* So far, it’s just two. We’ll see if anyone else joins…
IL LEGISLATORS BOYCOTT “SPECIAL SESSION” TO HELP SCHOOLS GET READY FOR STUDENTS
Cassidy and Williams hold service day at CPS elementary school, reject Rauner session as political stunt
What: Members of IL General Assembly perform service day, painting classrooms at CPS elementary school
When: July 26, 2017; 10:00 a.m.
Where: Gale Community Academy, 1631 W. Jonquil Terrace, Chicago IL, 60626
Who: State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-14th) State Rep. Ann Williams (D-11th) CPS Parents
*** UPDATE *** From Rep. Ann Williams…
Hi Rich: As you may know, it’s budget week at CPS. I have no less than a dozen Local School Council meetings on my schedule - this is where neighborhood schools consider and approve their budgets. Like I do every year, my staff and I will attend as many as possible. The idea of going down to Springfield to play political games while my principals, teachers and CPS families struggle to make their budgets work was untenable for me. I decided to join Kelly in opting to spend the week doing something more productive. I’ll be continuing to attend my LSC meetings this week and join Kelly for daily service projects.
Asked if she would return for Monday’s special session, Rep. Williams replied…
If there is legislation pending or the governor is willing to discuss how his threatened veto will impact neighborhood schools, I’ll be there!
Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan deliberately advances policies that promote high property taxes out of a “stunning conflict of interest” that has made him wealthy, Gov. Bruce Rauner charged Monday.
In a harsh broadside that likely previews a re-election campaign strategy to target the house speaker, Rauner said, “Madigan for his own reasons is a fan of high property taxes.” […]
Asked to clarify, the governor did not offer specifics but pointed to the legal work on property tax appeals conducted by Madigan & Getzendanner, the Chicago law firm Madigan co-founded in 1972.
“He’s got that personal wealth-creating business,” Rauner said.
* Yesterday, when a reporter and the governor were sparring a bit over SB 1, the reporter mentioned that the Senate President claims he isn’t sending Gov. Rauner the bill because he’d threatened to veto it. The governor’s response…
How many bills have they sent to my desk that I was gonna veto? That doesn’t stop ‘em. That doesn’t stop ‘em.
Well, one bill that springs to mind immediately is HB 40.
The divisive legislation, which passed [the Senate on May 10th] in a 33 to 22 vote, aims to protect abortion rights in Illinois should the U.S. Supreme Court strike down or change Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that made abortion legal in the U.S. It also prevents insurers from denying coverage of abortion services to women on Medicaid and state workers on the Illinois health insurance plan.
As Rauner prepares to seek re-election, the passage of this bill puts the governor, a Republican, in a tough spot between pro-choice suburban women and pro-life downstate voters.
Sen. Don Harmon filed a motion to reconsider shortly after the floor vote and it hasn’t moved since.
And to be crystal clear, I am a strong advocate for women’s reproductive rights.
But, as you’ll recall, Rauner has said he’s against HB 40, even though he told Personal PAC in 2014 that he favored everything in it…
Gov. Bruce Rauner is casting his promise to veto legislation that’s become known as the “abortion bill” as a matter of timing rather than philosophy.
“I have always been and will always be a strong supporter and protector of women’s reproductive rights,” Rauner said Friday. “We in Illinois have good existing law.”
Rauner said however that “expending taxpayer funds is a very divisive issue. A very controversial issue” and right now “we need to focus” on jobs, property taxes, term limits and school funding.
Needless to say, signing that bill would go a very long way toward dispelling claims that he’s lurching even further rightward in the wake of his budget veto overrides. And vetoing it now would likely help burnish arguments that he is, indeed, moving right.
* The Question: Should Sen. Harmon send Gov. Rauner HB 40 now or wait? Click here to take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.
The Illinois Legislature passed a school funding bill — separate from the rest of the state budget — but did not send the legislation to the governor for his approval.
That’s because the governor has threatened to amend the school funding bill by eliminating money for the Chicago Public Schools, which he claims is a CPS pension bailout. That could be anywhere from $100 million to $250 million, or about 2 to 3 percent of the total state spending on schools.
