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The updated legislative retirement list

Monday, Sep 25, 2017

* I’ve been getting a lot of requests for the updated retirement list, but the dude behind this Twitter account was on vacation last week…


The list has been updated to include Rep. Cavaletto.

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      


Question of the day

Monday, Sep 25, 2017

* It’s only Monday?

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      


Today’s quotable

Monday, Sep 25, 2017

* Says the guy who just got hit with a “Pants on fire” rating from Politifact after using his own grandfather for (false) political spin…


…Adding… I hadn’t thought of this, so it’s a twofer…


- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Campaign news; Supplement to today’s edition; More candidate announcements

Monday, Sep 25, 2017

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Poll: 66 percent of Chicagoans think the city is on the wrong track

Monday, Sep 25, 2017

* Normington, Petts & Associates poll, taken Sept. 11-13 of 500 registered Chicago voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent

Would you say things in Chicago are generally headed in the RIGHT DIRECTION or would you say things are pretty seriously off on the WRONG TRACK?

    RIGHT DIRECTION 20%
    WRONG TRACK 66
    DON’T KNOW 14

Whew, man.

* Interesting that they don’t really know whom to blame, but more point at Gov. Rauner than anyone else

Changing subjects, which of the following do you blame the most for Chicago’s financial problems? [READ AND RANDOMIZE]

    GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER 22%
    FORMER MAYOR RICHARD DALEY 20
    MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL 16
    THE STATE LEGISLATURE 16
    THE CITY COUNCIL 10
    UNIONS REPRESENTING CITY EMPLOYEES 4
    (DON’T KNOW) 12

* And I’m betting that plenty of people outside the city believe this about state budget problems as well

Do you STRONGLY AGREE, SOMEWHAT AGREE, SOMEWHAT DISAGREE or STRONGLY DISAGREE that the budget and fiscal problems at the city and state level are hurting business expansion in Chicago?

    STRONGLY AGREE 64%
    SOMEWHAT AGREE 21
    SOMEWHAT DISAGREE 6
    STRONGLY DISAGREE 3
    (DON’T KNOW) 7
    TOTAL AGREE 84%
    TOTAL DISAGREE 9%

All emphasis was added by me.

* Meanwhile, the poll found that 16 percent of Chicagoans had a favorable opinion of President Trump, while 75 percent had an unfavorable opinion. Gov. Rauner’s numbers were 19 favorable, 59 unfavorable. Mayor Emanuel’s were 33 favorable, 45 unfavorable. JB Pritzker’s were 29 favorable, 21 unfavorable [10 percent very unfavorable]. And Chris Kennedy’s were 19 favorable, 18 unfavorable [8 percent very unfavorable].

* The poll also found that the Chicago Police Department rated a 50 percent favorable rating compared to a 30 percent unfavorable rating.

More from the accompanying analysis

What most people want to know is how the results break down by race. Of African-Americans polled, it does change, although not as much as I expected. The breakdown is: 11 percent very favorable; 24 percent somewhat favorable; 23 percent neutral; 17 percent somewhat unfavorable; and 20 percent very unfavorable.

…Adding… From Kitty Kurth…

Hey Rich - this poll that you quoted is the Temkin/Harris poll commissioned by Max Temkin from Cards Against Humanity and Melissa Harris. They will be doing these “mood of the city” polls periodically.

- Posted by Rich Miller   39 Comments      


Our new and unbalanced budget

Monday, Sep 25, 2017

* The Illinois Policy Institute says the new FY18 budget is out of whack

* 2018 revenues are overstated by at least $300 million. The budget’s 2018 revenue estimates were based on 2017 revenue estimates that turned out to be overly optimistic. 2017 full-year revenue estimates (total state sources) available for 2018 budgeting purposes were about $300 million higher than they eventually turned out to be, according to the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. As a result, the estimated 2018 budget revenues were inflated.In addition, the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget has reported that revenue is likely down $300 million-$500 million compared with the estimates used for the fiscal year 2018 budget plan.Getting the revenue base right matters since Illinois has been suffering from a decline in income tax revenues. 2017 fiscal year revenues (total state sources) ended 2.1 percent lower than in fiscal year 2016, or more than $600 million lower.

Given that trajectory – and the negative economic impact of the 32 percent income tax hike – 2018 base revenues may be even lower than this year’s.

