In the spot titled “Sh*t,” Congresswoman Marie Newman’s campaign dismisses attacks from one of Sean Casten’s SuperPACs, Democratic Majority for Israel, which is dumping six figures in a campaign to erase a lifelong Democrat and progressive woman from Congress.
The ad features Newman walking her dog and dismissing false attacks on her from Casten’s dark money allies as “Sh!t,” then pivots to the differences between her and Casten: “So here’s the truth: I grew up here, and have been a lifelong progressive Democrat. Casten voted for anti-choice Republicans like George Bush. I’ve always fought to protect reproductive rights, an economy for all, and universal health care. Sean Casten hasn’t. I don’t accept corporate money, while Casten has taken a million dollars from corporate PACs.”
The new Newman ad references Casten moving to this area just a decade ago and buying his way into Congress - accepting nearly $1 million in corporate contributions and relying on SuperPACs spending six figures to attack his female opponents. The ad goes live across Illinois’ new 6th District June 1st.
Sean Casten regularly encourages SuperPACs to engage in his congressional campaigns to tear down progressive women. Mr. Casten is currently under Federal Election Commission investigation for allegedly “illegally [colluding] with a SuperPAC funded by his wealthy father in airing $130,000 worth of ads attacking a Casten primary rival then, Kelly Mazeski.”
He and his SuperPAC are now spending six figures to tear down Congresswoman Newman. This formula has played out in PA12, TX28, and OR05 where a dark money SuperPAC spends six to seven figures to tear down progressive women fighting for working families in their districts.
Hi, I’m Congresswoman Marie Newman, and unfortunately, you’re going to hear a lot of s*** about me from my opponent, Sean Casten. So here’s the truth: I grew up here, and have been a lifelong progressive Democrat. Casten voted for anti-choice Republicans like George Bush. I’ve always fought to protect reproductive rights, an economy for all, and universal health care. Sean Casten hasn’t. I don’t accept corporate money, while Casten has taken a million dollars from corporate PACs. I approve this message because unlike Sean Casten, I’ll always fight for our progressive values.
Yeah, I know it’s after hours, but I was looking through A-1s and saw the press release, so I figured you might wanna rate it tonight.
In March, Department of Children and Family Services Director Marc Smith was cited an eighth time on a contempt of court order for failing to appropriately place a teen who was in the agency’s care into the proper setting. What should be done to address the agency’s shortage of proper shelter for children in DCFS care? What other reforms do you believe are needed at DCFS?
Former Governor Bruce Rauner decimated social services at DCFS, intentionally cutting 500 residential beds and refusing to pass a budget for over 700 days. Making improvements to this state agency is not like flipping a light switch: it requires ongoing investments and efforts.
As Governor, I’ve sought outside input on strategies and tactics to improve DCFS. As a result of those recommendations, we’ve increased DCFS’s budget by over $340 million, launched aggressive efforts to hire hundreds of additional staff, and eliminated the DCFS abuse and neglect reporting hotline backlog––reducing the percentage of calls requiring callbacks from 50% in 2019 to under 1% now.
DCFS has also overhauled its technology, led trainings for every staff member, and is working hard to create needed placements for children. Importantly, DCFS has bolstered its provider network and intends to hire an additional 360 DCFS staff this year and next. The agency has made improvements––but there’s still work to do––and those who seek to use our most vulnerable as political pawns don’t deserve to lead our state.
There’s still a lot of work to do, governor. A lot.
It’s heartbreaking to see a state agency repeatedly endanger the lives of our most vulnerable children. The public has a right to know how long J.B. Pritzker has known about the horrific problems inside his agency and why he defends his hand-picked director who continues to be found in contempt of court. This isn’t a partisan issue; it’s an issue of incompetence, corruption and lack of compassion. We need new leadership at the top in Illinois to fix the problems at DCFS.
Priority one: Fire the current director of DCFS who, as of April, has been found in contempt of court nine times for failing to protect our most vulnerable children. We need competent leaders who can drive improvements inside DCFS, and partners in the General Assembly willing to remove any barriers to reform.
Fire the director and hope for the best, apparently. And since the contempt fines are being tossed out by the appellate courts, I’m kinda wondering if these contempt findings are really worth anything.
As Governor, I will immediately initiate a thorough review of the operations of DCFS. From that review I will make an assessment of every aspect of DCFS and from that assessment make the reforms necessary. Reforming DCFS will be one of my top priorities as Governor.
There is no agency of Government more important than the one that protects children and there is no bigger failure of the Pritzker Administration in its management of DCFS.
Like so many other agencies, the Department of Children and Family Services is missing leadership from the Governor’s Mansion that demands results and holds agency directors accountable. I am open to establishing a dedicated revenue stream that will fund the necessary shelters for DCFS care.
Money is not really an issue at DCFS these days, unless you cut taxes. Then it becomes an issue everywhere in government.
