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Question of the day

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018

* I’ve known Patty Schuh for something like 28 years. She’s not like a lot of other spokespeople. She doesn’t get up in your grill if she disagrees with you. Instead, she uses reason, even sometimes kindness to make her points. I respect the way she does her job and I also happen to like her as a person.

Patty has worked in this business for something like 33 years and today is her birthday. So, if you see her, wish her well.

Here she is back in the day with her former boss Pate Philip

I love that pic. But we’re not doing a caption contest. I wouldn’t subject her to that on her birthday.

* The Question: Who are some of your own favorite people in Illinois government? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller   54 Comments      

It’s just a bill

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018

* Tribune

Illinois consumers will only be able to use controversial, short-term health insurance plans for about six months at a time now that the state legislature has voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a bill that sets that limit.

Dozens of Illinois consumer advocacy groups had supported the original bill, which took aim at a recent Trump administration change to the rules surrounding short-term plans. Such plans are generally cheaper than traditional health insurance but cover fewer services.

The plans were meant to serve as a stopgap for consumers between health insurance plans. But new federal rules allow them to be used for a year and be renewed for as long as three years. The Trump administration has said the rule change was meant to help more people get affordable coverage.

Consumer advocates, however, sought to limit the use of those plans in Illinois to just six months at a time through the bill.

* Greg Hinz

Rahm Emanuel soon will leave as Chicago’s mayor, but that isn’t stopping him from quietly pushing through legislation in Springfield to extend the life of four city tax-increment financing districts—including one in the Goose Island area that’s part of the huge proposed Lincoln Yards development.

Approved late yesterday in the Illinois House was a measure adding another 13 years each to the lives of the Bryn Mawr-Broadway, Goose Island, 95th/Western and 71st/Stony Island TIF districts. The Illinois Senate is expected to concur as soon as today, meaning that districts would continue to get to spend much of the growth in property taxes within their borders until 2032 to 2034, depending on the districts.

Each of the four TIFs has accomplished some of what was intended in the past two decades—TIF districts sunset after 23 years, unless their life is extended—but still have more things that the city wants to accomplish, said House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, chief sponsor of the legislation. “They’ve completed phase one and two, but still have phases three and four,” Currie said.

The city Department of Planning and Development confirmed that the legislation was introduced at the city’s request and cited a few specifics for each location. But a spokesman yesterday afternoon was unable to say how much money will be involved over the next 13 years.

The bill is here.

* Press release…

More than half a century since the Civil Rights Act became law, workers in the United States continue to earn different wages based on their race.

Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) is fighting for legislation that would prohibit wage discrimination against African-Americans under the Equal Pay Act.

“Governor Rauner ignored the wage gap for African-Americans and decided he wanted to ‘All Lives Matter’ this proposal,” Lightford said. “Today, we made sure that wage equity continues to be a priority in Illinois.”

According to a 2017 Federal Reserve study, black men and women earn persistently lower wages compared to their white counterparts and this wage gap cannot be adequately explained by differences in education, age, job type or location.

That gap appears to be expanding rather than contracting. In 1979, the average lack man in the United States earned about 80 percent compared to the average white man, by 2016 that gap had grown to 70 percent. The same is true for black women, who in 1979 earned about 95 percent compared to white women, but by 2016 earned only 82 percent of wages paid to white women on average.

House Bill 4743 prohibits employers from paying wages to an African-American employee at a rate less than the rate paid to an employee who is not African-American for the same or substantially similar work.

Governor Rauner’s veto was overridden in the Senate with a vote of 49-01.

The House had already overridden the veto so it’s now law. The lone Senate “No” vote was Sen. Kyle McCarter.

* Other stuff…

* Our View: Bet on it: Video gaming fuels increase in Illinois gaming revenue

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

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Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018

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An “appearance of backroom deals” likely just a case of “lost in the shuffle”

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018

* Yesterday at the Illinois Policy Institute

Andrew Hamilton has made millions through an obscure economic development tool that has flown under the radar of Illinois government watchdogs for years.

Recent actions by Gov. Bruce Rauner, the Illinois House of Representatives and Kane County officials suggested that cash flow could soon come to an end. But the Illinois Senate appears to be sitting on its hands – a concerning response to an official under fire for profiting from public influence.

The bill in question is SB2367 and it’s sponsored by Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake). Her original bill as sponsored was dependent upon the passage of two other bills, only one of which actually passed, so Bush apparently lost track of it when the House did a last-minute gut and replace on the final day of the spring session.

Sen. Bush was clearly surprised when I showed her the Illinois Policy Institute story yesterday and told me she had no idea that the bill had been amended in the House and said she would remove her name as its sponsor.

* From the governor’s office…

Dear Senator Cullerton,

It has come to our attention that the bipartisan reforms of the state’s regional economic development authorities contained within SB2367 as amended have not moved from the Senate Assignments committee since July.

As you know, the reforms of the Regional Economic Development authority were passed out of the Illinois House unanimously, with a vote of 108-0 on May 31st; the bill was then placed on the Senate calendar of concurrence on June 7th before being sent to the Senate Committee on Assignments on July 8th.

The reforms contained in this bill were highlighted in a letter our administration sent to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity highlighting the apparent conflicts of interest and lack of transparency contained within the RDA system. House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie praised the reforms by noting that: “The regional economic development authorities are not as transparent as they should be, are not as open to the public as they must be.” Adding, “the Governor’s reform proposals are excellent. The idea that there should be no conflict of interest, within these agencies that they should have to report their activities, that people know what kind of financing they’re arranging, I think that makes excellent sense.”

When simple commonsense reforms like these get buried in a Senate committee it gives the appearance of backroom deals cut by insiders in Springfield to stop reforms intended to serve the taxpayer instead of special interests. I believe the public is owed a prompt concurrence vote in the Senate, this week, on these good government reforms. A vote this week will show the public that the Illinois Senate is dedicated to protecting the taxpayer from conflicts of interest, self-dealing, and government waste

Bruce Rauner
Governor, State of Illinois

…Adding… The more I think about this, the more it sticks in my craw. If the governor had a properly functioning legislative liaison staff, Sen. Bush would’ve been notified months ago about the amendment and maybe she could’ve either handed off the bill to another sponsor or moved it to the governor’s desk in the first week of the veto session. Instead the governor makes some charge about backroom deals at the end of the last week of veto session.


…Adding More… As we’ve already discussed, the governor just met with Senate President Cullerton yesterday. Perhaps he could’ve brought it up then? Or did he only discover the problem when the Illinois Policy Institute wrote its story? And what does that say about him?

