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A veritable cornucopia of new state laws

Monday, May 16, 2022

* I told you late Friday afternoon that the governor had signed a bunch of bills. Press releases started arriving immediately and have continued until today. So in reverse order received, here they are…

The State of Illinois will be prohibited from financially supporting standardized tests for young students under a new law spearheaded by state Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, D-Chicago, and state Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, D-Chicago.

“Formal testing procedures do not effectively measure what our youngest students under the age of 8 can or cannot do,” LaPointe said. “Instead, these tests inappropriately change classroom focus and can be a cause of inequity in our education system. This new law will help redirect classroom attention toward more proven learning strategies.”

LaPointe and Pacione-Zayas’ Senate Bill 3986 creates the “Too Young to Test Act.” Under the measure, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is specifically prohibited from developing, purchasing or requiring a school district to administer, develop or purchase a standardized assessment for students in grade levels prekindergarten through second grade, unless for diagnostic or screening purposes. The proposal came in response to consideration from ISBE to begin testing younger grades in math and reading, despite education advocates, including the Illinois Families for Public Schools, noting that young children develop rapidly in fits and starts, making standardized tests unreliable.

“I appreciate Senator Pacione-Zayas’ leadership on this topic, and I’m thankful for the hard work parents, teachers and advocates put toward reaching this moment,” LaPointe said. “We must continue to focus on learning strategies that are evidence-based, and ensure that all students – regardless of background – receive the attention and investment they deserve to succeed.”

* Villa…

Thanks to a new law sponsored by State Senator Karina Villa, older LGBTQ adults across Illinois will have expanded advocacy at the state level to address disparities in treatment, care and overall well-being.

“No one should experience discrimination when it comes to the care and resources available to them, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “For far too long, though, that hasn’t been the case. This law helps to make right generations of disparity.”

Previously Senate Bill 3490, the new law creates the Commission on LGBTQ Aging, adds LGBTQ representation to the Council on Aging, requires the Department of Aging to designate an LGBTQ Older Adult Advocate, and creates an LGBTQ Older Adult Curriculum & Training Program for Department of Aging.

LGBTQ people of all ages have historically faced unique challenges rooted in discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, including a lack of legal and social recognition and reduced access to inclusive services and affirming care.

This is especially significant for those living with HIV. According to the CDC, nearly half of people in the United States living with diagnosed HIV are 50 and older, meaning that access to specialized care is necessary for many older adults.

“The LGBTQ community has historically overcome incredible adversity, and this law creates equity and prevents discrimination when it comes to necessary care,” Villa said. “They deserve the same access to support and resources everyone else has, and I’m proud to help ensure they do.”

The legislation goes into immediate effect.

* Koehler…

Illinoisans will now have an added incentive to purchase vehicles manufactured in-state thanks to a new law sponsored by State Senator Dave Koehler.

“We have a highly skilled manufacturing workforce that produces reliable, high-quality vehicles right here in Illinois,” said Koehler (D-Peoria). “By offering a rebate on the purchase of vehicles manufactured in-state, we put money back in the pockets of our consumers and spur our local economies.”

Illinoisans purchasing cars and passenger trucks manufactured in-state will have the opportunity to apply for a $25 rebate on the title under Senate Bill 3609. Consumers would have one year from the month the vehicle was manufactured to apply for the rebate.

“When we encourage the purchase of goods manufactured here in Illinois, we support good-paying jobs across our state and keep our local economies healthy,” said State Representative Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea), House sponsor of the bill. “I am proud to support our manufacturers through this legislation.”

The legislation will go into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

* Simmons…

To better advocate for the interests of children with incarcerated parents in Illinois, State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) is leading a measure to create the Commission on Children of Incarcerated Parents.

“Today in Illinois, nearly 200,000 children – or one in every 20 – have had a parent in jail or prison. We need to improve the system so that the bond between a parent and their child is honored and strengthened despite the incarceration.”

The Commission, housed within the Department of Human Services, will be tasked with implementing and coordinating the recommendations of the Task Force on Children of Incarcerated Parents within state agencies. The task force, created in 2020 will propose the changes, and the Commission will work with agencies on how to properly implement the changes.

Children whose parents are incarcerated can experience multiple negative effects such as greater mental health symptoms, difficulty with school, housing instability, and overall trauma.

“I am so glad we passed this legislation and look forward to working with House sponsor Rep. Delia Ramirez, Cabrini Green Legal Aid, and the other advocates and stakeholders who worked hard on this effort to implement the commission, said Simmons. We will see this work through so children of incarcerated parents can maintain the most important relationship they have and have their overall needs met across the entire system.”

House Bill 5525 was signed into law on Friday and takes effect on January 1st, 2023.

* Fine…

Thanks to a new law introduced by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview), necessary funding for the Housing Authority of Cook County will be more accessible to invest in essential housing programs for the community.

“Funding affordable housing in Cook County is vital for many low-income families,” Fine said. “This law will help level the playing field so more land used to build affordable housing can be acquired sooner—allowing more Cook County residents to participate in these essential programs.”

