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Mayor Lightfoot opposes sports betting proposal

Friday, May 31, 2019

* Statement from Mayor Lori Lightfoot…

I strongly support a gaming bill that directs a new casino and dollars to the city of Chicago. However, I oppose the inclusion of a provision that would open up sports wagering in venues like Soldier Field. Such a proposal has the potential to undermine the viability of any Chicago-based casino through the diversion of customers and revenue from a casino. Because the impact of sports wagering in stadiums has not been fully vetted or analyzed, I cannot support the bill in its current form and urge the deletion of this stadium-betting provision.

Essentially what’s she’s saying here is that Soldier Field and United Center sports betting could eat into Chicago casino profits.

I’m hearing that the sports betting provision could be stripped out of the gaming bill this weekend. Stay tuned.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


*** UPDATED x4 - Madigan comments - Budget passes House 83-35 - IMA backs budget, capital bills *** This just in… Movement

Friday, May 31, 2019

* A source very close to the talks says the House will vote on a budget tonight and the vote will be bipartisan. So, it appears there’s been some movement.

The governor has been convening talks for hours this evening. His people were adamant about trying to break the logjam that has been developing for several days.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Hmm…



The Senate has been wanting to wait until after the budget vote to do the RHA so as not to enflame passions. I told subscribers earlier about the Fix the FOID bill being stuck.

Also, Mayor Lightfoot appears to have a problem with the gaming bill, but I’ve been having trouble getting an answer out of her people.

And if the House does wait until tomorrow to do the capital bill taxes, that’s going to mean 71 votes. And those aren’t easy votes by any stretch of the imagination.

*** UPDATE 2 *** 9:33 pm The Illinois Manufacturers Association says it is now supporting the state operating budget and the capital budget. The governor and the House Republican Leader were able to come to an agreement with the other leaders on concessions.

Meanwhile, Gov. Pritzker was invited to attend the Senate Republican caucus meeting tonight. He walked in at about 9:20 or so.

The House is now debating the budget.

*** UPDATE 3 *** 9:33 pm The House passed the budget (SB262) 83-35.

*** UPDATE 4 *** 9:57 pm Kind of a matter of fact statement from Speaker Madigan…

Tonight, the House approved a bipartisan budget bill in coordination with Leader Durkin. The work of this House is not done. We have adjourned for tonight and will return tomorrow to continue working in a bipartisan manner to finish the remaining work of the General Assembly

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Shuttle diplomacy by leaders to try to avoid overtime

Friday, May 31, 2019

* I’ve been telling subscribers about these meetings for a few hours…


Cullerton has been bouncing around all over the place.

*** UPDATE *** He’s been pushing these ideas for at least a week now…


- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Megaproject near Soldier Field tucked into the BIMP

Friday, May 31, 2019

* Greg Hinz

The state of Illinois potentially will be on the hook for more than $5 billion in equity and financing costs if a provision to speed construction of a megaproject near Soldier Field is approved by the General Assembly in this weekend’s extended spring session.

Elements of the deal for the huge One Central project have been in the discussion stage for weeks, with Bob Dunn of Landmark Development meeting with House Speaker Mike Madigan, Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes and other officials.

But actual language didn’t surface until Friday afternoon, when it was included in a must-pass budget implementation bill.

(If you want to read it for yourself, click here and go to pages 876, 904, 922, 941 and 978.)

The provisions would create a new Civic Transit and Infrastructure Fund. It would collect and disburse tax funds owed to a private developer “pursuant to the public private partnership entered into by the public agency on behalf of the state of Illinois to the Public-Private Partnership for Civic and Transit Infrastructure Project Act enacted in this amendatory act.” […]

Under the bill, the state would begin to pay $200 million a year to the private developer starting in 2023—presuming a contract is negotiated, and the big transit station that Dunn promises is operational then. The state would give him $200 million that year, with annual payments rising to $445 million in 2045.

*** UPDATE *** Pritzker administration…

There is no cost to the state in the BIMP. The Governor has not committed to developing this project. This allows Landmark to explore whether it’s viable for them to get federal backing. If they can, then we could consider whether or not we would like to do an agreement.

