said in the filing. “Those vendors and grantees and the many Illinoisans they serve are bearing the brunt of this egregious and untenable budget impasse. This situation does not usually happen for long on the federal level or in other states precisely because the possibility of a government shutdown eventually leads to the passage and enactment of a budget.” […]

In the latest motion, Madigan argues a recent Illinois Supreme Court ruling rejected the idea that withholding pay would violate employee contracts, saying collective bargaining agreements are subject to funding from the legislature.

* On to the Sun-Times coverage, which has Speaker Madigan’s response to an ILGOP blast

“While serious bipartisan negotiations have accelerated in the Senate, it is outrageous that Lisa Madigan tonight decided to put Speaker Madigan’s power politics ahead of hard-working families in an effort to shut down state government,” state GOP spokesman Steven Yaffe said in a statement. “Only a Madigan would try to disrupt bipartisan momentum in a matter that threatens to cripple government services and hurt state workers and their families.”

Steve Brown, spokesman for the speaker, called the Republican Party’s comments “off base” and “not surprising.”

“The attorney general is her own person and will do what she chooses is the best thing to do,” Brown said, adding there is no basis to the questioning of the timing of the filing.

“They’ve [The Senate leaders] set their deadline. They are moving on their plan. I don’t see the connection frankly,” Brown said.

* And the SJ-R has a couple of reacts that we didn’t post

Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti: “Just one day after Governor Rauner thanked the Senate for their work to reach a bipartisan agreement on a balanced budget, Attorney General Madigan is attempting to disrupt that progress by filing a lawsuit that could shut down government operations. Illinois’ hardworking state employees deserve to be paid so they can continue to support their families who depend on their work.

State Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, R-Leland Grove: “In the midst of an unprecedented budget crisis, our state employees have continued to perform their work every day and have provided services to the people of Illinois while facing tremendous pressure and uncertainty. I am thankful that every state employee has continued to receive a paycheck throughout this impasse. It is extremely disappointing to hear that Attorney General Lisa Madigan is attempting to block state employee pay until a budget is finalized. We have seen tremendous progress in the last couple of weeks towards hopefully ending this stalemate. I am calling upon Attorney General Madigan to drop her efforts to block state employee pay and allow the members of the General Assembly to finish the work that the Senate has begun and negotiate a balanced budget that will get our state back on the right path.”

I’m sure there’s more to come.

- Posted by Rich Miller   78 Comments      

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Friday, Jan 27, 2017

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Thursday, Jan 26, 2017

Posted by Barton Lorimor

* 7:13 p.m. - A motion filed moments ago in St. Clair County Circuit Court by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan requests the dissolution of previous orders allowing payment of regular wages to state employees despite the absent appropriation authority.

Expect updates to come soon including the motion.

…Adding…For those who need a little background: Normally, state agencies send payroll vouchers to the Comptroller citing specific budget lines (appropriations). But when the state started fiscal year 2016 without a budget, the agencies could not send their payroll to the Comptroller. AFSCME filed suit in St. Clair County Court, which ordered state employees be paid even though there were not budget lines for it.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in a lawsuit brought by AFSCME the state did not have to pay raises outlined in the last enacted bargaining agreement because the Legislature did not give state agencies the appropriation authority.

The AG is essentially bringing the higher court’s ruling into the St. Clair Court’s order.

* 7:21 p.m. - From the AG…

This is our filing broken into two documents. The motion is the second attachment.

* 7:28 p.m. - Attorney General Madigan’s statement…

“Like everyone else in this state, I have long hoped that the Legislature and the Governor would pass and enact a budget. Unfortunately, that has not occurred and an order by the St. Clair County Court has removed much of the urgency for the Legislature and the Governor to act on a budget. However, during this long impasse, the Illinois Supreme Court overruled the sole legal basis for the St. Clair County Court’s order to allow state operations to continue without an appropriation. With a new legislative session now underway, this is an appropriate time to ask the Circuit Court to reconsider this order in light of the changes in the law.”

* 8:42 p.m. - I asked the Attorney General’s Office to elaborate on the timing of this motion. Here’s the response…

It has always been our goal to allow the executive and legislative branches to do their job without further litigation. While the stopgap budget was in place, it was our hope that the Governor and Legislature would continue to work to enact a full fiscal year budget. The Legislature and the Governor now face the need to enact a budget for the rest of the fiscal year. With the legislature in session, this is an appropriate time to address the need to pass a full budget to cover all operations.

* 7:32 p.m. - From Anders Lindall, spokesman for AFSCME Council 31…

We learned of this filing barely an hour ago. We are reviewing the motion and will respond in court.

Despite all the chaos in state government in the past two years, the people of Illinois have been able to count on state employees being on the job to serve them. The last thing Illinois needs is the further instability that blocking state payroll could cause.

Governor Rauner created this hostage situation by refusing to enact a fully funded budget unless his unrelated personal demands were enacted first. He should put aside those demands and do his job to work toward a budget without preconditions. Even so, we are shocked and extremely disappointed that the Attorney General would take this action. It is fundamental that everyone who works must be paid on time and in full, but this filing throws that basic commitment into question for state employees.