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

Gonzales attorneys win right to “inspect” Madigan’s offices

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018

* Sun-Times

Lawyers for a political rival suing Mike Madigan for allegedly placing “sham” candidates on the ballot will be allowed to inspect the powerful speaker’s Southwest Side offices, a federal judge has ruled.

Attorneys for Jason Gonzales in October requested to “inspect, measure” and photograph the speaker and state Democratic Party chairman’s political offices — a demand Madigan’s lawyers called a violation of the First Amendment and “a political fishing expedition.”

But Gonzales’ legal team contends it’s all part of showing that Madigan’s line between politics and official government business is a “mirage.” […]

The goal is to inspect two of the speaker’s Southwest Side offices — the political offices of Friends of Michael J. Madigan and the 13th Ward Democratic Organization offices — to show their “layout,” attorneys said.

“Your honor, one of the things we’re trying to demonstrate is that the articulated differentiation between the political and state functions between the Speaker and his political operations is really a mirage,” Boulton told Kennelly in October.

His state district office is also in the building, which houses the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture and Ald. Marty Quinn’s city office.

I’ve driven by the place several times, but I’ve never been inside.

- Posted by Rich Miller   44 Comments      

Chicago Sun-Times Editorial: Butt out, Springfield, and let people rent out their own cars

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

The Chicago Sun-Times voiced their opposition to SB2641, a bill that was “designed to limit the growth of peer-to-peer car sharing” in Illinois.

With transportation expenses on the rise, Illinoisans are looking to car sharing to help them earn extra income and save costs on transportation. We should be encouraging innovation, not pushing the brakes on it.

As the Sun-Times says, “We see no good reason to stifle innovation that helps cash-strapped college students, retirees on a fixed income or anyone else rent out a vehicle that would otherwise just sit in a driveway or out in the street.”

Legislators should take these words into consideration and VOTE NO on the SB 2641 override.

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What are the financial benefits of credit union membership in Illinois?

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

The credit union movement focuses heavily on community service and charitable giving, but credit unions also give back to their members through generous financial benefits like low loan rates, high savings rates, and fewer fees than most other banking institutions. In 2017, Illinois credit unions gave an estimated $309,145,878 in direct financial benefits to the nearly 3.2 million credit union members in our state. Interested experiencing the credit union difference? Visit to learn how you can save by becoming a credit union member today.

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*** UPDATED x1 *** Hey, kids, don’t try this at home

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018

* I mean, it’s not even up to the level of round-tabling…

*** UPDATE *** Ruh-roh…

- Posted by Rich Miller   50 Comments      

Ives’ new pension legal theory

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018

* Scott Reeder

A new legal theory is being pondered by outgoing state Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, that she contends would get the state out from under the pension debt.

It goes like this:

The state entered into illegal contracts when it signed up employees for pensions over the last 40 years. While the state constitution says pensions of public employees cannot be diminished, the constitution also mandates that state legislators pass a budget that they believe to be balanced and the constitution also says Illinois cannot take on more debt unless three-fifths of lawmakers agree.

And yet, Ives contends lawmakers have been well aware that the budgets they have passed each year have not adequately covered anticipated pension obligations. Her contention is that this was a deliberate violation of the balanced budget clause of the state constitution and thus its “contract” with pensioners is void. She also says that promising payouts without funding them creates a debt obligation that should have received a super-majority vote of the legislature each year, but didn’t always.

Longtime statehouse observer Charles Wheeler III is quick to note that the state constitution doesn’t require a balanced budget only that lawmakers estimate it to be balanced. The late great state budget director Steve Schnorf, who served under Governors Jim Edgar and George Ryan used to call the practice: “playing make believe.”

I don’t see the Illinois Supreme Court having much of an appetite for taking up Ives’ legal argument. After all, the court unanimously ruled several years ago that the pension benefits cannot be reduced.

But if the case is somehow argued in the federal courts, this legal argument might prevail, especially with the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court.


- Posted by Rich Miller   75 Comments      

AFSCME: Rauner has spent $6 million on outside attorneys to fight unions

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018

* AFSCME Council 31

Fighting state workers and our union every step of the way—and insisting on using a high-priced outside law firm to do so—Bruce Rauner has already run up a legal tab of more than $6 million.

Now on his way out the door, Rauner hasn’t changed his stripes. Refusing to accept yet another court ruling won by AFSCME—the appellate court decision stating that the Rauner-appointed state labor board erred in finding that the governor and the union had reached impasse in state contract negotiations—on Nov. 27 his administration asked for another 60 days in which to file an appeal to the state Supreme Court.

AFSCME now has an opportunity to respond, after which the justices will consider whether to allow the governor’s late appeal.

Rauner’s ongoing delay tactics and refusal to accept legal findings make clear that he’s never had any intention of bargaining in good faith with state workers.

What’s certain is that Rauner’s $6 million meter counting the public dollars he’s wasted on costly lawyers will keep ticking even higher.

* So, what’s with that $6 million legal tab? Rauner has used outside counsel to fight AFSCME and bargain with other unions instead of using the state’s lawyers. Council 31 has used the FOIA laws to track his spending, which it claims is $6 million and still climbing.

I asked for documentation and they sent me a spreadsheet. Click here.

There are three tabs on that spreadsheet. The union says each tab shows the invoices paid by the Rauner administration to the law firm Laner Muchin. The firm “exclusively represents management in employment-related litigation, labor relations,” etc.

At the bottom of each tab, you’ll see a total amount for the time period

Jan. 2015-Nov. 2016: $2.82 million
Dec. 2016-Oct. 2017: $1.31 million
Oct. 2017-Sept. 2018: $1.86 million

Not all of these expenses are directly related to AFSCME. Some are about other unions. Anyway, have a look and tell us what pops out at you.

- Posted by Rich Miller   53 Comments      

Pritzker embraces big state and local education spending increases

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018

* JB Pritzker talks about balancing the budget while providing more money for K-12 education

“We already have a challenge. And I was well aware of it, and I’ve talked about revenue resources and the fact that we have to balance our budget in a real way, and not in ways that, in April you find out you’re short by several billion. So we’re trying to figure that out,” Pritzker said. “You can’t solve all these problems immediately. It’s not like electing a new governor, day one, everything is solved.” […]

Pritkzer on Tuesday talked about trying to “accelerate” [the education funding reform plan, which currently ramps up by $350 million a year over 10 years], saying “we are moving toward a quality education for every child no matter where they live.” […]

He also embraced a contentious plan (Senate Bill 2892) that would require public school teachers be paid a salary of at least $40,000; advocates say it will help address a shortage of teachers, but critics – including Rauner, who vetoed the legislation – believe the expense will put too much strain on districts that already face financial difficulties. […]

Pritzker on Tuesday embraced the plan, saying, “I think the bill that was put forward is the right bill,” and that should the General Assembly fail to override Rauner’s veto, “We’ll be revisiting it in the new administration.”