None of these provisions go into effect unless and until a separate agreement is reached. The BIMP allows GOMB to negotiate a P3 with Landmark and gives Landmark time to apply for federal RIFF funding in the event a deal can be reached in the future.

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      


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Friday, May 31, 2019

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Friday, May 31, 2019

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Cheat sheet for the big stuff still on the table

Friday, May 31, 2019

* Except where otherwise noted, none of these bills have yet to clear either chamber as of 3:26 this afternoon. List adapted from a Senate Democratic e-mail…

SB690 — Revenue for vertical (universities, etc) construction

HB3096 — Revenue bill for roads, bridges, transit (horizontal) construction

SB689 — FY20 operating revenue

HB142 — Bond authorization

SB1814 — Budget Implementation Act (BIMP)

HB62 — Construction appropriations/spending

SB262 — FY20 operating appropriations/spending

SB690 — Gaming/sports betting

SB75 — Comprehensive anti-sexual harassment proposal

SB25 — Reproductive Health Act (passed House, pending in Senate)

Added: SB1966 — Fix the FOID (passed House, pending in Senate)

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      


Question of the day

Friday, May 31, 2019

* Your current mood?

- Posted by Rich Miller   55 Comments      


*** UPDATED x2 *** Madigan calls weekend special session

Friday, May 31, 2019

* Ugh…



…Adding… I asked the Senate President’s spokesperson if the Senate will be in session this weekend and his response was: “Let’s see how today goes.”

*** UPDATE 1 *** The end of session party is proceeding as planned.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Sun-Times

Capitol insiders speculated whether the overtime demand is a Madigan power play. If Pritzker had attained all his legislative priorities by the end of Friday, the rookie governor would be largely credited with the wins.

Legislators have complained that there was little time to digest comprehensive capital and budget bills — and negotiations were vastly done behind-the-scenes. House Republicans on Friday blasted out a statement accusing Democrats of increasing spending and neglecting any of their preferred job reforms. Republicans said the reforms were taken out on Friday morning, prompting the statement.

It appears Madigan, too, is trying to force some Republicans to vote on the budget and capital plan, to show that it is “bipartisan.” Republicans had asked for a real estate tax and the $1 tax on cigarettes to be removed from the capital plan. On Friday they learned the taxes were still on the table, and their requested reforms were stripped out.

Asked about the budget negotiation process during a House Executive Committee, House Majority Leader Greg Harris, D-Chicago, noted there was “less agreement than there was in the past.”

“Some things we agreed upon, some things we did not,” Harris said of negotiations with Republicans.

- Posted by Rich Miller   50 Comments      


House sends legalized cannabis bill to governor 66-47-2

Friday, May 31, 2019

* Democrats voting “No” included Reps. Crespo, Deluca, Edly-Allen, Flowers, Moylan, Reitz and Scherer. Rep. Lilly voted “Present.” Rep. Ammons did not vote. Republicans voting “Yes” included Reps. Parkhurst, Skillicorn and Welter…

…Adding… GOP Rep. Parkhurst…

Today the House voted 66-47 with 2 Present to legalize and regulate the adult use of cannabis. Below is a statement from State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst (R-Kankakee):

“The 79th District is split on the issue of the legalization of recreational use of cannabis for adults. For months, I’ve been meeting with advocates in support and opposition and studied the issue at length. Both sides of the argument have merit.

However, I concluded prohibition is not working and with the current Governor and legislature, it is clear our state is already on a path for legalizing adult use cannabis.

So, I was one of a few Republicans to take a seat at the table to push for and obtain important changes to improve the bill and protect our state through stronger public safety measures, more taxpayer and workplace protections, local control and revenue, and commitment to mental health and substance abuse services.

Will there be problems? Absolutely. But, we face many of those same problems now and we are facing them without appropriate regulation, resources, or revenue.

Cannabis prohibition is simply no longer working. The illicit market is too large to successfully repress. The choice is not whether to make cannabis available, but whether its production and use should be legal and regulated or illegal and unregulated.

To be sure, Cannabis is not harmless - Cannabis Use Disorder and use by minors are real and existing problems - this is why we need legislation to protect public health and to protect our communities through regulation.

