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Friday, May 25, 2018

* I checked around and the lid seems to be on for the rest of today, so that’s it for me. Elvis Costello will play us out

So where are the strong?
And who are the trusted?

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Population loss threatens home rule powers

Friday, May 25, 2018

* From the Illinois Policy Institute’s former news service

Some Illinois towns could lose broad home rule taxing authority as the state’s population continues to decline, a possibility that could ease local taxes and further squeeze municipal budgets.

U.S. Census numbers released Thursday show the population of Freeport, Collinsville and Harvey fell below 25,000. That’s the threshold for automatic home-rule status.

In 2010, Freeport had 25,638 residents. Now, it has an estimated 24,091 people. The city of Collinsville became home-rule by special census in 2005. Its population has declined to 24,703, according to new Census estimates. Harvey had 25,282 residents in its borders in 2010. Now, there are 24,908.

Home rule authority gives local elected officials expanded powers for self-government, including the ability to raise certain taxes and issue debt without voter approval. […]

Unless those cities persuade more people to move in by 2020, they’ll have to place a question on the ballot in November 2022 asking voters if they want to retain home rule status. […]

Taxes and fees levied by the city under home-rule authority would be rolled back en-masse as soon as the referendum saying so is certified, Diamond said. The exception would be taxes levied to pay bonds, like those referenced in a recent court decision on Harvey’s debt. […]

Six cities, including these three, are within 1,000 people of falling below the home-rule threshold. One notable population slide toward the threshold is Kankakee, which has lost more than 1,300 people since 2010 and is now at 26,216 residents.

Keep in mind that these population figures are estimates. The decennial Census will conduct a full count

Mitch Blair, the city manager for Collinsville, disagreed with the Census Bureau’s estimates, which had his town dropping below 25,000 residents.

Blair said city officials looked at the building and demolition permits for multifamily and single-family homes since 2010 and came up with its own estimate of about 25,800 people living in town.

* Related…

* Census: Peoria losing residents quickest among large Illinois cities: The agency estimated the city’s population at 112,883 people as of July 1, 2017, a decline of 1.3 percent from 2016 and a 1.9 percent decrease from the last full census in April 2010. From 2010 to 2016, the Census Bureau estimated Peoria’s population decline at 0.7 percent, indicating that the rate at which people are leaving the city also increased last year.

* Chicago’s population drops 3rd year in a row, US Census Bureau says: While downtown may be gaining, Chicago is losing residents overall. The decline is getting attention as it’s the third straight year of decline. … “The decline in the city of Chicago is largely happening among African Americans and among African American communities, those communities on the South and West Sides, that’s generally what the city of Chicago is seeing in terms of loss. Every other community type is growing and every other demographic is growing,” Loury said.

* In a shrinking state, half of Illinois’ largest cities have shed population since 2010: Nearly 80 percent of Illinois’ most populous cities saw population decline from July 2016 to July 2017, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau released May 24. Of the state’s top 50 cities, 39 saw a shrinking population over the year, while 25 have seen their populations shrink compared with 2010.

* Here’s How Illinois’ Population Changed Between 2016 And 2017: Cook County had the largest population decrease, with more than 20,000 residents leaving. … McHenry County saw the largest population increase, with 1,150 new residents.Illinois’ housing stock grew to 5,359,557 housing units between 2016 and 2016, adding 14,327 units. The state’s growth rate for housing units was 0.3 percent, which was below the nation’s growth rate of 0.8 percent.

* Chicago’s population down third year in a row — but we’re still ahead of Houston

* Census estimates: Naperville now Illinois’ fourth-largest city: As of July 1, 2017, Naperville’s population was estimated at 147,682 — 631 more than Rockford’s new estimate of 147,051.

* Local leaders respond to decline in Rockford population: But the Rockford community has some serious issues to overcome, from its high violent crime rate, to some of the highest property tax rates in the country.