* 7:49 p.m. - From the Comptroller…

“Had Governor Rauner met his constitutional duty to propose a balanced budget in 2015 or 2016, we would not be facing a scenario where the livelihoods of our frontline employees could be threatened in this way.”

“Due to Governor Rauner’s abdication of his constitutional executive duties, our state finances continue to be managed almost wholly by court orders and judge edicts. It’s shameful that under his administration, the fifth largest state in the country is forced to operate like a bankrupt business.”

“We do not welcome the prospect of state employees going unpaid. I, like my fellow lawmakers, have been going without a paycheck. The last thing I want is for state employees to join me. I can tell you first-hand how hard I see my employees work. They do not deserve to be used as pawns in a manufactured budget impasse.”

“That said, I will abide by all court rulings as Attorney General Madigan pursues this court action.”

* 8:10 p.m. - From the Illinois Republican Party…

Illinois Republican Party Statement on Madigan Political Court Filing:

“While serious bipartisan negotiations have accelerated in the Senate, it is outrageous that Lisa Madigan tonight decided to put Speaker Madigan’s power politics ahead of hard-working families in an effort to shut down state government. Only a Madigan would try to disrupt bipartisan momentum in a matter that threatens to cripple government services and hurt state workers and their families. Comptroller Mendoza and every Democrat in the state who claims to be independent of the Madigan machine should immediately denounce these tactics and stand on the side of state employees and those who depend on them.”

* 8:25 p.m. - From Catherine Kelly, Gov. Rauner’s spokesperson…

“It’s disappointing to see any move to stop employee pay and disrupt government services, especially now as the Senate is on the verge of a bipartisan agreement to enact a balanced budget with changes to the system. This filing seeks to directly harm thousands of employee families and even more who rely on our dedicated state workers everyday. We urge the Attorney General to reconsider this filing and pledge to do all we can to defend employee pay.”

* 8:53 p.m. - Leader Radogno…

“The legislature has been involved in very public, delicate negotiations. The timing of this action could create an unnecessary crisis that could derail real compromise.”

* 9:26 p.m. - [Posted by Rich Miller, who is back from a speaking engagement in Decatur) Senate President Cullerton’s spokesman in the Sun-Times

“The Senate president has said that there is an urgent need to have a budget and this would appear to add to that sense of urgency,” spokesman John Patterson said.

* 9:39 p.m. - State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond)…

“The recent court filing from Attorney General Lisa Madigan can only be described as putting politics over people. This politically-motivated action is the same kind of Chicago-style politics that the Madigans too often employ. At a meeting I attended just this morning, a comment was made that, ‘as soon as deals in Illinois are close to done, someone always tries to blow it up.’ While the Senate has been negotiating and making progress towards a bipartisan budget deal, Madigan chose to instead disrupt state employee pay in an attempt to force a shutdown of state government, crippling vital government services and endangering families who rely on them. Attorney General Lisa Madigan should immediately denounce these hardball political tactics and stand with state employees and those who rely on state services.”

* 9:46 p.m. - House GOP Leader Jim Durkin…

The timing of the Attorney General’s action is questionable in light of the current attempts to resolve the budget impasse. This decision clearly undermines the legislature’s duty to negotiate a bipartisan solution

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   213 Comments      

Rauner in a trick bag?

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017

* The governor’s office would only tell Greg Hinz that it is “reviewing” the president’s executive order

A clause tucked into one of the executive orders President Donald Trump signed yesterday on illegal immigration could create a first-class headache for Gov. Bruce Rauner and his re-election prospects.

The clause—see Section 7 of the order at the bottom of this link—seeks to supercharge an existing program in which state and local law enforcement officials effectively become deputy federal agents, authorized “to perform the functions of immigration officers in relation to the investigation, apprehension or detention of aliens in the United States.”

The program comes with funding, and its intention as expressed in Trump’s executive order is quite clear: “enforcing federal immigration laws for that jurisdiction.”

Now, Rauner has taken great care to put and keep distance between himself and Trump. As previously reported, his administration wrote an unusual letter to congressional leaders urging them to go slow and be careful in revamping Obamacare and Medicaid, and he’s opposed sending the National Guard to Chicago to fight crime, as Trump has seemed to suggest.

But few things fire up the GOP’s conservative base as much as moving to boot “illegals.” And Rauner will need the support of such folks in his 2018 campaign.

And, to win, he’ll also need the support of folks who don’t agree with President Trump.

I’m assuming we’ll be seeing many more tricky and touchy items like this over the next two years.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      

Question of the day

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017

* Illinois Review

Calling red light cameras nothing more than revenue generators for municipalities, State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) has introduced a package of legislation aimed at banning the use of red light cameras in Illinois.

“Red light cameras do not enhance public safety, but they do help local governments generate revenue,” McSweeney said. “Raising revenue is not a valid reason to continue the red light camera program in Illinois.”

House Bill 472 bans the use of red light cameras in Illinois and House Bill 473 bans red light cameras in non-home rule units. McSweeney sponsored similar legislation to stop non-home rule communities from using red light cameras in 2015. The legislation passed the Illinois House with 79 votes.

