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Rep. Elaine Nekritz to resign on Monday

Friday, Sep 29, 2017

* Click here for her resignation letter. She had announced her pending resignation quite a while ago. I assume they’ve found a replacement to appoint to the seat.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Reader comments closed for the weekend

Friday, Sep 29, 2017

* Later

That much is true

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

*** UPDATED x1 - Et tu, Tillman? *** Rauner scrubbed from GOP “family values” event

Friday, Sep 29, 2017

* Illinois Review

Despite being featured as a main attraction for weeks, Governor Rauner won’t be attending Saturday’s Southwest Suburban Republican Picnic after all, says Cook County GOP Chairman Sean Morrison.

Apparently, the sudden change in plans resulted from the governor signing into law a measure Thursday that would require taxpayers to pay for abortions for low income women and state employees.

“Governor Rauner had committed to attending our Republican Family Picnic several weeks ago,” Morrison told Illinois Review. “In lieu of Thursday’s bill signing, it was agreed that the governor’s attendance would only serve as a distraction to our goal of a Republican family values event.”

The featured speaker at the Village Green in southwest suburban Palos Park from noon to 3:00 PM will now be IL GOP primary candidate Erika Harold.

…Adding… I just talked to Morrison who said it was a mutual decision.

*** UPDATE ***  Illinois Channel

But few individuals have been more supportive of Gov Rauner over the years, than John Tillman, President of the conservative think-tank, Illinois Policy Institute.

In fact, Gov Rauner this summer raided the staff of the IPI when he restructured his senior management, selecting Christine Rasmussen, an IPI Vice President, to become his new Chief of Staff.

So when the Gov loses the support of the Illinois Policy Institute’s CEO, John Tillman, who took to Facebook to call the Governor “Benedict Rauner”…then one wonders…who’s left to support Governor Rauner for re-election?

Here’s the post: John Michael Tillman “Benedict Rauner going back on his word and signing HB40. Whether you are pro life or pro choice, a politician loses when he gives his word to many people and goes back on it, including to Cardinal Cupich. Further, if you care only about economic issues, he has put that entire agenda at risk by betraying those to whom he gave his word.”

Well, it’s on now.

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraiser list, candidate announcement and candidate reacts to HB40

Friday, Sep 29, 2017

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Question of the day

Friday, Sep 29, 2017

* From JB Pritzker’s Twitter account

* The Question: Caption?

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      

Dumped Biss running mate predicts big Latino boost for Kennedy

Friday, Sep 29, 2017

* I wouldn’t expect Kennedy to tout this because of the whole BDS thing, but kinda interesting…

First, however, Kennedy’s campaign needs to raise enough money to air that ad.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      

Ever more Democrats eyeing AG bid

Friday, Sep 29, 2017

* As Tom Bowen said of the flotilla of little-known potential AG candidates, lots of people are currently asking themselves “Why not me?”

A former federal prosecutor who’s become a prominent media pundit about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign and White House is considering a run for office.

Renato Mariotti, who spent nearly 10 years in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago, said Thursday he’s mulling a bid for Illinois attorney general. […]

Mariotti attended the University of Chicago as an undergraduate, followed by Yale Law School. He said one key issue he’s trying to figure out is whether he can raise the money to make a credible bid.

“Ultimately, something like this requires a lot of resources,” he said. “I’m not a rich man. I only left the government a year or so ago. My dad didn’t graduate from high school and I grew up in a very blue-collar family, so I’m trying to figure all this out.”

* From a couple of days ago…

* Today

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering tells POLITICO she is circulating petitions and raising money in an effort to run for Illinois Attorney General. Rotering, a Stanford graduate with a University of Chicago law degree, was first elected mayor in 2011 and holds up as a chief accomplishment her legal push to uphold a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in her North Shore community. “I have a real record of fighting the NRA. We passed an assault weapons ban in Highland Park, people would say that shows courage,”Rotering told us. “It’s one thing to say you’re drafting legislation and then not voting for it, and it’s another to say ‘I brought this all the way to the Supreme Court and won.’” In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up the assault ban case, which upheld an appeals court ruling. Rotering challenged and lost to U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider in last year’s primary contest, but she managed to snag an endorsement from U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin as well as the Chicago Tribune and raise more than $1.5 million.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      

Today’s number: 35,000

Friday, Sep 29, 2017

* The Illinois Policy Institute on the current legislative exodus

But the most likely driver is pretty obvious to most Illinoisans: the rage of constituents.

Social media has given residents more real-time information about what their lawmakers are doing, as well as better access to the tools to contact them directly – and often. Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin cited social media as one factor with a “major impact” on the phenomenon of lawmakers leaving en masse.

The Illinois Policy Institute, which spoke out consistently against the tax hike, boasts the most active online community of any advocacy organization in the state. Close to 300,000 Illinoisans follow the group’s Facebook page. And in an eight-day window this summer – June 29th to July 6th – Illinoisans sent 35,000 emails through the Institute’s “contact your lawmaker” tool.

Not to mention all the super-harsh comments posted on members’ FB pages, etc.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

*** UPDATED x4 *** Republican candidate refers to Rauner/GOP “chaos” while soliciting support

Friday, Sep 29, 2017

* His name was floated weeks ago for secretary of state, so I suppose this isn’t unexpected. But he quickly deleted his initial tweet

Chaos, eh?

* And then he deleted another tweet which omitted the reference to chaos…

* I DM’d him to ask about the two deleted tweets and this was his response…

Tech issues. It’s live

* We’ll see if this third one lasts because he still hasn’t included the most important thing: Which members of the state central committee actually signed the letter on his behalf? That part of the letter is cut off on all three tweets…

*** UPDATE 1 ***  It just gets weirder…


I am Shaun Murphy, member of the Republican State Central Committee and Worth Township Republican Committeeman. I am writing to inform you that Mr. Griffin’s press release is misleading. The Illinois Republican Party has not endorsed his candidacy and I personally refuse to endorse someone’s candidacy until they have been fully vetted and until we can measure the interest of all persons interested in running for any position.

The letter that is partially attached to his press release can be found in full at JC’s website. The letter is signed by four members of the State Central Committee:

    Fred Floreth, 13th Congressional District Committeeman

    Jan Weber, 17th Congressional District Committewoman

    Michael Neubert, 12th Congressional District Committeeman

    John McGlasson, 16th Congressional District Committeeman

Spinning that the support of 4 members of our committee equates to an endorsement from the Illinois Republican Party is simply dishonest.

Please update your post to reflect that fact.

Shaun Murphy

*** UPDATE 2 *** This is one stellar rollout…

Rich, this is Sean Morrison.

I echo the same sentiment as Shaun Murphy, To be clear I have not endorsed Mr. Griffin and to my knowledge nor has the IL GOP endorsed Mr. Griffin.

I am uncertain as to the cause of this confusion on Mr. Griffin’s behalf.


Sean M. Morrison
Chairman, Cook County Republican party
3rd Congressional district, Republican State Central committeemen.

*** UPDATE 3 *** ILGOP…

“The Illinois Republican Party has not yet formally made any endorsements in the race for Secretary of State. These four out of eighteen State Central Committee members are acting in their own individual capacities as they are free to do, but are not speaking for the State Central Committee or Illinois Republican Party as a whole. With that being said, we are committed to defeating Mike Madigan’s chief patronage boss, Jesse White, and electing a Secretary of State who works for the people, not a corrupt political machine.” - Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Aaron DeGroot

*** UPDATE 4 *** The candidate has posted a clarification

Due to abbreviated social media headlines and the omission of the portion of the support letter listing the names of the specific supporters, it may have been inferred by readers that the entire Illinois Republican State Central Committee (IRSCC) had endorsed me for Secretary of State when in fact it was only 4 members of the committee.

I will be working diligently to gain the support of the remaining members of the IRSCC and the individual Republican County Chairman throughout Illinois in the coming months.

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      

ILGOP tries to taint Kennedy’s Garcia endorsement

Friday, Sep 29, 2017

* From the Illinois Republican Party…

Chris Kennedy Boasts Endorsement From Soda Tax Supporter
Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia, staunch Preckwinkle ally and supporter of the Soda Tax, endorses Kennedy, tying him to the Chicago Democrat money-grab

“Garcia and Kennedy are a perfect pairing because they are both clearly out of touch with Illinois voters. Garcia’s support of the Soda Tax despite 87% of Cook County residents’ disapproval just goes to show that Chicago Democrats like Garcia and Kennedy are wrong for Illinois.” - Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Aaron DeGroot

On Thursday, Chris Kennedy held an event to highlight his endorsement from Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia, Toni Preckwinkle’s loyal floor leader on the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

Kennedy’s willingness to showcase support from someone who voted for the Soda Tax overwhelmingly opposed by his constituents makes it clear that he does not care about Illinois families and taxpayers.