* New census numbers show which Southern Illinois communities are shrinking: Belleville has seen a 6 percent drop since the 2010 official head count. Granite City saw a 4 percent drop. Alton, East St. Louis, Freeburg and Cahokia also saw population drops, according to census estimates. Edwardsville, Columbia, Waterloo, O’Fallon and Shiloh, however, all saw population growth.

* Springfield loses population again, holds onto No. 6 spot in Illinois: It was the fifth straight year Springfield lost population, according to the Census. The city’s high-water mark for population during the decade was in 2012, when the July 1 estimate was 117,352.

- Posted by Rich Miller   6 Comments      

Rauner appears open to yet another expansion of the death penalty

Friday, May 25, 2018

* From the governor’s amendatory veto of HB1468

A person commits death penalty murder when at the time of the commission of the offense he or she has attained the age of 18 or more and he or she purposely causes the death of another human being without lawful justification if:

    (1) at the time of the offense, the person caused the death of 2 or more other human beings without lawful justification; or

    (2) the victim was a peace officer, as defined by Section 2-13 of this Code, killed in the course of performing his or her official duties, either to prevent the performance of the officer’s duties or in retaliation for the performance of the officer’s duties, and the person knew that the victim was a peace officer.

* Gov. Rauner today…

Um, killing firefighters was not in the governor’s AV.

* This is exactly the problem I’ve pointed out here before. Once you start a limited reimposition of the death penalty, people are gonna scream about why you didn’t add this or that category, and then it’s always expanded time and time again

Rob Warden, who has spent years exposing wrongful convictions as a journalist and academic, noted that while Rauner might call his idea on capital punishment “limited,” it’s easy for lawmakers to expand.

When Illinois restored capital punishment in 1977, there were six “aggravating factors,” or legal determinations that, if met, could warrant a death sentence, Warden said. When it was abolished, there were 20.

That tweet by the governor is the best proof yet that his AV is just “show-biz.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      

New Rauner online ad slams Pritzker over Madigan (again)

Friday, May 25, 2018

* Lots of unconfirmed rumors floating around out there that Gov. Rauner may go up on TV early next month. If that happens, JB Pritzker is expected to quickly follow suit. Until then, we’ll have to settle for digital ads…

Today, the Rauner campaign launched a new digital ad on JB Pritzker’s refusal to call out Mike Madigan’s corruption involving sexual harassment and retaliation cases within his political operation.

After sexual harassment allegations swirled around Speaker Mike Madigan’s political operation, State Representative Kelly Cassidy came forward about what she calls retribution for speaking out against Madigan’s investigation into the accusations.

Pritzker refuses to speak about Madigan’s role.

If Pritzker won’t call out Madigan now, how can we trust him in the future?

* Rate it

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      

Attendance issues

Friday, May 25, 2018


The Gun Dealer Licensing bill was expected to be called for a vote Thursday, but not enough lawmakers showed up.

This is the second time this week lawmakers told Newschannel 20 they’re holding off bills because of attendance.

The sponsor of the Gun Dealer Licensing Act measure said she also delayed calling the bill Thursday because she may amend it.

The sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment said he’s not calling the resolution because of attendance.

By the end of yesterday, the House had nine excused absences and a few others who were listed as not voting.

Lots of family graduations are happening these days. Tons more are scheduled for May 31st.

But, remember, there’s still plenty of time to move bills that will need as many bodies in town as possible. May 31st is next Thursday. They’re coming back to Springfield on Monday.

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      

It’s just a bill

Friday, May 25, 2018

* Very predictable…

State Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton, state Rep. John Cabello, R-Machesney Park, state Rep. Brian Stewart, R-Freeport, state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, state Rep. Natalie Phelps Finnie, D-Elizabethtown, state Rep. Monica Bristow, D-Godfrey, state Rep. Dave Severin, R-Benton, and state Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro are working with a bipartisan group of lawmakers working to reinstate the death penalty for cop killers, killers of firefighters and mass murderers, while also rejecting sweeping gun control measures proposed by the governor.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has tied reinstatement of the death penalty to strict gun control measures opposed by the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights advocates. Costello is working in a bipartisan effort with other members of the legislature to introduce their own clean death penalty legislation without Rauner’s gun control language, in order to protect law enforcement officials and firefighters to keep local communities safe without infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

