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It’s just a bill

Thursday, Feb 13, 2020

* Press release…

State Rep. Terra Costa Howard, D-Glen Ellyn, joined a group of good government activists and local supporters Thursday to announce filing of the Fair Maps Amendment, a comprehensive reform of Illinois’ redistricting rules.

Costa Howard’s announcement was part of a statewide network of news conferences held Thursday by a bipartisan group of legislators and advocates supporting the Fair Maps Amendment. The events were coordinated with CHANGE Illinois, a non-partisan, non-profit group leading a coalition of more than two dozen organizations supporting the Amendment.

The Fair Maps Amendment would overturn the current system, which empowers legislators to draw partisan gerrymandered districts. Instead, an independent redistricting commission would be chosen to draw the district maps for the Illinois Senate and House. The commission members would be carefully selected to represent everyone who lives in Illinois, instead of placing power over district boundaries in the hands of politicians who have a vested interest in protecting their own careers.

“The first step toward increasing people’s trust in government is assuring voters that their elections are honest and that their voices are heard,” said Costa Howard. “By filing this amendment today, we are beginning a statewide conversation about the meaning of fairness and the importance of truly representative government.”

Costa Howard, who is sponsoring the Amendment in the Illinois House, announced the groundbreaking legislation in the Lombard Historical Society’s Victorian Cottage Museum, surrounded by posters and memorabilia highlighting Lombard’s historic support of women’s suffrage. In 1891, Ellen Martin, an attorney and Lombard resident, became the first woman to vote in Illinois after she found a loophole in the village charter granting voting rights to every Lombard resident over the age of 21, with no reference to gender.

The shocked polling judges admitted that Martin was legally entitled to vote, and 14 more Lombard women joined Martin in heading to the polls and casting their votes as well. Soon afterward, however, state legislators took action to severely restrict Illinois women’s ability to vote in local elections. Despite that setback, Lombard remained a center of women’s suffrage activism until 1920, when the ratification of the 19th Amendment recognized American women’s right to vote.

“When state legislators took action to keep Lombard women from exercising their right to vote, that was a particularly egregious example of politicians choosing their voters, instead of the other way around,” Costa Howard said. “Today, we’re honoring the bravery of Ellen Martin and so many other voting rights advocates – in Lombard and throughout Illinois – by demanding district boundaries that reflect community interests instead of following the self-centered wishes of incumbent elected officials.

“As elected officials, we should trust the voters of Illinois to make wise, well-informed choices,” Costa Howard added. “We need to take action now to reform Illinois’ redistricting system and strengthen people’s faith in our state government.”

Costa Howard’s event, held in the 48th district, was followed later Thursday by a news conference in the James R. Thompson Center in downtown Chicago. The Thompson Center event, led by CHANGE Illinois, included a bipartisan group of the Amendment’s chief co-sponsors in the state House and Senate, including: State Sen. Melinda Bush, of Grayslake; State Sen. John Curran, of Downers Grove, and State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, of Chicago. They were joined by representatives of several non-partisan, non-profit state and national groups supporting the Amendment, including the Illinois League of Women Voters, Common Cause Illinois, AARP-Illinois, and RepresentUS. State Rep. Ryan Spain held a news conference Thursday in his home district in Peoria.

“The people of Illinois overwhelmingly support redistricting reform,” Madeleine Doubek, executive director of CHANGE Illinois, said in a news release. “An independent poll by SIU’s Paul Simon Institute found 67 percent of Illinois voters want an independent commission to draw our legislative lines. The people of Illinois understand that we can’t have honest government and hold politicians accountable if we don’t have truly competitive elections that restore power to the people.”

* Sun-Times

After state Sen. Tom Cullerton was indicted for allegedly embezzling money from the Teamsters, the Villa Park Democrat was removed as chair of the Senate Labor Committee.

But instead of losing a powerful leadership position and the additional $10,327 stipend that comes with it, Cullerton simply took over as the chair of the Senate’s Veteran Affairs Committee.

That game of musical chairs left one of his Senate colleagues scratching her head.

Hoping to make sure tainted lawmakers truly face the music, state Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, has introduced a bill that would bar members of the General Assembly who face criminal charges from serving in any leadership or committee positions.