The crisis at DCFS is very personal to me and my family – my wife Monique and I made the decision to be foster parents and have welcomed two incredible foster kids into our home. Other politicians will say they’re pro-life or pro-family – we’re living it.
The problems at DCFS, sadly, go deeper than a quick fix. It takes a culture change at the top, and the solution isn’t just going to be throwing more money at a broken system - they’ve tried throwing more money at the system, but nothing changes. Fixing this broken system is going to require partnering with and empowering the faith and civic leaders in our state; they are the key to solving this crisis. It will also require recruiting great families to foster our most vulnerable children, which is something I am uniquely suited to do, as a foster parent.
The state already partners with faith and civic groups. Outside groups deliver the services. And while being a foster parent is a hugely commendable endeavor, fostering children with such severe violent behavioral issues that they wound up stuck in psychiatric hospitals with no place to go is a whole other story.
Governor Pritzker today signed historic and equity-focused nursing home rate form legislation (HB246) that will improve care for nursing home residents across Illinois. The legislation holds facility owners accountable by tying new funding to improving care for vulnerable Illinoisans.
The reform principles include increased funding that is tied to staffing levels, a proven predictor of improved health outcomes for residents; a new pay scale for certified nursing assistants that increases wages based on years of experience; and funding connected to improving key quality measures. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services first introduced these reforms in March 2021, and they were also included in the Governor’s budget for this fiscal year.
Illinois will become the first state to implement this reform model, as well as the first to incentivize better nursing home staffing at this magnitude. For the first time in Illinois, there will be a direct tie between funding for nursing home industry and quality measures, including the hiring of staff.
“Since day one of my administration, I’ve made it clear that everyone deserves quality, affordable healthcare,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “With today’s signing, Illinois will no longer tolerate an emphasis on profits over people, especially at the expense of our most vulnerable Illinoisans. When it comes to taking care of our seniors, Illinois is setting a new standard—the highest in the nation. This is what accountability looks like.”
“Under HB 246, we are carving the path for well-funded, well-staffed nursing homes with workers who have the training to provide quality care,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “I have had the opportunity to hear from nursing home workers, who shared what it’s like to be stretched thin and how transformative this legislation can be. With this bill, we are building a better future for residents and workers alike with their voices at the forefront.”
Medicaid customers, and especially Black and Brown nursing home residents, are more likely to live in understaffed facilities, making equity a driving force behind the changes in the nursing home rate reform legislation. COVID-19 disproportionately affected nursing homes in vulnerable, often Black and Brown communities, further widening the inequities that exist within long-term care. But the need for change in the nursing home Medicaid payment system in Illinois began long before the pandemic.
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) spends over $2.5 billion annually to care for the roughly 45,000 nursing home residents who are enrolled in the Medicaid program, which accounts for nearly 70% of nursing home residents in the state. The legislation ties new funding to accountability and transparency for nursing facilities by adopting the federal Patient Driven Payment Model (PDPM), which is designed to more accurately reflect the clinical care needs of residents and requires the disclosure of all individual nursing home ownership interests.
Accounting for federal matching funds, Illinois will invest more than $700 million in Medicaid funding in the nursing home industry through a combination of new revenues generated by simplifying and expanding the existing nursing home assessment tax, and by allocating additional general revenue funds.
Additional funding will be dedicated to addressing increased costs at nursing facilities due to labor shortages and wage increases, with an adjustment of $4 per resident day for facilities that serve an above average percentage of Medicaid customers. Medicaid funding to support the new wage scale for certified nursing assistants will increase funding for wages by as much as $8 per hour, depending on a worker’s role and length of service in nursing homes.
The Medicaid program will repay nursing homes that opt in for their share of the cost of the wage scale increase. For some facilities, Medicaid will fund virtually the entire cost of the scale. The scale is structured so that CNAs will receive an increase for each year of their experience in Illinois nursing homes.
For those with at least one year of experience, their wage will increase by at least $1.50 per hour, and Medicaid will pay its share of that $1.50 increase. The pay increase goes up by $1 for each year of experience, topping out at a $6.50 per hour increase for those with six or more years of experience in nursing homes. The legislation also allows for a $1.50 per hour wage increase to accompany qualifying promotions, which is in addition to the experience-based wage increases. Medicaid will fund its share of this increase too, up to 10-15% of nursing home CNAs.
Reforms sought to update business and labor practices of nurse staffing agencies have been signed by Governor JB Pritzker.
The pandemic increased demand for nurses and nurse aides, causing healthcare facilities in Illinois to increasingly rely on temporary contract nurses referred by nurse staffing agencies to fill staffing needs
HB 4666 amends and modernizes the Nurse Agency Licensing Act to bring transparency around fees charged, increase Nurse Agency reporting on their pay and labor practices, and expand protections for workers referred by nurse agencies. The Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) is responsible for regulation and oversight of nurse staffing agencies pursuant to the Nurse Agency Licensing Act.