This is why I voted yes.”

* Think Big…

Think Big Illinois Executive Director Quentin Fulks released the following statement today after the House passed marijuana legalization, sending it to Governor Pritzker to be signed into law:

“Today’s passage of marijuana legalization in the Illinois House of Representatives represents critical progress toward making Illinois a more just, more safe, and more equitable place for everyone who calls it home. Think Big Illinois applauds the legislators in both chambers who voted to support this legislation that will help end the era of mass incarceration, bring economic opportunity to our communities, and generate desperately needed revenue for our state.

“We look forward to Governor Pritzker signing this bill into law, and seeing how marijuana legalization will help our state and its communities in the years to come.”

All other releases will be posted on our live coverage post.

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      


It’s just a bill

Friday, May 31, 2019

* Dispatch-Argus

State Rep. Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, has signed on as co-sponsor of a bill that intends to kick Chicago out of Illinois and make it the 51st state. […]

McCombie is a chairperson of the House Republican Organization’s political action committee, which raises money for House campaigns.

According to the Illinois State Board of Elections, HRO has accepted millions in donations from donors and corporations in the city of Chicago.

“Those dollars were before my time as HRO chairman,” McCombie said. “The majority of HRO are downstate members. We as a state, should be collectively working together. I hope that’s why (Chicago) donors are investing in HRO.”

Illinoisans should collectively work together, but she is a co-sponsor of a proposal to kick Chicago out of Illinois and she wants Chicago donors to give money to the campaign fund she chairs so they can spend it on Downstaters, some of whom want to kick Chicago out of Illinois.

Am I reading that right?

* BND

Since the start of 2019, 22 Illinois State Police troopers have had their patrol vehicles struck by drivers who’ve disobeyed Scott’s Law. With Senate Bill 1862 passing both chambers, violators will now receive steeper fines.

The piece cleared the Senate Thursday evening, and in a news release on Friday Gov. J.B. Pritzker commended the bipartisan effort behind the bill and said he looks forward to signing the legislation.

“Our state troopers and emergency responders risk their lives to protect us, and I applaud the General Assembly for taking action to help keep them safe.” Pritzker said in the statement.

Drivers who fail to reduce their speed or move over when approaching stationary vehicles on the side of the road could be fined at least $500 for a first offense. The fine and fee increases to at least $1,000 for repeat offenses. The maximum fine for any offense is $10,000.

* Squaring the Center, or something

Illinois lawmakers are now one vote away from sending legislation to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk that would mandate a minimum $40,000 annual salary for the state’s teachers. Opponents say it will result in property tax hikes, particularly in downstate school districts.

Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, ushered Senate Bill 10 out of the Senate last month. House Bill 2078 was amended to match Manar’s earlier bill that would require the $40,000 minimum salary by 2023.

The legislation passed along partisan lines Wednesday.

“It would establish a minimum teacher salary in the state beginning in the 2020 school year of just over $32,000 and phase that up over the next four years,” Manar said.

Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, says the law would likely mean rural districts would have to raise property taxes to pay for the salary increases.

* Press release…

Both chambers of the Illinois legislature have now approved legislation filed by State Sen. John Curran (R-Downers Grove) that will create stringent rules for ethylene oxide use and emissions, and shut down failing facilities.

“This bill strengthens the Illinois EPA seal order that sealed Sterigenics’ ethylene oxide chambers, and it creates the strongest ethylene oxide sterilization regulations in the nation,” said Sen. Curran. “I would like to thank Leader Durkin for his help in evolving this bill and passing it through the House.”

Senate Bill 1852 requires ethylene oxide sterilization facilities to capture 100% of the ethylene oxide emissions. Faculties would be required to limit emissions to the atmosphere by 99.9% or to 0.2 parts per million. The legislation also requires any company under a seal order to get certification from every customer and/or supplier that ethylene oxide is the only method to sterilize their product.

The legislation was filed in response to the ongoing Sterigenics crisis in Willowbrook. This legislation, along with several others Curran has passed through the General Assembly, are designed to protect the public from the hidden dangers of the deadly gas.

