* As you’ll recall, the ILGOP kicked out a Chicago GOP staffer from its office this week because the city party chairman is helping Rep. Jeanne Ives gear up to run against Gov. Rauner. City chairman Chris Cleveland wrote to the IL GOP’s State Central Committee this week and Illinois Review published it. Here’s an excerpt…
Four years ago, we ran candidates across the city for the purpose of generating enthusiasm and volunteers for phone calls and door knocks. In close coordination with the Rauner campaign, we flooded their offices with volunteers and executed 363,000 voter contacts, 263,000 of which were door knocks. We were able to raise Rauner’s vote in Chicago to 20.63%, just a hair above the magic 20% threshold. And he won.
If Rauner is on the ballot this fall, this won’t happen. Not because we wouldn’t want to; we’re loyal Republicans and Rauner over Pritzker would be an easy choice. It won’t happen because the state party has consistently undermined our efforts to recruit here, and because there is zero enthusiasm for this governor. Even prior to HB 40, we couldn’t get people to sign his petition.
It’s past time for the state central committee to step in and right the ship. First, I ask that you prevail upon Bruce Rauner to stop the petty retribution. This is the Republican Party, not the mob, and it’s time for them to grow up.
Second, I ask that you consider separating the state party apparatus from the Rauner campaign. They are acting as one and the same, but our party is bigger than Bruce, and we have broader concerns than his personal well-being. Notably, we need to take back the House, and we have two very viable candidates for state rep in Chicago, both of whom *might actually win*. A party must support such activities.
Another week, and another Democrat lines up to run for Illinois Attorney General. The Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) Executive Director Scott Will released the following statement on Renato Mariotti’s announcement to seek the Democratic nomination.
“Renato says he wants to rail against the special interests. Noble, but his words ring hollow when he fails to even mention Mike Madigan, who has run Springfield with a relentless focus on his constituents: the connected and the corrupt. You cannot change the Office of the Attorney General without acknowledging the root cause of the problem. In reality, Renato just enjoys the spotlight. The Prairie State does not need another attorney general who would rather protect his well-connected friends over hardworking Illinoisans.”
(L)ast night Mariotti locked in an MSNBC appearance where he made his announcement on national TV. He then took to Twitter to lay out his reasons for running. Those tweets drew more than 20,000 “likes”.
People started visiting his campaign website and it crashed. Twice. (He reports 20,000 visited the first time and 40,000 the second crash).
What gives? Since President Donald Trump’s election, Mariotti has cultivated himself as a legal commentator, a frequent TV presence explaining various legal events related to the president, from travel bans to the Russia probe to transgender in the military. […]
“The argument that I’m making is the best way to check Donald Trump is using state attorneys general,” Mariotti told POLITICO. “I’ve been talking about issues — all voting machines have been penetrated by the Russians in Illinois and no one really seems to be talking about it.”
All Illinois voting machines have been penetrated by the Russians? Um, no…
And in Illinois, Russian hackers inserted a malicious program into the Illinois State Board of Elections’ database. According to Ken Menzel, the board’s general counsel, the program tried unsuccessfully “to alter things other than voter data” — he declined to be more specific — and managed to illegally download registration files for 90,000 voters before being detected.
A new published report suggests a vendor for the Illinois elections board might have been compromised by Russian hackers seeking to attack voting systems here and in other states.
Russian hackers attacked the voting-software supplier days before last year’s presidential election, according to the classified National Security Agency report.
The report, published online by The Intercept, does not say whether the hacking had any effect on election results. But it says Russian military intelligence attacked a U.S. voting software company and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials at the end of October or beginning of November.
The company involved has contracts in eight states: Illinois, California, Florida, Indiana, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, according to The Intercept. It was unclear whether any officials in Illinois might have received spear-phishing emails.
Either way, I kinda doubt the Russians are much interested in Putnam County’s machines.