* An expected $500 million in pension savings from the budget’s pension changes can’t happen in 2018. Part of the budget’s pension reform was erroneously estimated to save the state $500 million in 2018. Not only is there no official public analysis and verification of those savings, but officials say it could take two years or more before they can even enact the new pension reform plan. So no savings – if there are any to be had – can occur in 2018.

* The budget accelerates state payments to local governments in 2018, costing the state an additional, and unaccounted for, $220 million. The 2018 budget moves money for the Local Government Distributive Fund and Public Transportation Fund out of the state’s general fund. As a consequence, municipalities will get 14 payments from the state next year instead of the usual 12, costing the state at least an additional $220 million in 2018.

* The budget failed to fully account for $600 million in borrowing costs to pay down $6 billion in unpaid bills. The budget authorized and the governor has agreed to borrow $6 billion to pay down a portion of the state’s nearly $16 billion in unpaid bills. However, borrowing the $6 billion will cost the state about $600 million a year. The full amount of that annual borrowing cost was never accounted for in the budget.

* Many of these same arguments were made by the Rauner administration to the BGA last week and the BGA rated them as “Mostly true.” There are strong disagreements, however, on borrowing costs and revenue projections. Click here for the BGA’s analysis.

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      


Proft calls HB40 “integrity test” for Rauner

Monday, Sep 25, 2017

* Dan Proft on HB40, which is now on Gov. Rauner’s desk…

“HB 40 is an integrity test for Gov. Rauner.

“Either he keeps his word to the House and Senate Republican legislators to whom he promised a veto or he proves that he lied to them and sees at least some of those legislators publicly disassociate from him.

“Either he keeps his word to the Illinois electorate to whom he promised ‘no social agenda’ and he vetoes HB 40 or he proves that he lied to them by creating a new open-ended spending program in a state with $16 billion in unpaid bills.

“Illinois families will soon find out whether Gov. Rauner’s word means anything or not.”

* Related…

* Rep. Joe Sosnowski: Why Rauner should veto expansion of Medicaid to elective abortions

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      


There will be no kid glove treatment for Drury now

Monday, Sep 25, 2017

* I wasn’t on the RAGA press release list until Friday, so I missed this when it was issued and found it over the weekend while looking for something else

The Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) released the following statement on the news that Illinois State Rep. Scott Drury, who has run a lackluster campaign for Governor up until now, is now running for attorney general.

“If the name Scott Drury doesn’t ring a bell, you’re not alone,” said RAGA Executive Director Scott Will. “Drury’s campaign for governor has been a mere blip on the radar since his announcement. Only after realizing that his campaign for governor has no traction, he’s now decided to shop around and landed on running for AG. The attorney general’s office should not be considered a consolation prize when your campaign for governor goes up in smoke. Illinois has had a long history of self-serving politicians exacerbating public corruption – it’s time the state gets a candidate serious about rooting it out, instead of electing a political opportunist like Scott Drury.”

Ouch.

The Illinois Republican Party was mostly silent on Drury’s gubernatorial campaign because it was based almost solely on Speaker Madigan, so he was actually helping the ILGOP. But that particular campaign has ended and a new one has begun.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      


Madigan denies “reports” that Rauner has asked him for budget meetings

Monday, Sep 25, 2017

* Apparently, I’m told, the governor is saying this to people and word got back to Madigan…

House Speaker Michael J. Madigan issued the following statement Monday:

“Contrary to reports, I have received no requests from Governor Rauner for further meetings on the budget or to work towards reducing the spending levels contained within the budget. The bipartisan budget enacted in July, despite the governor’s refusal to negotiate, included nearly $3 billion in cuts to government bureaucracy. Even as Republicans and Democrats came together to make cuts and enact a budget based on the governor’s own revenue projections, Governor Rauner refused to participate in the process despite our repeated requests. As was true then, I remain ready to work with the governor to make further adjustments to the budget.

“I believe Representative Greg Harris’ budget working group, who was largely responsible for crafting the budget we passed, is best equipped to continue discussion on the budget. Therefore, I have directed Representatives Harris, Carol Ammons, Kelly Burke, Kelly Cassidy, Fred Crespo, Will Davis, Robyn Gabel, Will Guzzardi, Lisa Hernandez, Elaine Nekritz, Elgie Sims and Mike Zalewski to work with the governor’s budget office and our House and Senate colleagues.”

…Adding… Before you start firing off on Rauner in comments, the governor hasn’t said this in public that I can find and the Madigan people can’t point to anything the governor has said in public.