Before this legislation, the Housing Authority of Cook County struggled to compete with for-profit developers when attempting to purchase property, while also having to wait for grant funding to pay for their investments. The trust fund will ensure vital developments, such as conventional public housing programs and rental assistance for families, seniors, and people with disabilities, are able to be completed sooner because the housing authority has direct access to funding.

“Housing costs are some of the biggest concerns facing people in our communities,” Fine said. “This law will ensure more people have access to affordable housing options.”

House Bill 5018 was signed into law May 13, 2022. It goes into effect immediately.

* Crowe…

To offer support to mothers who are survivors of sexual abuse during childbirth, State Senator Rachelle Aud Crowe passed a law to allow parents to remove the physician’s name from a copy of the child’s birth certificate.

“When giving birth, women trust their physician to offer support, guidance and encouragement on one of the happiest, most memorable days of her life,” said Crowe (D-Glen Carbon). “Unfortunately, there are several cases where mothers endure sexual assault and abuse in the process, and this law works to remove the disgraced physician’s name from a copy of the child’s birth certificate.”

In Illinois, the short form birth certificate does not include the physician’s name. Under Crowe’s proposal, a parent or adult-age child can request a long form birth certificate with the physician’s name removed. The redacted certified copy of the birth certificate does not replace the original certificate.

“Mothers who endure sexual abuse during childbirth are oftentimes hesitant to speak out, yet they endure longstanding, emotional trauma,” Crowe said. “To offer a small sense of relief, this law empowers survivors to receive a certificate free from shame and allow an opportunity to recover, process and heal.”

The law, filed under Senate Bill 3163, is effective Jan. 1, 2023.

* Simmons…

To protect communities across Illinois from the deadly impact of lead, State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) passed a law signed on Friday to strengthen lead mitigation procedures.

“Almost every community across the state is affected by lead in the water supply,” said Simmons. “This law provides an effective and expeditious solution to a decades-long problem that systemically affects low-income communities and communities of color.”

House Bill 4369 will require the Illinois Department of Public Health to follow up on lead mitigation notices by carrying out inspections to ensure the work has been completed. The past law merely permitted an inspection, while this measure will require and enforce lead mitigation efforts.

Lead is a heavy metal and suspected carcinogen that was frequently used in paint, plumbing materials, and many other items before the 1980s. Today, it is mostly found in aging water pipes, contaminated soil, and peeling paint on windows, baseboards, trim, and doors. No amount of lead exposure is considered safe for children or adults.

“Removing lead from all homes and facilities is long overdue and is a critical step toward prioritizing the overall health and safety of people across the state,” Simmons said.

House Bill 4369 was signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker on Friday and takes effect on January 1st, 2023.

* Fine…

Private insurance will now cover specialized care for children living with serious illnesses while allowing the child to seek additional treatments, thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) that was recently signed into law.

“In Illinois, seriously ill children deserve consistency in high quality, child-centered care regardless of where they live and whether they have public or private health insurance,” Fine said. “This law will allow for more families to access this critical care without having to worry whether or not their insurance will cover the treatments.”

Under Fine’s law, patients with private insurance will now be covered for pediatric palliative care. Palliative care is a specialized medical care for people living with serious illnesses focused on providing relief from symptoms and improving quality of life with the medical condition. Some forms of this care include expert management of physical and emotional symptoms, as well as patient and family counseling.

Many patients who have access to this type of treatment see less emergency room visits, shorter hospital stays, and experience an improved wellbeing for themselves and their families. Despite these benefits, only 1% of the 2,800 children in Illinois living with chronic illness currently have access to this treatment.

Sen. Fine is a longtime advocate of increasing accessibility of pediatric palliative care. In 2021, while working with advocates like the Greater Illinois Pediatric Palliative Care Coalition, she sponsored a measure requiring Medicaid to cover pediatric palliative care.

“For children living with serious illness, palliative care is vital in keeping children out of the hospital and decreasing family stress. This results in improved quality of life for the patient and his or her entire family,” Fine said. “This law is crucial to ensure seriously ill children in Illinois and their families have the care and support that they deserve.”

Senate Bill 3819 was signed into law May 13, 2022. It goes into effect January 1, 2023.

* Villanueva…

State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) championed an initiative to bring additional training requirements on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias for emergency medical service providers that became law Friday.

“Attending to patients with dementia requires heightened analysis of the current state of the individual and careful consideration for appropriate care,” Villanueva said. “An impaired ability to recall information, make decisions and think critically is common among the many types of dementias, making it imperative that our medical services personnel are well-equipped to approach and handle these situations.”

This spring session with the help of the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter, Senator Villanueva introduced House Bill 4388, which sets training guidelines for emergency medical services personnel to help them better serve patients with dementia. The new law requires training on the assessment, diagnosis and care of dementia after each renewal of one’s EMS license. This training will also include dementia-effective communication strategies for the betterment of interactions between EMS personnel and people with dementia.

“For our medical services workers, responding to emergency situations doesn’t always mean performing life-saving measures and transporting injured people to proper medical facilities,” Villanueva said. “Sometimes their service takes the form of caregiving to remove the dangers a person’s condition poses to them in the moment, which takes quality training on the evaluation of a variety of diseases and conditions.”

The law takes effect immediately.

