* WTTW’s Amanda Vinicky interviewed Gov. Bruce Rauner this week. You really should click here to read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt…
AV: You just sent out a fundraising letter that says Illinois residents deserve “a balanced budget without any tax increases.” At the same time, you said you want the grand bargain, which contains a tax increase, to pass and it’s closed. So which is it?
BVR: I introduced a balanced budget my first two months in office, and it had no new revenue, no new tax increases and had spending cuts. I was ignored, and the majority and the general assembly have said they don’t want to cut much, if at all, and they would rather support a tax hike. I’ve said I’ll go for new taxes, so amount of new revenue democrats are recommending. If we’re going to do that, we need structural change to make sure—
AV: That’s not what your fundraising letter said. It said without any tax increases—
BVR: No, that would be the first choice. The first choice is always that. But if we can’t do that, and the democrats have made it clear they won’t cut enough to balance the budget, they want new revenue. I said I’ll go along but only if we have structural changes to grow new jobs, because if all we do is raise taxes, we might have a balanced budget for one year, but within two or three years, we’ll be unbalanced again because we’ve done nothing to slow down government spending. And our economy has been flat. We’ve basically created no new jobs for 17 years. We have to change that or our budgets will never stay balanced.
Getting him to answer a question is not easy. At all.
- Posted by Rich Miller
Wednesday, Apr 26, 2017
* House Speaker Madigan and Rev. Jesse Jackson in Springfield yesterday…
* A little background from yesterday…
As the state nears the two year mark without a budget, Rev. Jesse Jackson told the crowd he’s trying to broker a summit between the parties.
“We should not adjust to this state of affairs and let ideology stand between us. Cullerton will do it, I think Madigan will do it, and I think the governor is more inclined to do it,” Jackson said.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* From Chris Kennedy’s reaction to the endorsement of JB Pritzker by Kurt Summers and four black Chicago aldermen…
“I made it clear where I stand when I spoke to the Cook County Democrats in March. This race is not about politicians endorsing other politicians or what might be happening behind closed doors.”
* OK, that’s great. But if you go to Kennedy’s campaign website and click on the “Press releases” tab, this is currently at the very top…
March 1, 2017
First major endorsement in the governor’s race goes to Chris Kennedy two weeks after announcing his campaign
Chris Kennedy, Democratic candidate for governor, received the endorsement of the Southern Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association yesterday. This is the first major endorsement in the Democratic race for governor. […]
“I am honored to accept the endorsement from the Southern Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association. Across Illinois, voters are ready for a change in Springfield and ready for Illinois to again embrace the American Dream — the notion that we are a country and a state where anyone can make it and where unlimited opportunity is the promise of our country,” Kennedy said.
* Mark Brown: Summers’ floating of own candidacy could buoy Pritzker: Perhaps more helpful to Pritzker was Summers’ brushoff of candidate Chris Kennedy as someone who doesn’t have “a true understanding of the needs of the underprivileged and communities of color in particular.”
* Summers won’t run for governor, endorses J.B. Pritzker instead: But, the mayor’s closest business advisor and biggest campaign donor, Michael Sacks, is with Pritzker. Now, so is Summers, who once worked for Sacks at Grosvenor Capital Management.
* City Treasurer Summers backs Pritzker for governor, jabs Kennedy: Asked if any promises were made about a future role in a Pritzker administration or the campaign — governor candidates must find lieutenant governor running mates — Summers said no.
* City Treasurer Summers Announces He Will Not Run for Governor: The endorsement for Pritzker is seen as a blow to Chris Kennedy, who is polling well in the African American community.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Gov. Rauner spoke to some business groups today. Bernie reports that Rauner is still claiming that the Senate is working on a grand bargain, even though Senate President Cullerton said it’s not. The governor also said this…
So much to unpack here.
1) A “big” capital plan would require lots of borrowing while we’re simultaneously racking up gigantic operating deficits. Not exactly responsible.
2) And if we’re gonna have a big capital plan, then the money ain’t gonna just magically grow on trees. How’s he gonna pay for it? More new taxes while universities crumble and social service agencies starve? As he rightly notes above, it’s gotta come from somewhere.
3) And I’m thinking maybe the bond rating agencies will show “some resistance” if Illinois tries to borrow billions of dollars without a real budget in place.