These legislators released the following statement:

“According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 28 police officers have been killed in 2018. Our law enforcement officers are doing everything they can to keep our families safe and they shouldn’t have to fear for their own lives. As a community, we have a responsibility to support members of law enforcement for all that they do for us. It is unacceptable that anyone would target police officers or firefighters for doing their jobs, which is why we support the death penalty as a form of punishment for those who target our members of law enforcement.

“While the governor’s amendatory veto of House Bill 1468 supports the death penalty in the situation of targeting a police officer, it also places overreaching restrictions on law-abiding gun owners. As strong supporters of the Second Amendment, we oppose these new restrictions which only punish those who are already following the law. When the men and women who keep our communities safe are injured in the line of duty, we have a responsibility to be there for them. Police officers and firefighters continuously put their lives on the line to protect the public in times of crisis. The families of police officers and firefighters deserve justice and the ability to hold people accountable for their actions, which is why those who knowingly and willingly kill members of law enforcement and firefighters should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The bill is here. All those Democrats represent conservative pro-Trump, pro-gun areas where this will play well. Adding firefighters was a nice touch, too.

Rep. McSweeney, of course, is one of the most frequent Republican critics of Rauner. Rep. Bryant is a Tier One target.

* Speaking of Rep. McSweeney, check out his resolution to set an official revenue estimate

WHEREAS, The budget estimate contained in this Joint Resolution reflects the repeal of Public Act 100-22, the income tax hike, enacted in July 2017;

He can’t help himself. He just loves sticking it to the governor, who will obviously use a revenue estimate based on every dime of the money from last year’s tax hike.


Jeanne M Ives - John M. Cabello - Brad Halbrook - Margo McDermed, Tony McCombie, Mark Batinick, Brian W. Stewart, David A. Welter, Thomas Morrison, Allen Skillicorn and Joe Sosnowski

* Other bills…

* SIU study, if approved, may delay vote on splitting university system: State Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, said in a phone interview that state Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, will not call for a vote on his bill to separate SIU Edwardsville from SIU Carbondale, if a resolution for a study were to pass.

* Should SIU Edwardsville And Carbondale Split? Or Stay Together For The Kids?: Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) and Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) both warned that having the IBHE assess the feasibility of splitting ISU would set a precedent that could be the proverbial “camel’s nose under the tent” that could lead to similar investigations in everything from the University of Illinois system to community colleges with satellite campuses.

* Lawmaker charging retaliation wants complaint system changes: Under the current process, the legislative inspector general, who works independently from the ethics commission, cannot conduct an investigation into a complaint without the ethics commission’s permission. The commission is composed of eight state legislators — four Democratic and four Republican.

* Bill to give Sangamon County first dibs on state jobs passes Senate: If signed, House Bill 4295 would make Springfield and Sangamon County the default location for employees of most state agencies. The director of Central Management Services would have to establish a geographic location for each state job and specify why positions located outside the capital city need to be there. The legislative and judicial branches are exempt, as are the offices of the state’s constitutional officers and those employed directly by the governor’s office.

* House OKs bill to pay $63M in back wages owed to 24,000 workers: The issue stems from 2011 when former Gov. Pat Quinn said lawmakers did not appropriate enough money to cover 2 percent raises for thousands of AFSCME members at 14 state agencies. Quinn said that without the appropriation, the state could not pay the additional money to workers.

* Illinois House considers using marijuana to fight opioids: Cassidy says she is working on cleanup provisions that she hopes will get committee approval next week before moving to the House floor.

