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Maybe somebody ought to regulate this before it’s thrust on an unknowing public?

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019

* Aside from the fact that owners are supposed to have a direct-line view to their summoned car (wanna bet that they’ll always follow the rule?), notice that this automated system sent the car the wrong way down a one-way passage…


- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      


Krislov circulating petitions for Illinois Supreme Court

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019

* Fran Spielman

A crusading attorney who has made a career out of fighting City Hall on behalf of pensioners and retirees is joining the crowded race for the Illinois Supreme Court.

Clint Krislov tried to stop the widely-despised parking meter deal. His marathon battle to prevent the city from abolishing its $108 million-a-year subsidy for retiree health care cost him so much time and money, he might have to close his law firm. […]

Krislov is circulating nominating petitions to gather the 5,050 signatures needed by mid-November to become the eighth candidate vying to replace retired Illinois Supreme Court Justice Charles Freeman.

Krislov will face [appointed Supreme Court Justice P. Scott Neville Jr.], as well as appellate court justices Jesse Reyes, Nathaniel Howse, Margaret McBride, Cynthia Cobbs, Sheldon Harris and lawyer Daniel Epstein.

The party is with Neville.

- Posted by Rich Miller   6 Comments      


Sen. Toi Hutchinson to step down, become “cannabis czar”

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019

* One of the worst-kept Statehouse secrets this week is that Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields) is resigning to oversee implementation of the new cannabis legalization law. She informed Senate President Cullerton yesterday and her law firm today.

Hutchinson will oversee the activities of five state agencies: Agriculture, Public Health, Revenue, DCEO and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. She’ll also have sway over the Illinois State Police’s policies.

Gov. Pritzker had tried to recruit her into his administration earlier this year, but she declined. Sen. Hutchinson told me earlier this week that she had two big goals when she became a Senator: 1) Reform the state income tax code; and 2) Legalize weed. She helped do both this year and she said it was time to go.

Hutchinson has served in the Senate since January of 2009. She chairs the influential Revenue Committee. She’s also the Immediate Past President of the National Conference of State Legislatures. She became the NCSL’s President-Elect two years ago.

Sen. Hutchinson says she is unsure if she will back a replacement. She would’ve been up for reelection next year, so the petition circulation scrambling will begin soon, if it hasn’t already started. Half of her district is represented by a Republican (Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst), but the other half is heavily Democratic, giving this district a definite D bent. Gov. Pritzker won it by 11 points and President Trump lost it by 11. However, Gov. Rauner won it by just under 4 in 2014 and the late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka won it by about a point. As it stands now, 2020 looks a whole lot more like 2018 than 2014, however.

I’ve known Toi since she ran then-Sen. Debbie Halvorson’s district office operation. Halvorson introduced us at an ABATE function and I thought right away that this young person was going places. And she surely has. Good luck in your new gig, Toi.

…Adding… Senate President John Cullerton…

Senator Hutchinson has tackled some of the toughest issues facing our state, always performing with grace, eloquence and determination.

While her departure will be a profound loss for the Illinois Senate, I congratulate her on her new role and wish her nothing but the best as she continues to serve the residents of Illinois.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


Question of the day

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019

* From the Senate Democrats’ fundraiser schedule…

Thursday, September 26th, 5:30-7:30 pm

Senate President John Cullerton & the Senate Democratic Majority Caucus
Harry Caray’s, 33 W. Kinzie, Chicago, IL
Tickets: $250
Sponsorships: $25,000 | $15,000 | $10,000 | $5000
Please make checks payable to the Senate Democratic Victory Fund, 1 N. LaSalle St., Ste. 2065, Chicago, IL 60602.

That’s tonight, by the way.

* The Question: Your suggestion for tonight’s fundraiser theme?

- Posted by Rich Miller   59 Comments      


*** UPDATED x5 - Looking at McCook contractors - IRS involved - “Investigative activity” in Summit - Lyons mayor insurance office raided - Lyons, “other locations” also raided *** Report: “Multiple locations” raided by FBI

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019

* This may or may not be related, but McCook is in Sen. Marty Sandoval’s district…


*** UPDATE 1 *** The Sun-Times is reporting that the Village of Lyons’ town hall was also raided today. Lyons is also in Sandoval’s district. The paper is reporting that “other locations” were raided as well.