That’s right. This major battle in Springfield is about next to nothing, which is quite something. […]
In addition, the governor’s own school finance reform commission estimated the schools need $3.5 billion to $6 billion more from the state, which isn’t going to happen. […]
But the governor has now chosen to pit Chicago against the rest of the state, using school funding to gain political advantage. Of course, the governor says he loves the children.
So much dung gets tossed around in Springfield when it comes to education that Illinois schoolchildren should be required to wear hazmat suits.
While there’s a lot of attention on the number of people killed in Chicago, a lesser known statistic also tells the story of pain and insecurity gripping the streets.
That number is 29%. That’s the percentage of murders solved by Chicago police last year. In other words, 71% of killers got away with murder. […]
Chicago’s murder clearance rate lags behind other major cities. Police in New York City, for example, report solving 80% of their murder cases last year. The most recent data available from the FBI shows the national average was 61%.
Chicago police point to an entrenched “no snitching” policy brutally enforced by the city’s street gangs as one reason for the lower clearance rate. […]
But police statistics portray another factor that experts say contributes to low solve rate: The sheer number of murders may be overwhelming investigators.
In 2015 and 2016, [Chicago] detectives solved roughly the same number of homicides (227 and 225, respectively). But because the number of murders soared between those two years (488 murders in 2015 and 770 murders in 2016) the solve rate between the two years fell dramatically: From 47% down to 29%.
* A deliberate attempt at softening the image by Team Rauner…
Rauner Highlights Education Record in New Digital Series
Diana Rauner Talks Governor’s Record, Commitment to Education
As lawmakers return to Springfield to deal with Mike Madigan’s political games, the Rauner campaign today released new digital ads featuring Illinois First Lady Diana Rauner, highlighting Governor Bruce Rauner’s longtime to commitment to improving education.
As Governor, Bruce Rauner increased K-12 education funding by $700 million and brought state support for early childhood education to record levels.
Rauner has worked to do what no Governor has done in years – bring educators and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle together to finally fix Illinois’ broken school funding system.
Rauner is committed to being the education Governor. That’s why he favors bipartisan reform of the education funding formula that is fair to all schoolchildren and supports an evidence based funding model.
Bruce and I share a passion for education.
It’s motivated him his entire life.
It’s about ensuring that every child has the opportunity to be successful in life.
We know how lucky we are to have the opportunities to help other people.
And we treat it like a mission.
Bruce has increased education funding by $700 million dollars.
He increased early childhood education to its highest level ever.
It’s about doing what’s right, not what’s easy.
We’re doing this for our next generation.
Chris Kennedy’s Campaign Releases First Digital Ad
This is the Kennedy campaign’s first advertisement. It will be distributed digitally through email, web and social media today. The ad highlights Chris’ statewide anti-violence plan, which he announced on Saturday.
Chris Kennedy, Democratic candidate for governor, spoke to a congregation on Chicago’s south side today to outline his anti-violence plan and share his own family’s personal experience dealing with the effects of gun violence.
“Violence which can touch our society anywhere will eventually touch our society everywhere, just as it did to my family, just as it has done for too many of the people in this room, just as it has done to tens of thousands of families across Illinois,” said Kennedy, son of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Chris lost both his uncle, President Kennedy, and his father, Robert Kennedy, to gun violence.
The persistent gun violence that plagues Illinois shows no signs of slowing down. While Chicago is on its way to exceed 700 homicides for the second consecutive year in a row, there are other communities in Illinois that have more gun crimes per person.
“Never should the problem be solved from above with solutions pushed down,” Kennedy said. “I believe this is true with violence. I believe the ideas that are present in the community are more important than those that can be found in white papers and academic journals.”
Kennedy made a call to action to address the violence and outlined specific plans he would pursue as Governor, including:
Creating a gun tracing program to trace the ownership of all guns used in a crime and cooperate with other states that want to do the same thing to ensure compatible data collection and reporting techniques.
Licensing gun dealers in the state of Illinois, just like the state licenses restaurants, barbers and nail salons.
Closing the gun show loophole where any can purchase a gun without a background
Providing resources to the state police to speed up the process of getting a firearms owner identification card (FOID).
Passing an Order of Protection Act to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and those involved in domestic violence.