Instead, Kennedy is spending his time courting more members of the Madigan Machine, trying to curry favor with Chicago insiders.

The people of Illinois are watching. Chris Kennedy should be worried if he continues to choose Chicago insiders over Illinois families and taxpayers.

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      

Chris Kennedy pledges to “govern as a feminist”

Friday, Sep 29, 2017

* Tribune

Democratic governor candidate Chris Kennedy declared Thursday that if elected he would “govern as a feminist,” as he sought to intertwine his family’s political heritage with women’s issues at a luncheon featuring his mother, Ethel Kennedy, and two of his sisters.

The fundraiser, which drew more than 350 people with ticket prices starting at $250, marked a rare trip by the 89-year-old family matriarch, human rights activist and widow of Robert F. Kennedy to the city of her birth, where she was born and raised on the South Side. […]

Speaking to the audience, Chris Kennedy accused Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner of engaging in a “war on women” largely as a result of the lengthy stalemate that kept Illinois without a budget until a tax-and-spending package was enacted over his veto.

“As governor of Illinois, I’ll govern as a feminist,” Kennedy said. “I know that when we recognize the importance of women in our lives and in our communities, when we allow them to empower themselves by removing the systemic barriers that exist, only then can we make the growth of our economy, the viability of our state and the security of our future a reality.”

* The campaign produced a video for the event

Putting his mom in there was a nice touch.

* From Kennedy’s speech at the event, provided by his campaign…

Because we believe in fair compensation and a $15 an hour minimum wage in which America’s full-time [workers] don’t have to live in poverty, we must also believe in fair compensation so that women are paid equally for their work.

Because we believe that government has a role in establishing minimum coverage for all citizens across all aspects of healthcare, so too must we believe that women must be afforded sufficient time with their child after giving birth without sacrificing income.

We cannot punish women for being moms.

Because we believe there is an absolute role for the government to intervene in systemic violence, we must also believe that there is a special role for the government to intervene in domestic violence.

Because we recognize that there’s a disproportionate number of women living in poverty, we must make eliminating poverty not only part of advancing equality for women but part of the agenda for the entire country.

As governor of Illinois, I’ll govern as a feminist.

When we recognize the importance of women in our lives and in our communities, when we allow them to empower themselves by removing the systemic barriers that exist, only then can we make the the growth of our economy, the viability of our state and the security of our country a reality.

* And this is an e-mail which came over the transom…

Chris Kennedy claims he will be a “feminist” governor, but his words and actions don’t match up.

Kennedy has yet to tout any women endorsing his campaign and he has repeatedly showed up late to women’s events. During a Mom + Baby event, he showed up an hour late and was “condescending and rude” to a women’s political group. An organizer said she “didn’t think Kennedy would’ve had the same behavior with a group of men.”

Just last week, Chris disrespected a group of downstate women by showing up two hours late to their event.

But this wasn’t the first time. He’s missed many gubernatorial forums and he was the only major gubernatorial candidate to miss forums hosted by women’s groups, including the Democratic Women of South Suburbs.

It’s not just skipping forums and showing up late for women’s events though. He also hasn’t modeled his campaign as the “feminist” he claims to be. His top staffers are predominantly men, including his campaign manager, deputy campaign manager, ad maker and strategist, spokesman, deputy finance director, volunteer and outreach coordinator, and at least three consultants.

Finally, when asked about his support for a woman’s right to choose, Chris called it the “abortion thing,” saying “we have laws in our country and the laws are the laws.” He then awkwardly shifted to talking about his wife’s appointment at the OBGYN, saying “The woman never even looked at me. Never even looked at me.”

I dunno. He’s late to a lot of stuff. And the spokesperson I deal with at the Kennedy campaign is a woman.

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

*** UPDATED x3 - IL AFL-CIO, Pritzker respond - Veto issued *** On to the next crisis!

Friday, Sep 29, 2017

* Synopsis of SB1905

Creates the Collective Bargaining Freedom Act. Provides that it is the policy of the State that employers, employees, and their labor organizations are free to bargain collectively. Provides that the authority to enact laws or rules that restrict the use of union security agreements between an employer and a labor organization vests exclusively with the General Assembly. Prohibits local governments from enforcing any such law or rule.

The bill was sent to the governor on August 2nd, so today is his 60-day deadline to act. He’ll undoubtedly veto it, but in the wake of the GOP fury over HB40, can he hold enough House Republicans off the bill to prevent an override?

* The legislation received 40 votes in the Senate, with Republicans Anderson, Fowler and McCann voting with the Democrats.

It only received 67 votes in the House, short of an override. Three House Democrats were listed as absent or excused. And three House Republicans voted for the bill (Long, McCombie and Severin). But if you click here you’ll see several potential HGOP flips who didn’t vote either way in late June, just before the real craziness started with the tax/budget overrides, the subsequent Rauner staff fiasco and the governor’s flip-flop on HB40.

Gonna be an interesting floor fight come veto session time.

…Adding… From a pal…

Would be ironic if Rauner’s “no social agenda” ended up undoing his very real anti-union agenda


*** UPDATE ***  As expected…

Bill No.: SB 1905

An Act Concerning Government

Action: Vetoed

Veto Message for SB 1905

September 29, 2017

To the Honorable Members of

The Illinois Senate,

100th General Assembly:

Today I veto Senate Bill 1905 from the 100th General Assembly, which prohibits local communities from allowing individual workers a choice in whether or not they want to pay a union as a condition of employment. This legislation would damage the economic health of Illinois’ communities by removing their freedom to determine the best interests of their workforces and employers.

Illinois lags behind its neighbors’ economic and job growth despite our many advantages. Our State’s workforce is fleeing and aging, losing 250,000 people and having the worst personal income growth in the country over the last decade. Individuals, families, and businesses who should be eager to come to Illinois stay away. Manufacturers too often leave across our borders or never even consider investing in new job creation here. Many businesses will only expand in communities that offer employee freedom of choice.

Part of our struggle is that every state that shares a border with Illinois has already enacted true worker freedom, allowing individuals in those states to determine whether they want to contribute to a labor union. Many states around us are growing union jobs as well as non-union jobs faster than Illinois because more of their communities give workers choice while not preventing employees from joining unions if they choose.

By contrast, Senate Bill 1905 would move Illinois in the opposite direction by destroying the freedom of Illinois’ local communities to choose reforms that can make their economies more competitive, help their businesses grow, and give the freedom to individual workers to support a union at their own discretion.

This legislation forces local communities to follow a one-size-fits-all model of government, no matter how detrimental they believe it is to them. Our goal should not be to limit workers’ ability to join a union but rather to give communities the freedom to embrace new tools to compete economically and to recruit businesses and talent rather than have their choices dictated by Springfield.

Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of Article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return Senate Bill 1905, entitled “AN ACT concerning government”, with the foregoing objections, vetoed in its entirety.


Bruce Rauner


*** UPDATE 2 ***  Pritzker campaign…

“Just this week, we saw Bruce Rauner celebrate an assault on workers’ rights as the Supreme Court decided to hear Janus vs. AFSCME, and now he’s continuing these attacks on the state level,” said JB Pritzker. “The hardworking men and women of the labor movement deserve a partner in Springfield who will defend their right to collectively bargain, not one who wages war on it. When I’m governor, the labor movement will always have a seat at the table as we fight for working families, protect workers’ rights, and work to raise the wage floor. I urge the General Assembly to override this failed governor’s veto.”

*** UPDATE 3 *** IL AFL-CIO…

Statement by Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael T. Carrigan concerning Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 1905

“Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the Collective Bargaining Freedom Act (SB 1905) follows one of the only trends he has shown any consistency and determination – depressing wages, destroying unions and squeezing the middle class.

“Recognizing existing global and national races to the bottom on wages, this bill simply insures that counties and towns cannot make up different sets of laws concerning negotiations between workers and employers. Such layers of laws and jurisdictions would undermine Illinois workers in all our communities.