*** UPDATE 2 *** This is the mayor of Lyons…


More on him here.

*** UPDATE 3 *** “Investigative activity” in a town also represented by Sen. Sandoval…


*** UPDATE 4 *** Sun-Times

The investigation also includes agents from IRS Criminal Investigation.

*** UPDATE 5 *** Sun-Times

[McCook village attorney Gary Perlman] said investigators were seeking information related to “various contractors that have done work with the village.”

…Adding… WGN TV

An FBI spokesperson confirmed Chicago personnel were at the village hall conducting an authorized law enforcement action, and had no further comment on the matter.

Jeff Tobolski is the longtime mayor of McCook. The Democrat also serves as a Cook County Commissioner. Tobolski did not immediately respond to a phone message left at village hall and his district office. It’s not known whether Tobolski is a focus of the federal investigation.

* NBC 5

Two sources with knowledge of the situation said that FBI agents executed search warrants at the village hall, located at 5000 Glencoe Avenue, at around 7:30 a.m. CST.

One source said the agents carted out several boxes and computer equipment.

…Adding… Sun-Times

Carlos Aparicio, a lawyer on Tobolski’s Cook County staff, said federal agents hadn’t visited the McCook mayor’s county offices, but that’s all he really knew.

Watch that CS-T story for updates.

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      


It’s just a bill

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019

* The veto session is about a month away and some fired-up youngsters want the governor to actively push what they and many others consider to be a very important piece of legislation

The hangup has been that the leaders decided to lump all the energy bills together. Nothing could advance until they were all ready to go. Trouble is, the federal investigation into ComEd has the leaders and the governor’s office so spooked that they don’t want any ComEd bills moving. That means the Clean Energy Jobs Act likely gets stuck, too. Expect more pressure on the governor’s office. I hope to have more for subscribers about this topic tomorrow or soon thereafter.

* Not everybody is on board with this different energy-related bill

Streator Township High School Superintendent Matt Seaton warned a panel of lawmakers about carve-outs for renewable energy. He asked a Property Tax Relief Task Force subcommittee to be wary of giving lower assessments to wind energy.

“Solar was reassessed this past year,” Seaton said. “We locally took about a $200,000 [equalized assessed value] hit because we have an active solar farm.”

He said if the reduced assessments were applied to the 200 windmills in his district next, it would be “devastating.”

* The approaching session also means it’s back to press release bills like these

Two new proposals in the Illinois General Assembly would end a sales tax on car trade-ins before it gets started.

State Reps. Tom Bennett, R-Gibson City, and Ryan Spain, R-Peoria, introduced bills that would halt the new trade-in tax that became law during the summer and is to be collected starting Jan. 1. Both proposals – House Bill 3890 and House Bill 3891 – would amend the Use Tax Act and Retailers’ Occupation Tax Act by reversing a new law that expands the scope of sales taxes in the state to include used cars’ trade-in value greater than $10,000.

The state currently collects no sales tax on a car’s trade-in value, which in practice acts as credit toward a new vehicle purchase. By law, sales tax only applies to the difference between trade-in value and the new vehicle’s purchase price.

But that changes Jan. 1 after Gov. J.B. Pritzker in June signed into law a proposal to apply state and local sales taxes to any trade-in value above $10,000. The new tax will generate $60 million a year, according to official estimates. Rather than using these vehicle taxes for roads, the revenue will go toward “vertical infrastructure” such as new state buildings and renovations.

* And a congressional candidate talks about a bill she plans to introduce

As Illinois officials continue to join national officials in investigating illness and death related to vaping, an area State Senator says she plans to introduce legislation surrounding corporate marketing to students.

Republican 38th District Senator Sue Rezin, whose district covers portions of the WSPY listening area, says there is “no question” that vaping is a public health issue.