McSweeney said studies continue to show the ineffectiveness of red light cameras to improve public safety. A series of media reports have clearly demonstrated how the implementation of red light camera systems has been rife with abuse and is seen by many as more of a money making endeavor for local governments than a measure to promote safety.

“Studies have shown how the presence of red light cameras can actually create more rear-end collisions,” McSweeney said. “The perception of many Illinois residents is that these cameras are nothing more than an additional way to tax Illinois residents and raise revenue for Illinois municipalities. It is time to eliminate red light cameras.”

* The Question:  Should red light cameras be banned by the state? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

survey services

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      

Maybe Madigan’s moves are a positive sign after all

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017

* I was starting to have some second thoughts this afternoon about being so harsh on Speaker Madigan’s statement yesterday and about Deputy Majority Leader Lang’s list of ideas.

Why? Because, once I thought about it some more, I realized these announcements could be seen as “markers” set down by Madigan. It’s the stuff he may want from a final deal. In that light, it shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing. It could very well be another step in the dance that must be taken before we’ll get to a deal.

And then, when I was deciding how I should write about this topic or if I should write about it at all, an e-mail suddenly landed in my in-box…

Speaker Michael J. Madigan, D-Chicago, has requested a legislative committee take up potential cost-cutting changes to the state’s procurement process offered by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

“Governor Rauner has proposed a series of changes to the state’s procurement process that could generate savings for the state, and I believe they are worth considering,” Madigan said. “I want to work with the governor to reduce the cost of state government while maintaining transparent and ethical conduct in contracting.”

Illinois enacted procurement reforms in 2009 following the impeachment of Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The reforms created a system of checks to reduce conflicts of interest, including the use of chief procurement officers, state purchasing officers, procurement monitors, and the Procurement Policy Board.

In a letter to state Rep. Al Riley, chairman of the House State Government Administration Committee, Madigan urged members of the committee to immediately begin vetting Rauner’s proposed changes to the state procurement code, and consider the governor’s proposal to streamline the process and reduce costs. In doing so, the committee will thoroughly vet the current procurement process and determine how the Legislature could eliminate unnecessary costs while ensuring ethical conduct.

“Considering these changes is an important step in making state government run more efficiently and at a lower cost to taxpayers, but also in fostering cooperation between the governor and the Legislature,” Madigan said. “The state’s procurement process must provide adequate protections for taxpayer dollars, but we must always be open to considering ways to implement this process with reduced cost.”

Usually whenever Madigan calls for a hearing on a gubernatorial idea, he’s planning to kill it. But today’s press release and the letter he sent to the committee’s chairman (click here) don’t seem to indicate that we’re in for yet another “fair trial before the hanging.”

So, anyway, let’s see where this goes.

- Posted by Rich Miller   5 Comments      

Senate leaves town, will try again in two weeks

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017

* No surprise here

“There’s been a lot of anticipation this week about voting on a so-called grand bargain,” said Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno. “Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re to the point of being able to take a vote. That is by no means a statement that we are backing off of this effort.”

Instead, Radogno said, the dozen bills that make up the package are continuing to undergo revisions that she said will make the package better in the long run.

“It is hard and none of us are going to like this in the end,” Radogno said. “A lot of ideas that have made this even more difficult, but will make this better in the end have come from members.”

Senate President John Cullerton said he was “encouraged by the progress we’ve made.”

“So if we need more time to pull this together, I’m going to consider that encouraging,” he said. “The problems we face are not going to disappear. In fact, they are going to get more difficult every day.”

* Tribune

But a series of public hearings and private meetings throughout the week revealed too many roadblocks. Some Republicans said the measure didn’t do enough to cut costs, and Democrats who control the Senate countered that they weren’t going to pass the legislation without GOP votes. […]

“It’s progress that might have seemed impossible just a few weeks ago,” Cullerton said. “So, if we need more time to pull this together, I am going to consider that encouraging. But then, it’s going to come time to make a decision. To reiterate, the problems we face are not going to disappear. In fact, they are going to get more difficult every day.”

* AP

“It’s incredibly complicated, and the more you try to refine it, the more things crop up,” Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont said.

* Sun-Times

The pressure from some labor groups was enough for the leaders to remove one of the 13 bills, a minimum wage bill which would have raised the Illinois minimum wage to $9 an hour beginning on July 1. it would increase by 50 cents until 2021 when it would reach $11. Some labor groups wanted the hike to reach $15, which halted the bill.

And there’s also concern over elements in the workers’ compensation bill. […]

Radogno’s self-described “pep talk” also included a warning: “We’re going to have to come here and take some hard votes. …There’s going to be a lot of pressure on us when we go home, on you guys from certain elements, on us [the Senate leaders] from certain elements. Don’t succumb to that. We need to do this together for the good of the state.”

Cullerton told senators the problems the state face aren’t going to disappear. They’re only getting worse.