Bottom line: Walk before you can run and, please, stop projecting.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* From an e-mail…
According state-wide polling data collected by Illinois Public Opinion Strategies there is fervent constituent support for the Cook County Sheriff’s proposed data transparency legislation (SB 1502/HB 2774).
Some of the numbers:
· More than 94 percent disapprove of corporations collecting, sharing, or selling personal data.
· More than 80 percent said they would use the law and request the names of the companies that have obtained personal data.
The Right to Know Act seeks to give consumers transparency into the types of personal data companies are collecting and to which third parties they’re selling it.
Please let me know if you have any questions, or if you would like to speak with the Sheriff.
Director of Communications, Cook County Sheriff’s Office
The full poll and methodology is here. Just 10 percent were mobile phones, so keep that in mind.
* Some of the questions…
2. Do you have you a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Facebook?
• Favorable 30.52%
• Unfavorable 42.82%
• Undecided 26.65%
3. Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Google?
• Favorable 55.92%
• Unfavorable 19.95%
• Undecided 24.13%
I haven’t been on Facebook much since the election. Too much drama.
* Anway, more questions…
8. Do you approve or disapprove of corporations collecting, sharing, or selling for profit your personal information, such as your social security number, credit card number, race, religion, gender, or location?
• Approve 04.46%
• Disapprove 92.39%
• Undecided 03.15%
9. Do you approve or disapprove of corporations collecting, sharing, or selling your personal information, such as your social security number, credit card number, race, religion, gender, or location, without your knowledge?
• Approve 04.00%
• Disapprove 94.13%
• Undecided 01.87%
Kinda interesting that about the same number disapprove of this with or without their knowledge.
* A couple more…
10. Do you approve or disapprove of legislation that would require corporations to inform you about their on-line collection, sharing, or selling of your personal information, such as your social security number, credit card number, race, religion, gender, or location collected on their Web sites?
• Approve 66.20%
• Disapprove 28.81%
• Undecided 04.99%
14. Do you approve or disapprove of consumers being able to file a lawsuit against a corporation whose smart phone application tracks your personal movements, locations visited, and your travel activity without your consent?
• Approve 69.36%
• Disapprove 19.53%
• Undecided 11.11%
And there it is.
As I’ve said before, we have a budding high tech sector in this state. Reasonable statutory restrictions to ensure privacy are fine by me. But keep the trial lawyers out of the enforcement or we could kill the golden gosling. We’ve got enough problems here without doing that.
- Posted by Rich Miller
|Question of the day
Wednesday, Apr 26, 2017
* I’ll have more on this statewide poll in a bit, but let’s discuss its first question now…
Do you believe Illinois is heading in the right direction or the wrong direction?
• Right 10.60%
• Wrong 75.28%
• Undecided 14.13%
Whew. Those are some serious pitchfork and torch numbers right there, man.
* The Question: What sort of person do you think believes the state is heading in the right direction? Bonus question: What sort of person would be undecided at this point?
- Posted by Rich Miller
* From HJR 32’s synopsis…
Makes application to Congress under the provisions of Article V of the Constitution of the United States for the calling of a convention of the states limited to proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government and limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government.
The measure’s chief sponsor is Rep. Bob Martwick (D-Chicago), but it has several GOP co-sponsors. The proposal was unanimously approved by the House Executive Committee on March 30th.
* Common Cause is not a fan…
While Illinois citizens remain transfixed by the daily news of events in Springfield and Washington, D.C., a serious threat to our democracy has been quietly gathering steam. Through House Joint Resolution 32, a bipartisan group of State Representatives have issued a call for the State of Illinois to request a convention to amend the Constitution of the United States. This proposal is part of a well-funded highly-coordinated national effort by conservative advocacy groups who are seeking to bypass the Congress and use the vague language in Article V of the Constitution to fundamentally alter the nature of our democracy.
“Every Illinois citizen should be terribly concerned about the reckless calls in this state for a constitutional convention,” warned Brian Gladstein, Executive Director of Common Cause Illinois. “There simply aren’t any rules to limit the nature or scope of what could put on the table once a convention is called and provide megadonors the opportunity to restrict or completely take away some of our most fundamental rights. We just can’t risk it.”