Banning anyone on the terrorist watchlist from receiving a FOID card in Illinois.
Confronting the gun train issue where low levels of security are provided to trains loaded with guns, which is a public safety issue for the state of Illinois.
“These are all things we must do. But alone, they will not stem the violence unless we transform neighborhoods from places where people are merely trying to survive, to communities where they can thrive,” Kennedy said. “We need a progressive income tax - where if you make more money, you pay a little more in taxes, and we need to use those resources to fairly fund schools based on the unique needs of students and families within that community.”
“For communities disproportionately affected by violence, that means committing to counseling, and social, emotional and mental health access for children attending schools in communities affected by violence.”
“When we allow Governor Rauner and his broken government to jeopardize programs that help at-risk youth, we add to the problem of violence. When the mayor closes down nearly 50 schools, violence inevitably goes up,” Kennedy said. “And, when you rely on a rigged property tax system to fund schools and government, you lack the resources necessary to combat gun violence.”
* Usually, the governor gets softball questions from TV types. But Jim Niedelman of the Quad Cities came prepared for his interview. Let’s start with his follow-up to Gov. Rauner talking about what Chicago Public Schools should and shouldn’t get in education funding reform…
NIEDELMAN: So, if you allow [CPS] to have the… block grant would the pension then be included the way other pensions are funded across the state? Every other school district, the state picks up the pensions. Chicago’s separate from that. They want to be included in the rest of the state. You’re against that?
RAUNER: Well, so, here’s the issue, the bill needs to be on my desk so I can do the amendatory veto and you wouldn’t even have to ask the question, it would be clear how we’re gonna do it…
NIEDELMAN: Well, I’m asking the question now..
RAUNER: Yeah. Well, well, to, to talk about the detail when they haven’t even passed me the bill and I can’t fix it, we’re wasting our time…
It’s really worth a watch. Go to about the 6-minute mark to hear him dodge repeated questions about whether he was in favor of primarying Republicans who voted to override his budget vetoes. He also defends his own contributions to himself by saying he’s supported by “tens of thousands who’ve donated whatever they can afford.” All but a tiny handful of his dollars came either from him or a few buddies.
* And then he was asked about Brittany Carl, his new staffer who compared abortion to Nazi eugenics…
RAUNER: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ve heard about her, I, you know, people have their own views. Uh, there’s many people I don’t agree with, it’s fine. I focus on my four things, and, uh, we, we focus on the agenda of fixing our state so it’s working for the people.
NIEDELMAN: Do you want her to stay on within your administration?
RAUNER: So, we’re, we have a lot of folks in the administration, we’re building the best team in America to turn the government around.
NIEDELMAN: Do you want her to be, to stay with your administration?
RAUNER: Best team in America…
NIEDELMAN: I’ll take that as a non-answer, Mr. Governor, but I appreciate your time.
Illinois officials are investigating a longtime state investigator whose personal email has been the source of racist, sexist and anti-gay emails.
The state began reviewing Frank Capuzi, 62, with the Workers’ Compensation Commission after the newspaper’s probe of derogatory emails that were forwarded from his address to a water department boss and others, the Chicago Tribune reported. […]
The messages came to light in the ongoing investigation of Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson’s emails to and from the Chicago Water Department. The findings of Ferguson’s messages have led to five high-level water department bosses being let go, including Commissioner Barrett Murphy; his deputy, William Bresnahan; and Paul Hansen, a district superintendent. Ferguson also has been blocked from working on city projects.
Um, huh? Ferguson is the investigator. Those aren’t his e-mails and he hasn’t been blocked from working on city projects.
…Adding… The above story was posted online last night at 7:22. A correction was issued at 12:42 pm today…
Correction: Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson is investigating emails to and from the Chicago Water Department. Ferguson did not write any of the emails. A previous version of this article misreported Ferguson’s involvement in the case.
Rolf Sivertsen, the school superintendent in Canton in west central Illinois, is among a group of Downstate school officials who may be more important to the future of Chicago schoolchildren than Forrest Claypool.
Sivertsen and the others are ardent supporters of Senate Bill 1, the school funding legislation that Gov. Bruce Rauner has promised to veto as soon as it reaches his desk. Rauner calls it a “Chicago bailout.”
