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Emptying my in-box ahead of the holiday weekend

Friday, Jan 14, 2022

* Running out of time, so I’m lumping a ton of stuff together…

* As schools battle Omicron, billions of federal relief dollars remain unspent: Some schools are struggling to remain open for in-person learning due to the latest coronavirus surge — but a lack of money isn’t the problem.Much of the $190 billion that Congress authorized for schools earlier in the pandemic has yet to be used. In a majority of states, less than 20% of the federal money had been spent by the end of November, according to the latest US Department of Education data.

* DCFS director cleared in two of three contempt of court rulings, fines vacated: “The matters related to these orders are fully resolved,” said spokesman Bill McCaffrey in an email.

* Editorial: Only bold action will keep the momentum going to reform DCFS: State Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford) plans to introduce legislation to streamline hiring so that DCFS can eventually have two people go out on calls — a good safety measure, in our view. State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) has plans for legislation to give DCFS workers benefits in line with emergency responders, such as better pensions.

* Lawmakers call for DCFS review after deaths of 6-year-old boy, caseworker: WGN News reached out to the Governors’ press office for comment regarding criticism directed at Pritzker. In a statement, the Governors’ press office wrote, “Since taking office, the Governor increased DCFS’ budget by over $340 million with DCFS launching aggressive hiring efforts to bring on 860 additional staff. These investments passed without the support of the Republicans in General Assembly.”

* Jonathan Jackson eyes Rep. Bobby Rush’s seat: The scion of a noted Chicago political family is pondering whether to enter the race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush. If he does, Jonathan Jackson would shake up the contest.

* Mark Brown: With end of Shakman in sight, court monitor burrows in on new Illinois political hiring probe: In a subsequent court filing, the Shakman plaintiffs said they support Pritzker’s efforts to free the state from the consent decree, though not his timetable. They argue that Pritzker could wrap up all of this by April by taking six more steps to reform state employment practices, including completing a switchover to an electronic hiring system.

* Ald. Burke was secretly videotaped inside his City Hall offices as part of federal corruption probe: The document also quotes Burke as allegedly saying, “I am a believer that if you’re making money, that you should share the wealth. So you and I’ll never have . . . we’ll just figure out a way that’s gonna be above board, legal, etc. Because you and I are not gonna . . . get in trouble over this . . . at this stage in the game.”

* To give parents options, Illinois lawmakers should preserve tax credit scholarship program

* Editorial: Apparently, it’s up to the legislature to clarify roles in township government

* Ulta, Walgreens shorten hours due to omicron surge: The retailers cite staff shortages and safety concerns over the latest COVID spike.

* This officer is trying to fix the relationship between Chicago police and families of murder victims: But Page’s mission to ease their suffering is a nearly impossible task. Of the city’s 800 homicides in 2021 the department had solved only 179 cases by the end of the year, leaving more than 600 families still hurting for justice. The department’s failure to close murder cases leaves families scared for their safety as killers remain free, undermines public trust that murderers will face justice and convinces some citizens to seek retribution outside of the law, further inflaming violence in the city. These are the dynamics Page and about 20 other police officers are trying to fight against in a new unit tasked with building relationships, and trust, with the families of murder victims.

* New Illinois law removes tax credit cap when you trade in car while buying new vehicle: If you’re in the market for a new car and will be trading in your old one, a new law eliminates a $10,000 credit cap that was set in 2020 as part of the Rebuild Illinois capital plan.

* Bill would pay $100 for home surveillance video: Representative Mike Zalewski (D-Riverside) filed a House bill that rewards residents $100 if they submit a home surveillance video that helps police prosecute a crime.

* State senators want car insurers to give pandemic refunds: A letter signed by 16 Democratic senators urges the Insurance Department to collect and share data on the excess profits car insurers reaped in 2020 and early 2021 when driving levels plummeted.

* Illinois lawmakers may not return to Springfield until Groundhog Day

* Student Loan Company Reaches $1.85B Settlement With Illinois, Other States: Tens of thousands of borrowers in Illinois and across the country will see their student loan debt canceled following a $1.85 billion settlement between several states and one of the nation’s largest collecting companies.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

7 Comments »
  1. - Not a Superstar - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 2:50 pm:

    Regarding Noelle Brennan and the CDB, I can think of nothing the Rauner 2.0 people would like more than to keep the air of suspicion alive during an election year. But it sounds like small beer.


  2. - DTown Resident - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 3:11 pm:

    If they want to preserve the scholarship tax credit, then make it a level playing field. If I donate to any of the local school foundations for the many good, including DPS, school districts in the area, then a donation to them should also be a tax credit. And in that case, no money goes to the grifter organizations that wrote the legislation and also administer the funds so they get a cut from the scholarship money.


  3. - Norseman - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 3:18 pm:

    === … rewards residents $100 if they submit a home surveillance video that helps police prosecute a crime ===

    Show me the money.

    Doing things for the good of the community is not the in thing for today’s America.


  4. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 3:26 pm:

    ===DCFS director cleared in two of three contempt of court rulings, fines vacated===

    I’m glad to see this, my hope is DCFS can continue to strive to meet it’s mission. In the end, that should be the want of everyone


  5. - notsosure - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 3:36 pm:

    DTown I am 100% in agreement with you. That credit was a gift to political insiders and their pals. I have yet to see any data showing an increase in actual scholarships, and I am convinced it was almost entirely just a shift in how the $ got to the kids.


  6. - Steve - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 3:46 pm:

    The Chicago Sun-Times article on Burke is interesting. The FBI ” has been conducting an investigation of public corruption in the Chicago area.”


  7. - ANON - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 4:14 pm:

    The arcane rules required to access the federal relief funds are ridiculous–the federal bureaucracy has much to be blamed for in these funds remaining unspent …when the GOP begins US House hearings next year this issue of unspent pandemic funds should be at the top of the list.


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