Back in 2015, Common Cause issued a report entitled The Dangerous Path: Big Money’s Plan to Shred the Constitution, that laid out its concerns about calls for a constitutional convention, including:
THREAT OF A RUNAWAY CONVENTION: There is no language appearing in the United States Constitution that would prevent a constitutional convention from being expanded in scope to issues not raised in convention calls passed by the state legislatures, and therefore could lead to a runaway convention.
INFLUENCE OF SPECIAL INTERESTS: An Article V convention would open the Constitution to revisions at a time of extreme gerrymandering and polarization amid unlimited political spending. It could allow special interests and the wealthiest among us to re-write the rules governing our system of government.
LACK OF CONVENTION RULES: There are no rules governing constitutional conventions. A convention would be an unpredictable Pandora’s Box; the last one, in 1787, resulted in a brand new Constitution. Indeed, the group that is advocating for HJR 32 openly discusses the possibility of using the process to undo hard-won civil rights and civil liberties advances and undermine basic rights extended throughout history as our nation strove to deliver on the promise of a democracy that works for everyone.
UNCERTAIN RATIFICATION PROCESS: A convention could re-define the ratification process (which currently requires 38 states to approve any new amendments) to make it easier to pass new amendments, including those considered at the convention. This happened in 1787, when the convention changed the threshold necessary for ratification.
THREAT OF LEGAL DISPUTES: No judicial, legislative, or executive body has been given a clear authority to settle disputes about a convention, opening the process to chaos and protracted legal battles that would threaten the functioning of our democracy and economy.
APPLICATION PROCESS UNCERTAINTY: There is no clear process on how Congress or
any other governmental body would count and add up Article V applications, or if Congress and the states could restrain the convention’s mandate based on those applications. Notably, a separate call for a constitutional convention seeking a federal balanced budget amendment that is being funded by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate juggernaut masquerading as a charity, insists that it is just six states shy of meeting the threshold, even though 16 of those state resolutions came from a failed attempt to call a convention decades ago.
POSSIBILITY OF UNEQUAL REPRESENTATION: It is unclear how states would choose delegates to a convention, how states and citizens would be represented in a convention, and who would ultimately get to vote on items raised in a convention.
The language in HJR 32 appears to have been pulled directly from ALEC’s model bill library, and perfectly illustrates the threat of a runaway convention. The measure generally calls for amendments imposing term limits for members of Congress and the judiciary, “fiscal restraints on the federal government,” and limits on the power of the federal government. The vague language in this measure was first introduced in 37 different state legislatures in 2015, and it has already been passed in nine states.
It should also be noted that it is not only conservative groups that are pressing for a constitutional convention. In fact, in 2014, the General Assembly issued another resolution seeking a constitutional amendment to overturn the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United. That effort was primarily being lead by the left-leaning group known as Wolf PAC. Although Common Cause Illinois is committed to fighting against the corrosive presence of big money in our political system, it believed then as it does now that the risks associated with this plan are simply too great.
“We will continue to fight against any demand for an Article V convention, no matter who is leading the charge,” said Gladstein. “We are committed to safeguarding our democratic principles, and we hope that our elected officials in Springfield will join us in this fight.”
They make a good point about this being a copy of ALEC’s model bill. Click here for the Illinois resolution. Click here for the ALEC model.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Buried deep in this AP story about a conveniently timed legislative hearing yesterday about the AP’s story yesterday on secretary of the Department of Innovation and Technology Hardik Bhatt’s spending on an executive-assistance firm, is this more interesting (to me) nugget…
Bhatt also deflected committee questions about a transfer last fall by defeated GOP Comptroller Leslie Munger of $71 million from general revenue funds — available to pay providers of human services — to accounts from which DoIT operates. […]
Rep. Will Guzzardi, a Chicago Democrat, pounded Bhatt over Munger’s transfer of $71 million after she lost a special November election to Mendoza. He said the two special accounts DoIT relies on had $85 million on hand. DoIT chief of staff Tyler Clark told Guzzardi, “We needed the money to pay bills.”
Guzzardi responded, “The state owes a lot of money to a lot of vendors out of” the general revenue fund. “Here, $70 million was put on the front line to go out to the vendors you all have, which makes the line longer.”
