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Senate votes to legalize cannabis 38-17-2

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

* Senate Democrats voting “No” were Bertino-Tarrant and Crowe…

Republicans voting “Yes” were Anderson, Barickman and McClure.

Democratic Sen. Harris voted “Present” and Sens. Stadelman and Van Pelt didn’t vote.

The bill now moves to the House. Its fate in that chamber is still uncertain.

- Posted by Rich Miller   42 Comments      

House passes “Fix the FOID” bill 62-52

Wednesday, May 29, 2019


Exercising Constitutional rights in America should not cost money, but under new legislation approved in the Illinois House today the cost of gun ownership in Illinois will dramatically increase.

The House approved Senate Bill 1966 62-52. The legislation would substantially the increase cost of a FOID card and complicate the process by mandating fingerprinting as a requirement to obtain/renew a FOID card with a maximum cost of $30 for the service. The legislation also raises the FOID card renewals to $20 every 5 years (currently $10 for a 10-year license). Finally, it also requires private firearm sales/transfers go through a licensed dealer.

“This legislation is an affront to every gun owner in this state,” said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. “You should not have to pay money to exercise your Constitutional rights. We have a guaranteed right to own a firearm under the Constitution, but here in Illinois to exercise that right, you must jump through all kinds of hoops and pay all kinds of money to the state. There are few things you can count on in life, but one of them is that Illinois State Rifle Association will keep fighting this in the Legislature and will be challenging this terrible legislation in court should it be signed into law.”


Today, the Illinois House passed the Fix the FOID Act (SB 1966), that address loopholes in the state’s existing gun licensing system that were brought to light following the tragic shooting that took five lives on February 15, 2019 in Aurora, Illinois. With days to go before the end of the Illinois legislative session, the Senate must call for a vote before the bill can head to the Governor’s desk.

“We are grateful to chief sponsor Representative Kathleen Willis and proud of the Illinois House for working to close the gaps in our gun laws to ensure that those who are prohibited from gun possession, are not able to easily evade the law and arm themselves,” said Kathleen Sances, president and CEO of G-PAC. “We urge the Illinois Senate to take this critical legislation over the finish line by voting yes to fixing the FOID.”

“People are looking for action to prevent gun violence, and Springfield is listening,” said Tanja Radakovich Murray, a volunteer with the Illinois chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Closing deadly gaps in our gun laws is a matter of public safety, and the Senate should act quickly to send this important legislation to the Governor’s desk.”

“People prohibited from owning a gun shouldn’t be able to get their hands on one,” said Nico Bocour, state legislative director at Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Captain Mark Kelly. “Gaps in Illinois’s strong laws have allowed dangerous individuals to use a firearm to cause devastating tragedies like the shooting in Aurora, Illinois. But state lawmakers didn’t just offer thoughts and prayers. They acted to make sure Illinoisans are safe from gun violence at work and in their communities. The Fix the FOID Act closes dangerous loopholes so only law-abiding citizens can buy a gun. We applaud Rep. Willis and Sen. Morrison for their leadership in sponsoring this legislation and look forward to Governor Pritzker signing the Fix the FOID Act into law.”

Under current Illinois law, individuals seeking to buy a gun must first obtain a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) Card from the Department of State Police. The Fix the FOID Act would make the following key provisions to the current FOID system:

    Require a point-of-sale background check for all gun sales, including those by an unlicensed seller.
    Require applicants for FOID Cards to submit fingerprints as part of their application.
    Reduce the FOID Card duration from 10 years to five years.
    Require action by the State Police to remove guns once a FOID Card is revoked.

An investigation by the Chicago Tribune published last week found that as many as 30,000 guns may still be in the possession of Illinois residents deemed too dangerous to have them, while the Chicago Sun-Times editoralized in favor of Fix the FOID. In the editorial, the Sun-Times writes: “none of the modest measures being proposed in this legislation would impose an undue burden on anybody’s Second Amendment rights. But they might have saved the lives of five people in Aurora on Feb. 15, 2010.”

Support for the bill is growing across district and party lines. A recently released poll finds that two-thirds of Illinois voters support the Fix the FOID Act including roughly three-quarters of voters in suburban Cook County and the “collar counties” of DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will and almost half of voters in Downstate Illinois.

The measure passed out of the House by a margin of 62-52.

The roll call is here. Democratic Reps. Bristow, Greenwood, Halpin, Hoffman, Kifowit, Reitz, Scherer, Stuart and Yednock voted “No.”

Reps. DeLuca and Mayfield did not vote. Rep. Mason was excused.

- Posted by Rich Miller   67 Comments      

Sen. Hastings tables bill tied to ALEC

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

* Background is here. The bill was amended and then passed the House, but has stalled in the Senate. Press release…

In response to Sen. Michael Hastings, sponsor of the Illinois critical infrastructure bill HB 1633, tabling his anti-protest bill, Greenpeace USA Executive Director Annie Leonard said:

“HB 1633 was a completely unnecessary attempt by the fossil fuel industry and secretive groups like ALEC to divide the progressive movement at the exact moment when we most need to mobilize quickly toward real solutions to climate change. Over 50 civil rights organizations, labor unions, and grassroots groups worked together to defeat this bill. Nearly 6,000 witness slips opposing the bill were submitted compared to a paltry 215 by the bill’s proponents. Our collective message was clear: Illinois does not need such a harmful and unnecessary law on the books. We are pleased Sen. Hastings listened to our concerns and wisely chose to table this bill.

“We need elected officials who are champions for people and the planet. We need our lawmakers fearless in the face of oil and gas money in politics. We need them believing the science, telling the truth, and speaking out for their constituents over corporations. Sen. Hastings did the right thing by tabling HB 1633, not just for the state, but as an example that shows that we the people need a healthy democracy to protect our planet.”

One of organized labor’s few defeats this year. But, hey, maybe it’ll pop up elsewhere. I asked Sen. Hastings why he tabled the bill and he didn’t respond.

…Adding… From Sen. Hastings…

Rich -

Given the text of the original House Bill 1633 & its sweeping passage in the Illinois House of Representatives (77 Yes, 28 No), I had serious concerns as to some of the provisions contained in the bill.

Understanding that, I proposed an amendment that would bring the legislation in compliance with the Senate Clear Committee. Unfortunately, due to the limited amount of time left in the legislative session, I chose to table the bill in order to bring all interested parties together over the summer.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

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*** UPDATED x1 *** Question of the day

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

* I’m about 99 percent sure I know the answer to this question, but I ain’t talking…

* The Question: Your best guesses?

*** UPDATE *** She’s right…

- Posted by Rich Miller   91 Comments      

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

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It’s just a bill

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

* Sun-Times

Money to support McCormick Place expansion would be raised by expanding a 1% tax on restaurant meals and drinks under legislation advancing Wednesday in the Illinois Senate.