“Rauner has not done his job. He cannot point to a single accomplishment. His legacy will be crisis, division, and shockingly erratic leadership. This bill passed with Democrat and Republican votes. We will work to overturn this veto in the General Assembly.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      

IR’s head explodes

Friday, Sep 29, 2017

* Check out these Illinois Review headlines. They’re not only furious with the governor, they also mock some Republican officials for overly diplomatic reactions…

* Kirkwood: “Bowing at the altar of expediency” got Illinois this far Left on social issues

* State Sen. Rezin simply “disappointed” in Rauner’s decision to force taxpayers to fund abortion

* McConchie only “disappointed” in Rauner’s decision to sign bill for taxpayer-funded abortions

* Catholic Conference merely “disturbed” by Rauner’s broken promise on taxpayer funded abortion

* McSweeney: Rauner is a failed governor

* IL Republican Party tries to cover their a** and save the base in prep for 2018 election

* Rep. Tom Morrison condemns Governor’s Signing of Abortion Funding Bill

* Family PAC’s Caprio turns his back on Rauner over HB 40

* Walsh asks: “Who has the courage to do what is right?”

* Rep. Ives: Rauner decision “profound and unprecedented betrayal”

* State Rep. Breen reaction to Rauner’s signing HB40: “I can no longer support him”

* State Rep. Skillicorn: Rauner has ensured he’s a “one-term governor”

* Can’t We All Just Get Along? Lt. Governor asks Republicans to focus elsewhere

* Calls on Governor Rauner to Resign

* State Rep. Sosnowski diplomatically “disappointed” in Rauner’s actions

* IL Federation of Republican Women: Disappointed with Gov Rauner

* Gov. Rauner signs HB40 to allow taxpayer funding of abortion

* GOP AG candidate Erika Harold: “There remains much with which we agree” with Gov Rauner

* IL Federation of Republican Women: Disappointed with Gov Rauner

* Not all of those headlines were completely fair, though. Check out the end of Rep. Sosnowski’s release, for instance

The Governor promised to veto HB 40 in the public, in the press, and in private. I am extremely disappointed in the Governor’s actions in supporting this bill, in deceiving so many about his goals as Governor, and in his outright lie about this bill.

* Meanwhile, in case you missed it yesterday, here’s House GOP Leader Jim Durkin’s response…

The Governor and I disagree on this issue and I did not support the bill. I am displeased with the Governor’s action today. Moving forward, it’s important for Republicans to remember to come together. There is much work that needs to be done to make Illinois a thriving and vibrant state and we are committed to finishing the job.

* And this is Senate GOP Leader Bill Brady’s response…

“I voted against House Bill 40 and do not support the legislation,” said Brady. “While we disagree on this issue, and while I am disappointed, I stand ready to work with the Governor on the key economic issues and other challenges facing Illinois.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Will Rauner get a primary opponent?

Friday, Sep 29, 2017

* Here’s John Kass

Some Republicans are already trying to save what’s left of the GOP by finding other conservative candidates to run against Rauner. Among the names being mentioned: state Rep. Jeanne Ives, of Wheaton, a conservative and graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Mentioned as a running mate is outgoing state Sen. Kyle McCarter, of downstate Lebanon.

An Ives-McCarter ticket. I’d pay to see that.

* But, let’s get real for a second

Several possible GOP candidates tell us their hesitation isn’t a fear of facing Rauner, but a fear of the general election. They say the mid-term could be a Democratic year and if there’s real anti-Trump sentiment, it could spell doom for any Republican running statewide in Illinois. Names floating around, state Rep. Jeanne Ives, state Sen. Kyle McCarter, state Sen. Sam McCann, Dan Proft.


* And this is an excerpt from Sen. McCann’s Facebook post yesterday

Right now, I am being primaried for the third time in five years BY MY OWN PARTY.

Sangamon County Republican Chairman Rose Long said recently that I don’t represent their values. Her hand-picked candidate, Steve McClure is being supported by my own caucus-mates (fellow republican senators and representatives) and members of the Illinois Republican Congressional delegation. So - you’re right, I don’t represent your values!!! Because I don’t believe in selling out to Rauner Inc as you have and throwing your constituents under the bus as you all have!

I don’t believe in disregarding my oath and being party to destroying Representative Governmment, as so many of you have done.

I don’t believe in being anyone’s RUBBERSTAMP! I believe in being a voice and a vote for the People, not a pawn of the party.

So, to the People of the 50th Senate District, if you are looking for a #rubberstamp to go along with four more years of Rauner, then Chairman Rose Long, Steve McClure and the IL GOP are giving you an excellent opportunity to do so.

Sounds like he’s running for reelection, but things can change.

* Back to the bill signing

Rauner is betting he can still survive a primary challenge. But if he vetoed the abortion bill, how could he survive a general election in a blue state? The move negates the full-page ads, the Handmaid’s Tale protesters who prominently and frequently protest outside the Thompson Center in Chicago and in Springfield will likely disappear. His best argument is what he articulated on Thursday, that abortion isn’t really available equally to all women if there’s no access to it by those who can’t afford it. “No woman should be forced to make a different decision than another woman would based purely on her income,” Rauner said. “I am personally pro-choice, I always have been. I made no qualms about that when I was elected governor. I have not and never will change my views. I personally believe that a woman must have the right to decide what goes on in her own body.”

*** UPDATE ***  Greg Hinz

In a phone interview, state Rep. Jeanne Ives, a social and economic conservative and West Point graduate from Wheaton, said she’s concluded that Rauner “cannot be elected next year.”

“It’s his decision whether or not to run. If he does, I hope we’d put up a primary opponent against him, because I won’t be supporting him,” Ives continued.

Asked who that might be, Ives replied, “That’s an open question.” When I said that sounds like she’s interested, she answered, “I’ve not ruled it out,” noting not only Rauner’s “flip flop” on the abortion bill but also his earlier decision to sign bills boosting funding for Chicago Public Schools and directing law enforcement officials not to cooperate with federal immigration agents in many cases involving those in the country illegally.

- Posted by Rich Miller   51 Comments      

Rauner’s HB40 coverage roundup

Friday, Sep 29, 2017

* From the Rauner campaign…

After long conversations with advocates on both sides of the issue, Governor Rauner followed through on a campaign promise signing legislation protecting the right to choose for Illinois women. The governor has always spoken his mind throughout his time in office, and on Thursday he stood up for the rights of women across the state.

Take a look at some of the coverage:

Rauner Pulls Trigger: Signs Bill to Ensure Abortion Remains Legal
“As Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, I will not let that happen,” Schneider said. “There is no daylight between Governor Rauner and the Illinois Republican Party and we will continue working hard to ensure his reelection and finally defeat Mike Madigan once and for all.”

Rauner Signs Bill Ensuring Abortion Access in Illinois
On Thursday, he told reporters, “I personally am pro-choice. I always have been” and that he has supported anti-abortion political candidates through his life.

But, he added, “I believe women have a right to decide what goes on in her own body…the right to choose.”

The bill would override parts of a 1975 law that would ban abortions in Illinois should the U.S. Supreme Court ever overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion.

…If Roe v. Wade is overturned without any changes to state law, abortions would be banned in Illinois even in the case of rape or incest, while abortions could be performed if the mother’s life were in danger.

Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign Abortion Protections Law HB40
The new law will expand abortion coverage for low-income women on Medicaid and others on state health insurance. It would also overturn the state’s ‘trigger law’, which would have automatically made abortion illegal in Illinois were the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the abortion rights decision ‘Roe v. Wade’.

In a statement, Gov. Rauner said, “I understand abortion is a very emotional issue with passionate opinions on both sides. I sincerely respect those who believe abortion is morally wrong. They are good people motivated by principle. But, as I have always said, I believe a woman should have the right to make that choice herself and I do not believe that choice should be determined by income. I do not think it’s fair to deny poor women the choice that wealthy women have.”

Illinois Governor says he will sign HB40
The bill makes it legal to get an abortion in the state, even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the Roe vs. Wade decision.

…The governor said he respects people who believe abortion is morally wrong, but he said he believes a woman should have the right to make the choice on her own.

Rauner also said income shouldn’t be a factor in the choice.

While some disagreed with the decision, noted pro-life Republicans expressed the need to rally around the governor on the big issues facing Illinois:

Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti:
“I realize this bill is a political ploy to divide the people of Illinois. While I disagree with the Governor on this, we must focus on our areas of agreement – enacting real reforms we need to turn Illinois around.”