Rezin says her bill would also create a database at the Illinois Department of Public Health to track any illness from vaping.

- Posted by Rich Miller   2 Comments      


MLB open thread

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019

* Maybe we should talk about football or hockey instead?

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      


Sponsors tightening up cannabis law

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019

* Tribune

[Illinois’ cannabis legalization law] has bonuses for minority owners, which [CEO of Marijuana Business Daily, Cassandra Farrington] believes is laudable but could encourage fraudulent minority ownership controlled by white investors. That in turn could lead to lawsuits challenging state cannabis licenses.

“It is ripe for fraud. You’re going to have a lot of straw man agreements,” said Farrington, whose publication also hosts a leading annual marijuana business expo. “Because of all of that, you’ll see a lot of that end up in court.” […]

The current law is meant to prevent fraudulent ownership by requiring disclosure of all owners with more than 5% interest and disclosure of any management agreements.

“It’s absolutely something we’re mindful of, because you hear a lot of stories about shenanigans in other states,” [Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago] said. “It’s something we’ll try to keep being proactive to prevent.”

Minority ownership scams have been a mainstay of Chicago politics for decades. And even though there are no specific racial minority set-asides in this bill, that’s why the law was written to require disclosure of management agreements and all owners over 5 percent. But even that may not be enough.

* I also reached out to Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), the bill’s House sponsor. Her texted response…

We talked a lot during drafting about how the industry had found ways to work around everything that had been done elsewhere and shared concerns they’d try here. It’s why there are strict rules on disclosure of not just ownership but on management agreements, a common tool for that trick.

That said, we’re hearing rumors of folks trying to find ways around our laws too, so that’s on the list of items we’re discussing in the trailer bill.

As Sen. Steans noted, this needs to be an ongoing process because people will dream up all sorts of ways to scam money.

* Related…

* Are pot businesses finally getting access to banking services?: In what would be a crucial milestone for the cannabis industry, the U.S. House passed a bill that would change the cash-only nature of the business

* Press Release: Illinois State Treasurer Frerichs Urges Swift Passage of Federal SAFE Banking Act

- Posted by Rich Miller   4 Comments      


State sued by Hope School over unequal worker pay

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019

* Bruce Rushton

At Hope School in Springfield, workers who feed and clean and encourage and otherwise help children [with development disabilities] are paid abysmally. It is not the school’s fault. Charity and the private sector can only do so much, and so the government pays. And the worth of labor from folks who care for the vulnerable is the subject of a lawsuit against the state filed by Hope School, which says employees deserve more money.

Consider the job description for a habilitation specialist, which is geek-speak for someone who works in a Hope group home and does a little bit of everything. “The habilitation specialist is responsible for the supervision, program implementation and documentation for a variety of individual daily routines and personal daily living needs for their assigned children,” the school advertises on its website. “Actively participates with youth in all scheduled activities. Consistently assists youth in the area of self-help skills (eating, dressing, toileting, feeding, communication, etc.). Willingly accompanies youth on off-campus field trips. Engages youth in activities as defined/listed in the youth’s activity schedule.”

It is, essentially, the same job as within the school itself, where classroom paraprofessionals do all of the above, plus help educate kids, says Stephanie Barton, Hope general counsel. But the state has decreed that paraprofessionals at the school shouldn’t get a 75-cent raise that’s been granted to habilitation specialists who work in group homes. About 90 workers each would get raises as large as $2,000 if the school wins, according to Barton – all told, it would cost the state about $140,000.

The difference has prompted school employees to request transfers to group homes, and Barton doesn’t blame them. “That’s really hurt our school,” Barton said. “We’ve always said they should get the same rate of pay. We also think that’s what the legislation says.”

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      


Pritzker nominates Ray LaHood to chair the ALPLM board

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019

* Bruce Rushton last week

Before the ALPLM became a standalone institution in 2017, one year before Lowe came to Springfield, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, now defunct, oversaw the institution, with the IHPA board charged with approving artifact loans. Current law says that the ALPLM is supposed to have a board of directors, but no board has been appointed.