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      


Catholic group warns Rauner against signing “electoral suicide note”

Monday, Sep 25, 2017

* From an organization called Catholic Vote regarding HB40 and Gov. Rauner…

Earlier this year we co-funded a private poll in Illinois. We interviewed Republicans and Democrats, pro-life voters and pro-abortion people in Illinois to mirror the expected turnout of voters next year. And the results were shocking:

    * 58% of voters oppose taxpayer funding of abortion vs. 32% in favor
    * 30% of voters are “much less likely” to vote for Rauner if he signs this bill
    * An additional 10% of voters are “somewhat less likely” to support him again

The conclusion: If Gov. Bruce Rauner signs this bill into law, he is signing an electoral suicide note. The results are clear: a significant portion of his base will not support him next year.

H.B. 40 was approved by the General Assembly earlier this year. But legislators decided not to send the bill to Rauner fearing he might veto it. Instead, they held the bill and have quietly lobbied him for months. The bill would authorize state funding for abortions for Medicaid recipients and state employees for ANY reason. Experts estimate the bill would cost the nearly bankrupt state an additional $20-30 million.

Illinois Catholics must unite now.

Earlier this year letters from every Illinois bishop were placed in bulletins across the state. A copy of the letter from Cardinal Cupich can be read here.

30 percent “much less likely” generally means the issue isn’t yet something that will “move” voters. We’ll see.

Also, the Catholic hierarchy strongly supported the tuition tax credit idea, which will cost the state $75 million that it doesn’t have every year.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Nekritz out, Raoul backed by Cullerton as unknowns ask “Why not me?”

Monday, Sep 25, 2017

* Kerry Lester

Despite expressing interest in running for Illinois attorney general, outgoing state lawmaker Elaine Nekritz won’t be seeking the position after all.

“I’ve decided against it, it was a family decision,” Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat, told the Daily Herald Sunday.

She said the move “simply wasn’t the right time for my husband and family,” and she dismissed questions of any political pressure placed on her to bow out of the race.

Nekritz’s announcement slightly narrows the already crowded field to replace four-term officeholder Lisa Madigan, a Chicago Democrat.

* Michael Sneed

State Sen. Kwame Raoul has not only emerged as the Dem frontrunner for attorney general, but Sneed hears Senate President John Cullerton not only pitched him his support on the phone Friday — but “I’m helping him put together a team,” said Cullerton.

“The guy is a star,” he said.

“Just watch.”

* Meanwhile, Tom Bowen was on Rick Pearson’s WGN Radio show yesterday morning and made an interesting point about why so many mostly unknown unknown people are talking about running for this office. Donald Trump’s election, he said, “showed everybody that unconventional things can happen.” Bowen said it has “caused a lot of folks to reevaluate,” and ask themselves “Why not me?”

*** UPDATE ***  Speaking of “Why not me”

Ten days after a ballyhooed kick-off, the chief administrator of Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability has told Mayor Rahm Emanuel she is planning to resign to run for Illinois attorney general, City Hall sources said Monday.

Sharon Fairley’s departure would be a stunning blow for a newly-created agency struggling to regain public trust shattered by the police shooting of Laquan McDonald and prove that it is more than just a name change from the widely-discredited and now-abolished Independent Police Review Authority.

* Related…

* Candidates scramble in unexpected open attorney general race

* Former Blagojevich Lawyer Joins The Race For Illinois Attorney General

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      


We need a capital bill, but don’t hold your breath

Monday, Sep 25, 2017

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

The four leaders met last week, but didn’t appear to accomplish much of anything.

It was Sen. Bill Brady’s first leaders’ meeting since his chamber officially confirmed him as the Senate Republican Leader, and he was the one who called for the sit-down. Leader Brady ran for governor three times, winning the 2010 primary. Numerous associates say he wants to make the most of this new role and be as relevant as he possibly can.

Brady helped restart the Senate’s stalled “grand bargain” talks in early May by outlining a “five for five” plan that raised $5 billion in new revenues alongside $5 billion in cuts. That proposal was widely believed to have been drafted by Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office and foreshadowed his subsequent election as leader.

A startling 18 of Brady’s 22 Republican members are up for reelection next year, so Brady needs to maintain a close relationship with the wealthy governor to hold off primary opponents and fund general election races.

There’s also a very real and growing worry that Gov. Rauner will be a significant drag on down-ballot Republican candidates next year, adding to the problems the party may very well also have with a national backlash against Republican President Donald Trump. The fact that no Republicans have yet emerged to run for three statewide offices (secretary of state, comptroller and treasurer) should tell you something.