Attorney General Candidate Erika Harold
“The Governor personally reached out to me about his decision, and I know he did not reach it easily. While we disagree on this issue, there remains much on which we agree - and that is what unites us as Republicans. We both agree on the need to make Illinois more competitive, we agree on the need to lift up the less fortunate and we agree on the need to crack down on corruption and wrongdoing. As I have stated several times in the past, as Attorney General, I will enforce all of the laws of the state.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      

Cardinal Cupich on Gov. Rauner: “He did break his word”

Friday, Sep 29, 2017

* Tribune

A few hours before placing his signature on a controversial bill expanding taxpayer-funded abortion coverage on Thursday, Gov. Bruce Rauner made a courtesy call to Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich.

The archbishop reminded him that he was disappointed not only by the policy decision, but also by the governor’s choice to break his promise. Last spring, Rauner had assured opponents of abortion rights that he would veto the measure.

“I reminded him of the promise and also my statement earlier thanking him for that,” Cupich told the Tribune on Thursday evening. “He did break his word. He broke his word to the people, especially those who have continued to speak on behalf of the vulnerable child in the womb. […]

But Cupich said that on Thursday, there was little room for argument with the governor.

“He was fairly matter-of-fact in saying what decision he came to,” Cupich said. “I expressed my disappointment. I think that’s about it.”

I know I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but I cannot recall ever seeing anything like this in Illinois. A governor getting called out by the Cardinal for breaking his promise?


- Posted by Rich Miller   64 Comments      

Will Rauner run again?

Friday, Sep 29, 2017

* Eric Zorn wondered the same thing that was on a lot of minds yesterday. Will the governor run for reelection?

Rauner is a wealthy man who doesn’t need this job and has learned, even if he won’t say so publicly, that he’s not very good at it.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan shocked the Illinois political establishment with her recent announcement that she would not seek re-election to a fifth term. A similar announcement from Rauner, while more consequential, would be far less shocking under the circumstances.

I didn’t hear back when I queried his campaign about this possibility Thursday. But the haggard man dully answering reporters’ questions that afternoon while bracing for the howls of betrayal from his former supporters didn’t look like someone braced for the political fight of his life.

He looked like he was done.

* But then this was added later

Well past my print deadline a spokesman got back to me and said that, while Rauner has not announced his candidacy for re-election “he is running and already circulating petitions.”

They reached out to me as well.

- Posted by Rich Miller   68 Comments      

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Friday, Sep 29, 2017

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

2014 Flashback: “I’d describe (Rauner) as a guy who is a morally right-to-life guy”

Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

* Wordslinger pointed this out in comments earlier today, so I figured I’d give you something to chew over this evening. It’s my first ever Crain’s Chicago Business column. It was entitled “What does the far right wing see in Rauner?” and it has held up fairly well since February of 2014, before that year’s primary election for governor

Here’s a question that’s been on several minds lately: Why is the state’s leading anti-abortion activist, Jack Roeser, backing Republican Bruce Rauner, who has said he favors a woman’s right to choose?

Mr. Roeser, a staunch conservative, has contributed millions of dollars to anti-abortion groups and candidates. His commitment to the abortion issue never has been questioned, and he’s at the top of anyone’s list of true believers.

But when you think of teachers-union haters, Mr. Roeser also is right at the top of the list. The founder of manufacturer Otto Engineering Inc. spent a fortune battling them. The unions are, the businessman says, “the most troublesome, rotten sons of bit***s in the whole state.”

And when you think about folks who despise Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, Mr. Roeser leads the vanguard. He once called Mr. Madigan a “despot” and “the man most responsible for the desolation of our once-great state.”

Mr. Rauner is a well-known foe of the teachers unions. They’re his favorite punching bag, along with the “big-government union bosses” at AFSCME and SEIU who “have a stranglehold on the state” and “bribe” politicians.

Mr. Rauner also has not been shy about attacking Mr. Madigan. It’s basically his whole campaign theme. Late last year, Mr. Rauner said he would “stand up to Madigan, because I know where his special-interest groups are, and I can go after them.”

Abortion, unions, Mr. Madigan. Maybe, the thinking goes, Mr. Roeser figured he’d just go two out of three.


Some have darkly suggested that Mr. Rauner bought off Mr. Roeser with hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions to Mr. Roeser’s charities and political funds.

“Nobody’s gonna buy me,” Mr. Roeser scoffed when we spoke by phone. He’s got a point. He’s a millionaire several times over thanks to Otto, a Carpentersville-based switch manufacturer.

It turns out, Mr. Roeser strongly believes that Mr. Rauner is against abortion “from the moment of conception.”

“I’d describe (Mr. Rauner) as a guy who is a morally right-to-life guy, but not on the hustings,” Mr. Roeser explained.

The Rauner campaign wouldn’t respond on the record, only pointing to Mr. Rauner’s previous public statements, in which he describes himself as someone who believes the decision to have an abortion ought to be left up to the woman, along with her family and minister if she so chooses.

And there’s something else that maybe Mr. Roeser doesn’t know. A state legislator told me not long ago that she’s been in small meetings with candidate Rauner where he’s said that he has regularly met with Speaker Madigan, breakfasting with the man he publicly boasts about crushing.


Mr. Madigan’s spokesman confirmed the two have met “several times.” The meetings were cordial, nonconfrontational and productive, he said. The spokesman said he didn’t think the two men have met since Mr. Rauner formally announced his campaign for governor last June. The Rauner campaign didn’t respond to questions about when Messrs. Madigan and Rauner last met or how often the two have broken bread. Mr. Rauner frequently talks about his desire to work with legislators once elected, a campaign spokesman points out. Maybe Mr. Roeser just misunderstood Mr. Rauner. Or maybe Mr. Roeser hears only what he wants to hear. The advantage for candidates who have never held office before, like Mr. Rauner, is that they have no voting records. It’s nearly impossible to pin them down on just about any issue if they don’t want to be. What’s not in dispute is that Mr. Rauner needs people like Mr. Roeser to win the Republican primary, but he needs to favor abortion rights to win the general election. He’ll also need to work with Mr. Madigan if he’s elected and hopes to get anything done. A lot of Republicans are overlooking quite a few differences with Mr. Rauner, whom they believe can win it all. “The way is clear to straighten out the Republican Party,” Mr. Roeser told me about Mr. Rauner. I wonder what they’ll think if Mr. Rauner is actually elected.

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      

Rep. Breen: “Inevitable” that Rauner will get primaried

Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

* WXAN’s Will Stephens interviewed Rep. Peter Breen after Rauner made his announcement about HB40 today. Earlier today, Breen delivered the most massive takedown of Gov. Rauner that I’ve ever seen, so Stephens naturally wanted to talk to him.

“It comes down to the ability to keep your word,” Breen said. “He looked me in the eye, shook my hand and gave me a commitment,” Breen said, adding that Rauner had also promised Chicago’s Cardinal that he would veto the bill.

* And then Breen was asked if the governor who has primaried other Republicans would face a primary challenge himself

We don’t have a litmus test on abortion in the Republican Party. We could have a pro-choice governor as long as he’s a moderate pro-choice governor, but this taxpayer funded abortion is not a moderate position at all. I’m very pro-life. But in this case his positions are so far to the extreme outside of the Republican Party’s positions, I would see it as inevitable that he is going to face a primary challenge.

The full interview is here.

* The Catholic Conference of Illinois, by the way, issued a statement which read in part: “We are deeply disturbed that Governor Rauner has broken his word and firm public promise to veto HB 40.”

…Adding… From Dan Proft’s Illinois Opportunity Project, we have this quote from co-founder Pat Hughes…

“We elected the Bruce Rauner we were sold in twenty-fourteen: a political outsider and Conservative Reformer with “no social agenda.” Today, Illinois’ backlog of unpaid bills is higher, as is our unemployment rate and unfunded pension liability. A budget impasse that put social service providers into crisis was ended by a massive tax hike with no structural reforms. Does that sound like a government under the leadership of a conservative reformer? No. It sounds more like the record of a politically-connected Illinois Democrat.”

“Now, Governor Rauner has mandated taxpayer funding of abortions at any time, for any reason. He additionally signed a law to make Illinois a Sanctuary State. Do those initiatives sound like the priorities of a Governor with “no social agenda?” Of course not. They sound like the priorities of a Social Justice Warrior.”

