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It’s just a bill

Monday, Mar 18, 2019

* Steve Daniels at Crain’s

The House Public Utilities Committee on March 12 approved a bill extending Commonwealth Edison’s authority to set its rates via an annual formula. Apparently, given the 18-0 vote, no one on that panel thought this was a matter deserving much scrutiny.

But what those lawmakers voted to do, perhaps without understanding it, was to subject all 4 million of ComEd’s captive power-delivery customers in northern Illinois to unhedged interest-rate risk for the next 13 years. As it stands, the formula expires in 2022. The bill would continue it until 2032.

It would be as if a bank wrote you a 15-year mortgage at a fixed rate and then failed to hedge its interest-rate risk. No bank in the world would do that. Why should the rates Illinoisans pay for electricity embed that kind of exposure?


* I haven’t talked to any “big pop” lobsters about Charlie’s bill, but this would be the first time a commercial product is listed as an official state something or another

House Bill 3073 isn’t likely to settle the soda vs. pop debate, but one state representative wants to see if Illinois can make Ski the state’s official drink.

Popcorn is the official snack of the state of Illinois. The state vegetable is sweet corn. Legislators in the Land of Lincoln have even made pumpkin the state’s official pie. State Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville, is looking to make the citrus, cane sugar drink Ski the official state soda.

“It’s a small family business located in Breese, Illinois,” Meier said of Excel Bottling Co. “It’s been in business over 60 years. The family had information on a bank robber, turned him in and they used the reward money and started this soda company.”

Meier said big beverage companies oppose his idea.

“They’re saying that the state of Illinois can’t endorse a specific product and that’s why they don’t want Ski endorsed,” Meier said. “But it’s made in the state of Illinois. It started in the state of Illinois and once you have a Ski, you’re going to want to have one every day.” […]

“We like that people enjoy our product,” Excel’s third generation General Manager William Meier said Friday. He is not related to the state representative.

“Charlie is a great guy and trying to give us credit,” Meier said. “The idea is good to give credit, but I am neutral” on the bill.

“We’re a commercial entity and don’t get into the politics,” Meier said. “Glad Charlie loves our product.”

My late Aunt Janet lived in Aviston for decades, and I remember her giving us Ski when we visited back in the day. It’s good pop.

* I waited for the school bus every day by myself when I was in first and second grade. We lived five miles west of Clifton back then and both my parents worked and my mom would bring my brothers to daycare on her way to her teaching job. I stayed behind and caught the bus.

It was great. Anyone who comes from a big family knows the simple pleasures of alone time, even at such a young age. All those pesky younger brothers and both my parents were gone and I could just get ready for school without any interference or pressure and watch WGN’s great morning TV shows in total peace with my cereal.

One day, I missed the bus because I became so engrossed in one of those morning shows. Oops. So, I set out walking to Clifton. I made it about a mile or so before a neighbor picked me up (I was crying by that point) and drove me to town. Never did that again

At what age should it be legal for a child to be at home alone, or to be caring for younger siblings?

In Illinois, it’s currently 14, the strictest such law in the nation for more than 25 years.

One Republican lawmaker wants that changed to 12.

“This law came into place decades ago in response to a case where a couple left the country with their two children at home,” said Rep. Joe Sosnowski, of Rockford. “As it sometimes happens with these issues in legislatures, lawmakers overreact and set a precedent that’s too restrictive.”

Sosnowski is sponsoring House Bill 2334, which would lower the state’s legal age limit for leaving children unsupervised to 12. The bill passed unanimously out of the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee in early March.

* Other bills…

* Get behind bills that would further women’s progress in Illinois

* Measure would require minimum number of women on corporate boards: Senate Bill 76 from Sen. Cristina Castro, D-Elgin, would require that by summer 2020 there be at least one women on corporate boards. By the end of 2022, boards would have to have a minimum of three of six board members be women and at least two of five board members be women, depending on the size of the board. It would also require the publication of such information.

* State rep sponsors drone bill

* Bill cracks down on inaccurate reporting of criminal history

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 11:29 am:

    I like Meier, but Ski? C’mon Charlie.

  2. - Honeybear - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 11:30 am:

    I’m all for greater Womens representation on boards. I would add that it would be even better to follow the German model and have half the board be representatives from labor.
    More women and more labor
    Fixed it.