Contrary to the governor’s assertions that their communities are being shortchanged, these Downstate superintendents say the legislation is fair and are asking Rauner to sign it.
More important, if the governor goes ahead with his veto as expected, many told me they will ask their local legislators to override the governor’s veto if no compromise solution is found quickly.
* With that said, I still don’t think this meeting is being held out of desperation…
#developing. @GovRauner convening last-ditch meet of all GOP lawmakers Thursday to halt defections on SB1.
Sen. Sam McCann may vote with the Democrats to override the coming SB 1 veto (he just got a big campaign check from the IEA, after all), but the governor has mostly stuck to the plan laid out by his former chief of staff Richard Goldberg and so I doubt very many others will cross over. We’ll see.
Rauner took money from Chicago (how much is still in dispute because he won’t release his plan) and spread it around to suburban and Downstate districts (how he did that is also in question) and set this up as both a racial/geographical and a “I gotta vote my district” battle. So, no matter what your superintendents might say, Rauner has framed this simply: If you vote for SB 1 you vote against your district and for those corrupt Chicago incompetents.
Never underestimate the power of that argument in Illinois, particularly when the governor is so blatantly fanning the flames.
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said Monday that accusations that he cares less about predominantly minority students in Chicago Public Schools are “hurtful” and that he “cares deeply” about every child in Chicago.
Speaker Michael J. Madigan issued the following statement Tuesday:
“Throughout three years of the governor’s budget crisis, we saw very clearly that political theater is not a substitute for real leadership. By calling a special session while he refuses to negotiate and even says ‘there’s nothing to discuss,’ the governor is continuing to create a crisis that pits one child against another.
“The governor knows very well that the education funding reform bill in question is not in the House, and members of the House cannot take positive action on the governor’s call until it is in our chamber, especially as he refuses to even detail the changes he would like.
“Governor Rauner, however, can take action. Instead of simply paying lip service to how desperately Illinois’ schools, educators, students and property taxpayers need education funding reform, he can put aside his veto threats and sign a bill he is on record as supporting 90 percent of. Instead of playing political games with our children’s education, he can agree to sign a bill that fixes one the most inequitable funding formulas in the country. I urge the governor to stand with us in choosing reform over a status quo that is failing our students.”
He has a point about how the House can’t take action on a veto until the Senate does. It was basically the same sort of complaint the Senate President had during the last special session.
But the special session proclamation doesn’t specify a veto action. It merely says the purpose of the special session is to consider “appropriate legislation to ensure that all school districts in Illinois are equitably and adequately funded to provide a high quality education to all Illinois students.”
Check out this tracker footage of a confused Kennedy speaking to the 40th Ward Democrats in Chicago on Thursday. Kennedy is bumbling trying to talk about taxes, and stumbles his way into saying he wants taxes to go up. Not a good look for the self-proclaimed Democratic “reformer.”
* Kennedy does stumble at one point (bad brain freeze and switches from one tax idea to another), but his overall point is actually in synch with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s own 2014 campaign pledge: A tax on services, including on attorneys…
Man, that guy has real trouble on the stump. Painful.
Some background on Rauner’s service tax plan is here.
So said Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday when asked why he has hired a bunch of ideologues from a far-right advocacy group, the Illinois Policy Institute, to run his office.
But Rauner’s reply was a misdirection. The question was not whether the IPI might tell him what to think. The question was whether the governor, by hiring reductivist worshipers of libertarian philosophy, was revealing his own true intellectual colors. The question was whether Rauner was about to double-down on an ideologically-driven approach to governing — as opposed to, you know, living in the real world — that already has done tremendous damage to Illinois.
On Monday we got the answer: You betcha. […]
Some people pursue a life of simple-minded purity, like those libertarian heroes in an Ayn Rand novel. Other people — the ones who get big things done — see the world as it is, complicated and messy. They are more pragmatic.