* Related…

* Human services agencies call for ‘common sense solutions’

* Chuck Sweeny: Bruce Rauner praises Senate compromise; Dave Syverson says it’s not ready for prime time: Syverson, who is taking heat from conservative groups for supporting a tax increase, insisted that the state’s financial condition is so dire that cuts alone won’t solve the problem. He wants any income tax increase to be temporary, perhaps four years. Democrats want a permanent increase. Syverson can’t support the Senate package as it is now. “It’s not good for Rockford. There’s a $750 million tax on new businesses. Any new business will have to pay $250, and it goes up depending on the number of people you hire. That makes no sense. We’re trying to encourage companies to invest here, and this doesn’t help,” Syverson said.

* Phil Kadner: Illinois in the universe of alternative facts

* Senators pitch tax on ‘privilege’ of doing business in Illinois, among other tax hike proposals

* Illinois Senate budget proposal weak on consolidation: This bill would probably result in only minimal change, as it is unlikely that township employees or board members would vote to eliminate their own jobs by dissolving their townships.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Drury lists “retribution” for votes, including no gift bag

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017

* Hilarious…

* From his district office director…

To Whom it May Concern:

Earlier today, State Rep. Scott Drury outlined the repercussions he has thus far faced for representing his district and not voting for Michael J. Madigan for Speaker of the House. Rep. Drury believes that only by shining a light on the use of fear and punishment to drive decisions in Illinois government can needed change come about.

* Here’s the press release…

Stating that the only way to reform the fundamental flaws in Illinois government is to expose them, earlier today, State Representative Scott Drury (D-Highwood) outlined the repercussions he has thus far experienced for heeding the will of his constituents and not voting for Michael J. Madigan for Speaker of the House. According to Drury, the repercussions are an overt warning to his colleagues – “choose to represent your district at your own risk.”

Ranging from petty to poor policy, the punishments began almost immediately after Drury cast his vote. Indeed, the next day, Democratic House staff handed out on the House floor a gift bag to members of the Democratic caucus. Inside was an engraved desk clock. Drury did not get one.

That small act was only the beginning. Since then, Drury became the only third-term representative, outside of legislative leaders, to be bypassed for a House committee chairmanship. Further, Drury, a former federal prosecutor, not only lost his vice-chairmanship on the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee, but was removed from the committee altogether. Drury received no explanation for his removal.

In drawing attention to the retribution he has faced, Drury made clear that this is not about him but about shining a light on the very real use of fear and punishment in Illinois government to drive important decisions. “No elected official should fear being punished for representing his or her district, and no one should remain silent when it happens,” said Drury. “History is littered with the awful consequences that follow from people remaining silent, when speaking up and taking action is the proper course.”


He voted against the Speaker then he voted against the House rules and now he’s complaining that he didn’t get a clock and wasn’t appointed chairman of a committee.

What did he expect?

*** UPDATE *** From an e-mail to his constituents entitled “The retribution has begun”…


Thank you for the overwhelming support with respect to my decision to not vote for Michael J. Madigan for Speaker of the House. As expected, the retribution has begun. Here are some examples:

    I did not receive a committee chairmanship (I am the only third-term representative without a chairmanship);
    My Vice-Chairmanship position on the Judiciary-Criminal Committee was taken away;
    I have been removed from the Judiciary-Criminal Committee;
    In a petty maneuver, the day after the Speaker vote, Speaker Madigan’s staff provided Democratic caucus members with an engraved clock as a gift — I did not receive one.

The actions described above are intended to make members fearful of “stepping out of line.” This leads to decision-making based on self-interest, not public interest. For instance, I recently learned a colleague felt compelled to vote for Mr. Madigan for Speaker out of fear of losing a chairmanship position and the $10,000 stipend that comes with it.

The disparity between the feedback I have received from real people versus “Springfield types” has truly been amazing. While the public has universally applauded my recent actions, Springfield has resorted to grade-school intimidation techniques — such as name-calling. Springfield has also criticized me for not “going along, to get along.” History has shown that this old way of doing business leads to dismal results.

We will keep you posted on this issue and our other efforts to reform Illinois. As always, thank you for the privilege of allowing me to represent you.


- Posted by Rich Miller   78 Comments      

Trump on Chicago’s violence and voting fraud

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017

* ABC’s David Muir interviewed President Trump yesterday. Here are the relevant excerpts for our purposes. First up, Chicago violence

DAVID MUIR: Mr. Trump, let’s talk about many of the things that have happened this week. Chicago. Last night you tweeted about the murder rate in Chicago saying, “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible carnage going on I will send in the feds.”


DAVID MUIR: You will send in the feds? What do you mean by that?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: It’s carnage. You know, in my speech I got tremendous — from certain people the word carnage. It is carnage. It’s horrible carnage. This is Afghanistan — is not like what’s happening in Chicago. People are being shot left and right. Thousands of people over a period — over a short period of time.

This year, which has just started, is worse than last year, which was a catastrophe. They’re not doing the job. Now if they want help, I would love to help them. I will send in what we have to send in. Maybe they’re not gonna have to be so politically correct. Maybe they’re being overly political correct. Maybe there’s something going on. But you can’t have those killings going on in Chicago. Chicago is like a war zone. Chicago is worse than some of the people that you report in some of the places that you report about every night …

DAVID MUIR: So, I will send …

PRESIDENT TRUMP: … in the Middle East.