* Gov. Pritzker’s office today…

Ray LaHood will serve as Chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Board of Directors.* With a 36-year career in public service, former U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary LaHood has extensive experience in policy areas such as transportation and infrastructure. LaHood oversaw 55,000 employees and a $7o billion budget in charge of air, maritime and surface transportation. Before serving as head of DOT, he represented the 18th District of Illinois in the United States House of Representatives for 19 years, where he served on the House Appropriations and House Intelligence Committees. In addition, LaHood served as Chief of Staff to the U.S. House Minority Leader Robert Michel for 12 years. In his community, LaHood served as the Director of Rock Island County Youth Services Bureau, Chief Planner of the Bi-States Metropolitan Planning Commission and District Administrative Assistant for US Congressman Tom Railsback. He earned his Bachelor of Science from Bradley University.

Joan Brodsky will serve as the Historic Preservation Expert on the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Board of Directors.* Brodsky is a current member of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, Newberry Library in Chicago, the Board of Visitors of the Syracuse University Library and the Board of Overseers of the Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. A lifelong librarian and conservator, she is the founder and sponsor of an annual endowed lecture series and workshop on book and paper conservation and a sponsor of the Brodsky Lecture Series in support of the JD – MBA Program at Northwestern University. She earned her Master of Science in Library Science and her Bachelor of Arts in Latin and Education from Syracuse University.

Kathryn Harris will serve as a Library and Museum Expert on the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Board of Directors.* Harris brings 25 years of ALPLM experience as the former Library Services Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Illinois State Historical Library. In her 43 years of service, Harris has also been the Head of Reference for the Illinois State Library and Public Services Librarian for the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. In addition, she has been a Librarian at Florida International University Library, Miami Florida and the Lincoln Library, Springfield’s public library. Harris has earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois State Historical Society, was named a Rail-Splitter Honoree by the American Society of Public Service Administrators and won Woman of Excellence Award from the Springfield YWCA. Harris serves on the Springfield and Central Illinois African American Arts History Museum Board, Sangamon County Historical Society Board as President, and the Abraham Lincoln Association. She earned her Master of Science from the University of Illinois and her Bachelor of Science from Southern Illinois University.

Gary Johnson will serve on the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Board of Directors.* Johnson became the President of the Chicago History Museum after 28 years as a lawyer and partner in international law at Mayer Brown and Jones Day. Under his leadership, the Chicago History Museum has received the National Medal from the Institute for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest award for museums and libraries. Johnson also served for 10 years as President of Museums in the Park. Additionally, he worked as Vice Chair on the Special Commission on the Administration of Justice in Cook County. Johnson is a member of the American Law Institute and a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Illinois State Bar Association Foundation, and he served as president of the Chicago Council of Lawyers. Johnson earned his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, his Master of Arts from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and his Bachelor of Arts from Yale College. He also holds an honorary doctorate from Lake Forest College.

Eunice Santos will serve on the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Board of Directors.* Santos is a Professor and Dean of the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, specializing in the areas of distributed processing, cybersecurity, complex adaptive systems and human modeling. She previously served as a professor at Illinois Institute of Technology, Leigh University in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Virginia Tech in the Department of Computer Science and the Genetics, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Program. Santos was also the founding director of the Institute of Defense & Security and department chair of Computer Science at the University of Texas, El Paso. Santos has received numerous awards, including a National Science Foundation Career Award, the Spira Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Robinson Faculty Award. She earned her PhD in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.

* Appointments pending confirmation by the Illinois Senate.

…Adding… Semi-related…

* Illinois State Museum is first in world to return artifacts as part of Australian project to reclaim aboriginal art: Representatives from the Bardi Jawi and Aranda communities will travel to Springfield next month to pick up 42 artifacts, including boomerangs, shields, spears, and body ornaments, as part of an initiative funded by the Australian government to repatriate overseas artifacts called the Return of Cultural Heritage Project, according to a news release from the museum.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      


Caption contest!

