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It’s just a bill

Tuesday, Feb 4, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* NPR Illinois

Income of about $1.4 billion a year for Illinois workers would be generated if paid parental leave became law — that’s according to a report out today from a pair of Illinois think tanks.

Paid-leave legislation was introduced last year, and state Rep. Mary Flowers, a Chicago Democrat, told NPR Illinois she would introduce a version of that again this legislative session.

The report’s lead author Jill Gigstad says, “Ultimately, paid parental leave is first and foremost about the health and well-being of newborn children, adopted children and their parents. But it also has a lot of economic impact as well – positive impacts.”

The study comes from the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the University of Illinois’ Project for Middle Class Renewal.

The study is here.

* Press release

Last fall State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield) introduced legislation (House Bill 3940) to ban so-called “sweepstakes” machines in Illinois. The legislation was filed in the wake of revelations regarding a former House Member’s advocacy for the machines. Even though sweepstakes machines look, operate, and are marketed almost exactly like legal video gaming machines, they operate outside the strict requirements of Illinois’ video gaming law.

A growing chorus of bipartisan legislators have been pressing the case for the legislation as the concerning realities of sweepstakes machines have continued to be exposed. On Friday, Butler, joined fellow State Representatives Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), Jaime Andrade (D-Chicago) and Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) in sending a letter to House colleagues seeking to grow the number of cosponsors to ban the machines.

The letter states:

    “In many instances these machines have been known to be located in businesses which have been denied a video gaming license. These machines have been located in communities which have banned the use of video gaming machines in their towns. Sweepstakes machines are even marketed as ‘slot-style games’ offering ‘jackpots’ to players… Yet, sweepstakes machines are unregulated, the owners are not subject to background checks, and the machines do not pay state or local taxes.”

    “The argument that this is corollary to winning a Big Mac in a scratch-off at McDonald’s is completely bogus,” said Butler. “It is obvious to anyone that has seen one of these ‘sweepstakes’ machines that they are clearly setup as gambling machines designed to skirt the law. I find that very concerning because it puts consumers at risk. The 2012 video gaming law was setup with important consumer protections like requiring operator background checks, limits on the number of gaming terminals and guaranteed chances for players to win to ensure they are not being cheated.”

So far, HB 3940 has 27 sponsors in the House. Butler and his fellow chief sponsors hope that number will expand further, particularly in light of recent lobbying efforts in favor of sweepstakes machines despite the scandal surrounding the machines.

That last part is true. At least one sweepstakes lobbyist was at the Statehouse last week working members.

Elements of the industry tried to bribe their way in. If that isn’t a gigantic red flag, I do not know what is. Former Rep. Luis Arroyo is being arraigned today on that alleged bribery. He’s expected to plead guilty.

* Center Square

An Illinois lawmaker is proposing an additional 10 percent sales tax on what she calls “assault weapons” but an advocate says her novel definition of the term would mean nearly all firearms would be hit with the tax.

A firearm sale in Illinois already includes federal taxes, state sales taxes, and local taxes. Chicago’s assesses a $25 per gun fee that’s long-faced a legal challenge.

State Sen. Ann Gillespie’s Senate Bill 2468 would impose a 10 percent retail sales tax on what she calls “assault weapons” and their magazines, which she refers to as a “large capacity ammunition feeding device” that would hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Her definition of a qualifying gun is anything that would accept one of those magazines, something Todd Vandermyde with the Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois says would encompass the broad majority of guns sold.

“Every modern handgun that’s not a revolver or a Derringer comes into play,” he said, adding that the tax would nearly immediately face a court challenge upon passage.

* Related…

* Amid corruption investigations, some look to give Illinois’ attorney general more power to investigate: Former Attorney General Lisa Madigan did look into possible criminal neglect surrounding the legionnaire’s deaths at a veterans’ home in Quincy under the administration of former Gov. Bruce Rauner. That pre-election announcement was seen by the Illinois Republican party as a political move.


  1. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Feb 4, 20 @ 10:28 am:

    Imprecise language related to firearms is a huge problem. “assault weapons” is a term/phrase that is ambiguous. Now if you want to talk about semi-automatic rifles, or semi-automatic pistols that is terminology that can be understood. And those two types of firearms happen to be the most popular and best selling weapons in America.