DAVID MUIR: … you mentioned federal assistance. There’s federal assistance and then there’s sending in the feds. I’m just curious would you take action on your own?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I want them to fix the problem. You can’t have thousands of people being shot in a city, in a country that I happen to be president of. Maybe it’s okay if somebody else is president. I want them to fix the problem. They have a problem that’s very easily fixable.

They’re gonna have to get tougher and stronger and smarter. But they gotta fix the problem. I don’t want to have thousands of people shot in a city where essentially I’m the president. I love Chicago. I know Chicago. And Chicago is a great city, can be a great city.

DAVID MUIR: And if they’re unable to fix it?


PRESIDENT TRUMP: It can’t be a great city. Excuse me. It can’t be a great city if people are shot walking down the street for a loaf of bread. Can’t be a great city.

DAVID MUIR: And if they are unable to fix it, that’s when you would send in the feds?


PRESIDENT TRUMP: But so far they have been unable. It’s been going on for years. And I wasn’t president. So, look, when President Obama was there two weeks ago making a speech, very nice speech. Two people were shot and killed during his speech. You can’t have that.

DAVID MUIR: Let me ask …

PRESIDENT TRUMP: They weren’t shot at the speech. But they were shot in the city of Chicago during his speech. What — what’s going on? So, all I’m saying is to the mayor who came up to my office recently — I say, “You have to smarten up and you have to toughen up because you can’t let that happen. That’s a war zone.”

DAVID MUIR: So, this is an “or else.” This is a warning?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I want them to straighten out the problem. It’s a big problem.

* Voting fraud

DAVID MUIR: Mr. President, it does strike me though that we’re relitigating the presidential campaign, the election …


PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, no. We’re looking at it for the next time. No, no, you have to understand, I had a tremendous victory, one of the great victories ever. In terms of counties I think the most ever or just about the most ever. When you look at a map it’s all red. Red meaning us, Republicans.

One of the greatest victories ever. But, again, I ran for the electoral college. I didn’t run for the popular vote. What I’m saying is if there are these problems that many people agree with me that there might be. Look, Barack Obama — if you look back — eight years ago when he first ran — he was running for office in Chicago for we needed Chicago vote.

And he was laughing at the system because he knew all of those votes were going to him. You look at Philadelphia, you look at what’s going on in Philadelphia. But take a look at the tape of Barack Obama who wrote me, by the way, a very beautiful letter in the drawer of the desk. Very beautiful. And I appreciate it. But look at what he said, it’s on tape. Look at what he said about voting in Chicago eight years ago. It’s not changed. It hasn’t changed, believe me. Chicago, look what’s going on in Chicago. It’s only gotten worse.

But he was smiling and laughing about the vote in Chicago. Now, once he became president he didn’t do that. All of a sudden it became this is the foundation of our country. So, here’s the point, you have a lot of stuff going on possibly. I say probably. But possibly. We’re gonna get to the bottom of it.

And then we’re gonna make sure it doesn’t happen again. If people are registered wrongly, if illegals are registered to vote, which they are, if dead people are registered to vote and voting, which they do. There are some. I don’t know how many. We’re gonna try finding that out and the other categories that we talk about, double states where they’re — registered in two states, we’re gonna get to the bottom of it because we have to stop it. Because I agree, so important. But the other side is trying to downplay this. Now, I’ll say this — I think that if that didn’t happen, first of all, would — would be a great thing if it didn’t happen. But I believe it did happen. And I believe a part of the vote would’ve been much different.

DAVID MUIR: And you believe millions of illegal votes …

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we’re gonna find out.

- Posted by Rich Miller   49 Comments      

Mostly good headlines for the governor

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017

* The governor’s office is clearly pleased by the TV coverage of his State of the State Address

* He also got some pretty good headlines and ledes…

* Rauner calls on lawmakers to fix Illinois budget in State of the State address: Gov. Bruce Rauner used his State of the State address to call on lawmakers to work with him to resolve Illinois’ budget crisis, saying both parties agree something needs to change.

* Rauner stresses bipartisanship in State of the State: Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says the state has come a long way in funding education since he’s been on the job, but says there’s a lot of work to do to strengthen the economy.

* Rauner praises ongoing budget work, accomplishments in annual speech: Gov. Bruce Rauner took a more optimistic tone in this year’s State of the State address, but said lawmakers need to work with him to resolve a budget impasse that has lasted a year and a half.

* Gov. Rauner Expresses Optimism In State Of The State Address: Governor Bruce Rauner tried his best to put a positive spin on his State of the State address. “I am deeply optimistic about the future of our beloved Illinois,” he said.

* Rauner’s State of State plea to Senate: ‘Please don’t give up’: Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday pushed for economic growth to save the state in his third State of the State address — while saying he’s encouraged that the legislative leaders have acknowledged changes must be made.

* Rauner optimistic about Illinois’ future, despite budget crisis: Governor Bruce Rauner said Wednesday he’s deeply optimistic about the future of the state, despite the current budget crisis, in his State of the State address in Springfield.