  3. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 11:30 am:

    Pumpkin is the state pie, but it isn’t “Libby’s Pumpkin Pie.” Similarly, corn is the state vegetable, but it isn’t “Dole Corn.” Naming a brand versus a type of food isn’t the same thing.

  4. - Perrid - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 11:33 am:

    I’ve had Ski once in my life. Never again. If we were voting on merits, we should have Root Beer be the state soda. We don’t even need to name a specific brand.

    I’m usually not for quotas, and think that’s unlikely to change with the bill about boards. It’s trying to fix the problem at the very end of a multi-step (lifelong really) process. I’m not strongly against it, I see no real way it could hurt, but I also really doubt it will do a dang thing. Putting a new coat of paint on an old rust bucket doesn’t make it run any better.

  5. - Chris P. Bacon - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 11:40 am:

    What a silly waste of time. But it’s good of Charlie Meier to remind us why GOP is super minority in Springpatch.

  6. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 11:43 am:

    Honey. Just like in the USA, union membership in Germany is dropping like a rock. Seems like German consumers, like American consumers, want cheap goods snd services. Regrettably.

  7. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 11:44 am:

    Naming a specific brand seems like a step too far. My vote would be Green River, anyway. You just can’t beat a Green River Float.

    Dictating board characteristics…why not start with requirements for all state boards? While corporate boards need more diversity, I’m not sure mandates are the way to go.

  8. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 11:45 am:

    Nice try, but you can’t make anything an “official” product for the state that 90% of the state has never heard of.

  9. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 11:45 am:

    *– I waited for the school bus every day by myself when I was in first and second grade. We lived five miles west of Clifton back then–

    Riding the country bus was trippy. In the mornings, you’d be rolling around on gravel roads packed to the gills with crazy farm kids ranging from kindergarteners to h.s. seniors who’d already had their licenses suspended.

    Those bus drivers deserved danger pay. Some of the bigger kids would steal lunches and chuck fruit at the drivers while they were highballing down the road.

  10. - thoughts matter - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 11:52 am:

    There’s a huge difference letween leaving a child alone to run to the gas station three blocks away for milk and going on vacation for a week. Most 9 year olds can handle the first example. I wouldn’t trust any teenager in high school for the second example. The law now is too broad. It came into existence because of morally bankrupt parents who left their children alone( or watching other children) to go to the bar for hours or on vacation for days.

  11. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 11:54 am:

    It’s already legal for a child under 14 to be home alone in Illinois.

    What is illegal is to leave a child alone “for an unreasonable period of time without regard for the mental or physical health, safety, or welfare of that minor” and the law goes on to state that things like making sure the child is in a heated building and has a phone number to call in case of emergencies are things to be considered in evaluating reasonableness. Seems quite different to me.

    Of course, I’m not a lawyer, so feel free to correct me.

  12. - Shevek - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 11:56 am:

    Rich - the world sure is different today.

    I was left alone with my baby sister when I was 8, and started taking public transportation on my own at about 9 or 10. My mom didn’t think it was a big deal because she was sent on the bus alone when she was 5!

  13. - Annonin' - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 11:56 am:

    Next time someone sees a Crains reporter IN Springfield please tell him/her there are 3 versions of the ComEd bill that covers all sides.

  14. - Mr. Smith - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 12:01 pm:

    I know that most legislators are well-meaning sorts. And I have no signficant problem with naming official state “this” or “that”. But NOT a brand named product. An early nominee for Legslative Doofus of the Year award?

    And quotas for Board repreentation? SMH. Make a resolution to balance board representation on State Boards, certainly. Fair enough. But a state law to tell a private firm that they must have x number of female members? Get a grip.

  15. - illini - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 12:01 pm:

    Charlie Meier and I hardly ever agree on anything, but I applaud his efforts here.

    Now. if only, he could get some of those nasty Chicago Liberals to co-sponsor this bill it might have a chance to get a hearing and vote.

    But @ChrisP.Bacon - you are right - what else does the GOP have to offer?

  16. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 12:05 pm:

    –What a silly waste of time. But it’s good of Charlie Meier to remind us why GOP is super minority in Springpatch.–

    A variant on the “this is why….”, the empty cry of those with nothing to say.

    Unless, of course, you really think “this is why” the GOP is in the minority in Springfield.

  17. - Responsa - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 12:05 pm:

    ==I set out walking to Clifton.==

    Ah, the good old days days before cell phones.