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019

* What a gorgeous photo…


Make sure to click on the pic to see the full image. Wow.

Hat tip: Stephanie Zimmermann.

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      


Should Sandoval be moved off the Transportation Committee?

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019

* Tina Sfondeles and Jon Seidel

Asked if [Sen. Martin Sandoval. D-Chicago] will lose his chairmanship of the Senate’s Transportation Committee, [Senate President John Cullerton] said he’ll “wait and see what happens” — since Sandoval has not been charged.

“I’d like to be informed about what’s going on before I make any decisions,” Cullerton said, adding he has not heard from Sandoval and has not attempted to call him. Cullerton, too, said he has not been approached by federal authorities about the investigation.

I’m not convinced that this is a prudent course for Senate President Cullerton.

* From Hannah Meisel’s Daily Line story yesterday

Sandoval has served as the chair of the Senate Transportation Committee for the last decade, according to General Assembly records. He was also named one of five co-chairs to Pritzker’s Restoring Illinois’ Infrastructure Committee during the gubernatorial transition last year. […]

Transportation Committee meetings chaired by Sandoval are generally known as a quick affair, often with the senator gaveling in and out within a matter of minutes in the ornate Room 212 of the Capitol building.

The main reason the hearings are so quick is because the bulk of the committee’s real business is generally done behind closed doors. Actually, just one closed door: The door to Sandoval’s office. Federal agents basically cleared out that office this week, so who knows what they were looking for or what they found.

* Meanwhile

Playbook hears that a letter is being sent to the FBI, calling for the agency to release the names of the companies that Sandoval was allegedly getting kickbacks from. Sandoval’s influence on the transportation committee makes him a critical player in the massive infrastructure bill that just passed the state Legislature “and taxpayers need to know if moneys are being spent wisely,” a source familiar with the letter said.

It’s a pretty solid bet that the feds will not release that list, but Sandoval should probably be moved off the Transportation Committee to be on the safe side.

…Adding… The letter turns out to be from Assistant Minority Leader Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville). Excerpt

On June 1, 2019, the Illinois General Assembly passed, and it was later signed into law, a $45 billion capital works program. This plan is meant to address numerous capital projects in Illinois, including a substantial amount of work on our state’s transportation system. Spending for this program will begin imminently.

With the troubling allegations surfacing against Sen. Sandoval, I have grave concerns that the state’s precious resources could be allocated to companies that illegally participated in kickback schemes. Therefore, I request at your earliest convenience that you provide the General Assembly, the Office of the Governor, the Office of the Comptroller, the Illinois Tollway Authority, the Illinois Department of Transportation and any other relevant state agencies any evidence you have regarding these allegations to ensure that taxpayers are protected.

* The Illinois Policy Institute is trying to use the Sandoval probe to cast doubt on the entire capital plan and its funding mechanisms

Was corruption at the heart of Illinois’ gas tax hike?

Capital bills are a feeding frenzy for special interests. And Sandoval held the keys to the kitchen. “Governor signs Sandoval’s $45 billion infrastructure improvement package,” boasts a June press release from the state senator’s website.

Might the feds want to have a word about some of those projects?

According to the Chicago Tribune, authorities are looking into allegations Sandoval used his public office to steer business in exchange for private kickbacks. That’s all we know about the raids so far, other than the fact that prosecutors would have needed to present some serious evidence to justify cracking the Statehouse dome, not to mention Sandoval’s Cicero office and his home. The state senator has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

The Illinois Policy Institute released a report ahead of the capital bill vote this year warning about the need for project selection reform to guard against waste and abuse of taxpayer resources.

* The News-Gazette is on that same page

Nonetheless, he has influence in the Illinois Senate because he’s chairman of its Transportation Committee. In that role, he was a key player in the recent doubling of Illinois’ gas tax — from 19 cents a gallon to 38 cents. The massive increase is funding $45 billion in public works projects, some legitimate infrastructure improvements and some pure legislative pork.

That’s a lot of money to be floating around, and the competition to get a piece of it must be fierce.

It is in that political maelstrom where proper and improper political influence comes into play.