The proposal, which has strong backing from trade unions, would enlarge the part of Chicago’s central business district in which the tax is collected. The Senate Executive Committee approved the measure 12-1, with one member voting present, during a hearing Wednesday. The bill could go to the full Senate later Wednesday.

The revenue would allow the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which runs McCormick Place, to borrow an additional $600 million, increasing its bonding limit to $3.45 billion. The agency plans to build a new convention hall over King Drive and tear down the above-ground portion of the Lakeside Center, widely viewed as outmoded convention space.

An earlier proposal to fund the expansion with a $1-a-ride tax on Uber and Lyft has been dropped amid opposition from those companies.

* The enviros were able to pass this bill partly by attracting the support of a union

[Yesterday] the Illinois Legislature passed SB9, The Coal Ash Pollution Prevention Act, which now heads to the Governor’s desk. The groundbreaking bill addresses the many waste pits filled with coal ash, the toxic byproduct of burning coal, located all over the state. Illinois is now the third state in the country to pass legislation providing significant coal ash protections above and beyond federal requirements.

The legislation creates a regulatory framework to ensure polluters, not taxpayers, pay for needed closure and cleanup, guarantees public participation and transparency around cleanups for affected communities, and provides Illinois EPA the funds it needs to properly oversee closure and cleanup. It also requires Illinois to put in place standards for coal ash impoundments that are at least as protective as federal coal ash rule requirements, with additional protections against dust and water pollution. […]

Illinois has the highest concentration of coal ash impoundments in the country. The Illinois EPA has found groundwater contamination from coal ash waste sites dating back to 2009. A 2018 report from environmental groups Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice, Prairie Rivers Network and Sierra Club analyzing data collected by ash dump owners under the federal coal ash rule found that 22 of 24 of Illinois’ reporting coal ash dumpsites have unsafe levels of toxic pollutants in the groundwater. Illinois joins Virginia and North Carolina in addressing coal ash through state level legislation.

* Jim Dey

One of Champaign County’s most partisan elected officials has joined forces with Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan in a bid to elect more Democrats to judicial offices here.

On Monday, state Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Urbana, proposed an amendment to a legislative shell bill — HB97 — to remove Champaign County from its current six-county judicial circuit and make it a circuit of its own.

The legislation was passed on an 8-5 party-line vote Tuesday by the House Executive Committee and sent to the House floor for further action. […]

Ammons declined to discuss the legislation but issued a brief statement.

“Judicial reform is needed in Champaign County to bring balance and access to the bench; ensuring diverse candidates by gender, race and party affiliation. Champaign County judges should be elected by the people of Champaign County,” she said.

That is not — and likely won’t ever be — the case. The county judiciary is staffed by six circuit judges — three of whom are resident judges and run only in Champaign County. In addition to the circuit judges, the county has five associate judges who are appointed by the circuit judges for a specific term in office.

Ammons told me yesterday there is only one woman circuit judge, no minorities and no Democrats.

* Greg Bishop

Illinois House Republicans sporting buttons with fingerprints crossed out as they prepare to debate bill to mandate fingerprints for gun owners.

The button…

The House floor debate has begun. Check the live coverage post for updates.

* Other stuff…

* Illinois Lawmakers Tackle Teacher Shortage By Taking Aim At Licensing Test: In Illinois now, student teachers have to videotape themselves in the classroom as part of a mandatory test to become certified. But some educators say the edTPA test is too onerous, not an effective indicator of a quality teacher and discourages some would-be teachers.

* Illinois bill to stop some driver’s license suspensions put on hold [UPDATE: The bill passed committee and is now on short debate in the House.]

* Bill would ban e-cigs in public indoor places: The proposal was approved by the Senate Public Health Committee, but only after Sen. Patricia Van Pelt, D-Chicago, changed her vote to get the issue to the Senate floor. She did not pledge to support it during a floor vote, though.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

Today’s quotable

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

* The Illinois AFL-CIO is misidentified here, but I’m more interested in Link’s quote

One of the state’s largest labor unions urged lawmakers to pass an expanded gambling bill in the waning days of the 2019 session, saying it would not only create new jobs in Illinois but would provide needed funding for a multi-billion-dollar capital improvements plan.

“Illinois is recovering from the trauma of four years of budget impasse, starving out vital services, and a public works stagnation,” Michael Carrigan, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO, said during a Statehouse news conference Tuesday. “An expansion of gaming will help fund much-needed infrastructure construction and be a shot in the arm for revenue for this state.”

The biggest obstacle to passing a gambling measure this year, however, is that with only three days left in the regular session, the bill still hasn’t been written.

“We have 80 hours to go. What are you worried about?” quipped Sen. Terry Link, D-Indian Creek, one of the lead supporters of expanded gambling in the Senate. “The bill is being drafted. It’s not like this is all new concepts. We’re working off of bills we’ve done in the past. We’re tweaking. We’re changing them around a lot.”

What, me worry?

* Related…

* Gambling expansion pieces still coming together, but supporters bet on passage

* Some Lawmakers and Union Members Advocate for Walker’s Bluff Resort

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      

A look at what the new rates would do to tax payment rankings

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

* Jake Griffin

Illinois residents making $1.5 million a year [currently] pay less in income taxes than their counterparts in all but eight of the 41 states with such a tax.

But for people making $60,000 a year, it’s a different story. In 24 of the states, those taxpayers pay less than in Illinois.

But that would change if the governor’s graduated income tax plan is approved, Griffin found

• Illinois filers with incomes over $1.5 million would move from the ninth lowest income taxes among the 41 states to the 35th lowest, meaning their income taxes would become among the highest.

• Those with incomes of $500,000 would move from 11th lowest to 26th lowest.

• Residents with incomes of $150,000 would move in the other direction, from 15th lowest to 13th lowest.

• And those with incomes of $60,000 would move from 24th lowest to 21st lowest.

* Related…

* Property tax task force, relief fund bills pass House committee

* Mark Brown: When it comes to property taxes, Democrats can spell relief — but that’s about it

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

The new policy appears to be working like a charm

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

* I’ve been trying to delete as many anonymous comments as I can lately because I’ve found that the people who won’t bother to take two seconds to come up with a screen name are usually (not always) trolls of the worst sort.

I received this e-mail last night…

Your deleting of anonymous postings has caused me to delete your web site from my book marks. Goodbye and good riddance!

I’d like to tell you what my response was, but I’d have to ban myself if I did.

Anyway, the deletions will continue unabated.

- Posted by Rich Miller   74 Comments      

It is time to #PasstheRHA

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

The women of Illinois are waiting.

They’re waiting for lawmakers in Springfield to show that they fully support women’s reproductive rights, free of meddling interference from government.