“No Conservative Reform Governor has ever done so much for the liberal agenda. The Illinois GOP needs to condemn the man and the bill with the tenacity and urgency with which they would oppose any other pro-choice, big government Democrat. We have been complicit for far too long.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   45 Comments      

A sampling of more HB40 react

Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

* Gov. Rauner’s decision to sign HB40 kinda put GOP attorney general candidate Erika Harold in a box. She will depend heavily on him for campaign funds, but she’s also strongly pro-life. Here’s her react…

Attorney General candidate Erika Harold released the following statement after Governor Rauner announced he would sign HB 40:

“The Governor personally reached out to me about his decision, and I know he did not reach it easily. While we disagree on this issue, there remains much on which we agree - and that is what unites us as Republicans. We both agree on the need to make Illinois more competitive, we agree on the need to lift up the less fortunate and we agree on the need to crack down on corruption and wrongdoing. As I have stated several times in the past, as Attorney General, I will enforce all of the laws of the state.”

* Senate GOP Leader Bill Brady was also diplomatic…

“I voted against House Bill 40 and do not support the legislation,” said Brady. “While we disagree on this issue, and while I am disappointed, I stand ready to work with the Governor on the key economic issues and other challenges facing Illinois.”

* Strongly pro-life Rep. Tom Morrisson was not so polite and claimed Rauner broke his word…

Governor Bruce Rauner today signed legislation (HB 40) allowing for state funding of all abortions regardless of the reason, a move State Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) calls unconscionable and the ultimate betrayal of trust of the majority of Illinois citizens who oppose the destruction of unborn children at taxpayers’ expense.

“Governor Bruce Rauner gave us his word in the Spring that he would veto this legislation if it were sent to him,” Morrison said. “In the last several weeks, as he indicated a reconsideration of that position, Republican legislators and allies offered to accept an Amendatory Veto, but he rejected those ideas. If this legislation is really about the right to choose – then what about my constituents who deserve to have the right to choose not to have their tax dollars used to fund the killing of unborn children? This is a tragic day for Illinois.”

Federal Law as written in the Hyde Amendment clearly prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortions. Illinois law only allows taxpayer funding for abortions in the event the life or the health of the mother is threatened or the mother is raped. House Bill 40 changes all of this and allows taxpayer funding of abortion services for ANY reason.

“There is no reason for taxpayers to have to pay for abortions regardless of the reasons the abortion is being performed,” Morrison said. “I condemn the Governor’s actions today in the strongest possible terms.”

* Neither was Rep. Dave McSweeney…

Bruce Rauner is a failed Governor who lied to the people of Illinois. On April 14th, he announced that he would veto HB 40. Rauner looked the other way on the 32% increase in the income tax rate , made Illinois a sanctuary state and is primarily responsible for Illinois’ $16 billion backlog of unpaid bills.

* And check out this one from Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton)…

“The Governor’s decision to break his promise and sign taxpayer funded abortion on-demand is a profound and unprecedented betrayal beyond words. This is a tragic day for everyone who values the sanctity of life. The Governor’s action today makes Illinois the first state in country to mandate taxpayer funding of abortion under Medicaid at any time, for any reason as a result of signing legislation into law. This is a total failure of leadership.”

…Adding… Another very angry House Republican…


Paul Caprio, Director of Family-Pac, today stated: “Bruce Rauner today declared war on the pro-family movement, Illinois taxpayers, and the most basic values of the Republican party.”

Caprio concluded, “No serious conservative of any type can consider ever voting for Bruce Rauner again.”



Could she be leaving soon? We’ll see.

* From the other side, here’s the DGA…

“Simply put, Bruce Rauner was caught trying to play both sides of the abortion debate for political gain,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Rauner put his own political gain over the health and welfare of Illinois women and families—again. Rauner’s public waffling throughout this episode shows that Illinois voters cannot trust Rauner to look out for their best interests.”

* JB Pritzker…

“Since the beginning of this campaign, I have demanded that Bruce Rauner sign HB 40,” said JB Pritzker. “My campaign delivered thousands of postcards encouraging the governor to sign HB 40, held a phone bank in support of the bill, and stood with HB 40’s co-sponsors at several events calling on this failed governor to do his job for Illinois women.

“Let’s be clear: Bruce Rauner threatened to veto HB 40 and only got around to doing the right thing after an organized advertising and grassroots campaign. Today’s announcement does not change the fact that Bruce Rauner’s only sense of morality is whatever panders best to voters. Illinois women deserve a relentless advocate in the fight to protect their rights – and that’s exactly what I’ll be as governor.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      

Question of the day

Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

* Your one-word opinion of Gov. Rauner’s decision to sign HB40? One word only, please. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller   104 Comments      

ILGOP chairman says he’s “disappointed” in Rauner, but blames Madigan

Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

* Surprise!…

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider released the following statement after Governor Rauner announced he will be signing House Bill 40 into law:

“I am disappointed in the Governor’s decision to sign HB40 as the Illinois Republican Party opposes taxpayer-funded abortions.

“While I am frustrated and saddened, I also know that Speaker Madigan and the Democrats are trying to use this issue to divide our party and elect a Madigan-backed candidate for governor.

“As Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, I will not let that happen. Our state faces great challenges, and we are focused on the issues that unite us as Republicans and as Illinoisans. There is no daylight between Governor Rauner and the Illinois Republican Party and we will continue working hard to ensure his reelection and finally defeat Mike Madigan once and for all.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      

House GOP Floor leader: “I can no longer support” Rauner

Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

* This is the most brutal reaction I’ve yet seen about the governor signing HB40…

Today Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 40, which provides taxpayer funding for abortions.

In response, House Republican Floor Leader, Rep. Peter Breen, issued the following statement:

“I’ve had a front row seat to watch the performance and ability of Bruce Rauner over these past three years.

I’ve seen him rapidly hire and terminate numerous staff members, highly competent professionals who were proven successful in their prior roles. Inexplicably, they appeared incompetent while working for Rauner.

I personally observed him badly botch negotiations with the General Assembly on a variety of subjects, finally getting to the point where Governor Rauner couldn’t even be in the same room as House Speaker Mike Madigan. Madigan is the one guy who Rauner promised to stand up to, but he can’t or won’t even enter the arena for that fight.

I’ve heard Rauner promise the people of Illinois that he had “no social agenda” and as such firmly commit to legislators, the public, and even to Chicago’s Cardinal, Blaise Cupich, that he would veto taxpayer funding of abortions. But he has now broken that commitment, signing a bill that puts taxpayers on the hook to pay for an expected 20,000-30,000 aborted lives per year. And without any source of funding, in the throes of an unbalanced budget. Now, I’ve come to expect politicians to shade the truth, but what’s clear today is that Rauner’s promises were just flat out lies.

As the lead advocate for the Republicans on the floor of the Illinois House, I have given Bruce Rauner every benefit of the doubt. I supported his vetoes on a number of bills that would have made it more difficult to do business in Illinois. Any elected Republican in this state would have vetoed those same bills. Hardly exceptional.

The only unique feature left in Rauner’s favor is that he writes big campaign checks. For Republicans whose elections require those contributions, I understand their reluctance to be critical of Rauner. They may even still give him the benefit of the doubt, as I did until today.

In the face of overwhelming evidence of Rauner’s inability to competently administer the Illinois government, inability to stand up to Mike Madigan effectively, and inability to keep his word and his commitments, I can no longer support him. And whether or not they are able to agree publicly, I know hundreds of elected Republicans, along with hundreds of thousands of Republican voters, who feel the same way I do.”


- Posted by Rich Miller   81 Comments      

*** LIVE COVERAGE *** Rauner press conference on HB40

Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

* I’m having trouble setting up a new ScribbleLive thingy, so we gotta use this one instead. The festivities begin at 3…

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      

Traffic tickets lead to huge spike in black Chapter 13 filings

Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

* Chapter 13 filings per 1,000 residents - black census tracts vs. white census tracts in Chicago

* Pro Publica looked into what’s going on

Because of a boom in Chapter 13 filings, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois, which includes Chicago, had more consumer filings in 2015 than any other district in the country.

Almost exclusively fueling this rise are residents of the district’s black communities, where the rate of filings has doubled since 2009. This racial disparity isn’t unique to the Chicago area, but there’s hardly anywhere else in the country where the gap is quite so wide. Even controlling for income, the odds of a black debtor in the Northern District of Illinois choosing Chapter 13 instead of Chapter 7 were about four times as high as those of a white debtor. And, as we found nationally, black debtors were less likely to successfully complete their Chapter 13 plans and have their debts discharged.