* Press Release: To expedite discrimination case decisions and clear the backlog of claims, the Senate recently approved State Senator Heather Steans’ (D-Chicago) measure to restructure the Human Rights Commission. “The Human Rights Commission is an important avenue for individuals who have been discriminated against or harassed to resolve their complaints,” Steans said. “Due to the current structure and process, a backlog of cases has developed over time. To expedite cases, I worked to restructure the commission to ensure that cases are addressed quickly and efficiently.” Senate Bill 20 would change the Human Rights Commission from 13 part-time commissioners to seven full-time, dedicated commissioners. Additionally, it creates a temporary three-person panel to address the backlog of cases. To prevent a future buildup of cases, it streamlines the administrative process and removes duplicative steps. In March 2017, Gov. Bruce Rauner issued an executive order to consolidate the Human Rights Commission with the Department of Human Rights. However, the executive order did not take effect following the House’s passage of a resolution disapproving the order.

* Press Release: A measure sponsored by State Senator John G. Mulroe to simplify Illinois’ complicated court fee system recently cleared the Senate. Because court fees in Illinois vary greatly among counties, House Bill 4594 aims to standardize them by establishing four categories for civil fees and fines and 13 categories for criminal and traffic cases.

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      

A couple more weird Republican candidates slip through the screens

Friday, May 25, 2018

* First it was the Nazi running against Dan Lipinski, and now this

The Republican nominee for a US House seat in Illinois has said the September 11 terrorist attacks were an inside job and that singer Beyonce Knowles has ties to the Illuminati.

Bill Fawell is running against incumbent Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos in Illinois’ 17th District, where she won by 20 points in 2016 even though the district also voted narrowly for Donald Trump. Fawell won his uncontested primary in March. He has not reported any fundraising to the Federal Election Commission, per publicly available records. […]

In an interview with CNN, Fawell stood by his blog posts and the theories he espoused on them. He said that Jay-Z and Beyonce expressed their support for the Illuminati in their videos, and that singer Taylor Swift had as well. […]

The Illinois Republican Party did not respond to a request for comment. […]

In a 2014 post, Fawell speculated that New York City was going to be destroyed in a false flag attack by the deep state in either the year 2016 or 2017.

Fawell lives in Galena, but is part of the influential DuPage County Fawell family. Fawell had been up against Mark Kleine in the primary. Kleine raised a ton of early money and was highly touted by the Republicans, but dropped out in January after voicing his frustration over all that fundraising pressure. That move came long after the filing deadline and left Fawell unopposed, so it’s tough to blame the GOP for this particular mess.

* Meanwhile, down-river in Rock Island County

County Republicans have asked Glen Evans, state representative candidate for the 72nd District, to withdraw from the race. […]

Court records show Mr. Evans, of Rock Island, was charged with criminal trespass and criminal contempt after violating an order of protection in December 1997. The charges were dismissed in February 1998.

In addition, Marion County, Indiana records show an outstanding warrant for Mr. Evans in 2008 after he failed to appear for a probation hearing on a charge of violating an order of protection against his wife, Erica Evans.

In November 2009, an emergency order of protection was filed by Ms. Evans in Rock Island County, following a domestic battery charge against their 5-year-old son. According to an article in the Dispatch-Argus, Mr. Evans struck his son while he was sleeping after he witnessed his son sucking his thumb.

Ms. Evans withdrew her petition in Rock Island County in October 2010. The protective order and charge was dismissed. […]

Rock Island County Clerk Karen Kinney said Mr. Evans has previously run for office as a Democrat in about 18 different local races. He has lost every election with the exception of two precinct committeeman races.

Evans is running against Rep. Mike Halpin (D-Rock Island). Like the Nazi, neither Evans nor Fawell were given a chance in Hades of winning even before their history was known.

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

Senate ignores IRS warning, passes tax work-around bill

Friday, May 25, 2018

* Background is here. Greg Hinz

Defying a warning from the Internal Revenue Service, the Illinois Senate has overwhelmingly approved a bill intended to give local taxpayers a workaround for new federal caps on state and local tax deductions. […]

The Senate action came yesterday afternoon when, by a 51-1 margin with one abstention, the Senate approved a bill sponsored by Sen. Julia Morrison, D-Deerfield, that allows taxpayers to substitute donations to charities benefiting state government, municipalities and school districts for regular Illinois income-tax and property-tax payments. Donors would receive a credit worth 90 percent of their donations, applied to their state or local tax liability.

