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Welcome New General Assembly Members!

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019 - Posted by Advertising Department

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

The Illinois Credit Union League invites all new members of the General Assembly to join us this evening for an open house from 5-7 p.m. at 225 S. College, Suite 200. We hope to see you there!

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Question of the day

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Yesterday was House Republican Leader Jim Durkin’s birthday. There he is on the left…

* The Question: Caption?


It’s just a bill

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Illinois News Network

A freshman Illinois lawmaker wants to allow public schools to publicly display the motto “In God We Trust,” something church-state separation advocates say alienates nonreligious students.

One of the first bills Lewisville Republican state Rep. Darrin Bailey filed after taking office this month was House Bill 341, which says a school board can allow the national motto “In God We Trust” to be conspicuously posted on school grounds. Bailey says the current political climate shows a need for a return to Christian principles.

“As a God-fearing Christian, I believe that the lack of such is the problem in our country today,” he said.

His bill would not make displaying the national motto mandatory.

* Synopsis of another bill introduced by Rep. Bailey

Amends the Department of Public Health Powers and Duties Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois. Requires the Department of Public Health to create and maintain a list of each immunizing agent derived from aborted fetal tissue and any alternative immunizing agents. Provides that the Department shall ensure that, before administering an immunizing agent derived from aborted fetal tissue to an individual, a health care provider shall provide to the individual or, if the individual is a child, to the parent, guardian, or person in loco parentis of the child: (1) notification that the immunizing agent was derived from aborted fetal tissue; (2) if an immunizing agent that is not an immunizing agent derived from aborted fetal tissue is available as an alternative to an immunizing agent derived from aborted fetal tissue, an offer of the alternative; and (3) notification of the option to decline the receipt of the immunizing agent.

* From a story about vaccine myths

Vaccines don’t contain fetal tissue. The vaccine against rubella — also known as German measles — was created in the 1960s using a virus isolated from the tissue of fetuses whose mothers had rubella. The women chose abortion because of concerns about birth defects caused by rubella, according to the History of Vaccine website, a project of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Those birth defects include deafness, heart disease, mental retardation, a devastating brain inflammation called encephalitis and pneumonia.

Vaccines against hepatitis A, chickenpox and rabies also have been made with cell lines that derive from fetal tissue, Offit says. The viruses are purified before being used in vaccines, and no human cells remain in the final shots given to children.

The National Catholic Bioethics Center has said that Catholics are “morally free to use the vaccine, regardless of its historical association with abortion. The reason is that the risk to public health, if one chooses not to vaccinate, outweighs the legitimate concern about the origins of the vaccine. This is especially important for parents, who have a moral obligation to protect the life and health of their children and those around them. … It is important to note that descendant cells are not the cells of the aborted child. They never, themselves, formed a part of the victim’s body.”

* Illinois Policy Institute

A bill in the Illinois Senate could soon make it easier for more retailers to let you add a fifth of rum to the bottle of cola in a home delivery order.

On Jan. 16, state Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, introduced Senate Bill 54, which would allow third-party grocery delivery services to obtain a state-issued liquor license in any Illinois community. The proposal would also prevent municipalities from imposing blanket bans on the services.

As the popularity of third-party grocery delivery services has continued to surge, local communities have differed in their approach to regulating the delivery of alcohol. The purpose of the bill is to ease the regulatory burden on retailers and third-party services navigating that maze of local liquor ordinances, Harmon said.

“I think by and large [third-party delivery companies] shouldn’t be having to see who can get this and who can’t,” Harmon said in an interview. “It seemed to me like we should have a statewide system to regulate this appropriately … we should have a statewide standard.”

We already have this service in Springfield.


Madigan responds to Sun-Times story

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Tribune

“To my knowledge, I am not under investigation by the office of the U.S. attorney, and I have not been contacted by the U.S. attorney relative to Dan Solis,” Madigan said in a statement. […]

An attorney for Madigan said that to their knowledge neither the speaker nor his law firm is under investigation.

“The speaker recalls attending several meetings with Ald. Solis over the past five years, including meetings with individuals in need of legal representation,” Heather Weir Vaught, a private attorney for the speaker, said in a written statement. “If indeed, some of his conversations were being recorded, the speaker did not know that, but he has no concern if they were. The speaker has no recollection of ever suggesting that he would take official action for a private law firm client or potential client.”


…Adding… Pretty restrained…

* Related…

* Is this Chinatown hotel plan focus of Madigan FBI recording?: Crain’s could not immediately confirm that the project is the one in question in the Madigan recording, but a photo of the site published by the Sun-Times matches the nondescript. 5,530-square-foot piece of land owned by the Chong venture. The timing of the project also lines up with the report, as the Chicago City Council approved new zoning for the site in September 2014, public records show. The hotel was never built, though the Chong venture—a company formally known as Sheng Man De Investment—still owns the land, Cook County property records show.


Pritzker: Let FBI investigation play out

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Gov. Pritzker was asked today if he was concerned about the FBI recording of Speaker Madigan discussing property tax business with a developer and Ald. Danny Solis

There is an ongoing FBI investigation and I think we should see that play out. I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to comment on that ongoing investigation.