So, Brady reportedly wants to do whatever he can to help the governor help himself and, by extension, help his caucus. And a plan for state construction projects would most definitely be a big help.

Brady has an idea in mind. But one person who was briefed last week said it wasn’t so much a plan as “A magical mystery tour looking for someone to love it.”

Several sources say it’s a “public-private partnership” (PPP) proposal, meaning the state would seek out investors to help hold down government costs and dampen the need for a big tax hike to pay for it. Gov. Rauner said last week that he opposed raising the gas tax to fund a capital bill.

The House Speaker didn’t warm to Rauner’s last PPP idea for a toll lane on Interstate 55. The House Democrats complained that Rauner’s office should’ve just handed the proposal over to the tollway board, which already has the legal authority to do such things and is, they pointed out, required to get first crack at projects involving tolls anyway. There was also the usual suspicion about which investors would benefit from such a deal.

Beyond the Democrats not wanting to give the Republican governor a “win” by allowing him to announce sweet projects during a crucial election year, there are still some important remaining questions.

Also, despite the recent agreement on school funding reform, there still isn’t much trust at the top.

So some Democrats wonder whether Brady and Rauner are floating this idea in order to ultimately blame Democrats for not going along with them after the GOP moves the goal posts a dozen times. Or, perhaps, is it designed to somehow lure the Democrats into countering with a gas tax hike, which they can then be blamed for?

Leader Brady is generally a sincere guy and he definitely wants to accomplish big things in his new job, so take that for what you will.

Gov. Rauner has in the past demanded reductions to the prevailing wage as part of any capital plan deal. If this plan has any significant poison pills, the Democrats will likely just take their chances with the 2018 election. Word is that Brady will meet with labor representatives today.

And even if it is “labor friendly,” the Democrats will undoubtedly want some sort of ironclad assurances that money will actually be spent in their own districts, including and (probably) especially in Chicago. There’s also a very real concern that Rauner’s administration, badly hobbled by firings and resignations, will bungle the administration of a capital plan.

The Amazon “HQ2″ search with its promise of up to 50,000 high-paying jobs also has to be considered here.

Our state’s bickering political families have to put on their best possible face when the prospective client comes over for dinner. Any public rekindling of this horribly partisan feud could cost the state big.

And, hey, capital money may be needed to entice the company into building its second headquarters in or near the city.

I’m not holding my breath at all, but it would be nice if they can put this together. We need the jobs.

* Related…

* Three reasons why Amazon is turning Emanuel and Rauner into BFFs: “I think there’s a recognition across the board that this is an incredible opportunity for both the city and the state,” says one source close to the mayor “The partnership is real.” A senior Rauner hand echoes: “There’s an enormous amount of cooperation going on,” even down to the level of coordinating public communications. “Everyone’s pulling with the same oar. There only will be one proposal (to Amazon).”

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      


Biss starting to get questions about his voting history

Monday, Sep 25, 2017

* WGN TV’s Tahman Bradley interviewed state Sen. Daniel Biss and his running mate the other day. Here’s a partial transcript

BRADLEY: State Senator Daniel Biss of Evanston is running for Illinois governor with State Rep. Litesa Wallace of Rockford.

She was not his first choice. Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa was Biss’s first running mate, but Biss dropped Ramirez-Rosa after just six days over differences involving Israel.

Ramirez-Rosa backs the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, also known as BDS, which calls for international pressure on Israel to stop building settlements in the West Bank. Biss, who is Jewish, strongly opposes BDS.

Did you not vet Ramirez-Rosa?

BISS: Well, actually, I would disagree with that characterization of the video you’re talking about. I think it’s quite unclear.

BRADLEY: This is the video in question.

CARLOS RAMIREZ-ROSA: For too long, the US government has subsidized the oppression of the Palestinian people.

BRALEY: But Ramirez-Rosa backs the Democratic Socialists of America, which has endorsed BDS. Biss said the men talked about Ramirez-Rosa’s position.

BISS: He and I had a series of discussions before he joined the ticket and we had an understanding at that time, and that understanding has changed.

BRADLEY: It was a major misstep for a candidate who is trying to appeal to the left.

BISS: It’s a campaign about Medicare for all, it’s a campaign about a $15 minimum wage, it’s a campaign about college affordability, it’s a campaign about tax fairness.

