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Friday, Jul 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* A pretty amazing recommendation…

* Check it out

For another one of your detours

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Rauner signs bill requiring veterans’ home epidemic notifications within 24 hours

Friday, Jul 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This just in…

It’s just kind of ridiculous that we even need this law.

* Press release…

A new Illinois state law sponsored by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) will protect veterans at state homes from epidemics like the deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

Cullerton’s legislation, which was signed into law on Friday requires Illinois veterans homes to notify facility residents and their emergency contacts within 24 hours if two or more residents in the home have been diagnosed with an infectious disease in a period of one month or less.

“This new law will put the health of our veterans ahead of government bureaucracy,” Cullerton said. “When your loved one is in harm’s way, you have a right to know. Now that right is the law.”

House Bill 4278 was pushed in response to Rauner’s mismanagement of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks at the Quincy Veterans Home. Despite signs of the spread of bacteria reaching epidemic proportions, the state did not notify the public about the deadly 2015 outbreak until nearly a week later.

“In 2015, the families of the servicemen and women residing in the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy should have been notified of the Legionnaires’ disease epidemic, but Gov. Rauner’s administration left them and their loved ones in the dark,” Cullerton said. “This is simply unacceptable and we can’t let it happen again.”

The new law also requires veterans homes to post notification of the incidence of the infectious disease in a visible place near the facility’s main entrance. Once those requirements have been met, they must notify the Departments of Veterans’ Affairs and Public Health.

In Quincy, a workplace safety reprimand was issued by the state Department of Labor, which said the Department of Veterans Affairs failed to effectively notify all employees of the outbreak.

“Our veterans have put their lives on the line for us and it’s our duty to protect theirs in their golden years,” Cullerton said. “If the governor’s administration is refusing to use commonsense, the General Assembly will put protocols in place to ensure our nation’s heroes receive the best possible care and service we can offer.”

House Bill 4278 was supported by the Better Government Association, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Illinois AMVETS. It goes into effect immediately.


*** UPDATED x1 *** Chicago cops win a consent decree battle - No report when they draw weapons

Friday, Jul 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Background is here. From the ACLU…

After nearly a year-long process, the City and the Illinois Attorney General today produced a draft consent decree aimed at guiding reform of the Chicago Police Department for years to come. This is an important step in the long process of reform; but it is a draft that will need to be supplemented before presented to the court.

Today, the organizations who have sued to bring about reform, including the ACLU, have started to examine the draft to see whether it is designed to meet the needs of Chicago residents. There is no simple and quick fix, and this document deserves our careful attention.

Incredibly, this draft still does not require officers to record when they point a weapon at someone. The City of Chicago just settled a case for $2.5 million where police held a gun to the chest of a 3-year-old child. Given the absence of this provision, we need to examine this draft very closely.

The movement toward reform of CPD did not culminate today—but it has moved one step forward. We must all review and respond comprehensively to the draft to ensure a revised decree will successfully bring about the reform we have been waiting for.

*** UPDATE *** It appears that AG Madigan isn’t giving up on the drawn gun issue…

* Attorney General Lisa Madigan…

Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson today released a draft consent decree for the Chicago Police Department (CPD) that will require enforceable police reform. The draft consent decree is the result of months of negotiations by Madigan’s office, the City of Chicago and CPD, and engagement with Chicago communities, organizations and police officers.

Under the draft consent decree, Madigan is seeking sustainable reforms of CPD’s policies, practices, training and accountability mechanisms to address use of force, discriminatory policing, improve public safety and build trust between CPD and Chicago’s residents. The draft consent decree will ultimately be a court order enforced by a federal judge. The judge will be assisted by an independent monitor, who will continually evaluate CPD’s progress to implement reforms required by the consent decree until the City and CPD achieve full and effective compliance.

As part of the process of drafting the consent decree, Madigan engaged members of the community and law enforcement for their feedback and input on police reform. Madigan’s office held 14 community roundtables across the city and reviewed feedback from residents through paper and online feedback forms. Madigan’s office also held 13 focus groups with CPD officers of all ranks. In conjunction with the release of the draft consent decree, Madigan also released reports that summarize and include all the comments received from Chicago residents and police officers during this engagement process.