“These new standards will make sure that facilities are operating in a safe manner, or they will be shut down, and it also furthers our efforts to keep Sterigenics shut down,” said Senator Curran.

The legislation passed the Senate unanimously on May 30th and is now headed to the Governor for his signature.

* Related…

* Bill with changes spurred by Chicago Public Schools student sexual abuse scandal headed to Gov. Pritzker: The measure, which emerged after nearly a year of negotiations, dials back more robust proposals. For example, lawmakers dropped a provision that would make it a crime for school employees to have sexual contact with a student regardless of the student’s age.

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      


Demmer unhappy with budget, capital, gaming, etc.

Friday, May 31, 2019

* The House Republicans have been privately and publicly grumbling for days about being shut out of talks…

House Republican Deputy Minority Leader Tom Demmer released the following statement on the status of end of session negotiations:

“Our caucus is the only caucus that has been clear about our priorities for weeks. We asked for a balanced budget that addresses our unpaid bills and pension liability, and we advocated for meaningful pro-jobs reforms that our state so desperately needs. Earlier this week, there was an agreement on a path forward to address all of the issues before us. Unfortunately, Democrats withheld information, added additional taxes and rejected any attempts to grow our economy. With less than 12 hours to go, the Democrats are expecting the General Assembly to pass seven never-before-seen bills that spend more than $80 billion dollars. Illinois taxpayers deserve better.”

I’ve asked the other three caucuses for a response.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      


During House prayer, minister asks God to “judge Illinois for the sanctioned destruction of the innocent unborn”

Friday, May 31, 2019

* Pastor Corey Musgrave of the New Beginnings church in Fairfield led the House in its daily prayer today at the invite of Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia), an Eastern Bloc member. Musgrave began by thanking his maker for the “abundance of natural resources you have entrusted us with in the south,” and the “industrial capacity in the north.”

And then he pivoted to the House’s passage of the Reproductive Health Act this week, saying Illinois “has decided to go its own way apart from You.”

* His conclusion

So, God, we have made our appeals to the leaders of Illinois this week on behalf of those innocent babies who do not yet have a voice. We have been a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves as You have commanded us. Those appeals were denied, but we have one final appeal left and that is to the courts of Heaven.

God Almighty, I make an appeal to Heaven today, to You the perfect judge, the One who presides over Heaven’s court.

I ask you to rise up, oh God, and judge Illinois for the sanctioned destruction of the innocent unborn. For when Your judgements are in this state, the inhabitants of Illinois learn righteousness. In this House I pray for justice to roll down like water and righteousness like a mighty river. In Your judgement I pray that You would remember mercy for we know that You, oh God, do not want anyone to be destroyed.

I ask this in the name of Your son, the one who died for a sinner like me, the one who was appointed to judge the living and the dead. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.

* Video

- Posted by Rich Miller   98 Comments      


Pritzker backs off vow to phase out private school scholarship program

Friday, May 31, 2019

* Maxwell with the scoop…



- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      


Another year, another property tax task force

Friday, May 31, 2019

* Daily Herald

Before the vote [on the graduated income tax constitutional amendment], “the governor personally reached out and said ‘it’s a priority of mine … I want to understand why you are in opposition to this,’” [Jonathan Carroll, D-Northbrook] recounted, adding he told Pritzker, “If we’re going to fix how we tax, it has to start with local property taxes.”

Likewise, [Rep. Sam Yingling, D-Grayslake], who said he’d vote against the graduated tax, also received Pritzker time.

“The governor was very proactive and engaging in a number of conversations,” said Yingling, who also pushed property tax relief. “The governor realizes this is a problem that hurts middle-class families and has to be addressed head-on.”

The result? Unenthused Democrats, including Carroll, Yingling, Rep. Daniel Didech of Buffalo Grove — who initially told the Daily Herald he opposed a graduated tax — and Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego, who took no position, voted for the constitutional amendment Monday, helping to pass it in a 73-44 vote. Pritzker created a Property Tax Relief Task Force that is required to report back by Dec. 31 on how to reduce taxes. Members will include legislators and Pritzker staffers.