…Adding… From John Bambenek…
As someone who has spent much of the last year and a half investigating election interference, I can say with confidence that these senseless and factless sensational claims are giving Russia exactly what they want. That is, an American public which does not have faith in our democratic institutions.”
U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) wrote to the Illinois State Board of Elections (IL SBE) today asking them to stop using the deeply flawed Interstate Voter Registration Data Crosscheck Program (Crosscheck) to help the state maintain the accuracy of its voter registration system. Reports have shown that the system is not only ineffective at catching duplicate registrations, but discriminatory as well. Researchers recently found that “one of Crosscheck’s proposed purging strategies would eliminate about 300 registrations used to cast a seemingly legitimate vote for every one registration used to cast a double vote,” often because they had a common first and last name. The Senators encouraged the Board of Elections to instead participate in the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) multistate partnership, a far more precise alternative that has resulted in higher voter registration rates and increased voter turnout.
“Maintaining the integrity of our elections is vital to ensuring a fair and equitable democracy. To fulfill this goal, we should use tools that enable us to protect voting rights and ensure that every eligible voter can access the ballot,” the Senators wrote to the Illinois State Board of Elections’ Chairman Cadigan and Vice Chairman Keith. “Voters in Illinois deserve voter lists that are complete and accurate—and no voter should ever be improperly disenfranchised because of inaccurate information produced by a flawed data matching tool. That is why we strongly support the IL SBE completely withdrawing from Crosscheck and becoming a fully active participant in ERIC to improve the accuracy of voter lists and make sure all eligible voters are empowered to freely exercise their right to participate in American democracy.”
The Crosscheck program is run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who currently serves as Vice Chair of President Trump’s voter suppression commission. The large number of inaccurate findings Crosscheck produces has sparked concerns that it could be used to disenfranchise voters, particularly in communities of color. A 2015 Center for American Progress report noted that Crosscheck was much more likely to flag African-American, Hispanic and Asian voters as possibly being registered to vote in multiple states than White voters.
Like Durbin and Duckworth, Cook County Clerk David Orr told me this week that he now opposes continuing to participate in Crosscheck and favors Illinois relying on another program that also matches the last four digits of voter Social Security numbers.
Until now, Orr favored participating in Crosscheck, as did the Chicago election board. But Chicago elections spokesman Jim Allen said Friday that a majority of the board now opposes Illinois’ continued involvement in Crosscheck.
Illinois elections officials have defended the program, but they have acknowledged one potentially big problem with it, according to an email obtained by Indivisible Chicago, an anti-Trump activist group.
“We are concerned that other states may have released Illinois voter data pursuant to their own [Freedom of Information Act] laws, and as a result we are currently in the process of determining if this is indeed occurring,” Steven Sandvoss, executive director of the state election board, told county elections officials on Oct. 20.
Illinois also is a member of an alternate system, the Electronic Registration Information Center, also known as ERIC, which is nonpartisan and widely considered to be significantly more accurate. The downside is that not as many states belong to it because it costs money, unlike Crosscheck, which is free. Crosscheck has 28 member states, though four have quit, citing unreliable data. ERIC has 20.
On top of the other problems, Indivisible Chicago reported Crosscheck administrators have been careless with voter information, emailing passwords and using unencrypted servers. That could expose voters’ names, addresses and, in some states, Social Security numbers to hackers.
Kobach, who is running for governor in Kansas, does not appear to be the kind of individual who should be entrusted with sway over voting. In June, a federal judge fined him $1,000 for “deceptive conduct” in misleading the court about documents he brought into a meeting with President Donald Trump.
No one wants cheating in elections. But that counts for the people who run the system as well as those at the polling place.
Lake Michigan water rates have been surging throughout the Chicago region in recent years, squeezing low-income residents and leaving them with little, if any, recourse, a Tribune analysis shows.
In this tangled network that delivers water to the vast majority of the region’s residents, the Tribune found an upside-down world, one where people in the poorest communities pay more for a basic life necessity than those in the wealthiest.