* Rauner: Lawmakers have ‘moral obligation’ to compromise: In his State of the State address Wednesday, Gov. Bruce Rauner said lawmakers had a “moral obligation” to find compromise in a deeply divided state that’s gone 18 months without a budget.

* Illinois governor cheers on effort to end budget impasse: Illinois’ governor on Wednesday offered encouragement for a bipartisan bid to end the state’s record-setting budget stalemate, as Chicago’s mayor needled the chief executive for failing to deliver results.

* Editorial: Rauner to Illinois senators: ‘Please don’t give up’: For just a minute, Gov. Bruce Rauner veered off script during his annual State of the State address and tapped the gas pedal on a controversial budget compromise unfolding in the Senate. “We all know this is very, very difficult. There’s a lot of arrows,” he said. “Please don’t give up. Please keep working. Please keep trying. The people of Illinois need you to succeed.”

* Editorial: Gov signals support for grand bargain — we hope

* But not all the heds and ledes were so swell…

* Rauner and Democrats clash over State of the State: Against the backdrop of a sharply divided and dysfunctional state government, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner delivered his midterm State of the State address Wednesday saying he and other politicians have a “moral obligation” to fix Illinois.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 -AFSCME responds *** Rauner’s top lawyer talks about using National Guard if AFSCME strikes

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017

* Kerry Lester

Rauner representatives spoke with the Daily Herald editorial board this week about preparations in case the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees votes to strike later this month. The union and the governor have failed to agree on a contract proposal, with the governor’s office rejecting the union’s latest proposal earlier this month

Dennis Murashko, the governor’s general counsel, said the governor could fill spots by mobilizing the Illinois National Guard, as Minnesota did in 2001. The governor’s office estimates 28,000 to 30,000 workers around the state could go on strike. AFSCME is scheduled to take a strike vote Jan. 30.

So, maybe now we know why the governor doesn’t want to mobilize the National Guard to help quell Chicago’s violence? /snark

…Adding… Wordslinger makes a valid point in comments…

That’s not snark.

Consider how much time and effort Rauner and the Frat Boys have invested in fighting AFSCME.

Now, compare that to the time and effort they’ve invested in fighting the Chicago homicide explosion.

*** UPDATE ***  From AFSCME…

For more than year Bruce Rauner has refused to compromise or even meet with our union, leaving public service workers no choice but to consider authorizing a strike. Rauner is demanding a 100% hike in employee health costs paired with a four-year wage freeze for nearly 40,000 men and women who protect Illinois children, care for veterans, help struggling families and more. Now news reports suggest that Rauner is threatening to try to break a strike with the National Guard—a scheme that was widely criticized when first rumored 18 months ago. Everyone of good conscience, regardless of party, should tell Bruce Rauner to renounce his reckless National Guard scheme, reject confrontation and seek a fair compromise with AFSCME.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

Bernie, by the way, profiled Murashko the other day. Murashko said his favorite Supreme Court Justice is Clarence Thomas. He comes from the Jones Day law firm, which is infamous for its defense of corporations against unions.

* Anyway, how did things go in Minnesota? From an October 2, 2001 NY Times story

Nearly 28,000 Minnesota state employees walked off the job today in a demand for higher pay, drawing criticism from many Minnesotans, who said the strikers were acting selfishly at a time of national crisis [a few weeks after the September 11th attacks]. […]

The strike, one of the nation’s largest in decades involving public employees, pits two powerful unions against Minnesota’s usually outspoken governor, Jesse Ventura, who has adopted a low profile in this dispute.

The walkout began at 6 a.m. and immediately had a broad effect. Driving tests and birth registrations were delayed. The Minnesota Zoo was closed. The Minnesota National Guard deployed 920 of its members to help operate 120 state-run health care centers, whose social workers, psychologists, nurses’ aides, food workers and janitors were among the strikers.

* An LA Times story from the same day

To fill some of the most crucial positions, Ventura has turned to the National Guard. About 1,000 reservists will report to state-run health care facilities, such as nursing homes for veterans, to feed and care for patients. Others will perform routine maintenance work to make sure, for instance, that boilers are working at all state facilities, Wodele said.

* The strike ended about two weeks later

Workers went on strike three weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and the timing has been a public-relations challenge for union members.

Managers pulled double-duty and as many as 1,000 members of the Minnesota National Guard helped out in nursing homes, veterans homes, security hospitals and treatment centers.

Services were disrupted in some state agencies, but no major problems were reported.

Poll results released Friday found that more than half of respondents felt it “wrong for state employees to be on strike now.” The Star Tribune newspaper poll also found people more sympathetic to the administration’s position than to the unions’.

* Related…

* Roberta Lynch: Refusing to compromise, Rauner risks a strike

* Austin Berg: AFSCME strike vote is an insult to middle-class

- Posted by Rich Miller   66 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** And now for something completely different

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017

* Umm…


*** UPDATE ***  Sen. McCarter deleted the tweet, but I just so happen to have a saved copy…

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      

IMA wants Rauner, other legislators to get involved with Senate plan

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017

* Press release…

The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association applauds the leadership of Senate President John Cullerton, Republican Leader Christine Radogno and their caucuses for taking a thoughtful and comprehensive first step in an effort to finally end the budget stalemate and once again make Illinois an economic engine.