The IRS earlier this week suggested that it will rule against such measures, which already are the law in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and other high-tax states. The agency suggested that charitable donations are not supposed to reap a financial reward for the donor and said it will follow not state but federal law, which under the measure approved by President Donald Trump last year limits SALT deductions to $10,000 a year.

“Property tax relief is an important issue all around the state,” Morrison said in a phone interview. Any final IRS ruling “probably is not going to happen until the fall,” and may be challenged in court, she said. “I think it’s important for us to pass legislation that will help our residents.” […]

“How quickly, what’s in it, how it’s impacted by the IRS, all those things need to be considered,” [Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan] said. Concurrence motions on House bills that were amended in the Senate and sent back will occur “next week.”

* Sen. Jim Oberweis was the lone “No” vote. From a press release…

The Internal Revenue Service has warned states looking to get around the deduction caps – New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and now Illinois – that they could face new regulations.

“There is no way the federal government is going to allow states to pull a fast one like that, to find a tricky way around the deduction limits,” Oberweis said. “Trying to get around the IRS is not a good idea. This is a ‘lose-lose’ situation.”

If somehow a court upheld the Illinois plan (unlikely), Oberweis said the federal government could come back and limit all deductions to $10,000, which would be bad news for charities, as charitable contributions could be negatively impacted.

In an accompanying video, Oberweis called the bill “fools gold” a “phony, tricky work-around” and “sham legislation.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      

Mayor Emanuel’s bill sponsor: “This is NOT a carjacking bill”

Friday, May 25, 2018

* An instructive Twitter exchange…

Amdor is right. Even the bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Jaime Andrade (D-Chicago), freely admits that his bill is not about carjacking. From a statement Rep. Andrade sent me via text on May 16th…

The biggest issue is that people are calling it a “car jacking” bill.

This is NOT a carjacking bill.

This is a change to the PSMV [Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle] act. That needs to be changed because modernizations of vehicles, the FOBS, keyless entry, etc.

My goal is to deal with the 1000s of motor vehicle thefts in the state.

* From Rep. Kelly Cassidy’s Sun-Times op-ed, which prompted the Twitter exchange

Most car thefts involve parked and unattended vehicles, not violent seizure. Under current law, people who were not involved in the original theft may still be prosecuted for possession of a stolen motor vehicle. It is a serious offense which carries a sentence of between 3 and 7 years, and one for which passengers as well as drivers can be held liable no matter how long ago the car was stolen.

Considering the length of the sentence and how broad the liability is, it is important to establish that the defendant knew that the car was stolen. This requirement to show knowledge is not a “loophole,” as the bill’s staunchest proponents would have you believe, but rather an essential way of making sure the law is fair.

Carjacking is a very different crime, a violent and dangerous one. But the barrier to prosecuting carjacking effectively is not that so-called “loophole” in the law. It is, quite frankly, that nine out of ten carjacking offenses in Chicago never result in an arrest.

If the police do not successfully arrest the perpetrators, the State’s Attorney has no one to prosecute.

Instead of developing a strategy that could result in more arrests, the mayor and the Chicago Police Department have proposed a law that is overly broad and would result in punishing not only the person in possession of the car, but also their passengers, many of whom may not even know they are committing a crime.

* Also, this

It is perhaps instructive to note, by the way, that the state’s attorney’s Motor Vehicle Theft unit was funded for many years by a state grant that fell victim to the recent budget standoff.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      

Stop Illinois Big Coal Bailouts

Friday, May 25, 2018

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Learn More

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

Today’s quotable: “It’s just show-biz”

Friday, May 25, 2018

* Zeke’s reasons for staying calm during times of legislative strife was as sound back then as it is today…

The General Assembly can often resemble professional wrestling. The results are almost always preordained and, while the fights can draw real blood, they’re mostly staged.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      

The taxes no one wants to talk about

Friday, May 25, 2018

By Hannah Meisel

* Lightly edited text exchange between Rich and myself…

Him: Um, why haven’t you done a blog post about your new Chicago Mag piece?
Me: That’s self-promotional!
Him: Do it.