Bhatt said he did not ask for the money and pointed out that information technology improvements benefit all state services.
Bhatt didn’t ask for the money? And DoIT had $85 million on hand and then got another $71 million to “pay bills” while social service providers were going under?
Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s office told me a while ago that they were looking into whether they could transfer Munger’s DoIT cash back to GRF. But, I was told, doing so would be “unprecedented.”
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Mayor Rahm Emanuel went off again on Gov. Rauner yesterday…
“When it comes to the issue of choice and health for everybody, the governor when he was a candidate took a position … that was clear and defined, and he’s now flipped on that,” Emanuel said after an event to announce the construction of a new grocery store in West Woodlawn.
Emanuel also contended that Rauner went back on his word to provide Chicago Public Schools with $215 million in additional pension funding — although Rauner has said it was Democrats who didn’t come through on a broader deal to reform the state’s pension system — and initially balked at a bill that would have helped the renewable energy industry that the governor said he supported.
* Bill Cameron…
“To work and get a budget passed, you have to be trusted and I would tell you on this position, while you can just narrowly focus on the issue of choice which is a fair enough way to measure it, I think it goes to an issue of trust and the voracity of somebody’s word when they give it to you,” said Mayor Emanuel.
The mayor said he’d be pleasantly surprised if Rauner’s prediction of a school funding bill is near, but he doubts it.
* Derrick Blakely…
“And if your word is not valued or trusted, nobody will work with you.”
* The response…
The governor’s spokeswoman, Eleni Demertzis, responded to the mayor’s latest broadside by insisting that Rauner has been “consistent on the issues.”
“It’s unfortunate that Mayor Emanuel is continuing his tired finger-pointing instead of working with the Governor to address the challenges facing the city and state,” Demertzis wrote in an email.
As for the abortion bill approved by the Illinois House, Demertzis said Rauner “opposes a massive expansion of taxpayer funding that would put Illinois out of step with nearly every state in the union. However, he has asked the General Assembly to pass a clean bill to remove the ‘trigger’ language.”
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Illinois Public Radio…
Gov. Bruce Rauner has been saying he thinks a comprehensive budget deal is “very close.” He points to negotiations in the state Senate, so Brian Mackey asked the Senate president if that’s the case. […]
I asked Senate President John Cullerton, a Democrat, if the governor had been hearing that from him.
“No,” Cullerton said. “But he should come back from wherever he is now, and we’re in session, and we should talk and he could tell me — I’d be happy to know what he’s talking about.”
The governor was actually touring the Beer Nuts factory at about that time…
A self-proclaimed fan of Beer Nuts, Gov. Bruce Rauner took a guided tour of the Bloomington plant on Tuesday, followed by a meeting with employees where he touted the state’s economic potential.
Yep, while women were rallying in Springfield and both chambers were in session, the governor was touting Beer Nuts in Bloomington.
* Anyway, back to Cullerton…
Illinois Senate President John Cullerton says he and his colleagues will take up a partial government spending bill passed by the House earlier this month.
The legislation would release more than 800 million dollars piling up in special state accounts for social service contractors and state universities.
Republicans call it another “stopgap” budget. House Democrats called it a “lifeline.” But Cullerton says neither term is accurate.
“Really it’s important for you to know that I don’t view those as stopgaps or lifelines,” Cullerton said Tuesday. “Those monies are trapped in those funds, and cannot be spent by the governor or anybody else unless we authorize them to spend it.”
“If we don’t pass some authorization to spend those [funds from two state accounts set aside for social service agencies and higher education] the money can’t be used, which is kind of ridiculous when we have so many people who are owed so much money,” Cullerton said. “That’s why we need to authorize the spending of those funds.”
The measure has arrived in the Senate, where there are anticipated changes, which will have to be approved in a committee. But it could be called as soon as this week.
Asked whether the bill to fund social services and public universities removes the pressure to get a full budget, Cullerton said the numbers speak for themselves.
“It doesn’t. We still have the pressure of owing $13 billion and spending $8 billion more than we have coming in,” Cullerton said. “That’s enough pressure.”