The IMA’s Board of Directors believe, and we have stated for the last two years, that any final solution must actually solve our state’s problems by eliminating the massive debt, reducing our crushing pension debt, restoring fiscal discipline, and creating a strong business climate that will attract private sector jobs and investment. The proposed legislation outlined by the leaders earlier this week begins to move in that direction.

Last year, the IMA unveiled five key tenets in our Middle Class Manufacturing Agenda that include (1) a balanced budget and pension reform, (2) economic development reform including meaningful changes to workers’ compensation, (3) tax reform to create a broad base with low rates reflecting a modern society, (4) property tax relief, and (5) strengthening our education and workforce development system to ensure a pipeline of qualified workers.

Many of our reforms are partially incorporated into this framework but there are more steps on this journey to reverse years of fiscal mismanagement and job stifling regulations. We now encourage Governor Rauner and the leadership of the General Assembly to seek input from all interested parties as they craft the final version of this sweeping legislation.

Today, the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association reaffirms our commitment to work with Governor Rauner and lawmakers to solve this historic challenge and move Illinois forward.

It ain’t over ’til it’s over and the IMA is obviously not following the Illinois Chamber’s complete opposition to every aspect of the package.

So, a tiny bit of good news for a change.

By the way, the press release was issued shortly after Senate President Cullerton told the chamber to expect to start voting on the package when they return in two weeks.

* And Sen. Brady continues to be a voice of moderation and hope

Despite the delay, state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, said that he, like Rauner, remains optimistic.

“What’s important here is that we do it right,” Brady said. “Now, we don’t have a lot of time, in my opinion, but we have enough time, I think, to continue to work on it.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      

A look at the executive order on sanctuary cities

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017

* There’s been a lot of media coverage today about the president’s sanctuary city executive order. The Daily Line takes a closer look than most outlets have

Much of the executive order requires an act of Congress. Legal experts we spoke to said the parts of the order directing federal agencies to take action are within the purview of an executive order, but sections ordering states and municipalities to take action would require an act of Congress.

Some legal experts believe only federal grants related to the issue at hand can be revoked. This Yale Law & Policy Review [article] argues that only federal spending on germane programs, in this case, immigration enforcement, can be threatened. In other words, if Chicago and Cook County didn’t follow immigration laws, only public safety grants estimated by the Center for Tax and Budget at $78 million, could be threatened. Other programs, such as aid for homeless services and community block grants, which are part of the city’s overall share of federal aid, would not be affected. Those total $1.3 billion, per CTBA calculations.

Even if a law were passed, a 2012 Supreme Court case related to Obamacare might limit enforcement. In NFIB v. Sebelius, the Affordable Care Act originally contained an expansion of Medicaid, which states had to accept in order to receive any federal funds for Medicaid. The Supreme Court found that threat was a “gun to the head” and overly-coercive, ruling that the federal government could not make such a threat for the sake of enforcing a policy.

The order is about sharing information about immigrants, not forcing local police to seek and detain immigrants. “Sanctuary cities” is not an established legal term, but loosely refers to many aspects of immigration law. The executive order relates to 8 U.S.C. 1373, a law ordering “state and local jurisdictions to share information about individuals’ immigration status with federal authorities,” says Rebecca Glenberg from the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. “This doesn’t say anything about state and local governments complying with ICE detainer requests, which is a large part of what is often meant by sanctuary.” The information the federal government would be allowed to access through the executive order is significant, such as a gang database the Chicago Police Department keeps, says Glenberg. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) could use that list to identify lawbreakers they want to detain and deport.

The order makes big changes in law enforcement priorities for immigration, eliminating “humanitarian factors”. Again, these do not pertain to Illinois, Cook County or Chicago law enforcement agencies, but the new priorities mean big changes for federal law enforcement agencies. “Now it says anyone who is deportable is a priority. It’s taking away some of the discretional ability law enforcement previously had, how they devote resources,” says Mony Ruiz-Velasco, an immigration attorney and activist with Paso Action. Those changes, Ruiz-Velasco says, will have a sweeping impact, since some immigrants don’t know they have a deportation order against them, and could have had one for years. In addition, existing federal law says any immigrant charged with a crime of any kind–even a misdemeanor–should be deported immediately. In the past, federal law enforcement agencies had the ability to pick and choose which ones they’d deport. For instance, Obama-era rules told ICE agents to ignore deportation orders before 2014, says Ruiz-Velasco, because many orders were poorly recorded and immigrants often didn’t get notification. Now federal agents can and must deport immigrants under much broader circumstances.

Chicago and Cook County lack enforcement agreements with the feds on immigration. A significant portion of the order directs state and local law enforcement agencies to assist with enforcing immigration laws, especially organizations with so-called 287(g) agreements “to provide federal law enforcement to train local law enforcement, and to increase collaboration on immigration enforcement,” according to Ruiz-Velasco. But many of the agreements, along with another program called “Secure Communities” were created during the early Obama Administration and were allowed to lapse because it caused, “a huge increase of racial profiling, people arrested for pretextual stuff, [who were] then turned over to immigration [authorities]. People were unconstitutionally detained, which local law enforcement remained liable for,” says Ruiz-Velasco. Neither Chicago nor Cook County have 287(g) agreements, says Ruiz-Velasco, so this component of the order will not have a local impact.