For decades, efforts to reform CD have failed, resulting in a profound lack of trust between the police and the communities they serve,” Madigan said. “The consent decree will mandate reforms to ensure constitutional policing and, ultimately, make Chicago safer for residents and police officers.”

“Reform and public safety go hand-in-hand, and today Chicago is taking an important next step, but not our final step, on the road to reform and the journey to a safer, stronger Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This agreement will help ensure Chicago police officers have the training, resources and support they need to do their difficult jobs and help rebuild the bonds of trust, respect and understanding between officers and the communities they serve.”

“This consent decree represents our future - with an emphasis on 21st century training, stronger community partnerships, enhanced supervisory leadership, as well as emotional support and resources for police officers so they can effectively safeguard and strengthen our city,” said Superintendent Eddie Johnson. “Once finalized, CPD will work aggressively to implement the reforms embedded in the document, which will fundamentally enhance the Department. We look forward to working in the weeks ahead to select the independent monitor who will oversee this agreement.”

The draft consent decree is the result of the lawsuit Madigan filed in August 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against the City of Chicago seeking numerous reforms outlined by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in its investigation of CPD. Madigan filed her lawsuit to obtain a consent decree for CPD after DOJ did not pursue a consent decree in Chicago, despite its own recommendation to do so.

The draft consent decree is based on DOJ’s findings that revealed a pattern of civil rights violations, including the unconstitutional use of deadly and excessive force by officers, caused by systemic deficiencies within CPD, that include inadequate training on appropriate tactics, lack of supervision; a failure to adequately investigate officer misconduct and discipline officers; and inadequate wellness and counseling programs to support officers. The draft also took into account recommendations from the Police Accountability Task Force report.

* Sen. Kwame Raoul…

It is great to see Attorney General Lisa Madigan stepping up where Jeff Sessions stepped back. It reminds us how important it is to have a proactive attorney general who is ready and willing to defend civil rights when the federal government neglects or attacks them.

As a state senator, I’ve had the opportunity to pass meaningful law enforcement reform, including standards for body cameras, a ban on chokeholds, and training in the appropriate use of force. Through the creation of the Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission, I’ve also helped bring about justice for those whose lives were devastated by past police abuse.

Chicago has a painful legacy to confront and an urgent need to reform, and this must be done openly and with the full involvement of the communities being policed for the consent decree to be successful.

I look forward to reviewing this draft and listening to the public’s contributions over the next few weeks.

…Adding… Lori Lightfoot…

“I would like to thank Attorney General Lisa Madigan for stepping in where the federal government would not and negotiating a draft consent decree with Chicago. This document will serve as a roadmap to creating a culture of accountability within the Chicago Police Department and building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

“At first glance, there are some clear issues in the draft consent decree. I will be releasing a detailed response once I have had an opportunity to examine more thoroughly how the document reflects recommendations made by the Police Accountability Task Force and the Department of Justice. As the final consent decree will redefine local policing for the foreseeable future, I encourage every Chicagoan to join me in providing feedback and being involved in this critical process.”

…Adding… Erika Harold

I applaud the Parties’ efforts to bring much needed reform to the Chicago Police Department and, as Illinois Attorney General, will vigorously pursue compliance with the final consent decree entered by the Judge. I look forward to reviewing the draft decree and hearing public comment over the coming weeks. While the entry of a consent decree will not be a panacea, it will offer a constructive way forward in reforming CPD, protecting Chicagoans’ safety, enhancing community policing efforts, equipping police officers with the tools necessary to meet their responsibilities, and upholding Constitutional rights and civil liberties.

…Adding… Positive press release from the MacArthur Justice Center…

MacArthur Justice Center’s Sheila Bedi, lead counsel for Campbell v. City of Chicago, the community-driven class action seeking federal court oversight of the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) operations, issued the following statement following the public release of the City of Chicago and Illinois Attorney General’s consent decree.