  18. - Nick Name - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    ===The state vegetable is sweet corn.===

    Having already vetoed the budget that year, this was one of Gov. Gaslight’s top legislative accomplishments in 2015, never mind that corn is actually a grain.

    Right up there with the restoration of happy hour.

  19. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 12:36 pm:

    Another vote for Green River; more well-known, with a good back-story to it. Or even Canfield’s… If they were still in business, I’d have said Lasser’s brand sodas…. those were amazing, But agreed, as well, that you can’t/shouldn’t make a brand named product an official “State” product. You -can- make it the official product of an -event- like State Fair does with Pepsi or Coke.

  20. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 12:54 pm:

    ==In Illinois, it’s currently 14, the strictest such law in the nation for more than 25 years.==

    Is Macaulay Culkin that old? Well, sure enough.

  21. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 12:55 pm:

    You know, one of these days some smart politician is going to get a lot of votes by going after Com Ed instead of laying down for them

  22. - Anon221 - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 1:18 pm:

    “Well let’s all go, down to Dumas Walker
    Let’s all go, down to Dumas Walker
    We’ll get a slaw burger, fries and a bottle of Ski
    Bring it on out to my baby and me…”

  23. - Honeybear - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 1:19 pm:

    Rich, please immediately post an update with the Kentucky Headhunters singing Dumas Walker.
    I finer argument for Officially SKI recognition cannot be found

  24. - Honeybear - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 1:22 pm:

    Well shoot…Anon221 beat me too it.
    I love that song.

  25. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 1:27 pm:

    I dont think Ski is union produced or delivered for those wondering.

  26. - Anon221 - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 1:31 pm:

    Honeybear- Here’s some more backgrounders on that song. It’s an earworm now for the rest of the day;)

  27. - Just Observing - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 1:41 pm:

    Thank you @Anonymous at 11:54 a.m.!

    This whole issue that a child under the age of 14 can’t be left home alone is false, and has been ginned up by the Illinois Policy Inst. to generate likes and clicks to their social media. Let’s be clear… you can leave a child under the age of 14 home alone under reasonable circumstances (e.g. the child is 13, you are gone for a couple hours, the child doesn’t have a mental handicap, etc.).

  28. - 47th Ward - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 1:42 pm:

    ===once you have a Ski, you’re going to want to have one every day.===

    How about, as a compromise, we rename it “Diabetskis?”

  29. - A guy - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 2:28 pm:

    ==I set out walking to Clifton.==

    …with a forged note from Ray Rayner in my pocket.

  30. - PublicServant - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 2:49 pm:

    Green River has my vote too. Amazing, and I actually worked a side job working on the plumbing in their factory.

    Additionally, many rivers in Illinois are kinda green too, so it’s a two-fer.

  31. - G'Kar - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 3:00 pm:

    I am a big fan of Excel’s craft beers–Piasa Pilsner is a great summer brew, but I have never heard of Ski, nor from the sound of it would I want to drink it. Shouldn’t an “offical” soft drink be one that is both well known and available through out the state?

  32. - RNUG - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 3:05 pm:

    Too bad Dresch Bottling isn’t still in business; we could have pushed for a Springfield business.

  33. - Mr. Smith - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 3:36 pm:

    Rich, maybe I have just missed this, as I was out last week. But have you seen Bill Brady’s Educational Miracle Bill, SB 2046? If so, I apologize. If not, have a look, folks.

    Our tax dollars at, um, work.

  34. - SouthernGirl - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 3:48 pm:

    Love Excel! Their Rummy is my fave soda, grapefruit flavored so refreshing on a hot, muggy Southern IL summer day. Ski is second best IMO.

  35. - Payback - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 10:24 pm:

    Re. the drone bill from Rep. Lance Yednock,“We have seen (who’s we?) increased activity (name one incident) from civilians (that’s Citizens, we pay the taxes) using state-of-the-art drones to interfere with first responders when they are carrying out their duties, like in police chases (which is exactly the type of scrutiny that “we” need)said Yednock in a press statement. “I want to send a clear signal that it is unacceptable for anyone to interfere with the job of a first responder when they are protecting our safety or on the scene of an emergency.”

    Which police union wrote this bill for Yednock? Citizens who watch the police are pests to be regulated, for the collective good of course. One more cop groupie in the legislature.

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