* Related…

* Pritzker Names Education Advisory Team: These teams serve a purely advisory, unpaid role, although history has shown many transition advisors go on to serve cabinet positions. When Bruce Rauner was elected governor, his six-person education transition team included Tony Smith (then a foundation director), Beth Purvis (then CEO of Chicago International Charter Schools), Al Bowman (then the president emeritus of Illinois State University), and Lazaro Lopez (then an associate superintendent at High School District 214). After Rauner was sworn in, Smith became state superintendent of schools; Purvis became Rauner’s Secretary of Education; Bowman became executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education; and Lopez became chair of the Illinois Community College Board. Purvis has since left the state to work for the Kern Family Foundation, a Wisconsin-based philanthropy that has supported Gov. Scott Walker and legislative candidates who back school vouchers.

* Manar named co-chair of Gov.-elect Pritzker’s transition team for education: This is the second of Pritzker’s transition committees to which Manar has been named, as he and Decatur Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe were named earlier this month to Pritzker’s budget committee.

* Former Ottawa, Streator administrator named to Pritzker transition team

* Several area leaders named to Pritzker’s transition teams

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      

Caption contest!

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018

* We’re running out of time for these…

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      

“The Sucker State”

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018

* From my tchotchke collection…

* Nobody really knows for sure how Illinois got that nickname way back in the 19th Century, but Jared Olar took a look at some of the theories. Here’s one

For this particular question, the earliest explanation is that given by Illinois Gov. Thomas Ford in his 1854 “A History of Illinois.” Ford said the first settlers of southern Illinois came to be called “Suckers” as an analogy to the “suckers” (young sprouts and shoots) of the tobacco plant.

“These poor emigrants from the slave States were jeeringly and derisively called ‘suckers,’ because there were asserted to be a burthen upon the people of wealth; and when they removed to Illinois they were supposed to have stripped themselves off from the parent stem and gone away to perish like the ‘sucker’ of the tobacco plant. This name was given to the Illinoisans at the Galena mines by the Missourians.”

It is probably no accident that both Ford and Chapman mention the mines at Galena – it seems that is where the nickname “Sucker” was first given to Illinoisans. Ford’s explanation appears earlier than Chapman’s explanation, which makes Ford’s explanation more likely – but it cannot be held to be certainly true.

As it happens, it was also by analogy that plant sprouts first came to be called “suckers.” The Online Etymology Dictionary says “sucker” is a Middle English word from the late 1300s meaning a young child who has not yet been weaned. By the 1570s, the word had begun to be applied to plant shoots, since the shoots were like little “children” of the plant. Sucker fish aren’t mentioned in literature until 1753, and it wasn’t until 1836 that the American slang term “sucker,” meaning a fool, someone with childlike naïveté who is easily tricked, first appeared (and no, it was not in reference to Illinoisans).

Whether the nickname derives from reed straws, fish, tobacco sprouts, or fools, the Illinois General Assembly in 1955 voted to adopt “Land of Lincoln” as our state’s official nickname. Today “Prairie State” is still sometimes heard, but “Sucker State” is rare, heard very little outside the circles of Illinois historical study.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - Kifowit apologizes *** Tone it down, please

Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018

* This controversy was tailor-made for an otherwise routine veto session day with a packed press box. Here’s the Tribune

A Democratic state lawmaker said she wanted to pump a lethal “broth of Legionella” bacteria into the water system of a Republican colleague’s family, during heated remarks on the Illinois House floor over a bill aimed at helping families of more than a dozen residents at the Downstate Quincy veterans home who died of Legionnaires’.

The bill would raise limits on damages in some state Court of Claims cases from $100,000 to $2 million, which could affect the victims’ families, who allege the state was negligent in the deaths that resulted from outbreaks at the veterans home over the past three years. Gov. Bruce Rauner rewrote the proposal over the summer to reduce such caps on damage awards to $300,000, but lawmakers voted Tuesday to override him.

During the House floor debate over the proposal, Republican state Rep. Peter Breen of Lombard questioned some of the plan’s details, contending the state doesn’t know how much it will cost. Breen, the outgoing House GOP floor leader, noted that multiple tort claims could be paid out for the same incident.

“And, yes, we know the personal injury lawyers are going to make out like bandits, which they tend to do anytime they come to the General Assembly,” Breen said.

The “broth of Legionella” reference is explained here.

* Dave Dahl

State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego), referring to Breen, said, “I’d like to make him a broth of legionella and pump it into the water system of his loved one, so that they can be infected, they can be mistreated, they can sit and suffer by getting aspirin instead of being properly treated, and ultimately die.”

Breen’s mic was not on when he shouted something about “my f—in’ family.”

Kifowit later said her remarks were misinterpreted and that she was making a hypothetical statement: “Imagine if it were your family.”

* Sun-Times

After Kifowit’s remarks, state Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, quickly came to Breen’s defense saying the Oswego Democrat “essentially wished a death on a Republican floor speaker.”

“How dare you. How dare you concoct up some sort of story about brewing up some batch of Legionella and having him feed it to his family. How dare you take the discussion and the debate about a very serious bill that has a huge cost consequence on both sides, both for the victim and the state taxpayers. How dare you take an honest debate about an issue and then wish death on my colleague Peter Breen, his wife and his two adopted kids,” Ives said. […]

Kifowit, herself, sought to clarify her comments — saying she “quite clearly” wanted him to imagine “if it was your family, hypothetically speaking.”

“For the fact of it being misrepresented, I’m going to say that what was said earlier is a mischaracterization of what my words were,” Kifowit said on the House floor. “And for that, for it being misinterpreted, I will apologize. But I will not apologize for what happened to those families. And I will clearly say to all of us, imagine if it was your family.”

* The former Marine just about killed the override with her remarks

Three Republican lawmakers who had voted in favor of the bill in May — including Breen — switched their votes from yes to no. Four other Republicans who voted yes were either absent for Tuesday’s vote or chose not to vote.