* So here we are. Earlier this week Chicago Magazine published a story I wrote about the revenue ideas too politically difficult to even mention in Illinois these days: taxing retirement income and expanding the state’s sales tax to certain services. A big thank you to editor Whet Moser for making it happen. Here it is

As Illinois lawmakers stare down their final weeks in Springfield, the state is staring down its own fiscal realities: $6.5 billion in unpaid bills, a $130 billion pension shortfall, and credit ratings still barely teetering above junk-bond status despite an income-tax hike last summer. That makes it an anomaly within the Midwest, a state that can never seem to manage its money while surrounding ones thrive. But its tax system is also strikingly different than theirs, a fact members of both parties have long bemoaned but not changed.

J.B. Pritzker’s campaign is the latest to propose aligning the state’s revenues with that of its neighbors, and it would be a considerable shift. After years of non-serious discussion of the issue, he’s pushing to change the state’s constitution to permit a graduated income tax instead of the mandated flat tax. If that happens, it would bring Illinois closer to the tax structures of surrounding states.

But there are two other types of taxes employed by our neighbors—ones brought up again and again—that still seem too poisonous to consider.

If you feel so inclined, you can read the whole thing here.

[Note from Rich Miller: I’m often asked by reporters to post their stories because y’all can really drive up their numbers in a big way. So, please, click the link and read Hannah’s story before commenting below. Thanks.]

- Posted by Hannah Meisel   60 Comments      

*** LIVE *** Session coverage

Friday, May 25, 2018

* Both the House and Senate have canceled their previously scheduled Saturday and Sunday sessions. The chambers return on Memorial Day. Follow today’s action with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comment      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Friday, May 25, 2018

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* Reader comments closed until Memorial Day
* Population loss threatens home rule powers
* Rauner appears open to yet another expansion of the death penalty
* New Rauner online ad slams Pritzker over Madigan (again)
* Attendance issues
* It's just a bill
* A couple more weird Republican candidates slip through the screens
* Senate ignores IRS warning, passes tax work-around bill
* Mayor Emanuel's bill sponsor: "This is NOT a carjacking bill"
* Stop Illinois Big Coal Bailouts
* Today's quotable: "It's just show-biz"
* The taxes no one wants to talk about
* *** LIVE *** Session coverage
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

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* Post to be finalized May 26, 2018
* How conservative is your Illinois lawmaker?
* Defending stupid. It’s not even better than nothing.

* IEMA Releases New Broadcast Campaign Focusing on Functional Needs Emergency Preparedness
* Rend Lake Water Conservancy District Water Main Break
* Statement from Gov. Rauner
* IEMA Highlights Emergency Preparedness for People with Access and Functional Needs in May
* IEMA Highlights Role of Volunteers in Disasters

* US reaches agreement to lift ZTE ban with conditions
* Best Buy has $300 off Galaxy S9, Note 8 if you sign with a carrier
* iPhone X 2018 screen changes, Essential in trouble & more – Pocketnow Daily
* No wireless charging on the HTC U12+? Too thick, too slick, not quick
* iPhone X camera glass cracking, people wonder why
* Inside the climate change lawsuit pitting Big Oil against San Francisco and Oakland
* Samsung Galaxy Note9 benchmarked with Exynos 9810

* Rondon, defense spoil Lopez's gem vs. Tigers
* Rodon still on track after struck in head by liner
* Santiago looking for better control vs. Tigers
* 2018 MLB Draft Profile: Shane McClanahan
* Most Essential White Sox Vote: Round 6
* Cease throws well for Winston-Salem
* White Sox Minor League Update: May 24, 2018

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