* Villa…

Thanks to a new law championed by State Senator Karina Villa, Illinois visitors and out-of-state students will soon be able to continue to receive their established therapeutic services via telehealth from an out-of-state certified social worker.

“We have already taken great strides toward mental health accessibility here in Illinois,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “This is another important step to ensure these vital resources are available to everyone in our state, resident or otherwise.”

House Bill 4797 will allow non-residents and visitors to Illinois, such as university students, to continue to receive the care they need from their trusted and established therapists. Under previous law, clinicians were required to be licensed in the state where their client is physically located at the time of care, not the state where they reside.

“Finding a therapist is not a one-size-fits-all situation, and it’s important that those in need are able to continue their established relationships with trusted mental health professionals,” said Villa.

The legislation was signed on Friday and goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

* Koehler…

Motorcyclists across the state have a new incentive to purchase electric motorcycles and keep Illinois on track toward a cleaner, more sustainable future thanks to a new law by State Senator Dave Koehler.

“Making electric vehicles accessible and affordable for all Illinoisans is a great way to promote sustainability,” said Koehler (D-Peoria), who recently received a “Senator of the Year” award from ABATE Illinois. “By offering the same incentives for electric motorcycles that we do for other types of electric vehicles, we’re improving Illinois’ relationship with greener energy and supporting multiple modes of transportation.”

Senate Bill 2940 expands the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act of 2021 to make highway-legal electric motorcycles eligible for a $1,500 electric vehicle rebate. This is an expansion of the rebate in the original legislation that incentivized the purchase of new and used electric vehicles in Illinois but excluded electric motorcycles. ABATE (A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education), the state’s largest motorcycle advocacy group, played a large role in drafting the legislation.

“As we work to transition to more sustainable options across the board, we have to ensure everyone is included in the conversation,” said State Representative Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea), House sponsor of the bill. “By offering the same incentive to motorcyclists that we have to Illinoisans who choose other modes of transportation, we are ensuring not only accessibility and affordability, but sustainability for everyone.”

The legislation is effective immediately.

* Ellman…

Dedicated license plates will soon be available to more members of Gold Star Families in Illinois thanks to a new law by State Senator Laura Ellman signed on Friday.

“When brave men and women put their lives on the line to defend our country, their families make great sacrifices as well—Gold Star Families sacrificing the most of all,” said Ellman (D-Naperville). “I was proud to partner with dedicated legislators and advocates from across the state to pass this law ensuring all members of Gold Star Families receive the recognition and thanks they so rightfully deserve.”

House Bill 5078 expands the current eligibility list for Gold Star Family license plates to include stepchildren, adopted children and half-siblings of veterans who lost their lives serving in a branch of the United States Armed Forces, and waives the registration fee for children in Gold Star Families.

“There’s no way we can ever repay our debt to the families of Gold Star service members,” said State Representative Stephanie Kifowit (D-Aurora). “But it’s important that we do what we can to show our respect and remember their sacrifice. This legislation will properly align our state law with language used by the Department of Defense, and ensure appropriate individuals receive the recognition they deserve. All of our Gold Star families are in my thoughts – we can never forget them.”

The legislation goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

* Hunter…

Access to low cost prescription drugs will be protected thanks to a measure led by State Senator Mattie Hunter that was signed into law Friday.

While the average adult spends $177 out of pocket on prescription drug annually, affordability is a bigger issue for those who are older, taking four or more prescription medicines, have chronic conditions or are low-income.

“People should not have to spend hundreds of dollars in order to receive their prescription,” said Hunter (D-Chicago). “People living with diseases and disorders need access to medication, and we have to make it affordable for them.”

The new law protects access to low cost “340B” prescription drugs for uninsured and low-income patients by prohibiting pharmacy benefit managers and third party payers from using certain contractual provisions in contracts they enter into with safety-net healthcare providers.

The federal 340B Drug Pricing Program allows entities to stretch scarce federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services.

“Health care is a right, and that includes access to prescription drugs,” Hunter said. “The Drug Pricing Program was created to lower medication costs for those that need it, and this measure reinforces that.”

Similar measures have been adopted in 16 other states.

Due to an expanding aging population and an increase in chronic illness, health care costs in America have risen dramatically over the years, with costs projected to reach $6.2 trillion by 2028. Illinois spends more on prescription drugs than majority of the nation, spending of a total of $18.64 billion in 2019.

House Bill 4595 is effective July 1, 2022.

* Martwick…

Widows of Chicago firefighters and police are one step closer to receiving additional support after a measure advanced by State Senator Robert Martwick (D-Chicago) was signed into law.

“Despite the false narrative of an overgenerous pension system, widows of Chicago first responders have been living with great financial hardship for decades,” Martwick said. “This adjustment is essential if we are going to support the widows of our Chicago firefighters and police officers who put themselves in the line of duty to keep all of us safe. I’m pleased that we are taking this small step to support the families who sacrifice so much for all of us.”

The new law will change the Chicago police and Chicago firefighter articles of the Illinois Pension Code to increase the minimum annuity for widows to no less than 150% of the Federal Poverty Level. It is currently set at 125%. In 2022, the Federal Poverty line is set at a mere $13,590 for a single person. This measure will ensure that if a Chicago firefighter or police officer dies in the line of duty, the widow’s annuity could not fall below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level for that family.