CPD Consent Decree Includes Unprecedented Community Accountability and Enforcement Rights

A meaningful consent decree must be developed by those most impacted by police brutality and violence and must ensure real community-based oversight and enforcement. The robust enforcement rights secured for the community coalition behind the Campbell v. City of Chicago lawsuit have been fully and formally adopted into the proposal released by the City of Chicago and Illinois Attorney General. This community coalition has an unprecedented right to monitor and enforce this decree – including the power to seek contempt sanctions against the City and CPD if they fail to comply. But the consent decree cannot be judged merely on the enforcement rights won by the community. The Campbell Plaintiffs released series of demands in May—and those demands must be the measure of whether this proposed consent will truly reduce the harm caused by the racism and violence that permeates the CPD.


Question of the day

Friday, Jul 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Before I moved to a downtown Chicago high-rise several years ago, I just assumed window washers stood on platforms that operated on tracks moving them up and down the buildings.

So, imagine my surprise one day when I heard a “thump” on my apartment’s living room window and rushed to the room to see a window-washer literally dangling from a thick rope while he squeegeed my windows. The thump I heard was his shoes hitting the window as he was lowered to my floor. I stood there and watched in awe as he “jumped” from window to window, high above the street below. I’d never seen anything like it.

I remember thinking how crazy brave that guy had to be. I mean, it’s not like Chicago isn’t known for windy days near the lake or anything. I also figured he and his co-workers made a good living. Wrong again. From earlier this month

The window washers who dangle from Chicago’s glassy high-rises traded in their squeegees for picket signs Monday as they went on strike to demand higher wages and better benefits. […]

“It’s a dangerous job,” said Efren Salas, 27, who carried a bullhorn as he and other window washers marched near Trump Tower chanting for a new contract. “You put your life on the ropes every day.” […]

The union is asking for starting wages to increase from a range of $12 to $20.50 per hour now to a range of $16 to $25.

It also is seeking increased life insurance coverage, to $100,000 from $50,000, and a better deal on health insurance.

* I have the utmost respect for people who can do things that I could not or would not ever do. And being a Chicago window washer is most definitely right up there on both of those lists. So, congratulations on the new contract

After nearly a month on strike, the window washers who dangle from Chicago’s downtown high-rises have ratified a new contract that includes the 27 percent wage hike they had been seeking.

The agreement raises the base hourly wage to $26 over the life of the five-year contract, and doubles their life insurance to $100,000 from $50,000, Service Employees International Union Local 1 said Friday.

* The Question: What are some jobs you would never do, regardless of the money? Explain.


No McCann-Trump moment

Friday, Jul 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* You may remember this…

McCann’s spokesman told the Daily Line that the candidate wasn’t able to meet the president. People I talked with who were at the event said they didn’t seem him inside the venue. He didn’t tweet anything, either.

* From a Republican operative yesterday…

Sam McCann tried to get into the Trump event today and they wouldn’t let him in.

You have to be on a special list to get into a presidential event. You’d think he would know that.

I reached out to McCann’s spokesman last night and still haven’t heard back. So, I figured this post might smoke him out.


Roskam vs. Casten debate coverage roundup

Friday, Jul 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Well, here’s an interesting turn of events

Rep. Peter Roskam on Thursday tried to paint political newcomer Sean Casten as a liberal President Donald Trump of sorts — accusing the Democratic challenger of being a bully with words and tweets.

The Republican incumbent has been accused of voting in lockstep with the Trump Administration, but on Thursday, Roskam tried to turn the tables.

“What you’ve heard in a litany of descriptions of what I’ve brought out about my opponent and how he characterizes people, how he ridicules people, how he demeans people — I think is really Trump-like,” Roskam said.

This was no off the cuff remark. It was a planned hit. Roskam’s people had a handout explaining the allegation, according to Tina Sfondeles’ story.

* Tribune

In the debate streamed live online and to be televised on Fox-Ch. 32, Casten characterized the Republican federal tax overhaul Roskam helped usher through Congress as too focused on helping wealthy people. Roskam said the tax cuts will help usher economic growth.

On abortion, Roskam said he’s “not going to be defensive about being pro-life” and criticized Casten for favoring expanding the availability of taxpayer-funded abortions. Casten said abortion should be a choice between a woman and her doctor, not “Peter and anyone else in Washington.”

“I view abortion as a medical procedure like a gall bladder surgery,” Casten said. “I don’t want anybody to have to have one. I can’t imagine the pain that someone would go through to do that.”

“Abortion is not gall bladder surgery,” Roskam later replied.