* Illinois Public Radio

Democratic state Sen. Ram Villivalam of Chicago is expected to file paid-family leave legislation similar to a measure passed in the Senate last year. Democratic state Rep. Mary Flowers, also of Chicago, said she plans to reintroduce a revamped version of her family leave measure the legislature failed to consider in 2019.

“When the mother has to rush back to work because of the pay … we are really hurting a lot of families by not getting them paid family leave,” said Flowers, who says she believes leave policies should cover parents and those who act as caregivers to ailing relatives.

If Illinois enforced some form of paid family leave for its residents, it would be the eighth state to do so.

State employees in Illinois had six weeks of paid parental leave until August when Gov. J.B Pritzker’s administration boosted that to 10 weeks. The city of Naperville just approved six- to 12-weeks of paid parental leave for its employees.

* Press release…

State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, will be joined by NBA athletes Sterling and Shannon Brown and professional sports agents for a press conference to announce their support for the Student Athlete Endorsement Act on Friday, Feb. 14 at 10 a.m. in the James R. Thompson Center press room.

“To kick-off the start of NBA All-Star weekend in Chicago, professional players and agents are joining me in the effort to bring equity and fairness to college athletes by supporting the Student Athlete Endorsement Act,” Welch said. “This legislation gives college athletes the compensation and recognition that they deserve for their athletic achievements. I’m excited to announce the growing support for this initiative so we can work to get this passed in the Senate and signed into law.”

Welch’s House Bill 3904 creates the Student Athlete Endorsement Act allowing student athletes at any of Illinois’ four-year public or private universities to seek out endorsement opportunities or payment for the use of their name, image or likeness. The measure passed the Illinois House in October and is awaiting consideration by the Senate.

Welch will be joined by Sterling Brown of the Milwaukee Bucks and Shannon Brown formerly with the Los Angeles Lakers. Both athletes are graduates of Provisio Township High School District.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:02 am:

    === Student Athlete Endorsement Act===

    The governing body of student athletes, the NCAA, is already on this, and in a way to cover all universities, universally.

    This is a solution looking for a press pop.

    A bit disappointing.

  2. - Leatherneck - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:21 am:

    “State employees in Illinois had six weeks of paid parental leave until August when Gov. J.B Pritzker’s administration boosted that to 10 weeks.”

    Not at the SOS, at least not right now. Still at 4 weeks and a sticking point in the IFPE/IFT contract impasse right now (while SEIU had agreed to 4 in their contract renewal last fall).

  3. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:48 am:

    ==- Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:02 am:==

    Willy, the NCAA is trying to end-run California’s enacted law, which passed unanimously. HB 3904 has already passed the House here with wide bipartisan support. Only the pressure of more states lining up to join California has gotten the NCAA to even consider compensation for imagery and likeness.

  4. - Heyseed - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:54 am:

    I’m sure that most Illinoisans support redistricting reform. The question in my mind is how truly independent any redistrict commission will be in actual practice. And I’m guessing I’m not alone in that.

  5. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:55 am:

    - Precinct Captain -

    === NCAA is trying to end-run California’s enacted law===

    What they are trying to do as the governing body is have California the same as Oklahoma, the same as Montana, North Carolina, and Illinois.

    The NCAA can and would have to comply with each and every state law like this.

    They could go back to denying Freshmen the opportunity to varsity athletics to curb all these state differences, and they can require 30 credit hours be completed as part and parcel of that.

    The thing about governing bodies like this is the uniformity of a level playing field in all areas for all athletes.

    This bill here is a press pop silliness that seemingly ignores the goal for all student athletes to seem in tune with something or another.

    I’d want national uniformity for all, as opposed to grandstanders trying to muddy the effort to make hay in their state.

    With respect, bud.

  6. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 11:33 am:

    “paid-family leave legislation’

    Another unfunded mandate out of Springfield. These have a much impact for Public School Districts, Municipalities, Park Districts, Townships and Library Districts. The phased in $15 minimum wage is already squeezing operating budgets for these entities that rely on property taxes and they can’t easily raise levy amounts (PTELL). Results will be more referendum’s to increasing already high local property taxes or reduced services.