Earlier this year, seven Chicago firefighters were injured in a house fire in the Roseland neighborhood caused by a “flashover” when crews were battling the flames. Incidents like these underscore the dangers that first responders encounter on the job and the concern that their loved ones have when they leave the house every day to go to work.

“The loss of a loved one who sacrificed so much to serve their community is unimaginable and their family shouldn’t have to struggle financially as a result,” Martwick said. “This reform aims to tackle the disparity that comes with this tragedy and provide basic dignity to the families who have lost a loved one.”

Senate Bill 4053 was signed into law on Friday and takes effect immediately.

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      

Question of the day

Monday, May 16, 2022

* What is your own, personal top 2022 campaign issue? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      

Campaign notebook

Monday, May 16, 2022

* Republican gubernatorial hopeful Jesse Sullivan at a Saturday candidates’ forum in Belleville

Sullivan believes the election is not “just a partisan battle” between Democrats and Republicans, but a “battle around our core values, a spiritual battle.” He believes Republicans are losing because “everyone buys into this idea of the separation of church and state.” Sullivan said he believes “faith values can insert themselves into government and they’re supposed to, and God belongs at the center of our politics.”

You can negotiate the substance of bills. You cannot negotiate the substance of someone else’s religious beliefs. And which God should be at the center of our politics?

* Also from the same forum, following this logic would lead one to conclude that Sen. Darren Bailey believes that all regulatory and criminal laws are needless

Asked about COVID-19 mandates, Bailey said he believes the role of government is to educate, inform and provide, but should leave it up to “we the people to decide how we’re going to live.”

* Let’s move on to Wikipedia

Sanctuary city refers to municipal jurisdictions, typically in North America, that limit their cooperation with the national government’s effort to enforce immigration law.

From June of 2019

Irvin said that Aurora joins with Governor JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in, “prohibiting the use of our resources to aid or support ICE in its enforcement activities.”

Richard Irvin today on Tom Miller’s show

I do not support sanctuary cities. Aurora is not a sanctuary city. And when I’m governor, Illinois will not be a sanctuary state.

Sure, Jan.

* Irvin campaign…

On Friday, as the Democratic Governors Association doubled down on a multi-million dollar campaign to stop Aurora Mayor and Republican candidate Richard Irvin from becoming the next governor of Illinois, Pritzker finally admitted to reporters that he is personally involved in the pro-Bailey, anti-Irvin DGA television ads. While Pritzker tried to walk his comment back, the DGA later defended its coordination with Pritzker, telling the media that the ads “do not qualify as an ‘independent expenditure.’”

Pritzker’s decision to go all-in to support Darren Bailey in the Republican primary highlights the clear contrast between Republican Irvin and Democrat Pritzker. Pritzker pushed the largest income tax hike in Illinois history, signed the most pro-criminal law in state history and personally supported Mike Madigan’s criminal enterprise. Irvin, a combat veteran, former criminal prosecutor and successful mayor of Illinois’ second-largest city, lowered property taxes every year he was mayor, personally put violent criminals behind bars and defeated Madigan’s criminal enterprise when he ran for mayor.

Pritzker and Bailey, of course, have one big thing in common: they love to raise taxes. In a state with highest property taxes, Bailey voted to raise property taxes 13 times. Aurora property taxes, on the other hand, went down every year Irvin was mayor – because unlike tax-and-spend Pritzker and Bailey, Irvin cut spending and delivered economic growth.

In case you missed it, the Irvin campaign launched a new ad, “Proud,” on Friday to ensure Republican voters know that Pritzker is supporting Bailey, a fellow tax hiker, fearing he will lose re-election if he faces a proven tax-cutter and crime-fighter in Irvin.

* Politico

— Catalina Lauf has been endorsed by House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik’s (N.Y.) Elevate PAC, or E-PAC. Lauf is running in the Republican primary for the 11th Congressional seat held by Democratic Rep. Bill Foster.

— Former Democratic state Rep. Litesa Wallace has been endorsed by the progressive Our Revolution Illinois in her bid for the 17th Congressional District.

— Eric Sorensen has been endorsed by Equality PAC Co-Chairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) in his bid for IL-17.

— John Fritchey has been endorsed by Congressman Chuy Garcia in his bid for judge in the 8th Subcircuit. Fritchey is a former state rep who also worked with Garcia when they were both Cook County commissioners.

* Whew. This Illinois US Senate candidate is quite something…

* AP

Michigan’s court seats are among the top priorities for the Republican State Leadership Committee, which plans to spend more than $5 million this year on state court races, a record for the group, said spokesman Andrew Romeo.

The group’s other priorities include the races in North Carolina as well as those in Illinois and Ohio — primarily to better position Republicans in the fights over drawing state legislative and congressional boundaries.

“People used to think redistricting was a 10-year fight,” Romeo said. “Now it’s going to be a battle every election cycle because there’s critical supreme court races every election cycle that have the ability to impact redistricting.”