Gov. Bruce Rauner is 60 years old and ought to know better than to throw in with the ideologues. Yet that’s exactly what he’s done by firing much of his senior staff and replacing them with a bunch of right-wing cranks from the Illinois Policy Institute. Having been out-maneuvered on a new state budget by the Democrat-controlled legislature, Rauner is dropping any pretense of bipartisanship and doubling down on a simplistic anti-labor, anti-government politics. Some argue these were his true colors all along, but it’s a juvenile move nonetheless.
Granted, the Illinois Policy Institute is no John Birch Society. Can’t be because the Red menace faded with the fall of the Soviet Union and rise of state-capitalist China. Now the supposed enemy of freedom and prosperity is Big Labor and its unholy alliance with Big Government — an alliance led in these parts by a devil incarnate known as House Speaker Michael Madigan.
So we’re in for another season of name-calling and heroic posturing, beginning this summer with a showdown over who is supposed to foot the pension burden of the Chicago Public Schools. This is one of the more complex public policy issues in memory, involving city-state agreements reached years ago as to Chicago’s outsized share of special-purpose grants and the mayor’s appointive control of the CPS board — not to mention how those pension funds got so far in arrears.
The IPI employs about two dozen policy “analysts” as well as lawyers who fight oppressive regulations on small business. The IPI also has a stable of newspaper op-ed writers and a radio network to push its agenda.
I put “analyst” in quotes because, like many advocacy groups of both right and left, IPI’s approach is conclusion driven. To wit: Illinois could have enacted its recent budget without a tax increase. Then the so-called analysts go out in search of a narrative to buck up the conclusion. […]
Now that they are inside and running Illinois state government, I hope the IPI management team takes a problem-solving approach to its work.
But I am not optimistic. Ideology thrives on rigidity. It is not good at governance.
“There’s been a lot of writing and talk about staffing. It’s the tempest and the teapot. There’s nothing changing. My positions have been clear. I am a strong advocate for the people of Illinois. I want to change our government so it actually works for people and put our children and our families first. Political insiders, the privileged inside government, the folks who make their money from political power, we need to battle against them.”
Rauner contended “sometimes you need fresh troops to engage in the battle.”
Carl was not among several communications staffers at the press conference on Monday, which was the governor’s first Chicago media availability since his staff shakeup. Since July 10, there have been at least 20 administration exits — both firings and resignations in protest. The transition hasn’t been easy. After being asked to come back into the Thompson Center’s Blue Room to make an introduction to reporters, the staffers learned they were locked in.
“I have a key!” a staffer said quickly before they made their exit.
Cullerton ADMITS Chicago Machine Holding School Funding Hostage
“We slowed down the process”
Senate President John Cullerton admitted yesterday for the first time that Democratic politicians in Springfield are intentionally holding SB1 from reaching Governor Rauner’s desk.
Cullerton told the Chicago Tribune that “We slowed down the process in the Senate in order to let everyone blow off some steam, politically speaking.”
This is a direct admission that the Chicago Machine is holding school funding hostage.
John Cullerton has no right to pervert the legislative process in this way. It’s an affront to democracy.
John Cullerton and Mike Madigan should stop helping try to get their friends in Chicago a $500 million bailout and allow SB1 to reach Governor Rauner’s desk for an amendatory veto.
Anything less is a slap in the face to the voters of Illinois and their confidence in our democratic system.
* Or perhaps Cullerton was just remembering history. From February…
Sometimes in politics, emotions get involved. Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday brought up emotions when discussing his December veto of legislation that would have provided $215 million for Chicago Public Schools.
“You know, I’m a human being, I get a little emotional sometimes,” Rauner said at an appearance before the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board.
Rauner was explaining his abrupt veto of a plan that had been part of a larger deal he struck over the summer with the Democrats who control the General Assembly — House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton. […]
“There was a commitment in our leaders meetings last summer, when we did our stopgap spending plan … that when we did comprehensive pension reform for the state, Chicago’s teacher pension would be changed instead to be picked up by the state,” Rauner said. “That was part of the — that was a verbal agreement, crystal clear. And you know, I’m a human being, I get a little emotional sometimes. When that was publicly reneged on — you don’t do that, that’s not right.”
Since then, there’s been no pension reform agreement, but the Democrats want the CPS pension language to remain in SB 1 anyway and they know the topic makes the governor react in an emotional way.