* Daily Herald

Much of the health care discussion Thursday centered on a bill Roskam supports to expand access to health savings accounts. The measure passed the House Wednesday.

Roskam said the addition of pretax health savings accounts will help counter one of the main problems of the health care law: high premiums and deductibles.

Casten said the savings accounts will do little good for those who need help paying for coverage the most.

“HSAs are wonderful if you have the disposable income to set aside,” Casten said. “They’re not helpful for folks who don’t have that income.”

* Suburban Life

Roskam characterized Trump’s work in office as “middling.”

“Good on the economy, jumbling on other issues, but when it comes time to standing up against the administration on things, I’ve been consistent on doing that, reflecting the interests of our constituency,” Roskam said.

To Casten, Trump is putting the country in danger.

“I think President Trump is the worst president of our generation,” Casten said. “Every day he is in the office is a risk to our country and to the global order that we fought to create after World War II. The problem, though, is not Trump. The problem is a Congress that is not fulfilling its obligation to act as a check and balance on the president.”

* Northwest Herald

A burning hot center of the debate was Trump’s controversial $1.5 trillion tax cut plan that Congress sped into law in December.

The topic offered a moment for Casten to use Roskam’s voting record –
94.4 percent in line with Trump, according to election predictor Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog – as a referendum on his opponent’s time in office.

Video of the debate is here.

* Outside…

* Related…

* Play along in Roskam, Casten battle for Congress on gamer site, Twitch


It’s just a bill

Friday, Jul 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release from yesterday…

The Illinois Education Association (IEA) today encourages the Illinois General Assembly to consider SB 3622, a bill introduced by State Sen Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) that will revert the end-of-career retirement benefit for educators in the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) and State Universities System (SURS) from three percent back to six percent.

“Governor Rauner and the Illinois General Assembly did a disservice to our educators by capping end-of-career benefits at three percent,” said IEA President Kathi Griffin. “Passing SB 3622 is one step to address the issue. We encourage lawmakers to stand with Senator Fowler in support of our teachers’ and our students’ futures.”

The TRS and SURS shift to three percent was hidden on page 741 of the BIMP bill (HB 4332) and passed along with the budget back in May sparking immediate outcry from teachers across the state. Because educators can qualify for retirement benefits after five years of employment, the three percent cap encourages school districts to limit all educator salary increases to three percent. The cap limits financial compensation and deters teachers from furthering their education and taking on additional coaching or tutoring roles. All of this makes the teaching profession a less desirable career choice and ultimately lowers the quality of education our students receive.

“Many parts of Illinois are in the midst of a teacher shortage crisis – and I believe lowering the cap will only make that worse,” said State Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg). “This is why I’m sponsoring this legislation.”

Additionally, the three percent threshold shifts the state’s financial responsibility onto already cash-strapped school districts, limiting their ability to fund the educational needs of their students without considering other revenue options, like raising local property taxes, to alleviate the new financial burden.

The IEA remains committed to repealing the three percent threshold. To date, we have collected more than 11,250 signatures from IEA members and community supporters on our petition demanding the Illinois General Assembly rescind the three percent.

The bill’s co-sponsor is Republican Sen. Neil Anderson. Both men voted for the BIMP bill.

So, you’ve got two Republican legislators running for reelection sponsoring an IEA bill to shift some pension costs back to the state in direct opposition to the GOP governor, who has been pushing this concept since 2015.

But, hey, you gotta do what you gotta do and Rauner has shown very little interest in contributing much if any money to the Senate Republicans.


Racing Board moves forward with “historical horse racing” plan

Friday, Jul 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The horse racing industry, which benefits lots of Illinois farmers, has been a mess for a lot of years. Maybe this will help. I don’t know. But I cannot understand the logic of allowing video gaming at just about every truck stop in the state while the tracks are cut out

Citing desperate times, the Illinois Racing Board moved ahead Thursday with plans to introduce a form of video gambling at horse racing tracks.

The board agreed to develop a set of rules to govern “historical horse racing” at the racetracks — despite questions about whether the latest proposed expansion of gambling in Illinois could be introduced without approval by state lawmakers.

Although the state had steadily introduced more forms of legal gambling over the years — from casinos to the lottery to the relatively recent proliferation of video gambling parlors — horse racing tracks have long argued they’ve been left out as they’ve watched their own revenues and purses decline.