“This bill critically protects temporary nurses and nurse aides’ right to change jobs or get hired directly by a healthcare facility. It will also increase stability and transparency in the healthcare industry in the state. As the pandemic illustrated time and time again, healthcare workers and the healthcare industry are critical to the well-being of the people of Illinois,” said Illinois Department of Labor Acting Director Jane Flanagan.
The operational changes include the following provisions:
• Nurse staffing agencies are prohibited from entering into covenants not to compete with nurses and certified nurse aides.
• Nurse staffing agencies are prohibited from requiring the payment of liquidated damages, conversion fees, employment fees, buy-out fees, placement fees and or other compensation, if the employee is hired as a permanent employee of the health care facility.
• Nurse staffing agencies must disclose new contracts with facilities to IDOL within 5 business days of the effective date (protected from FOIA).
• Wage rates paid to nurses and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) must match wage rates identified on the contract. Failure to do so allows IDOL to recover underpaid wages for the worker.
The new reporting requirements include the following:
• Nurse staffing agencies must submit quarterly reports related to average charges to health care facilities to IDOL.
• IDOL must publish yearly a report by county of average amounts paid to employees and charged to health care facilities.
The changes take effect July 1, 2022.
* Sen. Hunter…
A lack of diversity amongst health care professionals can lead to disparities in treatment, which is why State Senator Mattie Hunter sponsored a new law to incentivize representation in health care.
More than half of practicing physicians are white, and only 17% are Asian, 6% are Hispanic, and 5% are Black.
“Diversity in the health care industry is so important, and it is proven to benefit patients’ quality of life,” said Hunter (D-Chicago). “When patients have professionals that look like them, there is increased trust, communication, and an enhanced understanding of values.”
The law creates an Equity and Representation in Health Care Workforce Repayment Program, which will provide loan repayments and scholarships for health care professionals who serve in Illinois medical facilities.
Increasing diversity in the health care sector is a priority of the program, especially in medically underserved areas.
“Unfortunately, medical professionals’ implicit bias can be a huge barrier for patients of color, LGBTQ patients, and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds,” Hunter said. “This measure combats a lack of representation by providing scholarships for those who can help diversify the field.”
This measure builds upon measures in Hunter’s health and human services package, which was signed into law last year.
House Bill 4645 was signed into law Friday and goes into effect in January 2023.
* Sen. Stadelman…
State Senator Steve Stadelman joined domestic violence prevention advocates Tuesday to celebrate the recent signing of a law he championed to protect and empower survivors of domestic violence and abuse.
“The burden of trauma and abuse can weigh heavily on the lives of victims coping with their grief, and this law can help them take the first steps towards healing,” Stadelman (D-Rockford) said. “We are empowering survivors by giving them the choice to file for protective orders in the comfort and safety of their own home. By doing this, we are giving them the chance to move forward at their own pace.”
Stadelman’s measure, Public Act 102-0853, gives people the option to file a protective order either online or in-person. The law also requires any court in a county with a population above 250,000 to offer the option of a remote hearing to the petitioner for a protective order. It allows both the petitioner and the respondent to appear for related hearings remotely or in-person – and the courts would also have the discretion to grant or deny the request for a remote hearing.
Any and all types of protective orders would be covered under this law.
“We know from speaking with survivors that one of the most frightening and intimidating processes they engage in is seeking an order of protection,” said Manager of the Rockford Mayor’s Office of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Prevention Jennifer Cacciapaglia. “Providing options for survivors to engage in this process in a more survivor centered trauma responsive way is imperative to our overall efforts to improve our response to survivors across the state, and this legislation is a step in the right direction.”
The law allows both the petitioner and the respondent to appear for related hearings remotely or in-person – and the courts would also have the discretion to grant or deny the request for a remote hearing.
Senate Bill 3667 was signed into law earlier this month.
* Sen. Villanueva…
State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) celebrates the signing of a measure she sponsored to expand women’s access to healthy pregnancies and fetal development.
“Modern lifestyles make nutrient-deficient diets extremely convenient, which presents great risk to soon-to-be mothers lacking access to steady sources of necessary vitamins and minerals,” Villanueva said. “Expanding insurance coverage to include prenatal vitamins will increase access to supplements that lead to safer pregnancy and healthy births.”
The new law requires insurance policies that already cover prescription drugs to also cover prenatal vitamins. Prenatal vitamins when prescribed by a licensed physician can have many health benefits to both mother and child that range from supplying more oxygen to the baby to preventing bone loss in the mother.
“These supplements can be vital to the safety and wellness of mothers and their children,” Villanueva said. “This is a commonsense piece of legislation protecting pregnant women and tearing down financial barriers to quality care strategies, and I am proud to have been the sponsor of this law.”