And the financial pain falls disproportionately on majority-African-American communities, where residents’ median water bill is 20 percent higher for the same amount of water than residents pay in predominantly white communities, the Tribune’s examination revealed.
Consider Ford Heights, a cash-strapped, predominantly African-American suburb south of Chicago. People there pay nearly six times more for the same amount of water than residents of Highland Park, a wealthy, predominantly white town on the North Shore — and four times more than Chicago residents.
In the end, little is stopping local leaders from raising rates even more: Illinois regulators have no oversight authority over towns’ water rates. […]
Community leaders offer a variety of explanations for the high rates. Some acknowledge that residents are paying for significant amounts of water lost through cracked pipes and leaky hydrants. Others say they are imposing higher rates to pay exorbitant replacement costs of that infrastructure.
Drop by drop, more than 25 billion gallons of water drawn from Lake Michigan was lost in the Chicago area last year, an analysis by the Chicago Tribune has found.
A sprawling network of crumbling underground pipes allows water to surreptitiously seep into the soil before customers even turn on the faucet. […]
Last year alone, northeast Illinois would have saved nearly $9.1 million if towns using Lake Michigan water had been held to the state’s water loss standard of 12 percent. […]
Towns with majority-black populations lost an average of 18 percent of their water, compared to the region’s overall rate of 10 percent. These towns pay some of the highest rates for water in the area. […]
The result has been a significant drop in overall water use by Illinois over the past 20 years — by nearly 30 percent, state officials say. And despite its losses, Illinois still fares better than many other states.
But improvements to unseen pipes and water mains have not materialized. In towns like Maywood, for example, water loss has remained stubbornly high.
REPORTER: Governor, there’s a bump stock bill that failed yesterday. There’s also a Republican measure that would ban just bump stocks, not modifications. You’re a hunter. Would you support that kind of a measure?
RAUNER: Well, uh, again there are number of regulations and regulatory bills being discussed in the General Assembly. I think, I’m, I encourage the conversation. I look forward to, our team is participating in the conversation. I don’t want to, um, comment prematurely or speculate about legislation, but there’s good conversations going on.
REPORTER: So do you support bump stocks, or do you not support bump stocks?
RAUNER: What I support is a good bipartisan conversation about these issues.
* JB Pritzker’s people sent that around along with this…
Rauner Dodges on Bump Stocks… Again
Chicago, IL – Bruce Rauner once again dodged questions and refused to take a position on bump stocks, the gun accessory used to take 58 lives earlier this month in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. Just days after the Las Vegas massacre, Rauner was asked about a bump stock ban, and was silent then just as he is now. […]
“In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, Bruce Rauner doesn’t care enough to provide solutions to prevent gun violence and keep Illinoisans safe,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “Rauner’s repeated silence is another symptom of his failed leadership and his inability to take any action on pressing issues facing our state.”
*** UPDATE *** Republican lawmaker uses liberal Democrat’s video to demand GOP governor veto gun-related bill. What a world…
Louis Jacobson is the senior correspondent at PolitiFact, the fact-checking website that is part of the Tampa Bay Times of Florida. He is also senior author of the Almanac of American Politics 2016 and was a contributing writer for the 2000 and 2004 editions. For Governing, Jacobson has written a column on state politics since the 2010 election cycle, including handicapping gubernatorial, state legislative and state attorney general races and the electoral college. Before that, he wrote a similar column for Stateline.org and Roll Call. He has also handicapped state and federal races for such publications as the Cook Political Report, the Rothenberg Political Report, PoliticsPA.com and the Tampa Bay Times.