Why this is happening can be traced to the sort of run-of-the-mill financial hit many Americans face: traffic-related tickets. In Chicago, the failure to pay such tickets can result in a suspended driver’s license or impounded car, crucial lifelines to many low-income families.

In our analysis, we note that the rise in Chapter 13 filings has mainly been driven by black, low-income debtors unable to pay tickets owed to the City of Chicago. By filing under Chapter 13, these people are trying to keep their cars or licenses. Chapter 13 stops seizures and suspensions as long as debtors can keep up payments, but the data shows that most can’t. We also found that the Semrad Law Firm, also known as DebtStoppers, played an outsized role. The firm’s clients are largely black and overwhelmingly file under Chapter 13. From 2012 through 2015, DebtStoppers accounted for about 40 percent of Chapter 13 filings by debtors who lived in mostly black areas.


And if you click here for the whole study, you’ll see that Chapter 13 discharge rates are lower for black debtors than for whites. So, they’re staying in debt.

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Fritz Kaegi busts the cap in his race against Assessor Berrios

Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

* Interesting…

* So, who is this guy? From a recent press release…

Fritz Kaegi, the progressive Democrat challenging embattled incumbent Joe Berrios for Cook County Assessor, announced on Monday his endorsement by prominent progressive Democrats from across Cook County.

Kaegi’s campaign announced endorsements from:

    45th Ward Alderman and Committeeman John Arena
    1st Ward Alderman and Committeeman Ald. Joe Moreno
    43rd Ward Alderman Michele Smith
    33rd Ward Committeeman Aaron Goldstein
    39th Ward Committeeman Robert Murphy
    Evanston City Clerk Devon Reid
    Wheeling Township Committeeman and former State Rep. Mark Walker
    Hazel Crest Mayor Vernard Alsberry, Jr.
    Education activist Troy LaRaviere

“When the Trump Tower is enjoying a 70 percent break on its property taxes, but middle class homeowners in my community are getting hit worse than ever before, it’s time to question the status quo in the assessor’s office,” said Ald. Arena. “I trust Fritz Kaegi, who is committed to ethical, transparent leadership, to clean up the assessor’s office and make sure working families are getting the fair shake they deserve.”

“Assessor Berrios has been handing out tax breaks to the very wealthiest among us while working families in my community and elsewhere get a raw deal,” said Ald. Moreno. “He’s driven by a commitment to helping the big time property tax lawyers who fill his campaign coffers–not his constituents. I have confidence Fritz Kaegi will put an end to the pay to play and nepotism in the assessor’s office, and will make sure that properties are valued based on their worth, not on the owner’s political clout.”

“The residents of the 43rd Ward value good government that works for everyone. They want a leader who is looking after the welfare of all the people in Cook County, not someone who is just looking out for their political cronies,” said Ald. Smith. “We need someone like Fritz Kaegi who values ethics and fairness as the Cook County Assessor. “

“When I was elected last year, Evanstonians showed they were hungry for new, progressive leadership to dismantle the old school politics as usual–and now, Fritz Kaegi is just the person to bring that kind of change to the Assessor’s Office in 2018,” said Clerk Reid. “Residents want to know everyone is paying their fair share of property taxes–and they want to know their government is ethical and transparent. That is why I am endorsing Fritz Kaegi for Cook County Assessor.”

“The Southland was hit hard by the property bubble. Lots of people are underwater on their mortgages and are still being hit with high property taxes. We are paying taxes on what our houses were worth at the top end of the real estate cycle, but if we wanted to sell, we couldn’t get anything near that,” Mayor Alsberry said. “Cook County residents should not have to appeal their taxes to get a fair assessment. Things should be done right the first time.”

Kaegi said, “I am gratified to be endorsed by so many leaders from all across Cook County who know that it is time to create a culture within the Cook County Assessor’s office that gets things right the first time–fairly, ethically, and transparently. We need assessments downtown and in every neighborhood that are not a result of pay-to-play politics. Cook County residents should not have to hire a lawyer who contributes to Joe Berrios to get a fair shake.”

He’ll need a lot more than $250K to win in that county, so we’ll see. And, of course, Berrios doesn’t have to worry about capped contributions any longer.

*** UPDATE ***  With a hat tip to a commenter

Kaegi was born in Hyde Park, resides in Oak Park, and promises to spend “at least $1 million” and “maybe” up to $3 million.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

*** UPDATED x3 - Cardinal Cupich, Rauner staff informed - Sources: Rauner will sign *** Rauner will disclose HB40 plans this afternoon

Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

* Stay tuned…

…Adding… From the governor’s office…

What: Gov. Rauner makes an announcement on HB 40

Where: Thompson Center, Blue Room-15th Floor, Chicago

Date: Thursday, September 28, 2017

Time: 3:00 p.m.

Note: Credentialed media only

*** UPDATE 1 ***  I’m hearing from very good and multiple sources that Rauner is signing the bill.

*** UPDATE 2 *** The governor called Cardinal Cupich today to tell him of his decision. It’s 100 percent. He just informed his staff of his intent as well.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, is in town and word is she’ll be at Rauner’s press conference.

- Posted by Rich Miller   54 Comments      

Personal PAC gives me a scare

Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

* I received this earlier today and so did a reporter friend and we were both a bit alarmed because, obviously, neither one of us had signed up to be in the group’s newspaper ad…

Dear Rich,

Thank you very much for your agreeing to have your name listed on the full page “Bruce and Diana Rauner Lied To Us!” newspaper ad in support of HB 40.

In a little over 48 hours, an astounding 817 people have added their names to the ad! Initially, we were hoping to have 250 names as Diana’s October 14, 2014 Chicago Tribune ad, where she lied to the people of Illinois about Bruce being pro-choice, had 150 names. The Rauners are not going to be very pleased with many of the names we have on our ad as they will be very familiar and close to home and office. The feedback from these people make it clear they have had it with the Rauners unless he signs HB 40.

We are continuing to collect names leading up to October 2nd placement of the ads across Illinois. If you could get us just one more name of a friend, colleague or relative for the ad, that would be wonderful, although we may need an additional full page ad just for all the names of people agreeing to be listed! This is especially important now as Politico reported yesterday that Rauner is meeting with anti-choice activists tomorrow in order to VETO HB 40.

While many of you are being generous in providing financial support for the ad, every additional contribution helps us spread the HB 40 message to more voters across Illinois.

Thank you for all you are doing to ensure HB 40 becomes the law of our land.

Together, we will get this done.

Terry Cosgrove
President & CEO

* And then a bit later…

Dear Rich,

We apologize for the error of the previous email. The email was sent to our whole list of thousands in error and not to just the 817 people who signed the ad. I deeply apologize and your name will NOT appear on the ad unless you specifically asked to have your name included.

Thank you again and please accept our apology.

Terry Cosgrove
President & CEO

Well, that’s a relief.

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      

Chuy Garcia says Kennedy is only Dem who can defeat Rauner

Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

* Press release…

This morning, Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia endorsed Chris Kennedy as the next Governor of Illinois. During a press conference at New Era Windows cooperative, an employee-owned manufacturing plant on Chicago’s southwest side, Garcia thanked Kennedy for his commitment to challenging the status quo and bringing fundamental change to Illinois.

“There is only one person running for Governor who has a chance to defeat Bruce Rauner and be the progressive leader our community deserves: Chris Kennedy. That’s why I am proud to stand here today and support his candidacy for Governor,” Garcia said. “I trust Chris Kennedy to deliver on the key issues facing our community. He supports giving low-to-middle income students free college tuition for at least two years at Illinois community colleges and trade schools. Chris will fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and he believes health care is a basic human right. That’s why he has signed on to one of the main tenets of the Bernie Sanders platform: Medicare for All.”

Garcia highlighted that Kennedy has continued his family’s legacy as a champion for worker rights. It’s a legacy that began in 1966, when Kennedy’s father, the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, joined César Chávez as he ended his 25-day water-only fast to advocate for the Farmworkers Rights movement.

In 1988, when Chávez held a 36-day fast to highlight the harmful impact of pesticides on farmworkers, Kennedy joined Chávez and fasted in solidarity with him for three days.