The motion received the bare minimum of 71 votes.

* With thanks to Dave Dahl, here’s the full audio of her remarks

Rep. Kifowit told me last night that she was “trying to paint a picture” with her words and that she didn’t intend to wish actual harm on Rep. Breen’s family.

Leave the painting to painters.

There’s just no excuse for stuff like this. She should own up to her remarks and fully retract what she said, which is different than what she claims to have said or meant.

* Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider…

Today, Illinois Democrats sunk to a new low, when Democratic State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit wished death upon family members/loved ones of her Republican colleague, State Rep. Peter Breen. Kifowit should be ashamed of her remarks. Since Rep. Kifowit has refused to apologize to Rep. Breen, she should resign from office, as these remarks are unfit for someone serving public office.

Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker appointed Rep. Kifowit to his “Serving Illinois’ Heroes Committee” earlier this month. Does the Governor-elect condone Kifowit’s rhetoric? Will he keep her on his committee?

As leading Illinois Democrats, both Governor-elect Pritzker and Speaker Michael Madigan have a duty to speak out against Rep. Kifowit’s extreme rhetoric and tone down out-of-control public discourse. They should do so immediately.

*** UPDATE *** Rep. Kifowit…

“I offer my sincere apology to Representative Peter Breen, his family, and all of my House colleagues for my poor choice of words during a serious discussion on our Veterans’ health and safety. I would never wish any harm or mortality on anyone’s family, including the Breen family. As a Marine Corps Veteran, I feel very passionate about what happened in our Quincy Veterans home, which resulted in 13 Veterans and 1 spouse’s deaths, in addition to over 70 individuals being ill. The truth is this did happen to our heroes, and my attempt to illustrate empathy for the families that were affected by the loss of their loved ones was not conveyed properly.

“Lost in my comments yesterday was our obligation to work together on behalf of our Veterans to ensure that the situation in Quincy never happens again. As legislators, we are fallible people, but we are tasked with the tremendous responsibility of caring for the Veteran men and women who have never let us down. We owe them so much more.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues to expand access to health care and mental health resources for our Veterans.”

…Adding… Sun-Times

A Pritzker spokeswoman issued a statement Wednesday saying it was “clear that during the course of an emotional debate over the Legionnaires’ crisis in Quincy Representative Kifowit’s rhetoric went too far and she rightfully apologized.”

The statement continued that Pritzker wanted to “keep the focus on protecting” veterans, and that Pritzker “looks forward to working with” the Serving Illinois’ Heroes Committee “to ensure the administration is ready to serve Veterans on day one in office.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   98 Comments      

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Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018

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Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018

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Study: Illinois workers’ comp premiums drop from 8th highest in nation to 22nd

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018

* Illinois Trial Lawyers Association

The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services has released its bi-annual analysis of workers’ compensation premiums across the country and it is good news for Illinois.

For several years our high ranking in the Oregon Premium Rate Survey - which ranks states based on how much employers pay for workers’ comp insurance -has been used by the business community and lawmakers as a reason Illinois needs to enact further reforms in the workers’ compensation system.

However, according to the recently released 2018 Oregon Premium Rate Ranking Summary, Illinois has now moved from 8th highest in 2016 to 22nd highest in 2018, which is one of the largest drops in the country.

Illinois now ranks in the middle of the pack compared to other states – which was the goal of lawmakers when bipartisan majorities approved the last workers’ compensation overhaul back in 2011.

This substantial drop in the rankings for Illinois further illustrates that the changes made to the laws in 2011 are producing lower costs for insurers and employers – which, as we predicted, have not been passed on to employers in the form of premium reductions.

More here. Wisconsin was eighth highest, Ohio was 36th highest, Michigan was 37th highest, Massachusetts (which has a program that Gov. Rauner wanted to follow) was 38th and Indiana ranked second lowest.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Update to today’s edition and a little something else

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018

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Question of the day

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018

* Your own caption?…

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      

Orr urges three “modest” election reforms

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018

* Cook County Clerk David Orr…

Petition filing for the February municipal election in Chicago, a process that is painful and costly for candidates and confusing for voters, ended Monday. But it’s only the beginning of a very expensive month of litigation around voters’ signatures.

In May of this year, after once again experiencing an expensive and frustrating ballot access fight during the primary, I released a set of proposals to make determining who will be on the ballot easier for candidates, voters and election administrators. I am reissuing those proposals today.

The Chicago Sun-Times, for one, supported our proposals after we visited with their editorial board. The proposals were turned into legislation in Springfield, as well. If they can’t get through veto session, these reforms should be a priority for the next legislature and governor. Each day for the next six weeks we’ll hear about who is or isn’t going to be on the ballot, who did or did not demonstrate the levels of support by gathering signatures. And while the airwaves will be full of talk about process, they will not be full of candidates talking about safety, health care, policing and the future of our great city and metropolitan area. Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois deserve better. Though I am leaving elected office, I hope those that remain continue to reform the way we do business keeping voters at the center.

My office has pushed to consolidate and professionalize the administration of electoral boards for years. And while we have achieved some important reforms, like moving many small local boards to the jurisdiction of the County Clerk, more changes need to be made. We believe we can make these changes in part by harnessing the power of other election officials’ innovations to further expand access to the ballot.

Below are three modest reforms to the candidate filing and electoral board process that will help ensure that voters, administrators and candidates are best positioned to play their part in democracy. Through these efforts, we can increase the efficiency of the process for candidates and administrators, lower the burden on candidates and give the courts adequate time to sort through all issues.

    Increase Process Efficiency – In Denver and D.C., the petition process has moved from paper forms to tablets and we are ready here to allow petition circulating to be conducted in person, but with digital tools. The Denver Elections product, called eSign, is ready for Cook County.

    Like Election Day Registration, this can be piloted in Cook County so we can refine it for all of Illinois. We advocate making it available for candidates running for Cook County offices and local schools, parks, libraries and other districts wholly within suburban Cook County.

    eSign is a mobile application that enables candidates to gather signatures in person, but digitally, with real time feedback on whether the voter is registered or lives in the political district – and it allows signers to update their voter registrations on the spot. In Denver’s 2015 municipal election, 97 percent of eSign signatures collected were accepted. That’s up from about half that are usually considered good after adjudication here in Cook County. This is a huge win for candidates, for election administrators, and most importantly, for voters.