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- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      

The Black Caucus responds to the SOTS address

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017

* The Black Caucus held a press conference after the governor’s State of the State address yesterday. Here’s Politico

An angered legislative Black Caucus on Wednesday laid into Rauner’s address, saying the governor failed to address issues affecting their communities — and blamed his fixation on a turnaround agenda for holding up a budget and exacerbating issues in their neighborhoods.

State Sen. Patricia Van Pelt on Rauner discussing finding common solutions: “Well, let me tell you a solution: after school programs, that’s a solution. Jobs for youth, that’s a solution. Training for people coming out of prison, that’s a solution,” “I’m asking the governor to take the leadership in executing these things that the senate and the house have brought forth up to his door. We want action, not more disappointment.”

State Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch, D-Westchester: “He had a softball thrown so big and he swung and missed … I can’t tell you how disappointed I am. Our state is in need of change. We need to lift up Illinois, and all the governor has talked about is his turnaround agenda that has brought us down. Shame on Bruce Rauner. We need to bring back MAP funding. .. we need to bring a budget to this state. In 200 years we’ve only had two years where we haven’t had a budget and it’s been under this governor’s leadership. He missed the boat.”

* Tribune

“I thought overall it was just an incredibly tone-deaf speech. It’s tough to hear the governor cry crocodile tears when I would argue he has blood on his hands with all the anti-violence programs he’s cut since he was here,” said Rep. Christian Mitchell, D-Chicago.

“Cuts to mental health, cuts to Medicaid, look at the savage cuts to higher education, which leads to more kids at home without the prospect of a job or future, then maybe turning to drugs and crime,” he said.

* CBS 2

Rauner also mentioned the state’s increased highway patrols in the Chicago area. 26th District Representative Christian Mitchell wasn’t buying it.

“It sounds like crying crocodile tears, because he’s got blood on his hands, you’ve got anti violence programs that you canceled, the funding of which you cut off,” he said.

* Sun-Times

The state’s Legislative Black Caucus said the governor missed some key pieces in his address, including funding help for higher education, senior services and non-profits that support mental health issues and people with disabilities.

“Action requires investments and we know that our programs need to be funded and yet there wasn’t really real solutions discussed. I don’t know that he really created the real picture of the state of the state,” State Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Chicago, said. “There’s a lot of dire needs and a number of areas and they’re not just in the city of Chicago. They’re in North Chicago. They’re in Waukegan. They’re in East St. Louis. There’s dire needs all over this state.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      

Caption contest!

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017

* Happens twice a year, right on schedule…

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      

How does this move the ball forward?

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017

* From Speaker Madigan’s statement yesterday

Under my direction, the House will begin a thorough vetting process of proposals that will enable us to create jobs while also lifting up and helping the middle class and struggling families around our state.

* Tina Sfondeles at the Sun-Times

And speaking after the address, Rep. Lou Lang, representing House Democrats, said they’d propose their own capital bill, as well as bills promoting the speaker’s economic reforms. That includes a reinstatement of the EDGE tax credit for businesses to create jobs and increase the earned income tax credit. And it would also include an increase in the minimum wage and a tax on millionaires — which Madigan has touted for years — to fund schools.

Aside from the fact that none of this is all that new, do you notice anything missing?

It’s all top-down, Democrats only.

- Posted by Rich Miller   56 Comments      

*** LIVE *** Session Coverage

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017

* The House went home yesterday, but the Senate is still in town. Follow along with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      

Rauner’s gettin’ “better” at droppin’ his “g”

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017

* Zorn

As keeper of the FolksyMeter I’m reporting this afternoon that Rauner dropped the terminal “g” a personal record-setting 66 percent of the time when using words ending in the “-ing” syllable.

Out of 150 such words in the speech, he swallowed the final “g” on 99 of them.

Sample: “When it comes to providin’ a better future for the people of Illinois, nothin’ we do together is more important than educatin’ our young people.”

In his first State of the State speech in 2015, Rauner, who grew up in north suburban Deerfield and has two Ivy League degrees, dropped 51 percent of his g’s. Last year it was 62 percent.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      

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

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017

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* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Partisan breakdown of newly proposed congressional map
* *** UPDATED *** Democrats release new congressional map - More Latino strength - Newman, Casten in same district - Kinzinger, LaHood mapped together - Miller, Bost mapped together
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Question of the day
* The debate continues over the labor force participation rate
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Pritzker expands vax/test mandate to workers at licensed day care centers
* COVID-19 roundup
* Despite pleas and even threats, IDOC worker vax rate remains about the same
* Can't somebody at the state step in and help Dixmoor with its water problem?
* Giannoulias hit for accepting campaign money from his brothers, others
* Illinois: Tell Congress To Count All Copays
* Open thread
* Yesterday's stories

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