So, Cullerton, whose chamber passed a pension reform bill that never made it out of the House, held the bill. Cullerton is taking heat from Rauner for being Madigan’s pawn, but it looks to me like he’s playing a two-track game: Prevent the governor from vetoing the bill while hoping Madigan will finally budge on pension reform and then everyone can “win.”
* They need a negotiated agreement, but that doesn’t seem likely in the near term for a few reasons:
1) The governor appears to want to avenge the overrides of his budget vetoes by locking up Republicans with big promises of more money for their schools at the expense of Chicago. An override on this particular bill looks all but impossible in the House. Madigan, fresh off Rauner’s budgetary defeat, probably doesn’t want to “lose” this round. So, everybody will stand their ground for a while. How long people are willing to hold out is the big question right now.
2) The governor flatly refuses to negotiate until the Senate sends him the bill. But even if Rauner did agree to leaders’ meetings, I’m not sure that Speaker Madigan would want to be in the same room with the governor’s new chief of staff, who has made a career out of bashing the man.
3) Speaker Madigan has shown absolutely zero interest in passing any bills that are opposed by organized labor, and public employee unions definitely do not love Cullerton’s pension reform plan. So, getting Madigan off the dime on pension reform doesn’t look likely in the near term. In a perfect world, Madigan would either tell the unions that the bill is probably unconstitutional anyway, so just suck it up and deal with it; or tell CPS to wait until the Democrats elect a governor and then they’ll get their pension money from the state, just like every other school district. But this isn’t a perfect world. Far from it.
Saying it was “one of the hardest decisions of my life,” State Representative Carol Ammons has decided not to run for Congress.
“With my deepest appreciation for your support and encouragement, I have decided not to run for the 13th Congressional District in 2018,” Ammons posted on her Facebook page on Monday night.
Ammons, D-Urbana, had been considering challenging incumbent Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, for the past two months and held several “listening sessions” throughout the district during that time.
“Across the 13th Congressional District, from Champaign-Urbana to Edwardsville, I heard you say that the issues and policies impacting your lives on a day-to-day basis, the ones pushing you into survival mode, crushing your families and dampening your children’s dreams, are primarily state issues,” Ammons said. “What I heard at the listening sessions, loudest and clearest, is that right now I am needed most in state government, fighting for Champaign-Urbana and all of Illinois in 2018.”
Erik Jones, 37, an attorney from Edwardsville who has worked for the state attorney general and congressional committees, on Monday announced he is a Democratic primary candidate for the U.S. House from the 13th Congressional District.
“Illinois needs to send bulldogs, not backslappers, to Congress to confront our challenges,” Jones said in a statement. “We’ve grown too comfortable with low expectations of our leaders. It’s time we raise the bar, and that starts with who we send to Washington.”
Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis of Taylorville now represents the 13th.
Jones becomes the third Democrat to announce for the race, joining physician and past congressional candidate David Gill of Bloomington and Betsy Dirksen Londrigan of Springfield, who has worked as a self-employed fundraiser for people including U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and entities such as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.
A competitive race is almost certain to be an expensive affair, with Davis’ campaign committee reporting $801,532.39 on hand at the end of June, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
Jones said he was confident that he could raise the money necessary to “run a serious campaign” against Davis.
“I wouldn’t be in this race if I didn’t think I could put in a serious campaign,” he said.
Most recently, Jones said, he was in private practice with the Venable law firm, aiding domestic companies in their response to data breaches by foreign hackers who were targeted individuals’ consumer information.
Jones said he is in the process of leaving the firm and intends to devote “100 percent” of his time to the race in the congressional district that extends from Champaign-Urbana on the northeast to Edwardsville on the southwest, a distance of about 150 miles.
“I’ll be running full time, that’s the plan,” he said.
Another topic Rauner sidestepped today was whether the Illinois State Board of Education had run the numbers on his plan. State Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) stepped to the microphone to state that ISBE analyzes only legislation, not proposals.
Via email, ISBE spokesperson Jackie Mathews later offered this explanation for the confusion: “ISBE will produce an analysis for legislation before it is filed but will make the analysis public only at the request of the bill sponsor. An analysis is considered draft until the bill is filed.”