Three Republican-held governorships are so vulnerable that we’ve rated them lean Democratic. Those are the open seats being vacated by Paul LePage of Maine and Susana Martinez of New Mexico, as well as the seat held by incumbent Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, who announced his run for re-election earlier this week. […]
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R)
Rauner’s first term continues to be tough. A Republican in a strongly Democratic state, he’s fought an ongoing battle with the Democratic-controlled legislature that kept the state without a full budget for more than two years. The state remains in fiscal trouble, though, with over $15 billion in unpaid bills and the biggest public pension unfunded liability of any state. A decision to sign a bill providing state funding for abortions for low-income women in September, precipitated a war between the governor and social conservatives, possibly enough to provoke a primary challenge. Rauner has a vast personal fortune, but discontent within the GOP, combined with approval ratings in the mid-30s, point to a difficult re-election bid.
The Democratic field includes three figures from the populous Cook County: J.B. Pritzker, a multibillionaire and the brother of the former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker; Chris Kennedy, a businessman and son of Robert F. Kennedy; and progressive state Sen. Daniel Biss. Pritzker appears to be in the best position, having secured endorsements from the AFL-CIO, key unions and Cook County Democratic officialdom. Perhaps most important, Pritzker is a self-funder, which is attractive to Democrats looking for a way to beat the deep-pocketed Rauner.
*** UPDATE *** Part of a DGA press release that also references the above projection…
This week, Bruce Rauner officially announced his reelection campaign with a web video, a paid TV ad profiling Rauner’s lack of job creation, and a distinct lack of campaign events with voters. On Sunday, he heads overseas for a week. […]
“Rauner, who kicked off his bid for a second term with the help of his Harley-Davidson, remains the most-vulnerable governor. With the two-year-long budget battle completed despite Rauner’s veto, attention has pivoted to the Republican’s expansion of taxpayer-funded abortions that has alienated the base.”
Maybe week two will go better.
“Bruce Rauner’s reelection campaign is off to a rough start and its only five days old,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Rauner’s failures have simply caught up to him. Voters will not forget the two-year budget crisis he imposed on the state, the debt he piled up, and his inability to stem the flow of jobs and people out of state. Illinois is doing worse under Bruce Rauner and riding around on a Harley will not fix it.”
Under pressure in advance of hearings on Russian election interference, Facebook is moving to increase transparency for everyone who sees and buys political advertising on its site.
Executives for the social media company said Friday they will verify political ad buyers in federal elections, requiring them to reveal correct names and locations, and to create new graphics where users can click on the ads and find out more about who’s behind them.
More broadly, Rob Goldman, Facebook’s vice president in charge of ad products, said the company is building new transparency tools in which all advertisers — even those that aren’t political — are associated with a page, and users can click on a link to see all of the ads any advertiser is running.
Users also will be able to see all of the ads paid for by the advertisers, whether or not those ads were originally targeted toward them. […]
Facebook’s Goldman said the company also will build a new archive of federal election ads on Facebook, including the total amount spent and the number of times an ad is displayed, he said. The archive, which will be public for anyone to search, would also have data on the audience that saw the ads, including gender and location information. The archive would eventually hold up to four years of data.
That last component should apply to state and local elections, too, and go beyond candidates to third party “issue” advertisers.
In the coming weeks, we will launch an industry-leading transparency center that will offer everyone visibility into who is advertising on Twitter, details behind those ads, and tools to share your feedback with us.
Specifically, the Transparency Center will show:
All ads that are currently running on Twitter, including Promoted-Only ads
How long ads have been running
Ad creative associated with those campaigns
Ads targeted to you, as well as personalized information on which ads you are eligible to receive based on targeting […]
Electioneering ads are those that refer to a clearly identified candidate (or party associated with that candidate) for any elected office.* To make it clear when you are seeing or engaging with an electioneering ad, we will now require that electioneering advertisers identify their campaigns as such. We will also change the look and feel of these ads and include a visual political ad indicator.