They’re waiting, and watching, as conservative legislators elsewhere target Roe v. Wade with draconian anti-abortion laws passed by conservative lawmakers who hope to someday get rid of Roe v. Wade.

Some of those laws ban abortions even in cases of rape or incest. Others allow women or their doctors to be prosecuted for undergoing or performing abortions.

Illinois is solidly pro-choice, but we must ensure protections for future generations of women. Should one of those medieval laws land before a conservative Supreme Court that is eager to overturn Roe, it would threaten abortion rights here and elsewhere.

Lawmakers in Illinois need not allow that chance.

They can safeguard the reproductive rights of women in Illinois by moving quickly to pass … the Reproductive Health Act. The bill would keep abortion and reproductive care safe and accessible by repealing decades-old laws that restrict, and in some cases criminalize, abortion.

Chicago Sun Times editorial board
May 21, 2019

For more information on #PasstheRHA click here.

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

*** UPDATED x3 *** Senate to take up cannabis legalization bill today

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

* I’m told the Senate will recess for an Executive Committee hearing at around 2 o’clock this afternoon. The committee will take up the cannabis legalization bill (Senate Amendment 2 to House Bill 1438) at that hearing.

The Senate will reconvene at about 5:30 this afternoon. The plan is to run the cannabis bill on the floor after a few warmup bills.

* Hannah Meisel

Republicans on Tuesday said they will likely provide “a handful” of votes to legalize marijuana now that a new amendment to SB 7 establishes a different path to expunge the records of those convicted of cannabis-related offenses — the governor’s pardon power.

A week ago Republican leaders told The Daily Line no member of their caucus would vote for to the long-running effort to legalize marijuana.

State Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields) told The Daily Line that she backed the change to the bill’s original language of automatic expungement of records via legislation to gubernatorial action.

In Illinois, a governor has the ability to pardon with “permission to expunge.” If a person is granted a pardon, with permission to expunge, he or she can then file a petition to expunge the pardoned offense, according to state guidelines.

“The expungement piece…we boosted the constitutionality of what it is we’re attempting to do and that was a significant concern for the Republican caucus and that brings folks back on board,” Hutchinson said. “That was one of the biggest sticking points.”

The original language in SB 7 dropped on May 4, and the Republicans who had been negotiating the bill for months — including State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) — began saying both privately and in the media that they could no longer support the bill. […]

“This is about to be the single-biggest piece of criminal justice reform in one piece of legislation in the country, and I would daresay the world,” Hutchinson said. “This is big, this is big, and I didn’t think this was going to happen. And I’m really proud of it. And nothing would make me happier than to see — if we actually make it to a bipartisan roll call because we tried and because it worked, that’s a good thing.”

This thing has legs, campers.

…Adding… Press release…

Americans for Prosperity-Illinois (AFP-IL) and the Reason Foundation issued a letter to lawmakers in support of the expungement reforms included in Senate Bill 7, which would allow for the legal cultivation, sale, and possession of cannabis in regulated amounts statewide. The groups also recommended needed reforms to the legislation in order for it the best achieve its goals. AFP-IL believes any effort to legalize recreational marijuana should enhance public safety, remove barriers to help individuals get a second chance, and be free of cronyism and overregulation.

The letter is here. There will be no amendments after Senate action barring a disastrous drafting error, however. The language is a Senate amendment to a House bill. Once the Senate passes it, the House has to either concur or non-concur.

…Adding… Some deets

…Adding… Press release…

Legalize Illinois praised Clergy for a New Drug Policy today for a letter it issued calling on the Illinois General Assembly immediately to legalize recreational cannabis for adult use. The letter, signed by 58 members of the clergy, cites the social justice and public safety aspects of the bill currently under consideration as the most urgent to support it.

“As clergy, we care deeply about social justice. The criminalization of cannabis, even for simple possession, has crippled the lives of people of color disproportionately for more than four decades. This is why we – the undersigned – believe it is time to move to a system of legal, regulated and taxed adult-use cannabis in Illinois,” the letter states.

“Current cannabis laws, fines, and arrests are carried out with staggering racial bias. The illicit market, which prohibition makes inevitable, continues to breed violence in our poorest communities all across Illinois,” the clergy members wrote.

The letter also notes that “regulation would make Illinois a safer state. It would allow us to educate adults, informing them about what a product contains and enabling them to make informed decisions. Banning sales by law to those under 21 would help to limit access to our youth. Under prohibition, these measures are not possible.”

Clergy for a New Drug Policy, led by Executive Director Rev. Alexander Sharp, also cited the bill’s provisions that would provide expungement of past low-level cannabis arrests and convictions while allocating “funds to communities ravaged by the War on Drugs.”

“We cannot wait any longer to make this the law of the land in Illinois. We urge you to vote yes on a regulatory system that works for all of Illinois,” the letter concludes.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Good…

*** UPDATE 2 *** Here we go…

*** UPDATE 3 *** Republican Sen. Jason Barickman…

I believe that the people of Illinois want our government to give individuals freedom over their life decisions. Cannabis use is largely a personal choice and the primary role of government should be to adopt appropriate safeguards to protect minors and the public when an individual’s use puts others in harm’s way. This legislation puts those safeguards in place.

Barickman and GOP Sen. Neil Anderson have signed on as hyphenated co-sponsors.

- Posted by Rich Miller   143 Comments      

*** UPDATED x2 *** RHA roundup

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

*** UPDATE 1 *** Press release…

In response to Personal PAC President and CEO Terry Cosgrove’s comment during a recent press conference that Assistant House Republican Leader Avery Bourne was a used as a “prop” during the abortion bill debate on Tuesday, the women of the House Republican Caucus have issued this joint statement:

“At a time when Democrats talk about the importance of empowering women and acknowledging their value in leadership roles, Terry Cosgrove’s efforts to degrade Assistant Leader Avery Bourne’s importance as a spokesperson for our caucus is indefensible. Avery is one of our caucus’ most outspoken advocates on the protection of unborn life, and any attempts to diminish the credibility of her voice is appalling.”

    Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro)
    Rep. Amy Grant (R-Wheaton)
    Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb)
    Rep. Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst)
    Rep. Tony McCombie (R-Havanna)
    Rep. Margo McDermed (R-Mokena)
    Rep. Lindsey Parkhurst (R-Kankakee)

*** UPDATE 2 *** Terry Cosgrove…

I want to apologize to Representative Avery Bourne publicly and completely. This morning, I cast an unfair and inappropriate aspersion on Representative Bourne’s passionate advocacy on the floor of the Illinois House, asserting that it was a “cheap political stunt.” That was just wrong. It not only was offensive to Representative Bourne personally, it also rudely ignored the heartfelt, passionate way in which Representative Bourne expressed herself in Committee on Sunday evening and yesterday in the full House. She may disagree with the position embraced by Personal PAC, but she did not deserve to be subjected to such an insult.