* The Tribune editorial board sticks to its usual schtick

Keep in mind: Sandoval might be unfamiliar to most rank-and-file voters across Illinois, but he is a consummate insider. Half of Sandoval’s Senate district is represented by Madigan as a member of the House. They work together closely. Sandoval, a member of the Senate for nearly 20 years, also has been mentioned as a possible successor to the Senate president, should John Cullerton of Chicago ever step down. Sandoval’s campaign fund treasurer until 2009 was Danny Solis, the now-scorned and retired Chicago alderman who wore a wire while cooperating with federal authorities in their probe of … we aren’t sure whom.

He and Madigan work together closely? That would be news to pretty much anyone. They were at each others’ throats just last year when Madigan supported Chuy Garcia’s Cook County Board candidate against Sandoval’s daughter. And that decision didn’t come out of nowhere.

Also, he’s been mentioned as a possible successor to Cullerton? By whom? Marty himself?

I mean, have any of those editorial board members been to the Statehouse in this decade?

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      


Alderman of the week

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019

* Because of its existing medical cannabis dispensary, Carbondale is about to get one new adult use cannabis dispensary and it is seeking a second one that is eligible to go to Jackson County. There seems to be some real enthusiasm by local electeds to use the product to help boost the town’s lagging business/tourism environment. Ald. Adam Loos is apparently the most gung-ho. From the Southern Illinoisan..

There were logistical questions and suggestions from council members. Adam Loos spoke the most. He had a long list of recommendations and thoughts. He said his primary concern was taxing it — he thought the taxes should be low to undercut other counties and “to stamp out the black market” for pot sales.

He also said the sale of cannabis in Carbondale could go a long way to helping bring in tourism.

“I think it puts heads in beds,” Loos said, adding that it would attract people between the age of 40 and 60 years old.

“You’d be surprised how many people in that age smoke pot,” he said.

Loos also pointed out that allowing marijuana sales in town could help recruitment at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. In fact, he had a suggestion.

“Change the slogan. SIU: Work hard. Play hard,” he said.

“Heads in beds.” Heh. Get it? That would also be a great jam band name.

I kinda doubt that SIUC will take him up on that slogan, but they had a lot of students when they were known as a party school. Once the town cracked down, however, student population began to decline. The town won the all too common town vs. gown fight and everybody ended up losing.

There were obviously other factors in SIUC’s decline, but look at towns where they work closely with their directionals and you’ll see successful towns and campuses.

* Meanwhile, at our northern border

A marijuana dispensary has been approved in South Beloit, Ill., just outside Wisconsin.

The city council approved the measure unanimously Tuesday night, after the zoning passed last week.

According to the mayor of South Beloit, the dispensary would be built along Interstate 90. Beloit, Wis. and South Beloit, Ill. are just minutes away from each other, separated by the state line.

Legalization is the first real state-level legal change in years to attract out of state shoppers, along with the new border-area casinos.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      


Biz groups launch opposition to new ethylene oxide bills

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019

* I’ve posted a bunch of press releases from Sterigenics and ethylene oxide opponents, so let’s look at this letter sent to legislators earlier today from business interests…

Date: September 25, 2019
To: Honorable Members of the Illinois General Assembly
From: Donovan Griffith, Director of Government Affairs, Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA)
Todd Maisch, President and CEO, Illinois Chamber of Commerce
John Conrad, President & CEO, Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization (IBIO)
Mark Biel, Chief Executive Officer, Chemical Industry Council of Illinois (CICI)
RE: Opposition to Further Efforts to Limit or Ban Use of Ethylene Oxide

The aforementioned groups have joined together to express our serious concerns and opposition to any additional efforts to further restrict or ban the use of ethylene oxide (EO) in Illinois.