I think it’s very important for people to be held accountable if they’ve done something wrong. So we need to see the investigation play out and then people who are indicted or are found to be, to have acted inappropriately or against the law to be held fully accountable for that.

* The governor was also asked about restrictions on outside income by legislators

I’ve said for a long time that a citizen legislature exists, and that’s also the case in other bodies that are elected across the state, that people hold outside jobs. And when they do that there is the potential for conflicts of interests. And that is where we need to make sure that people are either abstaining from the activity on the outside that would interfere with their ability to do their job that they’re elected to do and do it ethically, or abstaining from being involved in it in any way in government.

It’s one or the other, but you can’t be, in my view, it’s improper for people to be voting on issues that are directly effecting their income, their industry, their personal well-being in terms of money-making.

That all sounds good, but would Pritzker really stop farmer legislators from voting on ag bills?


Chicago’s black flight problem

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Pete Saunders at the Reader

Chicago’s black population, the city’s largest demographic in 2000, has dropped by 24 percent through 2017, going from more than one million in 2000 to just under 800,000 in 2017. The number of whites in Chicago surpassed blacks in 2017, and Latinos will almost certainly pass blacks by the time of the 2020 census.

Chicago’s population would be increasing if not for the black exodus. How can it be explained?

Well, there’s the lack-of-a-dynamic­-economy theory and the slowed­-immigration theory, already noted. And there’s the rust-belt-restructuring theory, which suggests that Chicago’s transition from a manufacturing­-dominant economy to a ser­vice- or tech-based one creates new winners and losers—and that we’re shedding those who are unable to contribute in the new economic environment. Also partly true, but pretty Darwinistic.

There’s also the “crime and schools” theory. Chicago’s violent crime rate has been a national story for some years now, and while crime is down significantly from the “crack era” 90s, it hasn’t fallen as much as it has in other major cities. The closure of more than 50 schools in 2013, mostly in black communities on the south and west sides, meant the loss of key local anchor institutions. Without a doubt there are many blacks who feel they are being pushed out of Chicago by its crime challenges, and that the school closures were an indication of a lack of investment in critical local institutions. […]

(B)lack Chicagoans aren’t flocking to the suburbs so much as leaving the region altogether. The number of blacks in the metro area but outside of Chicago has been relatively stagnant since 2000, an indication that people are leaving. The cities gaining at Chicago’s expense? Sunbelt hot spots like Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston. The draw is the perception of greater opportunity, and perhaps the chance to restore old southern networks with family and friends who stuck around.

Go read the whole thing.

* Other stuff…

* McQueary: Why the Illinois exodus? The rich get bashed, and off they go


*** UPDATED x5 - Treasurer encourages personal days - Comptroller’s office to stay open - SoS to close - Pritzker won’t shut down state offices *** Pritzker issues disaster proclamation ahead of winter storm

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release

Governor JB Pritzker today issued a disaster proclamation for the entire state ahead of a severe winter storm that will blanket the state with life-threatening wind chills for several days.

“This storm poses a serious threat to the well-being of people around the state, and we will use every tool at our disposal to keep our residents safe,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “This disaster proclamation ensures that the state of Illinois has the flexibility to effectively and efficiently respond to the needs of local governments during this extreme weather event.”

A state disaster declaration makes available a wide variety of state resources that can help affected communities respond and recover from the storms. The state of Illinois has mobilized personnel and assets to help local government officials with disaster response and recovery.

Earlier this week, Governor Pritzker activated the State Emergency Operation Center to support local government as they begin to plan for these extreme weather conditions. Current forecast models indicate arctic air will move into Illinois Tuesday evening and last through Thursday. The National Weather Service indicates wind chills could reach -55 in northern Illinois, -35 in central Illinois and -25 in parts of southern Illinois.

With these extreme temperatures and dangerous wind chills, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) indicates frostbite could set in on exposed skin within 10-15 minutes. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) has a list of identified warming centers in our state, listed by county on the Ready Illinois website. If there is not a warming center near you, call your county emergency management agency for additional assistance. Additionally, all Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) offices serve as warming centers during regular business hours for anyone looking to find a safe, warm place during the cold.

I’ll post audio of the press conference when I get it. Suffice it to say, the governor and his team made a strong effort to lay out the dangers today…

Click here for more info.

*** UPDATE 1 *** I asked the governor’s press secretary about rumors that Pritzker will order the government to shut down tomorrow and I was told those rumors are false. No shutdown is planned.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Dave Druker with the secretary of state’s office says their facilities will be closed tomorrow and they are looking at what to do on Thursday. The Capitol Building and the Stratton Building will have SoS staffing/security during those days, however.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Abdon Pallasch tells me that the comptroller’s office will be open tomorrow.

*** UPDATE 4 *** Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

Working with shelters, the city plans to add about 500 extra shelter beds this week, 13% more than usual capacity, DFSS officials tell CCH.

Some overnight shelters are running 24/7 schedules until Friday, including youth shelters run by The Night Ministry (The Crib) and La Casa Norte.

The city has designated some CTA buses to act as overnight warming centers, including a bus stationed at Des Plaines and Columbus Drive.