“The Illinois horse racing industry is in a desperate economic condition,” board member Tom McCauley said. “It is not hyperbolic to say that its viability is in doubt.”

Racetracks have long sought state permission to operate slot machine in hopes of bringing in more bettors. Critics say the racing board’s move on Thursday is tantamount to allowing slot machines without legislative approval. They say historic horse racing or HHR — where players bet on a randomly chosen past race without knowing the names of the horses involved — is essentially a game of chance akin to slot machines.


Willie Wilson says he voted for Trump and Rauner

Friday, Jul 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From a Third Coast Review reporter about a Chicago mayoral candidates’ forum this week

Donald Trump got 12 percent of the vote in Chicago. Bruce Rauner got 21 percent (which might be more than he’ll get this time).

I’m not seeing an easy path here.

* Other stuff…

* Horner Park Mayoral Candidate Forum Kicks Off 2019 Mayoral Race: LaRaviere was far from the only candidate who leveled populist criticism at Emanuel, particularly at his penchant for siphoning money and resources from neighborhoods and social programs and handing them over to corporations looking to move to the Loop or another rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. “There doesn’t seem to be a sense of urgency in this administration that we need to be better stewards of our tax dollars,” said former Police Board President Lori Lightfoot. Businessman and former 2015 mayoral candidate Willie Wilson said that tax dollars should “represent neighborhoods” and be a reflection of those communities, not just downtown. Public policy consultant Amara Enyia, who was also a brief contender in the 2015 mayoral race before being pushed out thanks to a petition challenge by Wilson also hit the mayor with a tale of two Chicago’s comparison.

* Should Lightfoot’s GOP work be an issue in mayor’s race?: Lightfoot made her own charge in the interview, saying that if Emanuel supporters are so worried about cozying up with Republicans, the mayor ought to return a $50,000 campaign contribution he got from Trump in 2010 and not take large contributions from another prominent Republican, Citadel’s Ken Griffin. Still, “he has the audacity to challenge my beliefs.”

* ‘Why should I stop helping people on the street?’: Mayoral candidate Willie Wilson responds to cash giveaway

* Rauner proximity to giveaway bad form

* Bill Cameron: ‘I don’t think Willie Wilson is a crook’

* A Chicago mayoral candidate hands out cash. So what’s wrong here?


Rodney Davis and Mike Bost embrace President Trump and vice versa

Friday, Jul 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Washington Post

President Donald Trump on Thursday used a taxpayer-funded trip to Illinois to openly advocate for electing Republicans to Congress — blurring the line between official and political events in the heat of the midterm campaign season.

“You’ve got to vote Republican, folks, you’ve got to vote Republican,” Trump said during the speech at the Hot Strip Mill in Granite City, Ill. — a steel plant that had recently reopened. “Vote for these two congressmen, they know what we’re doing. They know what they’re doing. They’re tough and they’re smart.”

Trump didn’t name the lawmakers, but three Illinois Republicans accompanied him during his tour of the steel plant, according to the White House: Reps. Mike Bost, Rodney Davis and John Shimkus. Bost represents the district Trump traveled to on Thursday and has been one of the most fervent Republican supporters of the president’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

* Umm

Trump headed to deep red southern part of Illinois, where he celebrated the reopening of a steel mill in Republican Rep. Mike Bost’s district.

Trump won Madison County bigly, but the region has several elected Democrats. It used to be mostly Democratic, but now it’s a swing area. Hardly “deep red.”

* Herald & Review

President Donald Trump and U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis had plenty of praise for one another Thursday as the president visited an southwestern Illinois steel mill where laid-off workers recently went back to work.

Trump acknowledged Davis, a Taylorville Republican, and U.S. Reps. Mike Bost and John Shimkus during his speech to several hundred employees and supporters at the mill in Granite City, with the president calling the trio “very special people.”

“They fight for you, those three people fight for you all the time,” Trump told the crowd. “In fact, they fight so much that I sometimes say ‘I don’t want to take their call today.’” […]

Davis had nothing but positive things to say about Trump when talking about the event, praising Trump as a “very friendly, very jovial (and) affable person” willing to meet with lawmakers to discuss issues affecting their constituents.