This was an unnecessary, harmful distraction to Representative Bourne as she attempts to complete her work in the waning days of session. She deserves this respect and recognition for her work, not the flippant response of someone who should know better. In the coming hours, my intent is to communicate this apology directly to Representative Bourne.

[ *** End Of Updates *** ]

* Amanda Vinicky

As other states, including neighboring Missouri, have passed laws that are tantamount to abortion bans, Illinois is moving in the opposite direction.

After an emotional, but by and large respectful debate, the Illinois House on Tuesday voted 64 to 50 to enshrine in state law a woman’s fundamental right to have an abortion.

“Since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, efforts to undermine reproductive rights have been constant. We have seen in recent days and weeks these attacks have increased dramatically. They are focused and strategic and aimed at undermining our right to bodily autonomy and self-determination,” sponsoring Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, said. “Not on my watch.”

Cassidy repeatedly said the measure will merely codify in state statue what is already common practice.

The measure, Senate Bill 25, repeals the Illinois Abortion Law, which could punish doctors for performing abortions – law that has technically been on the books since the ‘70s but is not in practice due to court injunctions and decrees.

* Jamie Munks

The bill, called the Reproductive Health Act, would also repeal the state’s partial birth abortion ban, which affects later-stage pregnancies. Partial-birth abortions are not allowed under federal law, unless it’s used as a means to save the mother’s life when it’s in jeopardy.

* Rebecca Anzel

It designates access to contraception, pregnancy benefits, abortion procedures, diagnostic testing and other related health care as a fundamental right, banning government from impairing that access for women and men. […]

During floor debate Tuesday, Cassidy had a scripted back-and-forth with Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston. It covered topics ranging from whether the Reproductive Health Act would allow abortions to occur at any point during a pregnancy for any reason — in short, no, Cassidy answered — to who can perform an abortion — only doctors can carry out a surgical one, but physician assistants and advanced-practice registered nurses can prescribe medications. […]

[Cassidy] went on to answer questions from lawmakers from both parties for nearly two hours. There were two phrases she repeated frequently: The Reproductive Health Act “does not change the current standard of practice” and “doctors are required to adhere to accepted standards of clinical practice.” […]

In addition, the measure repeals several aspects of current law that courts have blocked, including criminal penalties for doctors and spousal consent.

* Dana Vollmer

In an unusual move, Republicans deferred almost all their time to one colleague: state Rep. Avery Bourne, from Raymond, who’s pregnant. She went back and forth with the legislation‘s sponsor, state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a Democrat from Chicago.

“How broad do we intend for this to be?” Bourne asked.

“A doctor will make a decision based on the accepted standards of medical care,” Cassidy said.

“Could you give me any parameters that we’re asking this doctor to make?” Bourne asked.

“I am not a doctor,“ Cassidy replied. “Doctors decide. And doctors decide based on the accepted standards of clinical care.”

* Tina Sfondeles

For about 45 minutes, Bourne questioned Cassidy on everything from the meaning of a “fundamental right” to parental notification to what an “extraordinary medical measure” is.

Bourne offered examples, such as whether a baby at 36-weeks could be terminated if an ultrasound shows a “hole in their heart.” She also described whether a sick baby being flown to a neo-natal intensive care unit would be considered an “extraordinary medical measure.”

“This broadens their ability to make that decision,” Bourne said.

Cassidy said legislators “can’t and should not be hearing hypotheticals.”

“Lawmakers are not doctors. Doctors need to use the accepted standard of clinical care and to make their decision to the best of their knowledge,” Cassidy said.

Putting Rep. Bourne out front helped give the Republicans a strong visual image since she’s so very pregnant. But it also kept their more, um, vocal members quiet and in the background.

* Cassie Buchman

The debate became emotional at times, including when Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Raymond, asked Cassidy a series of questions about the language in the bill. Several Republican House members gave up their time to talk about the bill so Bourne could speak long beyond the five minutes allotted to each lawmaker.

Bourne’s voice cracked as she talked about what she said is the “most expansive” abortion bill in the state and country.

“This bill is not about keeping abortion legal in Illinois,” Bourne said. “This is about a massive expansion that will impact viable babies. And that is wrong.” […]

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, of the Diocese of Springfield, issued a statement condemning the “gravely immoral” action of the House in passing the bill.

“Christians have rejected the practice of abortion from the earliest days of the Church,” he said. “Children are a gift from God, no matter the circumstances of their conception. They not only have a right to life, but we as a society have a moral obligation to protect them from harm. Legislation that deprives children of legal protection before they are born, allowing for the murder of children at any stage in the womb, even up to the moment of birth, is evil.”

* Rachel Droze

But Bourne said doing this is wrong.

“This is an expansion of abortion unlike states around us and I think it certainly makes us an outlier in the country,” Bourne said after the debate. “We are legislating for what is happening right now and in the state of Illinois. For them to use what other states are doing to justify their expansion of abortion, I think, is irresponsible legislating.”

Bourne led the opposition debate against SB25 on the House floor.

Each time she spoke, all Republican representatives stood to listen to the 33-weeks-pregnant mom-to-be.

“This bill will mean that for a person at my stage of pregnancy, where the baby responds to his dad’s voice as he reads him books at night, the woman could go to the facility — the baby is perfectly healthy — but if that woman says based on my familial health this is medically necessary, that is allowed,” Bourne said during the debate on the House floor.

* Greg Bishop

Republican state Rep. Avery Bourne, who’s pregnant, took issue with several parts of the bill, which she said was too expansive.

“So you are taking out the prohibition on sex-selective abortions and you think that’s the appropriate thing for the state to do?” Bourne said.

“I think that it is appropriate to codify current practice,” Cassidy said.

Bourne also took issue with what she said was the measure’s language removing rights from an unborn fetus. She worried the law would not allow someone to be held accountable for an attack against a pregnant woman that harmed or kills a fetus in the womb. Cassidy said existing law on that issue would stand.

Bourne and other Republicans were also concerned about a lack of requirements to report to the state why an abortion was performed, and even restrictions they said would keep a coroner from investigating botched abortions.

The coroner thing was a bit interesting because the only medically related death that has to be reported to a county coroner is abortion. This legislation would treat abortion like every other death after a medical treatment or procedure.

* Jack Crowe

The bill’s proponents have argued that the legislation codifies existing practice and is necessary in light of the recent passage of restrictive abortion laws in a number of Republican-controlled states, as well as the conservative majority on the Supreme Court, which many pro-choice activists are concerned might overturn Roe v. Wade.

“RHA codifies our existing practices and — and this is critical — treats abortion care just like any other health care, because it is,” said the bill’s sponsor, state representative Kelly Cassidy (D., Chicago).

* Joe Bustos

Passsage of the RHA in the House came on the same day as the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis says it may lose its license to perform abortions. The St. Louis Planned Parenthood location is the only clinic in Missouri that provides abortions.