* This was a government press release, but there’s definitely a campaign angle to it

The U.S Department of Health and Human Services is granting the State of Illinois with $5.4 million in funding to support and expand access to equitable and affordable family planning services for low-income populations across Illinois.

Governor JB Pritzker made the announcement on Monday, sharing that in addition to this federal grant there is also $5.8 million in state general revenue funds, meaning the Illinois Family Planning Program will provide approximately $11.2 million in funding in state Fiscal Year 2023.

The funds will be divided among 29 delegate agencies that operate 98 family planning clinics throughout the state.

With the new HHS grant the Illinois Department of Public Health will be able to support access to Title X services under the Illinois Family Planning Program that were being restricted under the previous federal administration.

Under the previous federal administration a “gag rule” was imposed to block family planning clinics from referring patients to abortion providers.

“Now that the Biden administration has reversed Trump’s gag rule, I am proud to announce we have rejoined the federal Title X program and we’re putting record funding toward our Illinois Family Planning Program,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Let this record-breaking investment remind women that the state of Illinois trusts you to make your own choices. To choose what contraceptives are right for you. To choose whether you want to be a parent or not. And we will make sure that—on top of protecting your right to choose—you get the care that you deserve.”

Governor Pritzker announced in July 2019 that the State of Illinois would forgo federal Title X funding in response to the rule imposed by the Trump Administration that banned federal funding for contraceptives for low-income people, unless grant recipients pledged not to counsel on abortion options or refer to abortion services.

“Countless vulnerable people lost a lifeline when Title X funding was lost due to the Trump administration’s gag rule, and the restoration of that funding is now more important than ever as our constitutional right to bodily autonomy is under attack,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “This $11.2 in critical funding is a step forward in ensuring people receive the reproductive care they need, and it will build on our commitment of a safe, welcoming Illinois for all.”

…Adding… DGA…

Last week, uber-conservative candidate Darren Bailey announced former Trump advisor Steve Cortes’ support of his campaign, solidifying Bailey’s stance as the most conservative, extreme candidate in this race.

On Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast, Cortes said: “State Senator Darren Bailey is the man whom I’m supporting … He’s an America-first stalwart and fighter. He was a Trump delegate in 2020 — so Darren Bailey should prevail in this primary.”

That’s coming from a guy who calls himself an “American nationalist,” who was sacked from Newsmax after refusing to follow their vaccination policy, and who loudly voiced his disappointment that Trump wasn’t fascist enough as president.

The far-rights of the far-right think Bailey is the true conservative for Illinois. And Bailey’s embracing it wholeheartedly as he angles for Trump’s endorsement after meeting with the former president in Mar-a-Lago last month.

“This endorsement from one of Trump’s cronies further confirms what we already knew to be true: Darren Bailey is the uber-conservative extremist candidate in this race,” said DGA Senior Communications Advisor Christina Amestoy. “With a potential endorsement from Trump himself looming and new polling showing the matchup between Bailey and Richard Irvin closer than ever, the GOP primary is a total toss-up. But one thing is crystal clear: neither of these top contenders has Illinoisans’ best interests at heart.”

…Adding… IEA…

Today, U. S. Congressman Sean Casten announced that the Illinois Education Association (IEA) has endorsed him for re-election. IEA, one of the largest unions in Illinois with more than 135,000 educators across the state, is full-heartedly supporting Rep. Casten in the Democratic primary for Illinois’s 6th Congressional District. As a tireless advocate for teachers and students, Sean is proud of his 100% pro-public education voting record and honored to have IEA’s support.

* Another endorsement…

Nabeela Syed, the frontrunner in the Democratic Primary to take on incumbent Republican State Representative Chris Bos of Lake Zurich, continues to add support over her opponent in the June 28 Democratic Primary Election.

Congressman Jesús “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL4) made the following statement when releasing his endorsement: “While the Illinois General Assembly is one of the more diverse state legislatures across the country, there is still more work to be done. By adding Nabeela Syed to the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives, we can further our need for more voices from different backgrounds but also add a champion for welcoming and inclusive policies. There is no doubt in my mind that she will be a fierce advocate for northwest suburban families and stand up for all of her constituents.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

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Do we finally have the answer about whether Richard Irvin voted for Donald Trump?

Monday, May 16, 2022

* In a roundabout way, and after much pressing, Richard Irvin essentially admitted to WJPF’s Tom Miller today that he voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020

Tom Miller: You know, it’s interesting, Richard, because I’m a recipient of much of your mailers, I get them literally, like it seems like every other day at this point. And, you know, do you find it interesting that the last presidential election is playing such a large role in our governor’s election, in particular, a TV station releasing some [texts] from you? Are you surprised by the fact that this Trump election was playing such a large role in our governor’s election this year?