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Rep. Sara Feigenholtz…
“Today is a victory for every woman in our state because it protects every woman’s right to choose,” Feigenholtz said. “I applaud my colleagues who took the critical vote that removed the dangerous anti-choice trigger language from the original act. Today, we stated unequivocally that access to safe legal abortion will remain protected in Illinois.”
“After repeated threats from the White House and President Trump’s remarks to strip abortion rights away from women, this legislation was necessary to safeguard a woman’s right to make decisions that affect her personal health in Illinois,” said Feigenholtz. […]
Before the vote, Feigenholtz sponsored a bus from Chicago to Springfield to enable dozens of activists and concerned citizens to have their voices heard.
“Everyone has the right to not only see democracy in action but also participate in it. I was honored to give my constituents that opportunity,” said Feigenholtz, who earlier this year participated in the historic Women’s Day March in Chicago. […]
Feigenholtz also had a message for Governor Bruce Rauner, who has publically opposed the bill which would give all women, regardless of economic status, the ability to receive the full complement of reproductive healthcare options.
“Governor Bruce Rauner is clueless about what women go through when trying to access reproductive health care in Illinois,” said Feigenholtz. “He sits in his ivory tower spending millions on TV campaign ads- what he needs to do is spend a day in the shoes of a woman struggling to access reproductive health care.”
* Ameya Pawar…
Three years ago, Gov. Bruce Rauner put his name – and his signature – on a pro-choice pledge. Last week, he broke his word to Illinois families, threatening women’s health.
This afternoon, I spoke in solidarity with hundreds of people at the Women’s March on Springfield to rally support for House Bill 40. It’s a common-sense bill that would end the trigger criminalizing abortion if Roe v. Wade were overturned. It would also expand reproductive health coverage for low-income women.
Women’s reproductive health is a basic right. We can’t let extreme politicians like Bruce Rauner take that away. Please share this image on Facebook to show your support for HB40.
This bill shouldn’t be used as another political game for a failed governor. While Gov. Rauner tries to protect his political career by rallying his far-right base, I’ll stay focused on protecting women’s health.
We need to pass House Bill 40 to make reproductive health care more affordable and end the potential criminalization of abortion in Illinois. Please share this message on Facebook or forward this email to three friends.
Gov. Rauner broke his word to all of us. Together, we can hold him accountable – and protect women’s health.
Thank you for being part of our movement,
* JB Pritzker…
“Today the Illinois House took a courageous step in protecting women’s healthcare and pushing back against the GOP’s attack on Illinois women,” said JB Pritzker. “I marched in Springfield today, and for more than a quarter century I’ve marched, petitioned, and spoken out to protect women’s reproductive rights in Washington and across our state. It’s because I stand for the values of those I respect the most – my mother, my sister, my daughter, my wife – that I keep fighting. As your next governor, I will continue standing up to protect access to quality healthcare for all Illinois women.”
- Posted by Rich Miller
“Instead of working to solve our state’s catastrophic challenges, Madigan Democrats just passed a radical bill for taxpayer funded abortions, at a cost of $60 million, while we don’t have a budget. Springfield yet again shows it’s tone-deaf to the concerns of Illinoisans.” - Illinois Republican Party National Committeewoman Demetra Demonte
Interesting that they call this “Madigan Democrats” proposal “radical” when Gov. Rauner supposedly supported that bill before he was against it, and even implied that he could support the bill if only the impasse was resolved.
* Catholic Conference of Illinois…
The head of the public policy arm of the state’s Catholic bishops today lamented Illinois House passage of legislation authorizing the use of taxpayer money to pay for elective abortions for Medicaid recipients and state employees.
Robert Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois, criticized lawmakers for turning a moral argument into campaign fodder.
“Elected representatives today chose raw politics over the innocent lives of the unborn,” Gilligan said.
Today’s passage of House Bill 40 denoted the culmination of a legislative spring break marked by Gov. Bruce Rauner’s promise to veto the legislation, which was quickly followed by accusations of broken campaign promises. Cardinal Blase Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago last week issued a public statement in which he thanked the governor for his “principled stand” to veto HB 40.
“Abortion is a controversial issue in this country, but using public money to provide abortions should not be,” Cardinal Cupich stated.