In the Transparency Center, there will be a special section for electioneering ads that will include:
All ads that are currently running or that have run on Twitter, including Promoted-Only ads
Disclosure on total campaign ad spend by advertiser
Transparency about the identity of the organization funding the campaign
Targeting demographics, such as age, gender and geography
Historical data about all electioneering ad spending by advertiser
We are also updating our policies for electioneering advertisers to:
Include stricter requirements on who can serve these ads and limit targeting options
Require electioneering advertisers to self-identify as such
Introduce stronger penalties for advertisers who violate policies
Regarding Issue-Based Ads
We are committed to stricter policies and transparency around issue-based ads. There is currently no clear industry definition for issue-based ads but we will work with our peer companies, other industry leaders, policy makers, and ad partners to clearly define them quickly and integrate them into the new approach mentioned above.
* Rep. Jeanne Ives was asked this week what she’d do if she was elected governor…
So, what would I do differently? That’s a good question. First of all I’d ask everybody to turn out. You have to completely turn out, uh, turnover the Democrat legislature. You must get rid of Mike Madigan. He is stopping all the good economic policies that would come to fruition.
* Which leads us to this kinda tongue in cheek oppo dump…
Jeanne Ives: Secret Democrat?
The Dan Proft-Run Prairie State Wire Recently Attacked House Republican Caucus Leader Jim Durkin For Having Donors Who Also Contributed To Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan. “How to be a ‘Citizen for Durkin’ and ‘Friend of Madigan,’ at once…Ex-GOP State Senator Thomas J. Walsh, now a lobbyist and one of Durkin’s oldest political mentors, gave his friend’s “Citizens for Durkin” political action committee $500 in September. He also gave $500 that month to Friends of Michael Madigan, run by Durkin’s alleged arch-nemesis, who he is supposed to be trying to depose in 2018. Walsh, whose younger brother, David, is a top paid strategist for Durkin, has donated this year to a host of House Democrats competing for Madigan across the aisle, including State Rep. Marty Moylan, State Rep. Chris Welch (D-Hillside), State Rep. Mike Zalewski (D-Riverside), State Rep. Bob Rita (D-Blue Island), State Rep. Fran Hurley (D-Chicago), and State Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights). Thomas Walsh isn’t the only self-described Republican Durkin supporter who also backs Democrats.” (“House Republican Leader Durkin Solicits Democrats To Back Re-Election Bid,” Prairie State Wire, 10/24/17)
Proft Ally Jeanne Ives Has Raised 24 Percent Of Her Campaign Funds From Donors Who Also Gave To Madigan
Jeanne Ives Has Raised $288,943.11 Since First Running For Office In 2011. (Illinois Board of Elections, Accessed 10/26/17)
$68,012 – 24 Percent - Of Ives’ Fundraising Has Come From Donors Who Also Contributed To Friends Of Michael J. Madigan. (Illinois Board of Elections, Accessed 10/26/17)
Proft Called Out Durkin For Receiving Money From A Union That Also Gave To Ives
The Prairie State Wire Story Specifically Called Out Durkin’s Receipt Of Contributions From The Chicagoland Operators Joint Labor-Management Political Action Committee. “Durkin also received contributions in September from former top State Senate Democrat aides-turned-lobbyists Eric Madiar and Stephen Morrill, President Barack Obama’s first campaign manager Dan Shomon, former Daley political operative Thomas Manion, and the Chicagoland Operators Joint Labor-Management Political Action Committee, which vigorously opposes Governor Bruce Rauner’s push for local ‘right to work’ legislation.” (“House Republican Leader Durkin Solicits Democrats To Back Re-Election Bid,” Prairie State Wire, 10/24/17)
Ives Received A $1,000 Contribution From The Chicagoland Operators Joint Labor-Management Political Action Committee On September 5, 2017. (Illinois Board of Elections, Accessed 10/26/17)
Ives Has Received $5,900 Since 2013 From The Chicagoland Operators Joint Labor-Management Political Action Committee. (Illinois Board of Elections, Accessed 10/26/17)
State Rep. Peter Breen of Lombard predicts a [primary challenge to Rauner] but is dubious about whether it will be a viable one. Breen, recently named House Republican floor leader, had been mentioned as a possible challenger to Rauner, but he says he’s happy in his current role.