Richard Irvin: You know, I’m disheartened by it. But I’m not surprised by it, because the fact is, this this pleases JB Pritzker. There’s nothing more that would please JB Pritzker than us talking about the White House and national politics versus focusing on his failures in the state of Illinois. Simple as that. You know, as long as we’re talking about things that don’t matter, that aren’t priority to the residents. And those priority things are the things that I hear about every time I travel throughout the state. That crime is out of control, that tax and wasteful spending is out of control, taxes are too high, that corruption is out of control. If we don’t talk about those things that are pertinent to our residents, and we get off the subject talking about national politics and the White House, then we don’t address the issues and JB Pritzker wins. That’s exactly what he wants. What we have to do is refocus and talk about those things that are important now, right now, to the residents in the state of Illinois for us to move forward as a state and to progress and to get jobs back in areas that needed most to reduce taxes so we don’t constantly lose businesses and residents to our border border states or all the other 49 states to make sure we get rid of this Pritzker-Madigan corruption that actually prevents us from moving forward. You know, as the sixth largest state in the union, we’ve got to focus on what residents, what they care about today. I was down south talking to some folks in in Southern Illinois, that said the meth problem in Illinois, as drugs come up, you know, across the border is terrible. And they can no longer leave their their doors locked at night because kids in their neighborhood that were kids that they knew at one time, little kids nice kids are now meth heads and breaking into their homes and stealing stuff. That’s in Southern Illinois. Same thing in Chicagoland, same thing in central Illinois. Crime is out of control, you gotta address it head on.

Tom Miller: But Richard, you’re the one sending out the mailings about the Trump, on Bailey not voting for Trump. You’re the one sending those emails, those messages out.

Richard Irvin: Listen when we, you know, I was attacked by my opponents, all of my opponents even before I got into this campaign, even before I got into this race for governor. And I think it’s important that we make everyone’s record clear. That’s what this is about, comparing records in this primary, comparing records. So we can determine who the best person is for the job. Now, what would my opponents don’t want to talk about, they don’t want to talk about the fact that I’m a combat veteran and served our country proud of the United States Army, and in the first Gulf War. They don’t want to talk about thata. They don’t want to talk about the fact that I’m a former prosecutor and I personally put criminals behind bars, and that I’m the one most equipped to be able to deal with the crime that’s running rampant throughout our state. They don’t want to talk about the fact that I’m the mayor of the second largest city in the state of Illinois, with a proven record of supporting our men and women of law enforcement, reducing taxes for our residents, attracting businesses, attracting new residents to things that our state of Illinois needs. You know, my opponents want to point out other things about me. So it’s important that I point out parts of their records. Not that it’s pertinent to the campaign, but I got to point their records out so everybody knows all of our records.

Tom Miller: Right. Right. So can I ask you who you voted for in the last presidential election? We can be done with this subject and move back on to the important items.

Richard Irvin: Listen, that’s the point. That’s exactly what JB Pritzker wants to be talking about. Want to be talking about who we voted for in the last election and what happened yesterday instead of what’s going on now and what’s going to happen tomorrow. What’s gonna happen with the state of Illinois, you know, why are we focused on, you know, the things that, you know, that are important to right now? And I don’t want to get into that.

Tom Miller: Right. Well, that’s why I wanted to ask so we could be done with it, hopefully and move on. That’s why I asked.

Richard Irvin: Listen, I’m a Republican. In the general election, I always vote Republican.

Tom Miller: All right. Good enough.

Please pardon all transcription errors.

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      

Because… Madigan!

Monday, May 16, 2022

* Center Square

Durkin said $3 billion in projects for only districts with Democratic lawmakers is wrong, and a reminder of how Madigan ran things for decades as House Speaker.

In a section of the nearly 3,500 page budget where spending from the federal American Rescue Plan Act is spelled out, Republicans offered some examples.

Spending in that section includes $8 million for Navy Pier, $15 million for the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont

The Donald E. Stephens Convention Center is in a House district represented by the late Donald Stephens’ son, Rep. Bradley Stephens (R-Rosemont). I mean, yeah, it’s in a Democratic Senate district, but Brad is a Republican.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

Reporting that got results

Monday, May 16, 2022

* CBS 2

Gov. JB Pritzker on Friday signed legislation that will give drivers greater protection from unscrupulous towing companies.

The legislation was an amendment to Illinois House Bill 3124. It calls for a “tow rotation list,” in which essentially, police agencies will call an approved list of tow companies whenever there’s an accident.

If a random tow driver pulls up on the scene and wasn’t requested by the owner of the car or officer, they will not be authorized to tow the vehicle.

The legislation requires any towing service working within the jurisdiction of a given police agency to submit an application for inclusion on that police agency’s tow rotation list.

Tow drivers will also need to go through background checks, insurance, and licensing.

This was a direct result of the CBS 2 investigators’ reporting on the issue.

For years, the CBS 2 Investigators have exposed how private tow companies would deliberately hold vehicles. We uncovered in six months how one tow company racked up $150,000 with just 54 invoices.

* ProPublica

[Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza] has banned local governments from using a state program to collect debt from students who have been ticketed for truancy, eliminating a burden for families struggling to pay steep fines.

A number of school districts around the state, meanwhile, have begun to scale back and reevaluate when to involve law enforcement in student discipline, among them a suburban Chicago high school where Black students have been disproportionately ticketed. That school, Bloom Trail High School in Steger, said Thursday that it will stop asking police to ticket students and move to other methods of discipline.

The moves come after an investigation by the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica, “The Price Kids Pay,” found that school officials and police were working together to ticket students for misbehavior at school, resulting in fines that could cost hundreds of dollars per ticket. When students or their families failed to pay, local governments sometimes turned to the state for help collecting the money.