Rep. Carroll sponsored the legislation creating that task force, but it stalled yesterday when Republicans complained that it didn’t guarantee bipartisan membership. An amendment was filed this morning which allows all four legislative leaders to appoint task force members.

Yingling is a co-sponsor as are Reps. Stephanie Kifowit and Bob Morgan, who voted against the income tax rates bill yesterday.

* But is another task force really gonna solve anything? Here’s that Third Center Square from the Sun site

“We had a task force that was created last General Assembly that had a couple of subject matter hearings, but that was the extent of it,” said state Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford. “I’m just curious what this means by having teeth in it because I don’t see anything within the wording of the task force that dictates or mandates any particular thing to happen.”

State Rep. Margo McDermed said she wasn’t impressed.

“I have no confidence whatsoever that anything will change other than the folks that like the status quo the way it is will destroy your hopes,” she told Carroll.

Carroll said the governor had reassured him that changing the way the state taxes residents must change.

Illinois has created task forces or commissions of one form or another to address property taxes in 1975, 1982, 1998, 2009, and 2018, according to an Illinois Department of Revenue report and comments from Sosnowski.

* Related…

* House OK, sends to Senate rates for graduated income tax: But House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, of Western Springs, said he was proud to be the “party of no” on some of the state’s previously passed unbalanced budgets. He said “history will not look kindly” on the General Assembly for the changes to the tax code and the “anti-business agenda” he said Democrats were pushing in the past four months.

* Springfield scramble: Crunch time for legislators on pot, gaming, budget, other issues: During debate, State Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville, likened taxing the wealthy to the wild: “That’s what hyenas do to animals in the wild.” “They divide them, they sanction them up and they after after the small group because they’re easier to attack,” Davidsmeyer said. But bill sponsor State Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, championed it as a way for voters to have a say in a historic way: “I would suggest stability is better than what we have right now.”

* With a Full Slate, Time is Running Out for Illinois Lawmakers: Democrats say passing the new rate table this early will help to assure voters as they decide whether to back the constitutional change. … But Republicans say these are merely “teaser” rates during what’s sure to be a hard-fought campaign on the amendment, which are sure to spike in the future. “This is just a poorly structured package. It gives no guarantees to the taxpayers. It’s a huge tax increase across the board,” said Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills.

* Illinois House OKs graduated tax rate schedule: Rep. Steven Reick, R-Woodstock, said a tax hike focused on the wealthy could lead to problems if there is a downturn in the economy that affects wealthy earners. “When their income goes down the drop is going to be precipitous,” he said. Democrats, though, said the flat tax system is unfair to lower and middle incomes. Rep. Michael Halpin, D-Rock Island, said incomes for the wealthy have grown under the flat tax while others have stagnated. “Who’s done better under the flat tax? The top 1 percent,” he said. “So ask yourself who is being protected by the flat tax system.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      


*** UPDATED x5 - Vertical capital, horizontal capital, gaming bill, budget surface *** Gaming, capital and the budget all await action

Friday, May 31, 2019

*** UPDATE 1 *** The operating budget bill has surfaced. Click here.

The operating budget will begin in the House and the capital budget will start in the Senate.

*** UPDATE 2 *** The gaming/sports betting bill has been filed. Click here to read it. Click here to read a summary. It’ll be heard today at 1:30 in House Exec.

*** UPDATE 3 *** The horizontal capital bill is here.

*** UPDATE 4 *** From the Journey to the Center of the Square outfit

A source with knowledge of the spending plan in SB262 said it increases funding for K-12 education to $375 million, which is $25 million more than is required by the evidence-based funding formula lawmakers implemented several years ago.

Early childhood education will get a $50 million increase, the source said. For higher education, including community colleges, there are increases ranging from 3 to 9 percent above the current fiscal year.

The spending plan includes a 9 percent increase for the Department on Aging, a 10 percent increase for the Department of Children and Family Services, a 10 percent increase for public health programs that focus on breast cancer screening, vaccines and immunizations, lead screening and safety net hospitals.

The Illinois Department of Corrections would get 7.4 percent more to help comply with various consent decrees.

The Illinois Department of Transportation would get a 20 percent increase from the current fiscal year to increase its headcount and administer capital projects.