Kennedy thanked Commissioner Garcia for his endorsement saying, “I am honored that Chuy Garcia has joined the Kennedy-Joy campaign today. He has spent his career fighting for those forgotten by the powerful and the political insiders,” Kennedy said. “He knows that we need to make a big change in Illinois. We need to break up the failed status quo to help working families.

“We need a $15 minimum wage. No one should work full-time and live in poverty. We need to strive to provide health care to every man, woman and child in Illinois, and we need to end the property tax racket that allows powerful politicians to personally profit while our public schools get less. Together, we are building a movement from the bottom up to not just change a governor but to fix a broken, rigged political system that has failed the people of Illinois.”

* Ald. Rick Muñoz also endorsed Kennedy today…

Garcia was one of the most visible supporters of Bernie Sanders’ primary race.

* More

Also on Thursday, Kennedy is holding a major fundraiser with the guest of honor, his mother Ethel Kennedy. Several of his sisters also will be in Chicago for the event, which is focused on women supporting Kennedy.

He most definitely needs the money.

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      

Governor helps ally showcase new incubator

Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

* I was reading some stories about Gov. Rauner’s visit to what’s being billed as a business incubator on Chicago’s South Side yesterday and kinda went down a rabbit hole for what seemed like forever.

Let’s start with CBS 2

Rev. Corey Brooks and Project HOOD have opened a new Woodlawn community center focused on helping people get ahead financially.

In donated space at a shuttered Walgreens store at 63rd and King Drive, Brooks unveiled the Project HOOD Leadership and Economic Opportunity Center.

The facility essentially is a South Side business incubator. Brooks said it was created without government funds, but Gov. Bruce Rauner was on hand to help cut the ribbon on Wednesday, and he applauded the private donors who helped fund the center. […]

The governor said the state will help with job-training grants for some of the Project HOOD partners.

“Where the government has played a role, and always does; part of the charter of our Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is to provide grant money for job training, especially for skilled trades, like construction, etc. That’s going on here, and some of the private businesses that are doing the job training also received some Department of Commerce resources,” he said.

So, it’s privately funded, but it’ll have government money. As the governor says, that’s how these things tend to work. But this caught my eye yesterday…

Also, Brooks endorsed Gov. Rauner in 2014, which isn’t mentioned in the piece.

* But the political connections were right up front in the Sun-Times story written before the event

Politically connected South Side pastor Corey Brooks this week opens a new training center in a beleaguered area of rising Woodlawn, which will be housed in a shuttered Walgreens at 63rd and King Drive that has been donated to his nonprofit.

If his political connections help his new incubator succeed, then fine. Jobs and businesses are in extremely short supply in that part of the city.

* But about that building. It wasn’t actually donated. The remaining lease was donated

When Walgreens closed the store in summer 2016 as part of a downsizing that closed stores across the country, Brooks was able to get Walgreens to donate the remaining four years of its lease on the building to him.

* This is all part of reviving Brooks’ long-term goal of opening a community center. Remember his “Walk Across America” in 2012? Back then, he wanted to raise $15 million for the community center, but he only raised about $500K. His new goal is far higher

Brooks’ Project HOOD on Wednesday opened the new center inside a shuttered Walgreens at 6330 S. Martin Luther King Drive, which is to be a stepping stone towards a larger goal of opening a permanent $23 million community center in Woodlawn. […]

Brooks has a four-year lease on the former Walgreens, which is supposed to be enough time to raise the $23 million necessary to build the new community center debt free. But Brooks admitted the conversion of the Walgreens has drained much of the nonprofit’s resources and it’s a long climb up to hit that fundraising goal. […]

Rauner said he had not personally contributed any funds to Project HOOD, but dropped $40 in a donation jar on his way out the door.

Way to go, Big Bucks Bruce!

* Since Brooks admitted that the incubator drained his group’s resources, I’m curious how far he really is away from meeting his fundraising goal

He declined to say how far he was toward raising the $23 million needed to build the center, but said he still expects to start construction in 2018 so the nonprofit can move in when its lease ends in the Walgreens space.

“Our goal is to pay cash for our facility so we’re not in any debt,” Brooks said.

The permanent center will be a major expansion for the nonprofit physically, with 60,000 square feet of new space, and Brooks said the programming will need to be ready to scale up quickly.

* But, for now, he has some lofty goals for the incubator

Project H.O.O.D. will house six components for innovation — construction certification and training, a business and entrepreneur hub, a Women’s Entrepreneur Center, youth mentoring, a media program and a trainee-run restaurant and café. Programs at the facility will range from carpentry to journalism to financial literacy. […]

The building has been completely renovated and provides a space where entrepreneurs and contractors can grow their businesses. Meetings can be held in colorful cubicles. Special rooms allow for training in construction and food management.

The biggest impact may be that big organizations and corporations will visit to let small business owners know how they can secure contracts and make money. For example, on Wednesday, representatives from the Illinois Tollway were at the center.

So, the Tollway was there, too?

* Back to the Sun-Times

He’ll be joined Wednesday by Rauner, who gave Brooks a post-election $31,426-a-year appointment with the Illinois Tollway board, good through May 2019.

* One more tidbit

Other identified donors include construction trades firms, a car dealership and Republican politician Jim Oberweis’ ice cream firm.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

Boykin won’t challenge Preckwinkle for county board president

Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

* Boykin confirmed it at a press conference after this story was published

Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin will announce later Thursday morning that he will not oppose Toni Preckwinkle for the board president position.

In recent months, Boykin has been an outspoken critic of the controversial beverage tax. He has led rallies calling for the repeal of the tax and has told reporters “Preckwinkle must go,” so his decision not to run has surprised many.

Boykin is also announcing his political intentions before the Oct. 10 vote on a possible repeal of the tax, with a chance of a second vote on October 11th, depending on the first vote’s outcome.

Political strategists believe Boykin, who once worked for Congressman Danny Davis, may be waiting to consider that Congressional seat when Davis chooses to retire.

Considering how poorly Preckwinkle and her pop tax are polling, it’s kind of amazing nobody has yet emerged to take her on. Yes, she has powerful allies and power of her own, but this contest is ripe for the picking.

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

AFSCME responds to US Supreme Court decision to hear “right to work” case

Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

* Click here for background. From AFSCME Council 31…

Janus: A political effort to rig the rules against working people
In an unfair economy, workers say the freedom to come together in strong unions is more important than ever

The United States Supreme Court today granted Certiorari in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31. This case is a blatantly political and well-funded scheme to use the highest court in the land to further rig the economic rules against everyday working people. Behind this case are billionaire CEOs, corporate interests and politicians like Governor Bruce Rauner who have teamed up to deliver yet another attack on working people by striking at the freedom to come together in strong unions.

“The forces behind this case know that by joining together in strong unions, working people have the voice they need to level the economic and political playing field,” AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said. “Billionaires like Bruce Rauner are trying to rig the rules to take more power and influence for themselves.”

The case was born as an overt political attempt by Governor Rauner to attack public service workers through the courts. In an interview with the right-wing Hoover Institution, Rauner admitted the case has “nothing to do with the budget, nothing to do with reform” but instead is intended to “change the power structure”. A letter from the CEO of the corporate-backed, State Policy Network—the parent organization of the Illinois Policy Institute—revealed the case’s true intent: to strike a “mortal blow” and “defund” America’s unions.

The lack of merit in Janus is clear. Since 1977, the unanimous Supreme Court precedent set in the Abood case has effectively governed labor relations between public sector employees and employers, allowing employers and employees the freedom to determine labor policies that best serve the public. The Janus case’s attempt to manipulate the court against working people should be rejected.

“This case is yet another example of corporate interests using their power and influence to launch a political attack on working people and rig the rules of the economy in their own favor,” AFSCME President Lee Saunders said. “When working people are able to join strong unions, they have the strength in numbers they need to fight for the freedoms they deserve, like access to quality health care, retirement security and time off work to care for a loved one. The merits of the case, and 40 years of Supreme Court precedent and sound law, are on our side. We look forward to the Supreme Court honoring its earlier rulings.”

“As a child protection investigator my work is vital to the safety of our state’s most vulnerable children and families. This court case is yet another political attack on the freedom of public service workers like me to speak up for the resources we need to protect our communities,” AFSCME Council 31 member Stephen Mittons said.