The state told municipalities that beginning June 11 they no longer may submit truancy ticket debt for collections, according to an email from the Illinois comptroller’s office to municipalities that participate in the state’s Local Debt Recovery Program. Through that program, the state helps local governments collect on unpaid penalties for ordinance violations, unpaid water and sewer bills and other municipal debts by withholding money from people’s tax refunds, their lottery winnings or even their paychecks if they are state employees.

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      

Hopefully, the Thompson Center remodeling project will get rid of that “kind of creepy” vibe

Monday, May 16, 2022


The Governor’s office moved out of the James R. Thompson Center Friday, as many staffers emptying the 16th floor say they are happy to move on.

Since 1985, the postmodern Thompson Center has loomed above Clark Street like a giant greenhouse. Inside, even tourists are saying what state employees have said for decades: the building needs a major update.

“We were just talking about how kind of creepy it feels inside actually,” Korina Martin, a tourist from Boston said.

For the Governor’s Chief of Staff, it feels like a building lost in time.

“If you could picture you grandparent’s rec room like circa 1975 where nothing has been changed or updated. It’s too hot in the summertime, it’s too cold in the wintertime,” Anne Caprara said.

* This thread by Caprara was priceless

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      

Local 150 endorses both Irvin and Pritzker in their primaries

Monday, May 16, 2022

* I went over this with subscribers earlier today…

This morning, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 announced its endorsements in Illinois’ June 28th Primary Election. Among the federal, statewide, and state legislative endorsements, Local 150 endorsed Democrat JB Pritzker and Republican Richard Irvin in their respective races for Governor.

Local 150 President-Business Manager James M. Sweeney issued the following statement:

    “Local 150’s membership in Illinois is politically diverse, with nearly an even split of members who identify as Republican and Democrats. We aim to provide our members with options of candidates who will represent their beliefs on various issues without threatening their paychecks, their rights as workers, or their union.

    “Both J.B. Pritzker and Richard Irvin have demonstrated a commitment to supporting Illinois workers, investing in our infrastructure, and promoting policies that grow the middle class. Irvin has championed local ordinances that promote qualified contractors, encourage skill training, and protect workers’ rights. Pritzker has supported the strengthening of Illinois’ prevailing wage laws, fought back against economically harmful anti-worker ordinances, and signed the largest infrastructure funding bill in Illinois’ history.

    “I am proud to announce our endorsement of both candidates, as well as nearly 160 other candidates running for federal, statewide, or legislative office in Illinois.”

The International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150 is a labor union representing 23,000 working men and women in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. Local 150 represents workers in construction and related industries, including material production, concrete pumping, steel mill service, slag production, public works and others.

The full endorsement list is here. No endorsements in the Democratic secretary of state primary nor in any of the contested statewide GOP primaries. Also, the union informed me that the list they sent me for subscribers earlier today omitted 150’s backing of Lilian Jimenez in the 4th District Democratic primary.

* From Richard Irvin…

I am proud to receive the endorsement of Local 150 and am committed to rebuilding the middle class by supporting workers and enhancing skill training. That’s my record in Aurora and I’ll do the same for all of Illinois.

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

Let’s be a bit more cautious out there

Monday, May 16, 2022

* Rep. Joyce Mason (D-Gurnee) on Facebook five days ago

I had managed to avoid covid for the past 2+ years. Vaccinated and double boosted, I had been feeling pretty confident lately. Honestly? Kind of invincible. It felt so great to be returning to life and people and events, unafraid, normal.

But that all changed Sunday afternoon as I suddenly developed a weird, barky cough and started feeling bad. Mothers Day dinner was canceled as I crawled into bed. My at home test: negative. My fever spiked as high as 104 during the night and I froze with chills and my body ached. Monday - I canceled my attendance at a press conference with the Governor, a school visit, and A Safe Place board meeting. Home test: positive.

Worst headache ever, chest pain, wheezing and coughing non-stop, my doctor sent me to the ER. An EKG and chest X-ray, curled up on a small bed, shaking, freezing, sweating, aching, coughing. They sent me home with an inhaler and a prescription for antiviral medication, which was hard to find at local pharmacies.

Canceled everything for the week including speaking at a Veterans event in Springfield I had been looking forward to for months, breakfast with a community member I admire so much and have been wanting to get to know better, a visit with the Speaker, big meeting with the Zion community leaders, another school visit and surprising a school group during their Springfield Capitol tour, and much more.

Today I’m still quite sick, I can’t stop coughing, it’s hard to talk, and I’m exhausted. Incredibly sorry to those I had been around and didn’t know I was infected. Grateful to those who have reached out. We’re fine - Just do me a favor - please please please don’t let down your guard. This vaccinated, double boosted mom can attest to the fact that covid is still very much alive and well and still very dangerous. Take care friends, and keep those masks handy. Be safe.

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

Another look at the WGN poll

Monday, May 16, 2022

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

Gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin has spent tens of millions of billionaire Ken Griffin’s dollars introducing himself to Republican primary voters. Yet a recent poll taken for WGN-TV by Emerson College Polling shows he’s leading state Sen. Darren Bailey by just 4 percentage points, 24-20%, with 19% split between the other four candidates and undecideds “leading” with 37%.