* Gatehouse

But Davis, asked separately if Rauner should have attended, did not criticize the governor.

“Anybody that wants to try and get a politician in two places at once is only playing politics,” Davis said.

* Illinois News Network

Davis, R-Taylorville, talked about the impacts of the foreign steel tariffs before the event.

“When you look around this room and this building today, just a few months ago this plant was shuttered and the folks that are sitting around us excited because they have a job because this decision to really focus on the steel industry, it’s for them this matters most,” Davis said. “Because just a few years ago when the Obama administration was asked to help when they see a country like China try to decimate our domestic steel industry, they didn’t help. This administration did and these families are back to work, that’s what matters the most.”

* Tribune

The steel plant is in the congressional district of Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Bost of Murphysboro, who arrived with Trump on Air Force One. He’s facing Democratic challenger Brendan Kelly, the St. Clair County state’s attorney.

* Alton Telegraph

Large groups of supporters and protesters of President Donald Trump met just down the street from one another in Granite City as the presidential motorcade swept in for a speech on trade at U.S. Steel’s Granite City Works plant.

More than 1,000 people lined 19th Street, waving flags and signs, while an anti-Trump rally in Civic Park attracted about 400, and two inflated Trump chickens.

And although only a block separated them, the two groups appeared to live in separate worlds.

At the park, the inflatable chickens were initially waiting for the arrival of a generator to inflate them, then the larger chicken — at more than 30-feet high — had to be moved. Organizers said the second chicken represented U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, who attended Trump’s speech.


Before Trump even arrived in the St. Louis-area, the United Steelworkers Union showed its support for Bost’s Democratic opponent in November.

“Mike Bost betrayed our nation when he voted for the Fast Track Authority. This not only hurts Steelworkers — it has devastated Southern Illinois,” said Steelworkers District 7 Director Mike Millsap. “U.S.W. members are proud to stand with our brother, Brendan Kelly, who will put the workforce of Southern Illinois first.”


Run away! Run away!

Friday, Jul 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Daily Herald

Gov. Bruce Rauner toured an Itasca manufacturer to talk term limits and taxes Thursday but was dogged with questions about President Donald Trump.

Both Republicans were on the campaign trail — Trump in downstate Granite City and Rauner with appearances across Illinois. […]

Pritzker in a statement slammed Rauner for staying silent on Trump policies “that have and will continue to hurt Illinoisans.”

Rauner did not take reporters’ questions on why he didn’t accompany Trump or a question on potential patronage at the Illinois tollway, where GOP House Leader Jim Durkin’s sister-in-law, a former furniture sales executive, was hired as an engineering manager.

* If you go to the 1:04 mark in this video, you’ll see Mary Ann Ahern trying to get Rauner to answer questions about the president in Itasca

“If you could just take two questions,” she says with exasperation as reporters follow Rauner up some stairs.

* ABC 7

Governor Bruce Rauner had a full schedule Thursday, but one event he did not attend was President Donald Trump’s visit to Granite City.

Trump’s Granite City appearance is his first visit to Illinois as president.

“It’s curious, isn’t it, that a president of his own party is here in Illinois, but Donald Trump and Bruce Rauner are not together,” said Democratic candidate for Governor JB Pritzker.

Pritzker has used Rauner’s silence on Trump as an on-going campaign issue, accusing Rauner of attempting to play to both sides.

The station also had footage of Rauner avoiding questions, following him up a staircase, down a hall and out a door.

Not a good look.

* Peoria Journal Star

Bruce Rauner came to Peoria for a bill signing Thursday outside the Peoria Riverfront Museum, but the elephant on the plaza whose name the governor didn’t mention was Donald Trump.

The president had just finished speaking in Granite City some 165 miles away when Rauner took the microphone with OSF HealthCare’s future headquarters behind him — putting physical, political and metaphorical distance between the two chief executives. […]

It wasn’t a topic Rauner was eager to discuss, though it was one about which he faced questions throughout the day, from being chased out the door by a television reporter in suburban Itasca to taking three questions in 45 seconds from Peoria reporters on the subject. […]

His staff originally labeled his Peoria appearance “no additional media availability” — press jargon for not taking any questions — but indicated Thursday morning that he would accept “on-topic” questions, related to the subject of his appearance.