“You’ve got to have seven figures in commitments” before taking on the billionaire businessman, said Breen, who sharply castigated Rauner for signing the abortion bill. […]
Rep. David Harris of Arlington Heights recalled a 1990 primary between then-Gov. Jim Edgar and Steve Baer, an activist against abortion, that the incumbent won convincingly.
“Folks in the party say, ‘Oh, this is (Rauner’s) death knell, he’ll never win.’ I don’t believe that,” said Harris, who recently announced he will not seek re-election. “I do not believe you can build a gubernatorial campaign just on the abortion issue. … It probably works to a great extent in a primary but not in a general election.”
* The General Assembly lost its acting inspector general in 2015, when Bill Roberts quit, and hasn’t had a “real” IG since 2013. State law requires that the Legislative Ethics Commission (composed of eight members of Illinois House and Senate leadership) appoint an interim IG if there’s a vacancy, but that hasn’t happened. So, what’s going on?…
(T)he office of the state’s legislative inspector general sits empty. The Legislative Ethics Commission’s executive director, Randy Erferd, attends only to the group’s administrative needs and did not return calls for comment by publication.
Despite this, $312,500 were appropriated for the Office of the Legislative Inspector General in this year’s budget. The same amount was appropriated in 2013, 2014, 2015, and for the 2016-2017 year. A total of $1,875,000 million has been appropriated for an office which has not been occupied and to pay for a staff which doesn’t exist. […]
“We haven’t found an appropriate person but I want to hasten to add that there have been no reports of ethics violations during that period of time so it’s not like there’s something that hasn’t been done,” [Rep. Lou Lang] said.
The commission’s governing statute holds that the number of claims received by the body is a matter of public record. However, no quarterly or annual reports appear to have been filed by the office since June 2014, making Lang’s claim difficult to verify. The responsibility to file those reports resides with the inspector general.
Lang was asked why quarterly reports, if they have been filed by the commission, have not been made public. “At this moment I don’t have an answer about that for you, but I can tell you if there had been complaints we would have had to figure out how to investigate them.”
…Adding… As a commenter rightly notes, the IG is a significant component of Speaker Madigan’s sexual harassment bill…
Each state Inspector General will have authority to review allegations of sexual harassment and submit any founded complaints to the applicable Ethics Commission for a hearing. Each Ethics Commission will have the authority to fine an individual up to $5,000 for a violation of the prohibition on sexual harassment.
…Adding More… I think the appropriations mentioned above were probably re-approps, so while the money was budgeted, it wasn’t spent every year.
That, that bill was really, um, primarily about, um, enabling some more political manipulation by Speaker Madigan and Comptroller Mendoza on how they can prioritize, um, bill payment. That’s really what was behind that bill.
To be clear, I am a strong advocate for transparency. Very strong advocate. The way to have transparency is to invest in our computer systems so we can be fast and everything can be online and everyone can look. Our computer system’s budget was gutted, um, reduced dramatically, uh, by the Speaker and the appropriations that passed over my veto. Um, we need to invest in our IT systems and our infrastructure. Actually, that will reduce the cost of government over time and make everything much more transparent. So, we’ve gotta keep working on transparency. I will continue to be a strong advocate for transparency. And trying to do what I can to eliminate the politicism, politicization of bill paying, which is really what’s driving a lot of this right now.
…Adding… From GOP Rep. Dave McSweeney…
Hey Governor - You lost 112-0 and hid $2.8 billion of unappropriated fiscal year 17 bills. What did the Governor know about the hidden bills and when did he know it?
*** UPDATE 1 *** From Abdon Pallasch at the comptroller’s office…
No, the Speaker did not hypnotize every House Republican to vote against the Governor. That 112-0 vote – every House Republican joining every House Democrat – ends any discussion about whether this was about good policy or, as the Governor futilely tried to misrepresent, about “politics.” Comptroller Mendoza outworked the Governor and educated all House members about the need for our office – and for legislators and taxpayers – to know how many unpaid bills the Governor is holding at his agencies.