Irvin’s TV ads have tended to focus on crime (or corruption), but just 15% of Republican primary voters rate crime as their top issue, while 54% said the economy was at the top of their list.

Irvin has big leads over Bailey when asked which candidate “is best suited to tackle crime in Illinois.” He’s ahead of Bailey overall 30-20 with GOP primary voters on the issue, including 32-20 with whites (the vast majority of the GOP base), 38-18 in the suburbs, 33-13 in Chicago, 34-23 with men and 27-16 with women. Bailey is just barely behind outside of the Chicago metro region on the topic at 24-23. If crime were really and truly topmost to Republican primary voters, Irvin would be walking away with this.

Bailey is keeping it close overall partly because he’s just slightly ahead of Irvin on the all-important economy issue, 22-21. And that’s because Bailey leads Irvin by 8 points (25-15) outside metro Chicago on the topic and leads slightly among women (19-17).

According to the poll, 56% of whites, 57% of men, 51% of women, 54% of suburban voters and 61% of Downstaters put the economy at the top of their list, with just 32% of Chicago Republicans prioritizing it and putting the topic in second place.

On crime, the poll found that just 14% of whites, 15% of men, 14% of women, 13% of suburbanites and 10% of Downstaters had the issue at the top of their list, while 40% of Chicago Republicans said it was No. 1.

The Irvin people have said in the past that he is using the crime issue to signal to voters that, despite his outward appearance, he’s actually a Republican, without having to trumpet his specific party affiliation in most (not all) of his advertising. It’s worked as far as that purpose goes, but he’s not yet speaking loudly to the top voter concern. Even so, there’s plenty of time and Griffin money to move on to other items. We’ll see.

The Irvin campaign claims the Democratic Governors Association and Dan Proft’s People Who Play by the Rules PAC have spent about $8 million attacking their guy, with another $2 million or so on the way in new DGA ads.

The Irvin campaign just reloaded with $25 million from the state’s wealthiest resident, Griffin, after apparently burning through most of Griffin’s initial $20 million “investment.” The fact that he’s only attracting less than a quarter of the primary vote after all that ought to be hugely concerning. But, as noted above, there’s still time to crack the ceiling.

Those anti-Irvin ads are quite obviously having an impact on Irvin’s numbers — holding the nominal frontrunner down with the hope that Bailey’s campaign can somehow catch fire. But Bailey is such a hapless and cashless candidate that he’s going to need something huge.

Bailey has been trying like heck to win former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. Bailey recently attended a Mar-a-Lago fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Mary Miller and has been posting the photo he took with Trump on his social media feeds. He touts the fact that he was a Trump delegate in 2020 and has shown endless irritation at being labeled by Irvin as a never-Trumper Democrat.

But a WTTW news story late last week about how Irvin once said he hated Trump and called the former president an “idiot” and “bigoted racist” might help Bailey secure that nod.

The poll showed that 57% of GOP primary voters would be more likely to vote for a candidate who was endorsed by Trump. Of that large majority of folks who said they’d be more likely to vote for the candidate, 34% were undecided voters.

In other words, Bailey has to secure that Trump nod. It may very well be his only path to prevent those undecideds from eventually breaking toward Irvin. It’ll hurt Bailey in the general election, of course, but that’s for another time.

As subscribers know, I now believe that Darren Bailey may finally have enough money to compete. We’ll see what sort of home stretch race he and his benefactors run.

- Posted by Rich Miller   39 Comments      

Celebrate Illinois Statesmanship

Monday, May 16, 2022

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

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The annual Paul Simon-Jim Edgar Statesmanship Award is presented to a former or current state or local government official in Illinois who has demonstrated a pattern of public service characterized by vision, courage, compassion, effectiveness, civility, and bipartisanship.

Former Governor Jim Edgar and the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute invite you to nominate an Illinois elected official who has displayed this kind of exceptional leadership.

We created the Simon-Edgar Statesmanship Award to shine a spotlight on remarkable public service that is taking place in our state and local communities. Please join us as we celebrate the Prairie State’s best traditions. Nominate an Illinois statesperson by June 1.

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

Open thread

Monday, May 16, 2022

* Happy Monday!

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      

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

Monday, May 16, 2022

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Monday, May 16, 2022

* Follow along with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comment      

* A veritable cornucopia of new state laws
* Question of the day
* Campaign notebook
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraiser list
* Do we finally have the answer about whether Richard Irvin voted for Donald Trump?
* Because... Madigan!
* Reporting that got results
* Hopefully, the Thompson Center remodeling project will get rid of that "kind of creepy" vibe
* Local 150 endorses both Irvin and Pritzker in their primaries
* Let's be a bit more cautious out there
* Another look at the WGN poll
* Celebrate Illinois Statesmanship
* Open thread
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* * Comments now open * Late Friday news: Bailey gets $2.5 million from Uihlein; DGA blasts Irvin in second ad; ILGOP's Tracy on election fraud; Pritzker signs several bills
* Yesterday's stories

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