BRADLEY: During his tenure in Springfield, Biss has cast difficult votes, some at odds with progressives.

You voted for Medicaid reform, cutting $1.6 billion. You voted for SB 1556, to strip some public employees of collective bargaining. You voted for increasing charter school funding. You voted for the Exelon subsidy. Those are not progressive positions.

BISS: Well the last bill you mentioned, for example, is a bill that is one of the most significant expansions of clean energy in the history of this state. Listen, during my time during the course of the legislature, we’ve had a series of difficult budgetary situations that have resulted in a lot of painful choices.

Biss was right to point to the Exelon bill as a whole. But he did vote for those other bills, not to mention pension reform.

* The full WGN video is here. The exchange above is here

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


SEIU derides “3 strikes” rule, Rauner admin defends

Monday, Sep 25, 2017

* SEIU Healthcare Illinois…

The Rauner administration has commenced issuing warnings against hundreds, possibly THOUSANDS, of caregivers for people with disabilities who are facing termination under an unlawful “3-strikes-and-you’re-out” system that went into effect Aug. 1st.

The administration began sending the so-called “occurrences” as early as Aug. 31st (see linked document) for personal assistants in the Home Services Program (HSP) who help people with disabilities stay in their homes. Recipients are alleged to have “violated” an arbitrary 45-hour cap on work hours that on Sept. 5th was found to be illegally imposed under the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act, by an administrative law judge.

Reports on the illegal penalty process have thus far been anecdotal to SEIU Healthcare Illinois through its Member Resources Center and to allies in the disability rights movement in Illinois.

The union for the 28,000 caregivers in HSP has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Rauner administration to confirm the number of so-called “occurrences.”

By purging thousands of workers from the program, people with disabilities will be unable to find care and could be forced into much-costlier nursing institutions. As of last month, almost 4,000 consumers in the program required more than 45 hours of care per week.

The caregivers being purged are the same workforce that earlier this month sued the Rauner administration in Cook County for illegally denying workers a 48-cent-raise that was mandated by the General Assembly in this summer’s bipartisan budget agreement.

Following is the statement of SEIU Healthcare Illinois Vice President Terri Harkin:

    “The news that the Rauner administration is going forward with its punitive purge of caregivers in the Home Services Program is a disaster for people with disabilities who use their care to live independently in their own homes instead of institutions.

    “This is an unjust, illegal and totally destabilizing policy opposed by every single stakeholder in the program. It will permanently damage the workforce in Illinois and will reduce choice and independence for thousands of people with disabilities.

    “We call on the Rauner administration to comply with the law, to IMMEDIATELY suspend his illegal “3-strikes-and-you’re-out” program and to shift their process to true dialogue and partnership with stakeholders.”

* Rauner spokesman Hud Englehart provided this response…

Pretty straightforward. The Department of Human Services is managing its overtime. The goal of the new policy is to lower expenses and reduce risks that might arise when overworked providers are delivering care. People with disabilities are getting the same number of hours of care as before. It’s just that when a provider hits 45 hours, the Department objective is to sub in rested people to deliver care. It’s like making sure tired pilots aren’t in the cockpit. Taxpayers get a better deal. Disabled get higher quality care. As in any other profession, continual policy violations result in termination.

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      


Preckwinkle tries again to defend pop tax

Monday, Sep 25, 2017

* From a pretty good Tribune story about the botched rollout of the Cook County pop tax

Preckwinkle said she could not get commissioners to support a property tax increase, which she said might have been a “fairer” way to bring in the more than $200 million a year the pop tax is expected to raise.

“First and foremost, we needed revenue,” she said. “I never pretended otherwise.” […]

“I have said repeatedly that I’m going to try to run this government in a way that I don’t leave it worse off than when I came, and that I’m not just passing obligations, and indebtedness and burden to my children and my grandchildren, who will hopefully continue to live in Chicago,” said Preckwinkle, who lives in Hyde Park. “But that’s not easy.”

She pointed particularly at state government, which racked up $16 billion in bills during the record budget stalemate.

“It’s an example of just hopelessly irresponsible leadership, and I’m getting the stuffing beat out of me for imposing a tax on sweetened beverages, which are terrible for people,” Preckwinkle said. “It’s a little annoying.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      


*** UPDATED x4 - DGA, Pritzker, Pawar, Biss respond *** Rauner speaks out on NFL protests

Monday, Sep 25, 2017

* We all know what President Trump said about the NFL protests, and we know what happened with the Steelers before Sunday’s game in Chicago, but here’s what Gov. Rauner says

GUESS WHO HAS A FINANCIAL STAKE IN THE STEELERS? Gov. Bruce Rauner. And on Sunday, the governor called the NFL protests disrespectful to veterans, to the U.S. flag and to the anthem.