He did so, devoting two minutes and 45 seconds of the three minutes and 30 seconds of press questions to the historic tax credit measure he signed. The remainder of the time was spent fending off questions about why he didn’t attend the president’s speech.

The man has been president for a year and a half. You’d think the governor would have an answer by now.


While President Trump visits Illinois for the first time as president, the state’s governor Bruce Rauner decides not to join him. Instead Rauner spent his day in the Stateline, paying a visit to Midwest Aero Support in Machesney Park.

Headline explained here.


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Something important that didn’t fit in today’s edition

Friday, Jul 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Harold revives statewide grand jury idea

Friday, Jul 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Tribune

Erika Harold, the Republican candidate for attorney general, is backing an oft-proposed but never-enacted concept of allowing the state’s top legal officer to call for statewide grand juries to prosecute crimes. […]

“I also would be calling upon the General Assembly to give additional investigative tools to the office to be able to be more proactive,” Harold said. “Like the ability to issue subpoenas and convene statewide grand juries. People deserve an attorney general that will be independent, reform-minded and will hold both parties accountable.”

The idea of statewide grand juries to prosecute multi-county crimes, led by the attorney general, has been floated by candidates for the office for decades. Currently, the attorney general must refer prosecutions to local state’s attorneys.

But the concept has failed to gain much support as politicians fear that granting prosecutorial powers could lead to an attorney general using it to go after political enemies.

* Harold has been on a statewide “listening tour” this month and has received a ton of positive local press. WGEM TV

She said one of her big issues that she’s campaigning on is the opioid epidemic.

“In 2016 alone nearly two thousand Illinoisans died as a result of opioid related overdoes,” said Harold, “I’m trying to figure out how can Illinois better use it’s scare resources and leverage it’s expertise in terms of being able to get ahead of that.”

Harold, a former Miss America winner, also commented on the potential removal of the swimsuit aspect of the Miss America competition and said regardless of the changes, she hopes the contest remains focused on the scholarship programs and benefits for young women.

Harold also commented on wanting to continue her work against bullying and cyberbullying, issues she spoke about during her time as Miss America.

* Quincy Herald Whig

Adams County State’s Attorney Gary Farha was among more than two dozen people who gathered to visit with the fellow Republican.

“I met Erika several months ago when she was in Quincy,” Farha said. “I think she’s got great poise, and her views are in sync with our community. Even more than the governor’s position, I think the attorney general position is something that’s very vital for Western Illinois.”

Farha said having Harold as the top lawyer in the state would provide a realistic check and balance on the political system.

Harold said that during her campaign swings, she looks for “innovative programs that should be replicated” across the state. In Quincy, she liked some of the efforts to combat truancy in the public schools and efforts to help the homeless — such as the tiny-home effort for homeless veterans.

* Dispatch-Argus

“I think people are engaged in the fact that for the first time in 16 years, Illinois will have a new attorney general,” Harold said. “This seemed like a great opportunity to go to the communities and say, ‘This is what the attorney general can do.’”


Barickman urges optimism from gubernatorial candidates

Friday, Jul 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* WJBC Radio

Illinois State Senator Jason Barickman representing the 53rd district said voters need to choose which candidate can ‘paint a picture of where our state can go.’

“The people of the state they want some optimism and they want too I believe elect a leader who can move our state forward,” said Barickman speaking with WJBC’s Scott Laughlin. “There is a cloud hanging over our state. There is a cloud hanging over our community. You talk to people and people’s first inclination is to go negative [and] to talk about things that go wrong and the things that are broken. I think that the public is despite for a voice of optimism that can paint a picture of their vision of where the state can go.”

Despite having a state credit rating saddling junk, Barickman still believes Gov. Bruce Rauner has the right vision to grow Illinois.

“I’ve encouraged the Governor to focus on his vision for our state, which I do think is a good one,” said Barickman. “He believes that we need to turn our economy around not through tax increases but through reforms. I think that is a good vision. He needs to walk the public from that vision to how we get there. I think the public will reward that type of leadership that might be demonstrated at the top of the ticket. It’s up to the candidates to do so.”

Do you think the governor can do that?



Friday, Jul 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

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