That news may lead to more women coming to Illinois for an abortion, officials at Hope Clinic in Granite City said.

About half of Hope Clinic’s patients are from Missouri, with 40 to 45 percent from Illinois, and 5 to 10 percent from elsewhere, said Alison Dreith, the clinic’s deputy director.

Dreith said after Missouri instituted a 72-hour mandatory waiting period for abortion in 2014, more and more people came to Hope Clinic, especially in the last two years.

* Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia)

“All you have to do is look at the tally board to see where the votes came from…..from up north. I am looking forward to the days of truth and justice for the babies in the womb.”

* One more…

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      

Illinois Policy Institute announces “purge” after leak

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

* Background is here. This post came after a long and acrimonious Twitter exchange between Maxwell and the Illinois Policy Institute…

Looks like the purge didn’t work.

- Posted by Rich Miller   56 Comments      

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

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Good morning!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

* Three days

Yes, you can celebrate anything you want

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

* Today’s post is sponsored by SEIU Healthcare. Follow along with ScribbleLive

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It’s just a bill

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

* Capitol News Illinois

An amendment to a controversial bill to overhaul the state’s Firearm Owner’s Identification Act has a smaller increase in the cost of applications and card renewals but remains firm on proposed fingerprint requirements.

Under the most recent proposal, both new applications for FOID cards and five-year card renewals would cost $20. That price was lowered from the $50 proposed fees in a previous amendment. The current cost for FOID applications and card renewals is $10.

The new amendment also places a cap of $30 on the price vendors can charge to carry out FOID fingerprinting, something that is not now required but would be if the legislation is passed. […]

Todd Vandermyde, on behalf of the Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois, opposed the bill’s price cap on fingerprinting. He said the average cost for fingerprinting on concealed carry licenses is $65 — more than double the proposed fee for FOID cards — but that fee is still too low for private vendors to continue offering the fingerprinting services.

Vandermyde said another problem with the bill is that it will be difficult, especially for those living in rural areas, to travel to one of the 109 locations approved for fingerprinting by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Opponents are threatening a legal challenge should this become law.

* Meanwhile

The Illinois Secretary of State can suspend your driver’s license over 10 unpaid parking tickets or five unpaid speeding tickets, but lawmakers at the Illinois Capitol are looking to change that.

They want to stop license suspensions over unpaid tickets and fines. State Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Urbana, is driving the plan in the House.

“This legislation is critical legislation that is in line with the national movement to end the practice of suspending driver’s licenses for unpaid fees,” Ammons told reporters at a news conference Tuesday. “In essence, we want to stop the practice of saddling poor people with debt.”

Ammons said it’s easy for a $75 ticket to grow to thousands of dollars.

* Related…

* Illinois rank-and-file lawmakers express frustration over passage of major bills during holiday rush: House Democrats spokesman Steve Brown said the complaints lacked merit. He said the schedule had been out for six months and that “the whining is increasingly lame.”

* Measure to exempt college athletics employees from severance pay caps heads to governor: The existing law ends severance for executives fired for misconduct and limits severance packages to 20 weeks’ salary for others. The pending proposal would exempt from that provision any college athletic department employees who are paid through non-state-appropriated funds.

* Editorial: Governor, sign these good government bills

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      

Question of the day

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

* From May 18

An 87-year-old man crashed his car into the outer brick wall surrounding the Illinois Governor’s Mansion on Friday night. […]

There were no injuries and no citations were issued, according to the Illinois State Police.

Thank goodness nobody was hurt.

* This was sent by a reader today…

* The Question: Caption?

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      

RHA bill clears House 64-50-4

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

* Democrats voting “No” included Reps. Bristow, Hoffman, Reitz, Scherer, Walsh and Yednock. Democratic Reps. Kelly Burke, Hurley, Jones and Kalish voted “Present”…

I’ll post react on our live coverage post. Click here. The full legislation is here.

* Also, just because a bill didn’t move at a specific time doesn’t mean the votes aren’t there to pass it, which is why I didn’t post this story earlier today

It is unclear whether Democrats have enough support in the Illinois House to pass an abortion repeal-and-replace measure. The bill was not called for an expected vote Monday in that chamber. […]

The legislation Cassidy filed Sunday was amended to reflect concerns brought by lawmakers, insurance groups, health care groups and others.

“I do believe that we’ve responded and created that level of comfort for enough of my colleagues that we’re ready to move forward,” Cassidy said Sunday before the panel of legislators met to debate the act.

Demand for action on the bill came after states across the country, including Ohio, Alabama, Missouri and Georgia, passed laws restricting access to abortion. Some of those states did so in the hopes of challenging the 1973 case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion across the country.

…Adding… Sun-Times

The measure would repeal the state’s current abortion law, adopted in 1975. In its place would be language in which certain elements are removed, such as: spousal consent; criminal penalties for doctors who perform abortions; waiting periods; and other restrictions on facilities where abortions are performed. The updated legislation, which passed a House committee on Sunday, also clarifies the definitions of viability and health. […]

The Reproductive Health Act also includes language that treats abortion as health care.

Many provisions of the state’s 1975 abortion law have been enjoined by the courts, including criminal penalties for doctors who offered abortion care. The new law also repeals the Partial Birth Abortion ban, which imposed restrictions on doctors performing abortions on women who were 20 weeks pregnant or later. The ACLU says about 90 percent of all abortions are performed within the first 13 weeks of pregnancy.

Partial-birth abortions remain banned by federal law, except to save the life of the mother. The new measure does not change factors around partial birth abortions, Cassidy said.

Cassidy told lawmakers claims that doctors can perform abortions at any stage of the pregnancy are “medically and factually incorrect.” It allows for doctors to make their own professional decision if a patient’s health is at risk, which is already in current state law.

- Posted by Rich Miller   57 Comments      

It Is Time To #PasstheRHA

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

The women of Illinois are waiting.

They’re waiting for lawmakers in Springfield to show that they fully support women’s reproductive rights, free of meddling interference from government.

They’re waiting, and watching, as conservative legislators elsewhere target Roe v. Wade with draconian anti-abortion laws passed by conservative lawmakers who hope to someday get rid of Roe v. Wade.

Some of those laws ban abortions even in cases of rape or incest. Others allow women or their doctors to be prosecuted for undergoing or performing abortions.

Illinois is solidly pro-choice, but we must ensure protections for future generations of women. Should one of those medieval laws land before a conservative Supreme Court that is eager to overturn Roe, it would threaten abortion rights here and elsewhere.

Lawmakers in Illinois need not allow that chance.

They can safeguard the reproductive rights of women in Illinois by moving quickly to pass… the Reproductive Health Act. The bill would keep abortion and reproductive care safe and accessible by repealing decades-old laws that restrict, and in some cases criminalize, abortion.