“I strongly disagree with those who disrespect our flag and our anthem,” Rauner told POLITICO through a spokesman. “To me they are disrespecting the foundations of our country, the veterans who risked their lives for our democracy, and the men and women who fight every day and make the ultimate sacrifice to defend our liberties.” […]

While Rauner’s statement supports Trump’s characterization that the demonstrations are a sign of disrespect, he didn’t go as far as the president in urging a boycott of teams or the firing of players as retribution.

“I personally cannot and will not condone such behavior,” Rauner’s statement continued. “That said, our country is great because it guarantees freedom of expression, so people can choose to be disrespectful.”

Keep your comments confined to what the governor said, please. Thanks.

*** UPDATE 1 ***  Press release…

Daniel Biss released the following statement in response to Governor Rauner’s condemnation of NFL protests.

“Our country was founded on relentlessly pursuing liberty, fighting injustice, and doing our part to build a more perfect union. So let’s be clear—protests at NFL games this weekend and over the past year are responding to police brutality and institutional racism, and there isn’t anything more fundamentally American than that. We should all be taking a knee.

“But by embracing Donald Trump’s condemnation, Bruce Rauner joins his fellow inexperienced billionaire in misleading the public about the purpose of these protests. As a father, husband, state senator, and candidate for governor, I know that it is my responsibility to be part of the solution—especially as Rauner and Trump have continued to be part of the problem.”

*** UPDATE 2 *** Pawar campaign…

“It’s frightening when our leaders frame peaceful and non-violent demonstrations against racism, bigotry, and injustice as disrespectful to our flag and military. Make no mistake, this is the same tactic Donald Trump and Bruce Rauner use to suppress the voices of Black Lives Matter activists who speak out on police brutality and institutional racism. They get labeled as anti-police and are accused of disrespecting the job of first responders. This is wrong.

“That said, it’s equally frightening when our elected leaders drive wedges between people based on race, class, and geography so that their political base becomes the largest group that remains. This is how racists and bigots hold onto power. By changing the frame of the protest, Donald Trump and Bruce Rauner continually fail to understand and express empathy for the experiences of the marginalized in the United States of America. This is the definition of white privilege. And it’s a slap in the face to everyone who has marched, fought, and given their lives for civil rights,” said Ameya Pawar, 47th Ward alderman and Democratic candidate for governor.

“Gov. Bruce Rauner is quick to take a stand against professional athletes who choose to take a knee to peacefully protest police brutality and institutional racism, but he won’t take a stand on the Graham-Cassidy bill which would cause a million Illinoisans to lose health insurance. He also refuses to take a hard stand on H.B. 40, a bill which aims to protect women’s medical rights in Illinois.

“As Illinois residents and voters, I think it’s our right to know where the Governor stands on the issues facing our state. Whether we agree or disagree with any given position, we need a governor with enough courage to state his position and then defend it. That’s honorable. Bruce Rauner is a coward,” said Tom Elliott, communications director for the Ameya Pawar for Governor campaign.

*** UPDATE 3 *** JB Pritzker…

“The decision of NFL players to take a knee to protest racial injustice is entirely American. It is an expression of our country’s foundational rights and beliefs. I would urge Donald Trump and Bruce Rauner to redirect their outrage to our broken criminal justice system instead of a peaceful protest. Let’s have a conversation about how we address what they’re protesting, not their right to protest.”

*** UPDATE 4 *** DGA…

“The fact that Bruce Rauner will comment on a sports debate and not on legislation that can take away health care from a million Illinois residents shows just how misplaced his priorities really are,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Time after time Rauner has refused to protect or fight for Illinois families on issues of extreme consequence. His abdication of leadership on issues like Trumpcare will only lead to families getting hurt. But just like he did on the state’s education bill, Rauner’s decided to play into the politics of division in support of his political future. Rauner’s statement on the NFL protest is just another example of his failed leadership.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   154 Comments      


*** UPDATED x6 *** Harmon will lift the hold on HB40

Monday, Sep 25, 2017

* Subscribers were told about the probability of this happening on Friday. From the Tribune

A Democratic state senator said he will lift his procedural hold on a bill that would expand taxpayer-subsidized abortions for women who have Medicaid or state employee health insurance coverage, sending the measure to a Republican governor who’s offered mixed signals on the issue.