  2. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Feb 4, 20 @ 10:34 am:

    Smith & Wesson’s M&P Shield 9mm is the best-selling semi-automatic pistol in June 2016.

    The Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle was the most popular semi-auto rifle in America in June 2016.

  3. - Fixer - Tuesday, Feb 4, 20 @ 11:07 am:

    “Assault weapons” is a phrase that is going to instantly turn this into a partisan issue. Learn and use the correct terminology, make some common sense language for a bill, and quit trying to tax something you don’t like out of existence. I fully support some of the legislation that is trying to support lowering gun violence but this is just bad policy.

  4. - City Zen - Tuesday, Feb 4, 20 @ 11:27 am:

    Regarding paid parental leave, the study identifies potential revenue sources, one of which is “dedicating 45% of new revenue from the state’s proposed progressive income tax”

    So they recommend spending money that has already been spent. Well done. Maybe next time these “think” tanks will put a bit more thought into their work.

  5. - Payback - Tuesday, Feb 4, 20 @ 12:47 pm:

    Re. investigations by the Illinois AG, that was addressed at the City Club speech of Kwame Raoul on Oct. 21,2019, at the Union League Club, but host Jacki Robinson Ivy deep-sixed the audience question and Raoul ran out of the room. Raoul boasted about his staff and that the head of his criminal division is a former assistant U.S. attorney, but he didn’t mention her name (Nathalina Hudson) which is impossible to find on the AG website.

    When Chicago, Cook county, and state officials were all corrupted by prohibition and organized crime in 1930, leading citizens petitioned President Herbert Hoover to bring in Eliot Ness from D.C. to “get Capone.” That’s the Chicago Crime Commission. Illinois has been waiting 90 years for a state AG to do their job.

  6. - theCardinal - Tuesday, Feb 4, 20 @ 2:54 pm:

    Assault weapons are made up thing from some CA newsie in the 1990s. Assualt is what someone does with anynumber of things to others. So maybe she means military grade weapons that can be fired in fully automatic mode ?? One needs a very special and high priced Federal license to aquire those already. I know a good number of gun folks and know no one with that licensure. Kindly stop trying to punish law abiding citizens. They already pay taxes and the price for other peoples garbage action. Add 10% and folks will buy out of state, which will really help the revenues the cash starved once great state needs.

  7. - Keyrock - Tuesday, Feb 4, 20 @ 5:37 pm:

    Illinois courts are not the best place for corruption prosecutions. That’s why they are usually done by federal prosecutors.

    Even if the AG were authorized to bring prosecutions, and even if there were enough well-trained state police to investigate them, they’d still be before state judges. There are two problems with that. First, many state judges are, uh, not as independent as federal judges. Second, state law allows defendants an automatic substitution of judges. That increases the chance that the defendant would be before a judge who may be biased.

  8. - Payback - Tuesday, Feb 4, 20 @ 7:37 pm:

    So now it’s Illinois judges are corrupt too? Oh okay, let’s just give up then. CPD detective Jon Burge was torturing suspects and initiating wrongful investigations that put innocent men on death row for how long, twenty years? I was in the federal courtroom listening to a man testify about how detectives under the supervision of Burge suffocated him with a typewriter cover, twenty years after it happened. I say no more, Illinois citizens have had enough of police criminals and corrupt public officials, and we’re tired of waiting for justice to come one day.

    If Kwame Raoul is the crime fighter the fawning press makes him out to be, he can put a drop down tip function at the AG website, his invisible “public integrity bureau” can review and vet the information, then they can forward it to the feds or state police. Start small with baby steps.

  9. - Leslie K - Tuesday, Feb 4, 20 @ 9:43 pm:

    Those sweepstakes machines are just completely unregulated video gaming. No way to control payout percentages (how often players win), no oversight (legal video gaming machines are connected to a central system), ready access by minors because of where the things are popping up, unsavory characters in the business. Lang sponsored a bill in I think 2013 (2012?) that (intentionally) created ambiguity about whether they are legal.

    The legal arguments are complicated, so many municipalities don’t want to take the issue to court and risk a judge (mistakenly) ruling that they are legal. A clear, explicit ban would be fabulous. Maybe there is finally momentum…

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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