State Rep. Allen Skillicorn, R-East Dundee, said he was happy to co-sponsor the debt transparency legislation and asked Republican colleagues to unanimously support the override.
“It was the right thing to do. #thatsleadership,” Skillicorn tweeted. […]
Asked about the overrides this week, Rauner said his priorities are to make sure the economy grows to help job creators, protect taxpayers and “make sure we have a government that’s efficient, effective, transparent.”
“We set some priorities in this session and we prioritized,” Rauner said. “My vetoes, our priorities have been protected.”
Asked whether that meant the Debt Transparency Act wasn’t on the same level of priority as other vetoes, the governor reiterated that his priorities “held.”
Gov. Bruce Rauner will lead a delegation to Israel next week to explore opportunities for expanded business and research ties to the “Start-Up Nation,” the moniker used to describe Israel’s remarkable economic advances through technological innovation.
The trip builds out of the governor’s announcement last week that the University of Illinois System will launch the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) in Chicago and the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) by creating research partnerships with world-class universities here and abroad. U of I President Tim Killeen is joining the Israeli trade mission. He and the governor will meet with officials at four Israeli universities: Technion, Ben Gurion, Tel Aviv and Hebrew.
“We hope to establish research partnerships that augment the work U of I System universities will do at the Discovery Partners Institute,” the governor said. “We also want to make our plans known to companies in Israel so they consider investments in our initiatives and in our state.”
“Our meetings in Israel are a critical first step toward creating new relationships for DPI, and for the U of I System’s three best-in-class universities,” Killeen said. “The discussions will build bridges for research collaborations that lead the way to progress, and exchange programs that prepare students to succeed in the increasingly global workplace that awaits them.”
Consul General of Israel to the Midwest Aviv Ezra, who was instrumental in setting the itinerary for the mission, will travel with the delegation.
“We look forward to sharing our expertise as the startup nation with Illinois,” he said. “The future partnerships between the world-renowned universities in Israel and Illinois are sure to produce groundbreaking solutions to world challenges. The projects that emanate from this win-win collaboration will be acknowledged on the world map as revolutionary.”
The delegation from the governor’s office will include the governor, Deputy Gov. Leslie Munger and a staff member. From the University of Illinois, traveling are: Edward Seidel, vice president for Economic Development and Innovation; Andreas Cangellaris, dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Jeffrey Brown, dean of the College of Business in Urbana-Champaign; Mark Rosenblatt, chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago; and Pradeep Khanna, Associate Vice Chancellor for Corporate Relations and Economic Development.
The delegation departs for Israel Sunday, Oct. 29, with the state of Illinois group returning on Friday Nov. 3, and the university group returning Saturday, Nov. 4.
Florida’s governor is leading a raiding party through Illinois in hopes of taking some of the state’s employers back to the Sunshine State with him.
Gov. Rick Scott arrived in Chicago Wednesday in a winter coat and scarf. He told reporters that he and his delegation are speaking to businesses and site selectors in hopes that they will choose to relocate to Florida.
Scott explained the fiscal situation of his state’s economy compared to Illinois.
“We’re continuing to reduce our taxes,” Scott said. “We’ve reduced taxes 75 times and cut 25 percent of our state debt.”
He hammered Chicago and Illinois tax rates and their effect on business.
“Rahm Emanuel is raising your taxes. The Illinois state legislature is raising your taxes,” he said. “It’s making it more difficult for companies to do business.”
As he stood along the Magnificent Mile, wearing a top coat and scarf to shield himself against the morning’s 40-degree temperatures, the Republican governor said warmer weather isn’t the only big difference between Florida and Illinois. […]
Scott’s visit comes just two days after Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner launched his re-election campaign. Scott said he believes Rauner has tried very hard to grow the Illinois economy.