    Lower the Burden on Candidates, Save Time and Money – It’s time to lower the filing requirements for countywide offices in Cook County. It is not necessary to require more signatures for Water Commissioner or Clerk than we require for the Governor of our entire state. We call for a limit on the minimum number of signatures required for any countywide to be equal to the minimum required for Governor. I also call for a cap on the total number of signatures a candidate can file to three times the minimum – similar to candidates for state office.

    Currently for all countywide offices in Cook, petitions must be signed by at least .5% of the vote cast for the candidate of his/her party who received the highest number of votes in the county at the 2016 General Election. For Cook County Clerk, for example, that meant a Democratic candidate must have collected at least 8,200 signatures. In comparison, to run for Illinois Governor, candidates needed only 5,000. Our change would mean that Countywide candidates would need 5,000 good signatures and could file no more than 15,000.

    This would lower the burden of collection and shift the burden of proof to campaigns, prior to filing. This saves campaigns time and saves taxpayers and election officials money. It also helps ensure that when it’s time to vote, voters are presented with the final ballot, free of notices.

    Change the Calendar & Move the Primary Date – I am calling for an increase in time by two weeks between filing and Primary Election Day. This change, coupled with the others should ensure that courts have adequate time to give due process to candidates contesting electoral board decisions. It also helps ensure that administrators can safely remove or replace candidates on the ballot without relying on notices.

    This calendar change is best coupled with a move of the Primary Election to May or later. The election calendar is already too long – it promotes what are effectively endless campaigns. With the current calendar design, interested challengers must have made a decision, built a campaign and fundraised at least 15 months in advance of the actual election. This is not good for our democracy.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      

Pritzker transition announces Educational Success Committee

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018

* Press release…

Today, Governor-elect JB Pritzker announced the formation and members of the transition’s Educational Success Committee at Genevieve Melody STEM Elementary School in the West Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago.

The committee is the seventh of several working groups of the transition made up of subject-matter experts who will advise and guide the incoming Pritzker-Stratton administration. The Educational Success Committee will be chaired by state Sen. Andy Manar, state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, Chicago Public Schools CEO Dr. Janice Jackson, and Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin and consist of 35 members.

“Every child in this state deserves a quality education – regardless of the color of their skin, the zip code they come from, or the income of their parents,” said Governor-elect JB Pritzker. “The transition’s Educational Success Committee will confront the challenges students, parents, and teachers face head on and with fierce urgency. If we want to put Springfield back on the side of working families, we must give every student the opportunities they deserve.”

“Educating our children is a foundational obligation of state government, and that’s why I led the charge to update our antiquated K-12 school funding formula to make it equitable for every child,” said state Sen. Andy Manar. “We must build on that progress, and that’s exactly what this committee will do. JB and Juliana are laying the groundwork for a cradle to career success network for every Illinoisan.”

“As chairman of the House Committee on Higher Education, I’ve seen the challenges facing students and educators in our state colleges and universities,” said state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch. “This committee is a sign of new hope for those vital institutions, and for our children’s futures. Together, we’re going to delve into the root issues and present possible solutions for this new administration so they can hit the ground running.”

“JB and Juliana are committed to making sure kids succeed throughout the education pipeline,” said Chicago Public Schools CEO Dr. Janice Jackson. “The state must step up to ensure every child can thrive from cradle to career, and this committee will work every day to make sure JB and Juliana are ready to do that on day one.”

“Serving on this committee means more than 135,000 educators and educational support professionals across the state have a seat at the table,” said Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin. “The incoming administration has shown a strong commitment to funding K-12 education, a promise to invest in higher education, and a pledge to protect collective bargaining rights. It’s the kind of agenda Illinois needs to get back on track, for the sake of our students and teachers.”


State Sen. Andy Manar co-chairs the transition’s Educational Success Committee and represents the 48th senate district. Before being elected to the senate, he was Macoupin County Board chairman, mayor of Bunker Hill and a Bunker Hill city councilman. Manar was the driving force behind the successful movement to reform Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation school funding formula. Since he became a state senator, he has been a tireless advocate for fair and adequate school funding that doesn’t treat students differently based on zip codes. Manar serves on the education, agriculture, labor and executive appointments committees in the state senate.

State Rep. Chris Welch co-chairs the transition’s Educational Success Committee and has represented the 7th district since 2013. Welch chairs the House Higher Education Committee and serves on several key House Committees including Cities and Villages, Judiciary-Civil, Elementary and Secondary Education Appropriations, Higher Education Appropriations, Revenue, and Executive. As state representative, Welch has focused on improving classroom education, creating jobs, helping the most vulnerable, and streamlining government. Welch has been the chief sponsor of several pieces of historic legislation including the law bringing cursive writing back to our schools and the Historic Illinois Trust Act, the law making Illinois a welcoming state for immigrants.

Dr. Janice Jackson co-chairs the transition’s Educational Success Committee and is the CEO of Chicago Public Schools. Jackson was a CPS student from Head Start through 12th grade, then began her teaching career at Chicago’s South Shore High School. Since that time, Dr. Jackson has served as a principal, a Network Chief, the Chief Education Officer, and now, as Chief Executive Officer for CPS, the third largest school district in the country. Jackson was also the driving force behind GoCPS, the District’s first common application for all CPS and charter high schools. Launched in October 2017, this application system has dramatically simplified the high school application process while improving access and equity for all CPS high school students.

Kathi Griffin co-chairs the transition’s Educational Success Committee and is the President of the Illinois Education Association, which at 135,000 members strong, is the largest union in Illinois. Griffin started her career as a teacher in Schaumburg and worked there for 30 years. During her time with Schaumburg School District 54, she taught kindergarten through sixth grade students. She also served six years as president of her local union. Prior to becoming the President of the IEA, she was Vice President of the IEA and was a member of the National Education Association’s Board of Directors. Griffin is a member of the state’s Professional Review Panel. She co-chaired former Senator Mark Kirk’s education advisory board and was a member of Tammy Duckworth’s 8th Congressional District education advisory board when Senator Duckworth was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Dr. Michael Amiridis, Chancellor, University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Carmen Ayala, Superintendent, Berwyn North SD 98

Christine Benson, Retired Superintendent, Mendota High School

Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, State Senator, Illinois General Assembly

Dr. Dale Chapman, President, Lewis and Clark Community College

Dr. Brent Clark, Executive Director, Illinois Association of School Administrators