Chicago Sun Times editorial board
May 21, 2019

For more information on #PasstheRHA click here.

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Capital bill roundup

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

* I would never advise waiting on DC to do anything. Ever

A group of Republican state Representatives said Tuesday that Illinois should wait for the federal government to get an infrastructure plan before increasing taxes on Illinoisans to pay for a statewide infrastructure plan. […]

Skillicorn said Illinois should wait for the federal government to get a $2 trillion plan, which he estimates could bring $400 billion for the state. Despite the Trump administration butting heads with House Democrats in Washington D.C., Skillicorn said he trusts the president to get it done and encouraged Illinois to urge its congressional delegation to “do their jobs and to deliver the resources that we need.”

“If we move forward with this now, how can we go to Washington D.C. and say ‘we absolutely need every dollar we can?’” Skillicorn said. “We can’t say that because we moved ahead without them.”

* SJ-R counterpoint

There is little hope that a federal infrastructure bill might provide some funding anytime soon. It should be easy pass — it would create better infrastructure while also promising jobs and an economic boost — but it’s become one more political football for Democrats and Republicans to fight over. It would be easier for Illinois leaders if they knew what the feds might do, especially because an increase in the federal gasoline tax is probably a given if Congress approves a plan, too. But it seems unlikely that the Washington politicians will come to an agreement on this issue anytime soon. Our roads, bridges and buildings needed attention last year (or five or 10 years ago in many cases). Illinois cannot wait.

* Let’s hope not

Pritzker’s capital spending plan, which he calls “Rebuild Illinois,” calls for $41.5 billion in infrastructure spending over six years, along with doubling the state’s motor fuel tax, along with other possible increases. [Rep. Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore] said the capital plan could be the subject of a special session this summer.

* Media advisory…

Citing job creation, economic growth and much-needed new revenue, the Illinois AFL-CIO, representing more than 1.5 million people from union households, supports the effort of the General Assembly and Gov. JB Pritzker to get a gaming/casino expansion bill done by the end of the week.

With gaming negotiations ongoing, Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael T. Carrigan said the return value of getting gaming done makes it an urgent matter. Representatives from labor will discuss the importance of gaming expansion at a news conference scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Capitol.

Labor Support for Gaming Expansion
12:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 28
Statehouse Press Room (Blue Room), Springfield


    · Michael Carrigan – President, Illinois AFL-CIO
    · Alan Golden – Business Manager IBEW Local 364, Rockford
    · Michael Macellaio – Secretary-Treasurer, Chicago & Cook County Building & Construction Trades
    · State Sen. Antonio Munoz (D-Chicago), Assistant Majority Leader
    · State Sen. Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills), Assistant Majority Leader
    · State Rep. Robert Rita (D-Blue Island)

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      

85 percent of those who would pay more live in Chicago and the suburbs

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

* Daily Herald

Chicago and the suburbs contribute three-quarters of all income tax revenue collected by the state, and that would increase under a proposed graduated tax.

That’s because 85% of tax filers who would pay higher rates under the two graduated tax proposals live in Chicago and the suburbs, according to a Daily Herald analysis of Illinois Department of Revenue income tax data. […]

Of the 18 Illinois ZIP codes where the average income is high enough to trigger a higher tax rate, 15 are in Chicago and the suburbs. […]

Communities where the average income tops $250,000 are Glencoe, Golf, Highland Park, Kenilworth, Lake Forest, Oak Brook and Winnetka, the analysis of reported income in the state’s 1,450 ZIP codes shows. Some neighborhoods in Chicago and Hinsdale also have average incomes of $250,000 or higher. […]

All of the state’s 13 billionaires live in Chicago and the suburbs, according to a 2018 Forbes magazine report.

Downstate has about 35 percent of the state’s population, but just 15 percent of the pool of taxpayers who would face a tax hike under the current proposal.

* Keep in mind that this Center for Illinois Politics heat map is for taxpayers who make at least $200,000, so some of them will not face higher taxation

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      

Sports betting roundup

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

* Sun-Times

Also on Friday, state Sen. Emil Jones III, D-Chicago, was among several legislators to send Pritzker and the legislative leaders a letter arguing the sports betting and gaming expansion bills don’t have “any meaningful provision or requirement for minority participation.”

“As our leaders, we look to you to see to it that everyone gets a seat at the table,” the letter says. “Unless the sports betting and gaming legislation includes provisions with some real teeth to ensure minority participation, we are not going to support it and cannot vote for it.”

As I told subscribers the other day, that letter was circulated by a contract lobbyist for Rivers Casino Chairman Neil Bluhm. Bluhm, you will recall, has been attempting to block the fantasy sports companies from entering the online sports betting marketplace for three years. Bluhm’s lobbyist flatly denied any connection between his work for Bluhm and the letter (he has worked for the Black Caucus Foundation in the past).

* But

State Rep. Bob Rita, a Democrat from Blue Island, who has been leading casino expansion negotiations, said that has been taken into consideration.

“Working through all of the different issues, we’ve always had language that pertain to the minority participation, from day one in whatever versions we have been filing throughout the years,” he said.

* Meanwhile

[Rep. Mike Zalewski] was pushing for a “penalty box” on FanDuel and DraftKings, due to allegedly pushing their daily fantasy sports offerings illegally in the state. This would see them not being able to offer sports betting in Illinois for a total of three years. […]

As part of the amended bill, Zalewski is trying to now have all online sports betting being part of a penalty box. This would mean that there would be no online sports betting inside of 540 days [18 months] of the bill passage. […]

For casinos and racetracks, there would be 26 licenses up for grabs. These would cost $5m each, or they would pay 5% of their adjusted gross receipts. Those operating online would pay $25m for one of the two available licenses.

Sports facilities could pay $10m to obtain one of the seven available licenses. Finally, lottery retailers could obtain a license, with a central provider having to pay a license fee of $20m.

Each of these licenses would be valid for five years. The renewal cost would then be only $1m going forward.

* Other stuff…

* House Democrats plan link casino expansion to sports betting

* Riverboat Casinos Could Be Allowed in Rockford if Illinois Lawmakers Pass “Omnibus” Gambling Bill

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      

Illinois Credit Unions: Making A Difference In Our Communities

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

When your car breaks down or the furnace stops bringing the heat, paying for repairs can cause a serious strain on family finances in addition to emotional stress. Credit unions are a trusted ally who will guide you through life’s tough financial situations and provide you with a financial solution. The credit union difference is embodied in the strong relationships credit unions build with their members. Credit unions go the extra mile for their members and their community. Whether it is small random act of kindness, volunteering their time, donating to a charitable non-profit, or creating a scholarship opportunity, credit unions continuously go above and beyond for the benefit of the community.