Two 24-hour warming centers were opened for Chicago residents: Garfield Center at 10 South Kedzie and King Community Center at 4314 South Cottage Grove. DFSS posts alerts online, including on Twitter at @ChiFamSupport

Four other warming centers will have extended hours, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. These community service centers are at 1140 W. 79th St. (Englewood), 845 W. Wilson Ave. (North Area), 8650 S. Commercial Ave. (South Chicago), and 4312 W. North Ave. (Trina Davis).

The city also operates a network of warming centers that includes the libraries, police stations and park district facilities.

*** UPDATE 5 *** The treasurer’s office has “encouraged staff to take a personal day” due to the weather. “However we will have a skeleton crew to meet operational needs.”


Inaugural ball leads to $800K donation to Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I was told yesterday that the inaugural ball raised $800,000 and Pritzker matched it with his own money. So, the Fairgrounds Foundation will receive $800K as will Cabrini Green Legal Aid

The Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation is getting a check for $800,000, raised with the ticket sales from Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s inauguration. […]

John Sullivan, acting director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, said Monday the fairgrounds have been neglected for many years. As a result, there is a huge backlog of deferred maintenance and repairs.

“We will identify where the money can best be used,” Sullivan said. “Certainly the foundation is going to have some input on that. We will make sure the money is put to good use.”

Along with the donation, the General Assembly also allocated $30 million in the budget passed last year for repairs at the state fairgrounds. Total rehabilitation needs at the state’s two fairgrounds has been estimated at $185 million.

$185 million in unmet capital needs. Wow.


Step increases to resume in April

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* SJ-R

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says state employees will be placed on the correct step of the state pay plan on April 1.

The reinstatement of long-postponed, experience-based salary increases is expected to affect about 20,000 state workers represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Pritzker announced his intention to bring back the raises earlier this month on his first full day in office.

Step increases, required by state law, are paid to employees in their first eight to 10 years who, as a savings to state government, start at below-market rates as incentive to gain experience and stick around. Former Gov. Bruce Rauner halted them in 2015 when AFSCME’s last contract expired.

The administration estimates the cost will be around $50 million for the remainder of the fiscal year.


Radical Candor reboots

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* At least temporarily, anyway…



Feds have Madigan on tape

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I already went through this story with subscribers today, so I’ll just let that stand and hit some of the high points here. But make sure you read the whole thing

The FBI secretly recorded Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan trying to get business for his private law firm from a developer brought to him by Ald. Danny Solis, who was weighing the developer’s request to build a hotel in Chinatown, according to a federal court affidavit obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times. […]

The associate of the Chinese developer told the FBI in May 2014 about efforts to seek a zoning change for the proposed hotel, which would have been built in Chinatown in Solis’ 25th Ward. The developer was trying to secure a “letter of support” for the project from Solis, who initially said he would support the zoning change on two conditions, according to the affidavit. […]

Then, in August, [after the other two conditions were met] Solis reached out to the associate and asked him and the developer to attend the meeting with Madigan. The associate explained that he would need to translate for the developer, who did not speak English. […]

After confirming that his firm was under consideration, Madigan said, “we’re not interested in a quick killing here. We’re interested in a long-term relationship.” […]

Despite that conversation, neither the businessman nor his associate had signed a retention agreement with Madigan’s firm by the time the FBI agent wrote the 2016 affidavit. The land got zoning approval from the City Council, but the hotel was never built.

* Meanwhile

Retiring Ald. Danny Solis (25th) received sex acts, Viagra, free weekend use of an Indiana farm once owned by Oprah Winfrey and a steady stream of campaign contributions in exchange for shepherding official City Council actions, according to allegations in a federal court affidavit obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The allegations are contained in an explosive search warrant application that helps explain why Solis, the powerful chairman of the City Council’s Zoning Committee, agreed to spend more than two years cooperating in a federal investigation during which he is known to have secretly recorded at least a dozen conversations with Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th), the former chairman of the City Council’s Finance Committee.

Although no charges have been filed publicly against Solis, the 2016 affidavit lays out in detail a federal corruption case against the veteran alderman, who was one of the closest City Council allies of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Emanuel’s predecessor, Richard M. Daley. […]

The 120-page affidavit shows federal investigators listened in on more than 18,000 conversations on one of Solis’ cellphones over the course of at least a year, while also conducting surveillance of his private meetings and trips to massage parlors.

* Related…

* Hero or zero? Solis hopes history treats him kindly for helping feds in probe


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Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Follow along with ScribbleLive


* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Afternoon roundup
* Bears dangle possible move to Naperville
* Pritzker suggests changing Invest in Kids tax credit
* Question of the day
* Fentanyl overdose deaths have fallen 42 percent in Chicago this year compared to 2022
* Crowds ease at Mexican border, but will that lead to fewer asylum-seekers in Chicago?
* Pritzker, other Dem governors warn school textbook publishers: "Sanitizing our educational texts for the mercurial comfort of a few today ultimately limits the next generation’s ability to make informed decisions for themselves"
* Justice Jesse Reyes announces second bid for state's top court
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* Live coverage
* Yesterday's stories

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