  7. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 12:02 pm:

    == Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, has introduced a bill that would bar members of the General Assembly who face criminal charges from serving in any leadership or committee positions.==

    Sen. Bush is somehow unable to discuss this with her new Senate President? I don’t know if she has heard, but there was a new guy selected a couple weeks ago who isn’t related to Tom Cullerton (that I know of). She doesn’t need to pass a bill, just needs a senate president who is actually willing to follow through on his claims about cracking down on unethical conduct.

  8. - Unionman - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 12:48 pm:

    Agencies under the Governor had 20 days or 4 weeks. Not 6 weeks. Now they have 10 weeks. Where do they get their information from.

  9. - OpentoDiscusssion - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 1:01 pm:

    Paid-family leave? Paid by whom? More nanny state legislation.

    I have no problems with employees being able to use sick and vacation time toward such leave, And that this should be done with no hassle by the employer and no later retribution.

    But that is where it ends. Use of one’s accrued time only.

  10. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 1:36 pm:

    ==- Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:55 am:==

    The NCAA is a cartel that’s already been found to violate antitrust laws (O’Bannon v NCAA). The NCAA has had 3.5 years since O’Bannon was decided to get their act together, but they have refused. Only state action and consistent state action will spur them to decide new rules. Just within a month of enactment of California’s law (and with no debate within their organization), the NCAA changed their position on name and likeness, yet punted on making any actual rules.

  11. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 1:44 pm:

    - Precinct Captain -

    The more each state decides they need to weigh in and enact different rules the NCAA will indeed let these states do that.

    The NCAA will then decide on eligibility changes, like Freshmen or academic progress or benchmarks

    Doing these bills piece meal, state by state, will only bring down harsher criteria to be student-athletes and curtail opportunities.

    Right now students are transferring far quicker (and easier which is fine with me) than ever before, now you’re going to have different states with different rules and legislation about making monies off likenesses.

    Like a coach taking control of athletes, the NCAA will curtail the opportunities to play, like freshmen and hour benchmarks.

    The governing body, with the blowback from California, sees that it must make uniform these opportunities, as states won’t, and does anyone, students or the NCAA, want congress involved?

  12. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 3:26 pm:

    ==- Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 1:44 pm:==

    Willy, you are clearly not as informed as you could be on this topic. The NCAA is begging Congress to get involved.

  13. - Interested Bystander - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 3:38 pm:

    So was this a hijack of the fair maps bill Sen Morrison was carrying in the Senate?

  14. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 3:43 pm:

    - Precinct Captain -

    === The NCAA is begging Congress to get involved.===

    Prolly why I wanted to be refuted and have it brought up.

    Also why I bring up unlimited food, scholarships and jobs… “but the NCAA already does that… “

    It’s a solution looking for a problem of getting statewide exposure.

    The NCAA sees this as a national problem. They can’t have state by state issues and guidelines.


    State by state isn’t the answer. It will never be the answer for a governing body covering the entire country.

  15. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 3:51 pm:

    - Precinct Captain -

    Its all good, this issue needs an airing out and the idea of the myopic view of states handling this won’t solve it.

  16. - filmmaker prof - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 5:56 pm:

    OW - the NCAA will never enact making freshman ineligible or it will lose the unpaid services of the very best in basketball for the one year they currently get. One-and-done will become none-and-done.

  17. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 6:02 pm:

    === the NCAA will never enact making freshman ineligible or it will lose the unpaid services of the very best in basketball for the one year they currently get.===

    The discussion now is two years, if you go to college, it’s a two year deferment to the pros.

    The best way to shed those looking for licensing paydays is again go back to no player can play without 30 completed hours, a mandatory 2 year deferment to the professional sports if you go to college.

    Football, which is the biggest and best feeder to it’s professional league would benefit with that rule.

    It’ll force Hockey, Basketball, and Baseball athletes to consider minor league deals… and stifles the pay to play plan surly quickly.

  18. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 6:21 pm:

    - filmmaker prof -

    Further, the NBA last February (2019) openly talked about ending “one and done”, going back to drafting 18 year olds, which makes NCAA programs look for stability in a 2 year commitment too.

    It’s crazy times, I’d hate to be a 17 year old athlete right now figuring out a future and navigate the next 2-3 years…

    With respect.

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