Alphonse Desjardins, a founder of the credit union movement, helped build the industry under the idea that, “the credit union is above all, an institution aiming at the betterment of its members, rather than profits.” Credit unions were founded with the principle of bettering society, and continue to exist as a fair financial alternative for the people of Illinois.

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“Descend like vultures”

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

* Newspaper website managers beware…

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      

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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

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All 44 House Republicans spoke against graduated income tax

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

* As the Sun-Times noted at the time, the Senate’s graduated income tax debate was shorter than “Stairway to Heaven.” The House’s debate was almost the length of Andy Warhol’s “Sleep” movie. Let’s start with the Sun-Times

The amendment’s sponsor, state Rep. Robert Martwick, D-Chicago, called the state’s current system “a very unfair tax system.” He countered opponents’ claims about Illinoisans and businesses leaving the state: “This is reform. This is an opportunity to fix the problems of Illinois.”

“The fair tax, if approved by the voters, if they choose this tax reform, this path forward for Illinois, we will be in a position where we can eliminate those deficits,” Martwick said. “And when we eliminate those deficits, we stop accumulating debts and we begin to pay them down. And when we pay down those debts we relieve the pressure for future tax increases.”

All 44 House Republicans put their lights on to speak during a lengthy debate on the floor on Monday afternoon, which began about 1 p.m and lasted until 4:30 p.m. The debate was much, much longer than the Senate debate — which clocked in at seven minutes. […]

“Please think about how repeating the same foolish tax-and-spend policies will not change anything about our future,” state Rep. Margo McDermed, R-Mokena, said. “We need to address the underlying drivers and we need to get our financial house in order, and this amendment does none of those things.”

I think some Republicans spoke for the very first time yesterday. I’ve never seen anything like it.

* It just went on and on and on

During a three-hour Memorial Day debate in the House, state Rep. Delia Ramirez, D-Chicago, said the progressive income tax will be more equitable than the existing 4.95 percent flat income tax by reducing tax rates for 97 percent of taxpayers.

“Folks, I wish we would have been taxing at a higher rate,” Ramirez said. “I wish we would have been able to go to $1 million and [tax them at] 10 percent. We’re not there. We’re at 7.95 percent.” […]

State Rep. Andrew Chesney, R-Freeport, said the proposal would lower taxes for the working poor by less than $7 a year, not enough to buy a sandwich at a restaurant. For those making less than $100,000, Chesney said they’d save less than $38.

“That’s a heck of a negotiation, but the $37.38 will be erased when the Democratic majority passes the gas tax,” Chesney said.

* And on

“The Democrats of Illinois have an insatiable taste for spending,” said Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield.

“I carry a simple message from southeast Illinois. We don’t trust you with our money,” said Rep. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia.

“This is more of the same, taxes, taxes and more taxes,” said Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills. “This bill will kill jobs and drive more people out of the state.” […]

Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, said Illinois already has a fair tax in the flat tax system.

“It impacts everyone equally,” he said.

* More

Republican Rep. Margo McDermed of Mokena called the rates proposal awaiting a House vote “teaser rates, fake rates, lying rates.”

“If you think that this doesn’t hit you, you’re wrong,” McDermed warned middle-class taxpayers.

Rep. Avery Bourne, a Republican from downstate Raymond, added, “There simply aren’t enough rich people in this state to pay for the insatiable appetite of spending that we see here in Springfield.” […]

“We put too much of the burden of funding our government on the backs of the people who can least afford to pay it,” said Rep. Robert Martwick, a Chicago Democrat who sponsored the proposed amendment.

* More

“We’ve made year-after-year cuts to budgets like DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services), and now you have children dying because you have case workers that are overburdened and underpaid,” Rep. Rob Martwick, a Chicago Democrat and the bill’s sponsor, said. “So what are the solutions to these problems? The solutions are to eliminate our deficits, eliminate that structural deficit. When you do that, you start to right the ship. You can fund education, you can pay down debts.”

The options to do so, Martwick said, were to raise the state’s flat tax from 4.95 percent to 6.5 percent or higher, or to raise the $3.5 billion anticipated to come from the graduated rates.

Republicans said the bill more likely provided incentive for the state’s wealthiest taxpayers and job creators to leave, and warned that no matter what rates are approved by this Legislature, they can be raised in the future.

“The graduated tax will give Springfield the ability to raise taxes on whoever they want by manipulating rates and brackets,” Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst, a Kankakee Republican, said. “The result will be an increase on the middle class. We cannot trust Springfield with any more of our money without real structural reforms to our state government and our political system.”

* And

“Every time we turn around, an oppressive government sits like a vulture on a high line, ready to take more money out of your pocket. The American dream has become the American nightmare,” Rep. Chris Miller, R-Oakland, said.

Miller, a farmer, said promoting a graduated tax as “fair” is akin to putting “lipstick on a pig.”

“There couldn’t be anything more unfair,” Miller said, given that it will take “$3.4 billion from responsible citizens’ hands and puts it in the hands of irresponsible bureaucrats.” […]

Various GOP legislators say that Democrats’ focus is on taxes is a sign of their “insatiable” spending habits.

“I am willing, and in fact proud to stand here and say that I believe in government spending. I believe in government spending on food for the hungry, on shelter for the homeless, and on health care for the sick, on education for our children,” said state Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago. “I don’t think that’s a spending problem. I think that is our job. That is the job of government.”

One point I didn’t see mentioned anywhere was the indignation by some Republicans when the Democrats chided them for wanting to spend government money without voting to pay for the programs.

* Biggest applause line on the Dem side…

- Posted by Rich Miller   55 Comments      

Property taxes again take the forefront, to be folded into the rates bill

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

* Greg Hinz

Pritzker had to do some bargaining. Two Democratic reps who had signaled opposition, Northbrook’s Jonathan Carroll and Sam Yingling of Round Lake, in the end got a promise the House this summer will consider steps to guarantee some property tax relief as part of a graduated income hike, which under current plans would hit only taxpayers with income of more than $250,000 a year.

The governor also had to engage in some Illinois-style finagling, as one Democratic rep who was opposed to the bill, Jerry Costello, miraculously left the General Assembly to take a job with—surprise!—the Pritzker administration and was replaced by someone with a different view.

Rauner did that I don’t know how many times. Quinn did it the opposite way: Vote for his tax hike and then get handed a sweet government gig.

* Capitol News Illinois

While Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker played no formal role in the legislative process to put the amendment on the ballot, at least one Democrat who previously said he would vote against the bill credited the governor for his sudden switch.

“I was a very vocal critic about this, obviously, I came out with some concerns,” said Rep. Jonathan Carroll, D-Northbrook. “… Governor Pritzker reached out to me right away, had some conversations with me and heard that my issue is property taxes.