* Related…

* Illinois Policy Institute: Meet the man who could end forced union fees for government workers

- Posted by Rich Miller   89 Comments      

Pritzker talks about opioid crisis

Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

* The candidate was recently in Macomb and the local paper did a very long write-up of his talk

John Curtis, who was present at the event, asked Pritzker about his stance on the growing issue with opioid use, public concerns over heroin and the continual issue with methamphetamine. Curtis noted he has been asked about the subject matter as he has gone door-to-door in the region as part of his campaign.

“We’ve got to stop talking about it as a war on drugs,” Pritzker said. He said much of the problem is addressing the issue of addiction.

“Really, it’s a health crisis. That’s how it should be treated…as an emergency.“

Pritzker shared a personal story of his mother’s battle with alcohol addiction prior to her death. She and Pritzker’s father were both 39 when he died, and she turned to alcohol after that. For 10 years she battled alcoholism.

“She was on and off the wagon,” Pritzker explained. “But it’s a real thing, alcohol addiction. During that time she had a doctor who was feeding her prescription drugs. I grew up in a home where we all took care of our mother. She died from her addiction. If you need to know why I’ll keep on top of this subject, it’s because I grew up in a home where we had to deal with this. We were lucky. We had friends and family who took care of us and made sure we didn’t fall through the cracks. We knew that we were loved and taken care of. But there are a lot of people who don’t have that and don’t know that.

“When you go two years without a budget as we did, all your treatment diminishes…I know we shouldn’t treat this situation as if people with addiction should go to jail or prison because they’re addicted. If you talk to police officers and sheriffs all across the state, they’ll tell you they’ve got too many people put in jail simply because they’re addicted. We need treatment before we do incarceration that’s for sure. And by the way, that costs you less.“

* The campaign also sent out a press release on this topic today…

Yesterday, an article in the State Journal-Register laid out the grim reality of the opioid epidemic in Illinois. Even as deaths skyrocket and treatment centers flood with people, Bruce Rauner has done nothing but pay lip service and exacerbate the problem.

A recent report by the Illinois Department of Human Services found an increase in drug-related deaths driven primarily by opioids. 1,826 opioid deaths were reported in 2016 alone, representing a 32 percent increase over 2015 and over 80 percent of total drug overdoses for the year. While Rauner has formed a task force to combat the epidemic, in 2015 he vetoed drug treatment funding, and recently announced he will not spend money appropriated for substance abuse services.

“While the opioid epidemic continues to take lives and destroy families, Bruce Rauner is attacking the very organizations and tools needed to combat this crisis,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “Rauner’s damage is done and Illinoisans deserve better than this failed governor.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      

Pritzker questioned on Poshard endorsement

Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

* From a Tribune piece the other day about Glenn Poshard’s endorsement of JB Pritzker

Pritzker is backing a measure to expand taxpayer funding for abortion to women on Medicaid and covered by state employee health insurance. Poshard opposed abortion rights as a governor candidate and member of Congress.

Pritzker once served as chairman of the advisory board of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. As an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Congress in 1998 on the North Shore, he proposed a ban of the sale of handguns. Poshard was a gun rights advocate during his tenure in Congress, though as a candidate for governor he softened his staunch opposition to gun control by supporting a ban on some types of semi-automatic weapons.

Pritzker also has been a major and longtime supporter of gay rights, and last year chaired the anniversary gala for Equality Illinois, the state’s oldest and largest advocacy group. Poshard opposed gay rights and as a candidate for governor, he told activists that some property owners should have the right to refuse to rent to people based on their sexual orientation.

“I am so proud to have the endorsement of a distinguished leader like Glenn Poshard,” Pritzker said in announcing the endorsement.

* The paper covered the topic again today, working it into its Mendoza endorsement story

But Pritzker bristled a bit when asked by a reporter about how his progressive background meshes with former U.S. Rep. Glenn Poshard’s endorsement last week. In announcing the endorsement Friday, Pritzker said in a statement that “as an elected official, an advocate for children and an educator, Glenn Poshard has always fought for what’s right.”

As a congressman and unsuccessful 1998 Democratic governor candidate, Poshard backed letting schools seek waivers to allow corporal punishment, opposed gay rights and was an ardent foe of gun control — positions at odds with Pritzker’s.

On Wednesday, Pritzker initially said he was “proud” to have Poshard’s endorsement in a “big tent” Democratic Party and said his earlier statement was expressing “a level of admiration” for “somebody who stands up for their own beliefs.”

Asked about Poshard’s conflicting beliefs, Pritzker said: “He’s not running for public office. I am. And it’s my beliefs and what I’ll carry out as governor that really matter.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

US Supreme Court agrees to hear “right to work” case

Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

* AP

A Supreme Court with a reconstituted conservative majority is taking on a new case, which originated in Illinois, with the potential to financially cripple Democratic-leaning labor unions that represent government workers. The justices deadlocked 4-4 in a similar case last year.

The high court agreed Thursday to again consider a free-speech challenge from workers who object to paying money to unions they don’t support.

The court could decide to overturn a 40-year-old Supreme Court ruling that allows public sector unions to collect fees from non-members to cover the costs of negotiating contracts for all employees.

The latest appeal is from a state employee in Illinois. It was filed at the Supreme Court just two months after Justice Neil Gorsuch filled the high court seat that had been vacant since Justice Antonin Scalia’s death.

* Bloomberg

Union leaders say that collecting what they call “fair-share fees” ensures that workers can push for higher wages and better job conditions. If the fees weren’t mandatory, workers could become free riders, benefiting from union representation without paying for it, according to a branch of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees that represents Janus and other Illinois workers.

“Abood acknowledged that certain labor-relations interests justify the small intrusion on employees’ First Amendment interests that fair-share payments represent,” the union argued.

Janus works as a child-support specialist at the Illinois Department of Healthcare Services. He was one of three employees who took over a lawsuit originally filed by Illinois’s Republican governor, Bruce Rauner.

* Press release…

In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement today that it is granting a writ of certiorari in Janus v. AFSCME, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix issued the following statement:

“With the Supreme Court agreeing to hear the Janus case, we are now one step closer to freeing over 5 million public sector teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other employees from the injustice of being forced to subsidize a union as a condition of working for their own government.

“As the Court noted in the National Right to Work Foundation’s landmark Knox v. SEIU victory, compelled speech under the guise of forced union dues is an ‘anomaly’ under the First Amendment. We are hopeful that by the end of this Supreme Court term, the High Court will finally end this anomaly and fully protect the First Amendment rights of public sector workers against an injustice that has existed for over half a century.”

National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, along with attorneys with the Illinois-based Liberty Justice Center, are providing free legal representation to plaintiff Mark Janus, a child support specialist at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Service.

Jacob Huebert, director of litigation at the Liberty Justice Center, issued the following statement:

“We are pleased the Supreme Court has agreed to take up this case and revisit a 40-year-old precedent that has allowed governments to violate the First Amendment rights of millions of workers. People shouldn’t be forced to surrender their First Amendment right to decide for themselves what organizations they support just because they decide to work for the state, their local government or a public school.

“Right now, public sector employees in Illinois and many other states aren’t given a choice: They’re automatically forced to give their money to a union. Janus v. AFSCME presents an opportunity to restore fairness and First Amendment rights to millions of American workers by giving them the right to choose whether to support a union with their money.”

The case will likely be argued in early 2018 with a decision issued before the Court adjourns at the end of its term in June.

More information, including legal briefs in the case, can be found at

* Rauner administration press release…

Today the United States Supreme Court took an important first step toward ending the unconstitutional practice of dipping into the paychecks of hardworking State employees and forcing them to pay into the union coffers, even if they are not members of the union.

“No person should be forced to give up a portion of their pay each month to fund public sector union activity against their will,” said Governor Bruce Rauner. “It’s a fundamental violation of their First Amendment right to free speech and association. I am hopeful the Court will see it that way in the end.”

The Court has questioned this practice twice in the past five years. Most recently in June of 2016, when it split 4-4, following the death of Justice Scalia. By granting certiorari in Janus v. AFSCME today, the Court is again indicating that it’s concerned about the constitutional implications of forcing non-union members to fund union activities.

Governor Rauner’s Administration has been a leader in protecting the free speech and free association rights of State employees since taking office. These efforts began with Executive Order 2015-13, which directed state agencies to comply with the First Amendment and formed the initial impetus for the Janus case. While the Administration is no longer a party to the litigation, it is pleased to know the Supreme Court has recognized the issues warrant careful consideration. The Court has agreed to resolve this question by the time its current session ends, next June.

- Posted by Rich Miller   117 Comments      

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