Public opinion polls indicate strong opposition to public funding of abortion. A January 2017 poll conducted by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion for the Knights of Columbus shows that 61 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, including 40 percent of those who say they are pro-choice.
Only 15 states currently pay for elective abortions for Medicaid participants, and 11 of those states do so through a court order, not legislative action.
Gilligan stressed the House’s vote represented a dangerous misplacement of priorities, especially when the state has not had a budget for 22 months and has nearly $13 billion in overdue bills.
“The state can’t pay for essential services, and lawmakers are funding elective abortions – where is the logic in that?” he said.
Illinois’ Catholic bishops have lobbied hard against House Bill 40, issuing letters to parishioners urging them to contact their state representatives to vote against the measure. Cardinal Cupich and the other bishops noted that a better use of taxpayer money in such dire fiscal times would be to fund prenatal services for the poor and child care for working mothers, as well as expand health-care options for those in need.
HB 40 passed the House on a 62-55 vote, and now moves to the Senate for consideration.
* Illinois Federation of Republican Women…
“Yesterday, Democrats passed a far-reaching bill that will force taxpayers to pay for elective abortions. As a result, Illinois taxpayers are on the hook to pay over $60 million. Democrats continue to show they are willing to increase the financial burden on our state and taxpayers. Instead of playing politics with this controversial piece of legislation, Speaker Madigan should focus on working with Governor Bruce Rauner to pass a balanced budget. We need reforms so we can properly and adequately fund our universities and social services, not more of Madigan’s games.”
If I recall correctly, Gov. Rauner cut off talks with Madigan last December.
* Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard)…
“Today, Mike Madigan and his Illinois House Democrats voted to spend taxpayer funds to abort healthy babies. Our best estimates show that taxpayers would pay for over 30,000 abortions if this bill is signed into law, at an impact of $60 million to our Medicaid system. Despite the dire financial straits facing our state, Illinois Democrats today put their political patrons in the abortion industry ahead of fiscal sanity and a balanced budget.”
“According to the Workers’ Action Guide published by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Medicaid provides medical coverage for pregnant women who make less than 213% of the federal poverty level. The latest numbers from the Guttmacher Institute, released in May 2016, indicate that 75% of women who receive abortions have income under 200% of the federal poverty level. Based upon this information, and published documentation from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services about the cost and frequency of abortion procedures, the $60 million price tag would decimate our Medicaid budget.”
In 2015, the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget said an identical bill wouldn’t cost anything extra.
* Illinois Family Institute…
After passionate testimony from both sides, HB 40 passed by a vote of 62-55 yesterday afternoon. Sixty votes are needed for passage. This proposal for taxpayer funding of abortion will now proceed to the Illinois Senate where it is expected to pass. […]
Passage of HB 40 would translate into tens of thousands of additional abortions in Illinois every year through Medicaid. As explained in an earlier article, this law would result in a disproportionate number of black and brown babies being killed.
HB 40 also allows the Deptartment of Health and Human Services to make grants to nonprofit agencies and organizations that use such grants to refer, counsel for, or perform abortions.
In addition, state employees would have abortion coverage added to their insurance plan under HB 40.
Proponents, for the most part, focused their testimony on a woman’s choice to have control over her own body and the “right” of poor women to have access to “health care” while opponents’ focus was on the fact that innocent pre-born human life would be killed with taxpayer resources.
It’s a tragic day in Illinois when the most helpless have no protection from the adult lawmakers who are already born.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Press release…
The Rauner Administration this week filed a motion to deny employees hired illegally by the previous administration the protection of a collective bargaining agreement.
The motion continues the Rauner Administration’s commitment to reforming the patronage mess it inherited. As the Special Master noted in her recent report:
“Over the past two years, the Rauner Administration and IDOT have taken significant steps toward eliminating some of the problematic employment practices identified above and in the 2014 OEIG Report… The illegal hiring of the Staff Assistants has a continuing impact on State government. Many individuals hired illegally into the Staff Assistant position remain employed in other positions.”
Currently, at least 36 employees who were improperly hired into the IDOT staff positions remain employed with the state. Due to collective bargaining protections, the Administration cannot terminate these employees. The Administration’s motion asks a judge to decide if collective bargaining rights covering improperly hired employees can actually protect them.