*** UPDATE 5 *** The vertical capital bill is here.

[ *** End Of Updates *** ]

* Mark Brown

Chicago would get a new mega-casino with the proceeds earmarked to pay for police and fire pensions under a mammoth gambling expansion deal in the final stages of negotiation, a key legislator said Thursday.

State Sen. Terry Link, D-Vernon Hills, the Senate sponsor of the bill, said the Chicago casino would allow for 4,000 gaming positions, making it more than three times larger than any casino currently operating in Illinois.

Link said it would be part of a broader deal creating six new casinos across the state and bringing slot machines to three horse racing tracks, essentially turning them into casinos as well.

In addition, the nearly 7,000 businesses that offer video gambling would be allowed to add one machine per establishment — in itself the equivalent of almost six more casinos.

The Chicago casino would not be city-owned, the oft-stated preference of previous mayors, but the city would get a better deal than other municipalities that host casinos, receiving 33 percent of the adjusted gross receipts, Link said. Other communities only get 5 percent.

* From that Journey to the Center of the Square site

Big items left unresolved late Thursday included how to pay for a proposed $41 billion, six-year infrastructure plan. State Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Chicago, said he wasn’t ready to reveal details about how it would be funded. However, he said that motorists can expect to see the state’s gas tax double.

“There’s full agreement the 19 cent gas tax indexed is part of the revenue stream that is needed,” Sandoval said. […]

State Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, said he was told a proposed $1 surcharge on ride-sharing services was nixed. Oberweis also said one plan to fund the state budget may have been dropped.

“No bag tax at this point, so a few of these things are supposed, but you know the problem is by [Friday] these things could change,” Oberweis said.

I kid that company and its constantly changing name, but they do have some good reporters and they put out a lot of content.

* WTTW

Key budget negotiators say the fiscal year 2020 spending plan, which will take effect July 1, is not banking on the passage of gambling; revenues would instead be key to a large capital program.

Nor, they say, does the budget depend on Illinois legalizing marijuana, though that is close to passage: Late Thursday night a House committee advanced a broad package that would allow Illinois residents ages 21 and older to purchase and possess up to 30 grams of marijuana come January.

* The working group meetings that have been tackling these issues have become secret committee hearings and it’s getting to be a bit much

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is counting on a host of new revenue streams to fund the budget he proposed to the General Assembly. Those include higher taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products, higher taxes on video gambling machines, a new plastic shopping bag tax, and a new assessment on managed care organizations that manage the state’s Medicaid program.

But as lawmakers head into the final scheduled day of the 2019 spring session today, none of those bills has been passed. In fact, no one outside the General Assembly has even seen a final draft of them.

Nor, in fact, have they seen a final version of a budget bill, the multi-year capital improvements plan or a gaming bill that would include the legalized sports betting that Pritzker has proposed.

“Stay tuned tomorrow,” Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, chairman of the House Revenue and Finance Committee, said in an interview late Thursday evening.

Private negotiations are essential to legislating. The working groups go way beyond that, however.

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** AFSCME Council 31 reaches tentative contract deal with state

Friday, May 31, 2019

* Several sources confirmed this morning that AFSCME and state negotiators reached an agreement in the wee hours of the night. I’ll update this post with press releases, etc. in a bit. Until then, here’s Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch shaking hands with CMS chief negotiator Robb Craddock…

*** UPDATE *** Press release…

Early this morning, Governor JB Pritzker’s administration and AFSCME Council 31—the largest union of Illinois state employees—reached a tentative agreement on a new contract.

As always, terms will be released after union members have the opportunity to review and vote on the tentative agreement at worksite ratification meetings to be scheduled in the coming days.

“With this tentative agreement, Illinois has turned another important page from years of brutal ideological warfare,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Instead, this agreement respects the valuable contributions our workers make to the state and treats all our taxpayers fairly, thanks to months of negotiations that were constructive and frank. This agreement will be accommodated in the budget that the General Assembly will vote on today, and even more importantly, it is consistent with my long-term plans to stabilize Illinois’ finances.”