Fred Crespo, State Representative, Illinois General Assembly

Will Davis, State Representative, Illinois General Assembly

Dr. Larry Dietz, President, Illinois State University

Dr. Kenneth Ender, President, Harper College

Dr. Jennifer Garrison, Superintendent, Vandalia 203

Phyllis Glink, Executive Director, Irving B. Harris Foundation

Dr. James Heckman, Professor, University of Chicago

Dr. Ed Hightower, Executive Director, Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities Foundation

Kimberly Lightford, State Senator, Illinois General Assembly

John Miller, Vice President, Illinois Federation of Teachers

Mary Morten, Board Chair, Safe Schools Alliance

Zena Naiditch, President and CEO, Equip for Equality

Ginger Ostro, Executive Director, Advance Illinois

Kevin O’Mara, Professor, Concordia University

Dr. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, Director of Policy, Erikson Institute

Sylvia Puente, Executive Director, Latino Policy Forum

Dr. Aisha Ray, Retired Professor, Erikson Institute

Mimi Rodman, Executive Director, Stand for Children Illinois

Dr. Kevin Rubenstein, President, Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education

Jane Russell, Vice President, Illinois Federation of Teachers

Juan Salgado, Chancellor, City Colleges of Chicago

Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott, President, Chicago State University

Gloria Trejo, Principal, Pioneer Elementary School

Maria Whelan, President and CEO, Illinois Action for Children

Dr. Barbara Wilson, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of Illinois System


- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      

Trade war hits home

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018

* Bloomberg

Back before the U.S. and Europe started slapping tariffs on each other, Paul Hletko was benefiting from the Old World’s growing passion for bourbon, pulling in six figures’ worth of orders at his small-batch distillery in the first half of the year.

Those days are over. Bourbon exports for Hletko’s Few Spirits, based in Evanston, “dropped to zero” from 15 percent of revenue last year, he said. The European Union’s 25 percent tariff on bourbon, implemented in June, wiped out demand for his product, which retails for $51 a bottle in the U.S.

“Every U.K. buyer backed off,” Hletko said. “They may want to buy it, but if they can’t sell it at the right price, that’s not doing us any favors.”

Small distillers cite the drought as proof their fears of a global trade war are coming to fruition. Europe had been blossoming as a source of new revenue — but this market has been effectively cut off for producers that lack the clout or brand recognition of titans like Brown-Forman Corp., Diageo Plc and Chicago’s Beam Suntory. Now they’ve been sent back to square one.

The tariffs, which target U.S. goods such as Levi Strauss & Co. blue jeans and Harley Davidson Inc. motorcycles, are the EU’s retaliation to President Trump’s duties on foreign steel and aluminum.

* On to soybeans

“I can tell you that the day they announced the tariff, we lost $20 an acre on our farm, and that was not the full impact of the tariff,” said Doug Schroeder, vice chairman of the Illinois Soybean Association and owner of a 4,000-acre soybean and corn farm near Mahomet, Illinois.

“It is really tough. Twenty-five percent of Illinois soybeans used to go to China, and now virtually none of them do,” he said.

Farmers are scrambling to find storage space for the soybeans they can’t sell, which is creating more challenges and raising costs.

“It’s really been devastating,” said Schroeder. “There hasn’t been a demand for the beans to go anywhere, so they just pile up.”

While Illinois soybean farmers are still selling their harvest to Indonesia, Taiwan and Mexico, the demand just isn’t there for what is expected to be a record soybean crop this year.

* Reuters

US net farm income will fall to $65.7 billion this year, down 47% from just five years ago, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecasts.

* New York Times

America’s farmers have been shut out of foreign markets, hit with retaliatory tariffs and lost lucrative contracts in the face of President Trump’s trade war. But a $12 billion bailout program Mr. Trump created to “make it up” to farmers has done little to cushion the blow, with red tape and long waiting periods resulting in few payouts so far.

According to the Department of Agriculture, just $838 million has been paid out to farmers since the first $6 billion pot of money was made available in September. Another pool of up to $6 billion is expected to become available next month. The government is unlikely to offer additional money beyond the $12 billion, according to Sonny Perdue, the agriculture secretary.

* Related…

* Trump’s steel tariffs create big profits but few new jobs: At Nucor’s plant in Sedalia, by contrast, 225 people will make steel with a high-tech furnace that shoots electricity through scrap metal to melt it into new products. That technology is now used to produce nearly 70 percent of U.S. steel — with a third less labor and energy, according to Charles Bradford, president of Bradford Research Inc.

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      

The blue suburban wave

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018

* We’ve talked a lot about the Democrats’ gains in DuPage and Lake counties. Greg Hinz takes a look at them plus these others

In Will County, Democrats swept the countywide spots, taking control of the clerk’s job for the first time in 80 years. They also picked up four spots on the county board and now have a majority. […]

Republicans did better in Kane County, retaining the clerk’s and treasurer’s slots but losing to a Democrat for sheriff. Democrats, though, won seven of the 13 county board seats up for election. And former Democratic state Sen. Mike Noland defeated County Circuit Court Clerk (and former Kane County GOP Chairman) Thomas Hartwell for a Circuit Court judgeship.

If Republicans have a stronghold left in suburbia, it’s in McHenry County, which still is largely rural.

Rauner won there by better than 10 percentage points, and Erika Harold, the GOP nominee for attorney general, led Raoul by more than 8. Republicans won all of the countywide positions up for a vote by a wide margin. But even there, Casten and Underwood got more votes than incumbent GOP Reps. Peter Roskam and Randy Hultgren, respectively. And Democrats won a third of the 12 seats up for a vote on the county board.

* More on McHenry’s congressional vote

One of the most dramatic turnarounds in the region was in McHenry County, where Democrats went from earning 40 percent of the House vote in 2016 to 51 percent this year.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      

VOTE NO on the SB 2641 override

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

With transportation expenses on the rise, Illinoisans are looking to car sharing to help them earn extra income and save costs on transportation.

Yet, legislation that lawmakers are considering, SB 2641, would deny Illinoisans from an opportunity to make money while their cars sit idle and unfairly double tax car owners.

Car sharing is not the same as car rental, and the two industries cannot be treated the same. With car sharing, car owners can benefit financially while they aren’t using their cars. When regular Illinoisans buy a car, they pay sales tax. Rental car companies don’t because they have a sales tax waiver. But, this bill would force a car owner who has already paid sales tax to pay twice if they want to earn extra money sharing their car.

Legislators should VOTE NO on the SB 2641 override.

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

Comptroller report sheds some new light on Vendor Payment Program

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018

* Press release…

Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza’s office today released a report shedding light on a program that has allowed private companies to buy more than $5 billion in state liabilities and claim hundreds of millions in late payment interest penalties originally owed to vendors who have done business with Illinois.