“Since the governor first took office, we have worked diligently to create a more ethical and responsive government,” Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said. “We are pleased the Special Master recognizes our commitment to both cleaning up the patronage mess we inherited and changing the system so the abuse of the past cannot reoccur. Under our changes, rank-and-file state workers will be hired based on what they know, not who they know.”
Last September, Governor Rauner announced that the Administration abolished the staff assistant position and terminated all remaining staff assistants, which were at the center of the IDOT patronage hiring scandal. A 2014 OEIG report found the previous administration illegally hired staff assistants at IDOT and then transferred them into protected government positions or allowed them to perform job duties with little or no relation to their actual job description.
In direct response to the IDOT hiring scandal, Governor Rauner began requiring the state to publish all Rutan-exempt employees on the Illinois Transparency and Accountability Portal website during his first month in office. Additionally, the Rauner Administration has removed a level of bureaucracy in hiring civil-service positions, which has further protected the hiring process from unlawful political influence.
Keep in mind that the Quinn administration was alleged to have conspired to skirt hiring laws for Rutan-covered civil service jobs in order to get politically connected people into those positions. There are still a number of exempt positions that can be filled via political means. So, comparing this Quinn thing to Rauner’s hiring of, say, Leslie Munger, is apples to oranges. You may not like that hire, but it was legal.
- Posted by Rich Miller
Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers will hold a 10 a.m. news conference. The advisory from Summers’ campaign team indicated Summers will make a “press conference announcement.” The ambitious Summers has held out the possibility he will run for the Democratic governor nomination and indicated a decision was coming soon. The field already has five announced candidates, including Chicago billionaire J.B. Pritkzer.
Think he’ll get in?
*** UPDATE 1 *** Nope…
*** UPDATE 2 *** Interesting…
City treasurer Kurt Summers, long a rumored candidate for governor, is expected to announce Wednesday morning that he will not seek that office and instead endorse billionaire J.B. Pritzker, a source told the Sun-Times.
*** UPDATE 3 *** Look who showed up today…
*** UPDATE 4 *** Pritzker also got some aldermanic endorsements. From a press release…..
Today, Chicago Treasurer Kurt Summers announced his support for JB Pritzker for Governor at Gallery Guichard in Bronzeville. Joining Kurt in endorsing JB were Alderman Pat Dowell (Ward 3), Alderman Roderick Sawyer (Ward 6), Alderman Mike Scott (Ward 24), and Alderman Emma Mitts (Ward 37). […]
“JB is the right candidate to lead the fight against Governor Rauner and to clean up the mess that’s been created in Springfield and across our state,” said Kurt Summers. “I’ve known JB for over a decade. I’ve seen up close his values, his expertise and his relentless passion for helping others. JB understands that the best way to lift up our communities is through job creation and real investment, and I trust that he will bring back stability to Illinois.
“JB’s past experiences prove he is the most committed and the most capable person to govern our state and deliver on the promise to improve the lives of working people and low-income communities. He is the person we need to lead Illinois, prioritizing those who are most vulnerable among us. I know JB will fight every day for the people of this state, especially for black and brown communities that have suffered from disinvestment and have been disproportionately affected by Governor Rauner’s lack of leadership. JB will work hard to earn every single vote – and truly represent us all as governor.”
“Today, I am honored and humbled to accept the endorsement of Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers,” said JB Pritzker. “Kurt is someone who shows up every day and fights for all our city’s children and families, especially for communities that are too often left behind. And, unlike Governor Rauner, Kurt gets results and we’re all better off because of it. We’re just twenty days in to this campaign, and I’m thankful for the strong showing of support we’re receiving from leaders across Illinois.”
*** UPDATE 5 *** Press release…
Chris Kennedy, Democratic candidate for Illinois Governor, released the following statement on Kurt Summers’ announcement that he would not be running for Governor.
“I made it clear where I stand when I spoke to the Cook County Democrats in March. This race is not about politicians endorsing other politicians or what might be happening behind closed doors. This race is about restoring the promise of the American Dream to the people of Illinois. Voters want to see the depth of our ideas and the vision we bring to rebuilding the promise of this state. My focus will be on earning the trust of the voters of Illinois and making Springfield finally work for their future.”
- Posted by Rich Miller
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