“This agreement reflects a fresh start for public service workers in state government,” AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said. “For four years, union members did their jobs and served their communities despite Bruce Rauner’s chaos, hostility and constant attacks. In the Pritzker administration, AFSCME members have an employer who understands the importance of their work, respects their rights and is a constructive partner in the collective bargaining process.”

AFSCME represents nearly 40,000 state employees who protect kids from abuse and neglect, care for veterans and people with disabilities, keep prisons safe, maintain state parks, help struggling families and provide countless other vital public services in communities across the state.

- Posted by Rich Miller   128 Comments      


Cannabis roundup

Friday, May 31, 2019

* Sun-Times

And after clearing changes to a recreational cannabis legalization measure, the Illinois House must debate it on the floor. Facing opposition, bill sponsors scaled back expungement provisions in the measure and narrowed down home grow for just medical marijuana patients, among other changes.

The Illinois House planned to take up the cannabis measure at a Thursday night committee meeting, to clear it for a vote on Friday. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who helped to shape the expungement changes, came to Springfield to testify on the measure.

The original language would have automatically expunged an estimated 800,000 convictions. The revised language means those with convictions for cannabis possession convictions under 30 grams can get pardoned by the governor. States attorneys would then be able to petition the court to expunge the record. A judge would direct law enforcement agencies and county clerks to clear their record.

While the bill sponsor remained optimistic about its passage, House Democrats met during a lengthy caucus about the bill earlier Thursday. It’s unclear whether there’s enough support, so a close vote is anticipated, sources said. But Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan will likely play a big role in helping Gov. J.B. Pritzker secure enough votes for passage since it’s considered one of the governor’s key legislative priorities this session.

Way too many people out there spiked the ball in the endzone after the Senate passed the legalization bill. This ain’t over until it’s over.

* Tribune

Among those testifying in support of the bill at Thursday’s committee hearing was Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, a proponent of the bill’s expungement provisions.

“This is not simply a measure of social justice and equity; it is a public safety issue,” Foxx said. Clearing people’s records of marijuana convictions would help them gain access to educational and job opportunities and help prevent them from committing future crimes, she said.

Opponents have raised concerns that the bill will increase teen use of marijuana and result in more people driving while high, and have also cited health concerns, among other problems.

Ahead of the committee vote, supporters said privately that they expected a close vote on the House floor due to concerns from African American lawmakers that provisions to provide expungement were more complicated than had originally been envisioned.

* Foxx’s testimony was designed to address some of the concerns expressed by African-American House members from the Chicago area

It’s a matter of “going back and writing the wrongs,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who was in Springfield to testify in favor of the measure (House Bill 1438) and had worked to negotiate the revised clemency process.

“Even a misdemeanor conviction has longstanding collateral consequences,” Foxx said, like employment and housing obstacles. “We must be responsible about legalization. I believe this bill does that. And I believe that the components related to expungements is the best that we could hope for, for the people of the state of Illinois.”

As I tweeted last night, appointed freshman Rep. Kam Buckner (D-Chicago) hinted he may not be a “Yes” when the bill is brought up today.

* Mark Maxwell tweeted during the hearing last night. Here’s a couple of them…



A Supreme Court case over K9s? Seriously?

* And the News-Gazette seems to bemoan the failure of alcohol prohibition in an editorial today

People, of course, rightly complain that consuming alcoholic beverages is no better. But alcohol is a reality that this country has tried — and failed — to address. Pritzker now intends to double down on the mortal threat posed by these twin, soon-to-be-legal intoxicants.

How ironic it is that Pritzker, who repeatedly cited the serious difficulties posed by his mother’s alcoholism, now celebrates dropping this time bomb into the lives of the people of Illinois.

Yeah, bring his mom into it. Lovely.

* The House brought the bill to the floor this morning and the Republicans requested a one-hour caucus. Watch the live coverage post for instant updates today.

- Posted by Rich Miller   121 Comments      


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Friday, May 31, 2019

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Good morning!

Friday, May 31, 2019

* Mr. Waters said it best

Well you know there should be no law
on people that want to smoke a little dope

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      


*** LIVE COVERAGE ***

Friday, May 31, 2019

* Follow along with ScribbleLive


- Posted by Rich Miller   2 Comments      


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