“Along with his help and the help of my colleagues in the House and the Senate, we’re going to form a property tax task force to review how we tax in Illinois for property taxes and make sure that we do it better and we do it right.”

The state does not levy or collect property taxes in Illinois; only local taxing bodies such as school boards, municipal governments and counties have that authority. The largest contributor to most local tax bills are K-12 schools, which for years have faced funding shortfalls and proration from insufficient revenues provided by the state.

Still, Carroll and Rep. Sam Yingling — a Grayslake Democrat who also said at one time he would vote against the graduated tax — said state action is needed to overhaul the property tax system and the graduated tax is part of that process.

Another task force.

* Will this be any different than all previous task forces? From a press release…

The Property Tax Relief Task Force would be created through an amendment to the fair tax rate legislation that passed the Senate earlier this month, and the group would be required to report back to the Governor and the General Assembly by Dec. 31, 2019. An initial report will be due 90 days after the law takes effect.

“For far too long, families across Illinois have struggled under too-high property tax burdens and an unfair income tax system that protects the wealthiest,” Gov. JB Pritzker said. “This task force is a commonsense addition to the fair tax, which aims to protect the middle class and those striving to get there while those making $250,000 and above pay more.”

The Property Task Relief Task Force will be charged with using a racial and economic equity lens to identify the causes of increasingly burdensome property taxes across Illinois, review best practices in public policy strategies that create short- and long-term property tax relief for homeowners, and make recommendations to assist in the development of short- and long-term administrative, electoral, and legislative changes to create short- and long-term property tax relief for homeowners.

The group will include two appointees from the Office of the Governor, as well as members of the House and Senate appointed by their chambers’ leaders. An overview of the measure is attached.

So, if you were wondering if the House was going to take up the Senate’s rate bill, there’s your answer. It’s going to be paired with the task force language.

* Another idea was also floated this week…

State Senators Terry Link and Julie Morrison, & State Representatives Daniel Didech, Rita Mayfield, and Bob Morgan introduced HB 3845 to address the crippling effects of Illinois’ property taxes. To enact a tax system that is truly fair for all Illinois residents, the adoption of a graduated income tax structure should be accompanied with reform that will lower property tax bills for every homeowner in Illinois.


    * In the event that the Governor’s Fair Tax proposal is approved by Illinois voters in 2020, create the Illinois Property Tax Rebate Fund which will receive money appropriated by the General Assembly.
    * Begin with initial allocation of at least $400 million in 2021. This allocation will provide an estimated $200 in property tax relief for every Illinois resident claiming a Homestead exemption.
    * Establish dedicated funding streams growing the Fund to $1 billion by 2023. This funding will provide approximately $500 in annual property tax relief to each homeowner.
    * Money will flow from the Fund through county treasurers, who will reduce homeowners’ property tax bills and lower each homeowners’ property tax bill.
    * This proposal will not impact local government levies or school funding.
    * This Fund will help stabilize the property tax burden being felt throughout the State of Illinois.
    * Every region of Illinois will benefit from the Fund, reducing each homeowners’ property tax bill equally regardless of property values.
    * This Fund creates structural change in our property tax system - relieving the burden on homeowners without impacting funding for education or other critical local services.

I’m thinking that idea to lower everybody’s property tax bills equally may not go over too well in some quarters. We’ll see.

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

Some legislators have financial ties to video gaming

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

* There is a lot of sizzle in this piece (the need for video gaming revenue is described as “desperate” even though it’s only projected to be about $90 million next fiscal year, for example), but there is some meat to chew on

With the Illinois General Assembly poised to consider a tax hike on video gambling, some key lawmakers and their family members have developed previously undisclosed financial connections to the industry, meaning the fate of any proposal could lie in part on votes of legislators with a stake in the outcome.

They include two of the General Assembly’s most powerful figures, Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, a Republican from Bloomington, and Chicago Democrat Antonio Muñoz, the Senate assistant majority leader, according to Illinois Gaming Board records obtained by ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ. […]

Brady is listed in internal gaming board records as a “person with significant influence or control,” or PSIC, for Midwest Electronics Gaming, one of the state’s largest video gambling companies. Midwest, operating primarily in central Illinois, made $16 million from video gambling last year and $80 million between 2012 and 2018.

Brady’s designation as a PSIC means he receives a percentage of the proceeds from video slot and poker machines under a revenue-sharing agreement with Midwest. Although the terms and the locations of the machines are not disclosed, any tax increase on video gambling revenue would have a direct financial impact on him.

Yet required disclosure statements filed with the Illinois Gaming Board and available online do not list Brady as a PSIC. Instead, he’s listed as a sales agent, a middleman who contracts with video gambling operators to sign contracts with bars, restaurants and other alcohol-pouring establishments to install video slot and poker machines.

Sen. Munoz’s son is also a sales agent who works (or worked, it’s not totally clear) for former Sen. Michael Bond’s highly successful video gaming company. Sen. Tom Cullerton is listed as a sales agent for Global Gaming Industries, which only has one small client

In November, the gaming board voted to revoke Global Gaming’s license because of its ties to a man with “an extensive criminal record,” though Global Gaming has continued to operate while it appeals the decision. Separately, Cullerton has been the subject of subpoenas from federal investigators seeking records related to an ongoing criminal investigation of Teamsters boss John Coli Sr., who allegedly extorted $100,000 in cash from a local business.

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

* Today’s post is sponsored by SEIU Healthcare. Follow along with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      

* Pritzker implores protesters to "not force a difficult second rebuilding on our small businesses in the course of expressing your very justified pain"
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Pritzker thanks Dr. Ezike, extends financial protections, points to progress, says no more daily COVID-19 briefings - Calls Trump tweets "reprehensible" - "I want to send my condolences to the family of George Floyd, and also to every African American in this country" - Defends budget decisions - Credits Illinoisans for progress against virus - No bill signing ceremonies - Hopes testing progress continues - "It seems as if President Trump is withdrawing us from the rest of the world" - No out of state travel plans - Talks contact tracing - Asks Illinoisans to be careful during reopening - Will sign Medicare for undocumented seniors bill - Refuses to criticize Lightfoot for Trump comments - Talks about difficulties in securing testing locations - Dr. Ezike and Pritzker respond to question about what they've learned about themselves and leadership - "We're no longer in a stay at home order"
* 1,622 new cases, 86 additional deaths
* *** UPDATED x1 *** What in the heck is going on in Rockford?
* COVID-19 roundup
* All metro areas reporting record high unemployment rates
* School seclusion and restraint bill derailed after opposition
* Attorney DeVore asks appellate court to dissolve another TRO
* Question of the day
* Madigan issues new guidance to members, staff
* Architects abandon alternative reopening plan
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* House of worship attendance limit expected to be removed from stay at home order
* Open thread
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Sheriffs file suit against state for refusing to accept jail transfers
* Yesterday's stories

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