The monthly report is required under bipartisan legislation Comptroller Mendoza championed to open the books on the Vendor Payment Program (VPP).

“Lenders in this program are making hundreds of millions of dollars off the state’s fiscal calamity. Before my legislation was passed, this program wasn’t codified in state law or subject to even a basic level of transparency,” Mendoza said. “This monthly report will, for the first time, give taxpayers and policymakers an accounting of this $5-billion program.”

VPP was created to assist struggling vendors as Illinois’ backlog of unpaid bills grew. It allows state-approved third-party lenders, known as qualified purchasers, to pay a portion of the state’s unpaid bills owed to vendors up-front. In exchange, the qualified purchasers get the late payment interest penalties when they are ultimately paid by the state.

The qualified purchasers played an important role in keeping vendors afloat, a challenge worsened during the two-year budget crisis suffered during the Rauner administration. But before the passage of Comptroller Mendoza’s legislation, little information was made public about their financial interests or how much state debt they have purchased through VPP.

In addition to revealing to the public for the first time that more than $5 billion of state liabilities have been purchased through VPP, qualified purchasers reported that nearly $275 million in late payment interest penalties have been paid to them to date. Another nearly $327 million in late payment interest penalties are still owed to qualified purchasers.

A companion report, also published today, includes information about qualified purchasers and those who hold interests in these entities. Monthly reports going forward will focus on the liabilities and late payment interest penalties that fall under the program. Any new qualified purchasers who apply to participate in VPP are now required to file disclosure statements, and all qualified purchasers are now required to file a disclosure statement once a year.

Senate Bill 3560 passed unanimously in the state Senate and 109-7 in the House of Representatives. It was sponsored by Representative John Connor, D-Lockport, and Senator Omar Aquino, D-Chicago. Under the new law, VPP will be audited by the Illinois Auditor General.

The monthly reports are here and the financial backer disclosures are here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      

The politicking that brought the U of I to Champaign-Urbana

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018

* Tom Kacich on how state Rep. Clark Griggs was able to locate the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana

It started with $40,000 appropriated by the supervisors of Champaign and Urbana townships and Griggs’ decision to travel most of the state (everywhere but Jacksonville, Lincoln and Bloomington), meet with other state representatives and build support for Champaign-Urbana.

In five weeks, he said, he interviewed 40 House members and gained pledges from 15 of them.

Next, he met with the governor and lieutenant governor and with the chairmen of the state Republican and Democratic parties. In those conversations he learned that the postwar Legislature would be occupied with a number of special interests.

Southern Illinois wanted a prison; Peoria and Springfield were fighting over which would be the state capital; and Chicago wanted to deepen the Chicago River and develop a system of parks and boulevards. Such knowledge would be important in future vote-trading.

When the Legislature went into session in January 1867, the Champaign County Committee moved into Springfield’s Leland Hotel, where for the next three months it held the principal reception room and a suite of parlors and bedrooms. The rooms were used to entertain legislators and their constituents with either drinks, light refreshments or sumptuous dinners of oysters or quail. Lawmakers were supplied with cigars and theater tickets. Late in the session, Griggs arranged for a special train to take legislators to Champaign-Urbana.

None of the other communities seeking the university had a similar arrangement.

Inside the House Chambers, Griggs showed his skill by running for speaker.

For two days, the House was tied up in endless voting. On the night after the second day, an intermediary visited Griggs and asked what it would take to get him to drop out of the race. Griggs wanted the chairmanship of the Committee on Agriculture and Mechanic Arts — the committee that would hear all the bills about locating the university — and the right to choose its members. He got it, dropped out of the race for speaker and thus was able to control the legislation.

There’s more, so go read the whole thing.

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      

The hollowing out of state government

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018

* Les Winkeler on IDNR

Case in point, over the past decade or so the state has lost out on piles of grant money for one of two reasons. First, cash was in short supply, so matching funds for projects weren’t always available. Second, staff cuts were so deep there was no one to write the grant proposals. […]

Granted, the agency is no longer on life support as it was several years ago, but staffing levels are unacceptable. Some site superintendents are managing 8-12 sites – that serves no one well. Some state parks are without a single full-time employee.

- Posted by Rich Miller   58 Comments      

What Turo Doesn’t Want You to Know

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

In the heart of Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood sat a collection of cars owned by “Michael O.” — the city’s most successful auto lender on car-sharing platform Turo.

According to The Daily Line, Michael Oates owns as many as 40 vehicles that he rents out using Turo, a Silicon Valley-based company that promotes itself as the future of the car rental industry. Oates’ fleet has caused major parking headaches in Uptown, where he once parked a portion of his 40 vehicles on a residential street near the Aragon Ballroom and the Riviera Theatre.*

Would you want 40 extra cars parked on your street?

Car key lockboxes in Uptown. Operated by Turo renter.

Ald. James Cappleman told The Daily Line that he’s received numerous complaints about Oates’ cars, but attempts to resolve the issue stalled after the city’s law department said the legislature would first have to pass a bill regulating the car-sharing industry.

Rep. Art Turner, D-Chicago, said his bill could address “nuisance situations” like Oates’ Turo business.

“As it stands right now, there’s nothing the city or police or local law enforcement can do to even address the situation,” Turner said.*


* Excerpts from Daily Line story from November 13, 2018

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

21 candidates file to run for mayor

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018


According to a preliminary list compiled by the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, 21 candidates filed to run for mayor for the upcoming election on Feb. 26 (a runoff between the top two vote-getters is set for April 2):

    Willie Wilson
    Toni Preckwinkle
    Paul Vallas
    Jerry Joyce
    Catherine Brown D’Tycoon
    Conrien Hykes Clark
    William M. Daley
    Garry McCarthy
    Dorothy Brown
    Gery Chico
    Sandra Mallory
    Susana Mendoza
    Amara Enyia
    La Shawn Ford
    Neal Sales-Griffin
    Lori Lightfoot
    John Kozlar
    Bob Fioretti
    Ja’Mal Green
    Roger Washington
    Richard Mayers

The full list of all city candidates is here.

* Tribune

Candidates will spend the next month or more trying to knock others out of the race. They will cite charges ranging from forgery and fraud to more minor technicalities to argue their competitors didn’t collect the necessary number of signatures from registered Chicago voters to appear on the ballot.