Sen. Don Harmon’s move Monday means Gov. Bruce Rauner will have 60 days to decide what to do with House Bill 40. The legislation has become the focus of abortion rights groups that contend the re-election-seeking Rauner won his first term by saying he had no social agenda and noting his prior financial support of organizations that back women’s reproductive health rights.

Harmon said he had not received any assurances that Rauner would sign the measure after the governor’s prior veto pledge, but said he believed it was time to officially send the measure to Rauner’s desk. […]

Abortion rights advocacy groups had said they did not want to see the measure go to Rauner’s desk until the governor had committed to sign it as is. Harmon said he expected the groups would strengthen their current campaign pushing the governor to sign the bill after it reaches his desk.

I asked the governor’s office for a response early this morning, but have yet to hear back.

* Related…

* Abortion Legislation Puts Gov. Rauner In Political Bind

*** UPDATE 1 ***  Press release…

Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) released the following statement today after withdrawing the hold he had placed on House Bill 40:

“The work of constituents and advocates who have urged the governor to sign this legislation appears to be having some effect, as the governor recently backed away from his promise to veto it. I believe Gov. Rauner understands that he has made a commitment to support women’s reproductive rights, and I look forward to him signing this bill as it passed the General Assembly.”

House Bill 40 protects the right of women to make decisions about their reproductive health by ensuring that abortion remains legal in Illinois even if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

The measure moves to the House now, which is expected to send it quickly to the governor’s desk.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Planned Parenthood…

“We urge Governor Rauner to sign HB 40 and safeguard the right of women to safe and legal abortion regardless of how much money they make or how they get health care coverage.” said Planned Parenthood of Illinois President and CEO, Jennifer Welch. “With reproductive rights under attack at the federal level, it is essential to make sure that women will have access to safe and legal abortion in Illinois.

HB 40 repeals the “trigger” language in the Illinois Abortion law of 1975, which stated that Illinois would revert back to criminalizing abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the decision in Roe v. Wade. The authority to outlaw or severely restrict abortion would return to the states, if the court were to overturn Roe. HB 40 ensures that no matter what happens, federally, abortion will remain legal in Illinois. In addition, HB 40 strikes bans on abortion coverage by the Illinois’ Medicaid and State Employee Health Insurance programs. Coverage bans were enacted in the 1970s by politicians who wanted to keep as many women as possible from accessing abortion without running afoul of the Roe decision.

“Signing HB 40 into law will demonstrate that Illinois respects women to make their own personal decisions,” added Welch. “The women of Illinois are depending on Governor Rauner to do the right thing.”

*** UPDATE 3 *** I’m told that HB40 has been received by the governor’s office.

*** UPDATE 4 *** Pritzker campaign…

“HB 40 is now on Bruce Rauner’s desk, but women and families in our state still don’t know if their governor will sign this critical legislation,” said JB Pritzker. “Illinoisans shouldn’t have to force Bruce Rauner’s hand to stand up for their basic rights. Even though he promised to veto HB 40, I urge the governor to sign the bill without delay, and if he won’t, then HB 40 will be the first bill I sign into law as governor. It is time to send an unwavering advocate for women to Springfield – not someone who campaigns as one and then turns his back after getting elected.”

*** UPDATE 5 *** Sen. Daniel Biss…

“After promising to sign every provision of HB40, Rauner is playing politics instead of standing up for a woman’s right to choose. But as Rauner waits to see where the wind blows, hundreds of thousands of women wonder what Trump’s America could mean for them. Amidst attacks from Washington, we have a responsibility to defend every Illinoisan—that’s why I co-sponsored HB40, and why I’m calling on Rauner to sign it into law today.”

*** UPDATE 6 *** Kennedy campaign…

Bruce Rauner has the chance to prove that he is the pro-choice candidate he said he was when he was ran for office. Illinois should be the kind of state that builds on the great accomplishments of the past - Roe v. Wade, Title IX, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act - and guarantees that women have fair and equal rights.

We cannot go back to a time when anyone tells a woman what she can and cannot do with her body. If you take away a woman’s reproductive freedom, you’re taking away her economic mobility. Bruce Rauner needs to sign HB 40 to protect women’s rights and the future of our state.

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