“While he’s trying to keep the taxes low here, and the regulation low, his legislature is hurting the Illinois economy,” he said. “Your taxes are too high. You don’t cut regulation enough.”
I’m not sure if anyone asked Gov. Scott if he planned to stop by an Illinois National Guard base while he was here to thank them for their help with hurricane relief. Gov. Rauner dispatched 800 guard troops to Florida last month.
Cook County Clerk David Orr on Thursday endorsed first-time candidate Fritz Kaegi in his Democratic primary bid to oust Assessor Joe Berrios.
The veteran clerk, who’s not running again after seven terms, cited the “need to clean up” the assessor’s office, particularly the inequities in the property tax system.
The Chicago Tribune highlighted that issue in its “Tax Divide” series. The investigation concluded that the county’s property tax system created an unequal burden on residents, handing huge financial breaks to homeowners who are well-off while punishing those who have the least, particularly people living in minority communities.
Orr said he’s frustrated that there have been no changes since the Tribune’s stories ran in June. In the meantime, thousands of homes have been reassessed, he said.
Despite a July announcement by County Board President Toni Preckwinkle that a probe of the entire assessment system was underway, two meetings to move that process along have since been canceled, Orr said.
Following is a statement from Fritz Kaegi, the progressive Democrat running against incumbent Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios in the March 2018 primary election, in response to Berrios’ testimony before the Cook County Board of Commissioners on Friday.
“Today, Joe Berrios stood before the Cook County Board and claimed with a straight face that the assessment model Cook County uses is ‘a very good one.’ He should tell that to the hundreds of thousands of Cook County working families who are grossly and systematically overassessed every year. Meanwhile, he lets wealthy property owners off the hook–as long as they hire property tax attorneys who donate to his political fund. Let’s not forget that, for years, he has refused to reveal how Cook County calculates assessments. That is unique among county assessors in Illinois.”
“Joe Berrios wants us to ignore the well documented facts and simply pretend everything is fine. Cook County homeowners struggling to stay above water know differently.”
Over the last 15 years, the labor force participation rate fell more in counties where more opioids were prescribed. Here’s a county-by-county look at the relationship between the change in the labor force participation rate at the state level and the opioid prescription rate at the county level […]
Krueger notes that, “Regardless of the direction of causality, the opioid crisis and depressed labor force participation are now intertwined in many parts of the U.S.” He argues that finding a solution to the decades-long slide in labor force participation by prime-age men should be “a national priority.” Men who are outside the workforce, he writes, express very low levels of subjective well-being and report deriving relatively little meaning from their daily activities. […]
Because nearly half of this group [men who are out of the labor force] reported being in poor health, it may be possible for expanded health insurance coverage and preventative care under the Affordable Care Act to positively affect the health of prime age men going forward. The finding that nearly half of NLF [not in the labor force] prime age men take pain medication on a daily basis and that 40 percent report that pain prevents them from accepting a job suggests that pain management interventions could potentially be helpful.
The drug company founder now charged with leading a nationwide conspiracy to bribe doctors and pharmacists to overprescribe an opioid cancer pain drug once was listed among Arizona’s richest billionaires.
John N. Kapoor, the founder of Insys Therapeutics, several years ago was listed by Forbes as having a worth of $2.4 billion. That worth has fallen amid the indictments of numerous fellow Insys executives, but Forbes still listed Kapoor’s worth at $1.75 billion on Thursday as he went to U.S. federal court in the fraud and racketeering case.
Kapoor is also the longtime chairman of the board of Akorn Pharmaceuticals, headquartered in Lake Forest. Akorn is in the process of being acquired by German health care company Fresenius Kabi for $4.3 billion. That deal is expected to close by early next year, subject to regulatory approval. […]
The new indictment alleges Kapoor and the other defendants offered bribes to doctors to write large numbers of prescriptions for the fentanyl-based pain medication that is meant only for cancer patients with severe pain. Most people who received prescriptions did not have cancer.