It is very important to note that ethylene oxide sterilizes over 2.1 million medical devices used in Illinois every day. This product is essentially irreplaceable in its effectiveness to combat infection in hospital surgical settings. In most cases, EO’s use in sterilization of medical equipment is the only method approved by the FDA as EO is the only acceptable method of sterilization for many medical devices. Further, ethylene oxide is a significant building block in the creation of an exhaustive list of life-improving products (see attachment) including essential plastics and pharmaceuticals to cosmetics and clothing. The economic hit of an ethylene oxide ban would be significant, with an initial loss of at least 1,500 jobs in Illinois, including unionized positions.

It has only been three short months since the state of Illinois enacted the most stringent restrictions (SB 1852 & SB 1854) on the use and emissions of ethylene oxide, not only in the United States, but in the entire world.
While our organizations opposed these restrictions, the impacted companies have been extremely responsive in compliance. Major renovation and retooling work is currently underway at significant expense. These improvements are ongoing and take considerable time to implement as much of the new equipment must custom-built and installed.

Unfortunately, these facilities, while in good faith to comply with the strict regulations, are now hit with the possibility of being completely shut down. While facilities haven’t had the opportunity to complete their work (and gather new data on emissions), some legislators want to stop these facilities from either reopening or remaining open. This proposed action is wrong and can only be described as an unsubstantiated movement of the “goal posts.” These companies are making a good faith effort to comply with the law, making it fundamentally unfair to change the rules, a mere three months into the process.

Industry opposed the enacted laws because we, and many others, see the original USEPA risk assessments as significantly flawed. The USEPA sets a risk value for EO at 600-1200 times lower than the background levels of EO found throughout the Chicagoland area and United States (see attached). While industry continues to challenge the USEPA’s original risk assessment of EO, our member companies are working to comply with the new laws to continue to be protective of the public health and environment.

Before any additional action is taken on EO, the General Assembly needs to recognize the considerable impact such actions would have on Illinois industry which depends upon the use of ethylene oxide.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Thank you for your time and consideration.

The attachment is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      


Rep. Art Turner won’t run for reelection

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019

* As noted in the story, I told subscribers about this yesterday

State Rep. Art Turner won’t seek re-election in 2020, and political strategist Ty Cratic is the first big Democratic name to try to secure the seat. “I’m running,” he told Playbook. […]

Turner’s departure, first reported in Rich Miller’s blog, comes as he makes plans to marry and make a possible full-time move to Springfield. His brother, Aaron Turner, is also circulating petitions for the Senate seat that their father, former Rep. Art Turner Sr., held for nearly 20 years before he was succeeded by Art Jr.

Both Cratic and Aaron Turner were also mentioned in my earlier story.

Leader Turner has been enormously successful in the House. He’s well-liked and respected by his peers. He will be missed.

* Meanwhile, I tipped subscribers on this last week

When he ran for a fourth term as mayor of Woodstock, Brian Sager announced it would be his last.

Now he has announced what’s next.

Sager told The Independenthe would campaign as a Democrat for the 63rd District seat in the Illinois Legislature, now held by two-term Republican Steve Reick.

Sager, who will be 67 next month, decried the extreme partisanship in politics generally and the Legislature specifically. Most voters, he said, don’t care about party affiliation as much as they do results from elected leaders.

“They want to send people to the Legislature who are simply willing to work together,” the mayor said. “I have a record of that.”

…Adding… Oops, I forgot to post this one

MARTIN McLAUGHLIN wants McSweeney’s seat. The Barrington Hills Village president, has announced his campaign for state Rep. in the 52nd District now represented by David McSweeney who won’t seek re-election in 2020. The district contains parts of Cook, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties. McLaughlin says during his term as village president, he’s lowered spending, lowered the tax levy for five out of the past six years and increased spending on infrastructure. “These are all things that government bodies can and should be doing, including the state of Illinois,” he said in a release sent to Playbook.

He confirmed to me that he’s in the race.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


*** LIVE COVERAGE ***

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019

* Follow along with ScribbleLive


- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


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* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* "I’m in it to win it. Not for a show"
* AG Raoul task force raid finds more than $1 million in stolen goods
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* Question of the day
* Itasca probed by feds over NIMBY vote
* Local pension fiefdoms still fighting for survival
* Meanwhile, in Crazytown
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