That process, argued by attorneys before city election officials, is certain to narrow the final list of candidates put before voters. By how much remains to be seen. […]

Chico, Lightfoot, Joyce and Brown all stressed they had checked their signatures carefully and were confident they had enough valid ones to weather any attempts to get them booted from the ballot. Mendoza only submitting a little more than twice the required amount raised some eyebrows around City Hall, given her status as a statewide officeholder and an establishment Democrat.

Mendoza sought to downplay the number of signatures she filed, saying they only had been collected in the last three weeks since she announced her mayoral bid after winning re-election as comptroller. A “draft” movement, however, began collecting signatures for Mendoza in early September, and her campaign later confirmed that her nominating petitions included those signatures collected over the last three months.

* Important point from Greg Hinz

Qualified signatures can come only from registered Chicago voters. Perhaps even more important this year, only the first signature will count for those who signed petitions for multiple candidates. Squabbling over which signature came “first” and related matters is likely to generate much legal jockeying, noted political consultant Tom Bowen. “It is a hell of a mess to knock someone off the ballot in this environment,” he said.

* Context

When the week-long filing period closed Monday, 21 candidates had submitted petitions for the mayoral race. That’s one more than eight years ago — the last time the mayor’s office was up for grabs. In that race, to succeed retiring Mayor Richard M. Daley, 20 men and women had filed for mayor at the close of the filing period. But only six wound up on the ballot after challenges and candidate withdrawals.

* Impressive if true

Former City official and Community Activist Amara Enyia has run for mayor before; she said she’s learned a lot since then and is ready to make her voice heard among several contenders. She filed 62,000 signatures, no doubt in part because of Chance the Rapper and Kanye West’s help in supporting her campaign.

“We have done a good job of organizing across the city so it is not just me as a candidate but it is the people of this city,” Enyia said.

* Meanwhile

Mayoral candidate Gery Chico on Monday took the gloves off and pummeled the only other Hispanic candidate in the race: state Comptroller Susana Mendoza.

Chico charged that Mendoza proved herself “unfit for the job or the responsibilities that come with being the mayor of Chicago” because she “can’t even decide which job she wants” and proved it again by being evasive and duplicitous.

In a statement released by his campaign just as Mendoza was filing her nominating petitions, Chico pointed to Mendoza’s refusal to say whether she would remove or retain Police Supt. Eddie Johnson. […]

“Susana has played political games by refusing to come clean with voters about running for mayor, and now that she’s openly running for mayor she refuses to come clean with voters on where she stands on important issues. She can’t be trusted to be the strong leader Chicagoans can count on,” Chico said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

A look ahead to the final veto session week

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018

* Tribune

State lawmakers return to Springfield on Tuesday for what could be their last clash with Gov. Bruce Rauner, as they consider overriding dozens of the governor’s vetoes less than two months before he leaves office. […]

Two weeks ago, Republicans joined Democrats to vote to override the GOP governor’s vetoes more than three dozen times. Democratic state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch of Hillside said Republicans were “relieved” after years of largely voting with Rauner.

“When the governor first came in the office, he was intimidating and, for lack of a better term, a bully,” Welch said on WGN-AM 720 on Sunday.

But the House has to agree with Senate votes to override Rauner and vice versa if any are to stick.

* AP

The focus this week is on the House. It is poised to take override action on vetoed legislation which the Senate voted to reverse two weeks ago.

The list includes a measure vetoed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner to set a deadline for local police to sign paperwork to help immigrant victims of crime . Victims of certain violent crimes who cooperate with police qualify for visas to let them stay in the country. The legislation requires police to act within 90 days to sign necessary paperwork.

Other vetoes awaiting House action are on legislation prohibiting tobacco sales to those under 21 and requiring online vehicle-sharing services to meet rental-car company safety standards.

* Some veto overrides have been abandoned

Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, said he’s not giving up on the idea of increasing the minimum salary that every school district in the state will have to pay their teachers.

“There have been ongoing conversations that haven’t stopped since going back to May, when we passed the bill,” Manar said. “Those are going to continue. I would expect to re-file, if not a bill that’s exactly the same, something that’s very similar to what was filed and already passed in the General Assembly.” […]

Twice lawmakers approved a bill that prohibits employers from asking the salary history of an applicant. Twice Rauner used his amendatory veto powers to make changes to it.

Both times, there were not enough votes in the Legislature to override Rauner’s changes, but supporters didn’t want to accept his changes. Consequently, the bills died.

Rep. Anna Moeller, D-Elgin, said she’s probably going to try again, only this time with someone in the Governor’s Mansion who supports the idea.

* This one may not make it, either

The Senate was able to get enough votes to pass a bill to ban anyone under 21 from getting tobacco and vaping products, but there might not be enough votes in the House to get the bill passed over the governor’s veto. […]

State Rep. Robert Martwick, one of the cosponsors of the bill in the House, said it initially passed with 61 votes. Lawmakers need 71 votes to override.

“I hope that we can garner the votes, but I think it’s a stretch to think we can pick up another ten,” Martwick said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      

Thousands still without power after blizzard

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018

* Daily Herald

Roughly 42,000 customers in northern Illinois still were without electricity as of 4:30 a.m. Tuesday because of the snow that hit Chicago and the suburbs.

Sunday’s storm featured blizzardlike conditions with up to 13 inches of wet, heavy snow and wind gusts up to 50 mph in some areas that snapped tree limbs and downed power lines.

Officials said about 350,000 ComEd customers lost power, but service has been restored to many of them.

Arlington Heights officials said the village was the second-hardest hit after Chicago and that ComEd could not say when more than 5,000 without power would get service back.


- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      

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Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018

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Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018

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* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Budget and BIMP stuff (Updated with this week's password)
* Pritzker unveils business guidance; takes questions on budget, legislature, EO
* Reader comments closed for the holiday weekend
* Senate President Don Harmon talks to reporters
* Madigan's closing statement
* Sunday programming note
* *** UPDATED x1 - Gaming bill passes Senate 42-14 *** Sen. Martwick is in town to vote for the Chicago casino bill
* *** UPDATED x5 *** Amendment introduced to allow remote legislating
* 2,352 new cases, 75 additional deaths
* House approves gaming bill 77-32
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Sen. Dale Righter cleans up Eastern Bloc member's mess
* *** UPDATED x1 *** IDPH stops reporting historical nursing home COVID-19 outbreak data
* End of session cheat sheet
* Social media isn't real life
* New approp, BIMP amendments surface, casino push continues, cannabis bill hits a snag with Pritzker thumbs down
* Open thread
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