The new law was signed Friday and took effect immediately.
* Sen. Collins…
State Senator Jacqueline Collins successfully championed a new consumer protection measure, this time tackling predatory arrangements in litigation finance between legal funding companies and consumers.
“When a person has to seek legal remedy for an injury or wrongdoing, their ability to live comfortably hinges on financial stability,” said Collins (D-Chicago). “We have to make sure companies offering aid through legal funding transactions do not extort the people they serve under the guise of helping them stay afloat during difficult times.”
Litigation finance occurs when a legal funding company buys a portion of a plaintiff’s upcoming settlement to directly help the plaintiff make ends meet in exchange for repayment plus interest upon the claim’s success. The new law signed Friday creates the Legal Consumer Funding Act and places restrictions on these lawsuit funding agreements, which are meant to help a person get through their day-to-day life without missing vital expenses such as rent, utilities, medical expenditures and other necessities while they pursue legal remedy.
Though Illinois allows litigation financing, the Legal Consumer Funding Act requires legal funding companies to be licensed in the state and establishes punishment for violations of the law. Additionally, these types of agreements are subject to Senator Collins’ Predatory Loan Prevention Act placing a 36% annual interest rate cap on all consumer loans.
“These regulatory methods prevent legal funding companies from charging exorbitant amounts and preying on the vulnerability of consumers,” Collins said. “Promoting integrity among financial legal companies helps maintain the equitable practices I’ve been fighting for as a legislator.”
The new law took effect immediately.
* Sen. Sally Turner…
Legislation introduced by State Senator Sally Turner (R-Beason) that would provide victims of child sex crimes with additional privacy protections was signed into law on May 27.
Senate Bill 2942 clarifies that a judge can use his or her discretion to clear disinterested parties, excluding media, from the courtroom during the victim’s testimony even if the victim is over 18 years of age as long as the crimes were committed while the victim was still a minor.
“I was both shocked and appalled when my local State’s Attorney told me that a victim of a child sex crime was forced to share the intimate details of the worst day of their life in a room full of strangers and the accused’s former cellmate just because they had turned 18 by the time of the trial,” said Sen. Sally Turner. “This legislation will guarantee that a judge has the power to provide these victims with the privacy and discretion that they rightfully deserve. I’m thankful to be able to play a small role in ensuring that our legal system doesn’t unnecessarily add to the victims mental and emotional anguish.”
Under previous Illinois statute, a minor victim of a sex crime is afforded the right to testify without the presence of so-called disinterested parties. However, due to a lack of clarity within the statute, there was uncertainty on whether those privacy protections extended to victim’s who turned 18-years-old by the time of their trial.
“Having personally prosecuted cases involving victims of childhood sex assault, I’ve observed how the judicial process adds to their trauma and that of their families. To a person, they’ve relayed their dismay at the thought of sitting in front of a bunch of strangers to talk about the most horrific events in their life and asked why strangers would be allowed to view videos or pictures captured of them during those moments,” said McLean County State’s Attorney Don Knapp. “No legislation can magically wipe away that trauma. But I am confident that this legislation can lessen the additional trauma our most vulnerable victims suffer when having to come to court to testify. I am honored that Senator Turner asked me to write this bill and thank her and the entire General Assembly for acknowledging the need to search for methods to help victims of these horrific crimes.”
To safeguard the constitutional rights of defendants, the judge must find that particular parties do not have a direct interest in the case and must put their basis for that finding into the record. The new privacy protections and procedures are effective immediately.
Got a Republican in that one, but no House members.
When we asked Bailey if there was “any daylight at all” between himself and the actions of former President Donald Trump, whom this editorial board long has regarded as pernicious to the future of the Republican Party, he answered “none.” Given Trump’s refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of the last election, that’s problematic. And, frankly, it is hard to imagine level-headed Chicago Republicans voting for someone who called their city “a crime-ridden, corrupt, dysfunctional hellhole,” all of our self-evident problems notwithstanding. Especially not when the candidate has supported what he calls a “New Illinois” movement, arguing that the rest of the state should separate from Chicago.
“Those of us in rural Illinois have different values and a very different way of life,” Bailey told the political reporter Rich Miller in 2020.
We reject that kind of dangerous, divisive talk and we argue it disqualifies Bailey. Illinois must remain unified. Chicagoans are not different creatures from the rest of the state. Our values have far more in common than Bailey seems to think.
But I want to also address Darren Bailey, and I think address much of the sort of right-wing views inside our existing parts of the Republican Party, a large part of the Republican Party. The fact of the matter is, dumping on the city of Chicago is not going to make anybody safer, whether they live in southern Illinois, central Illinois or the city of Chicago and Cook County. It’s a fundamental excuse. It is built on a long-standing dog-whistle tradition. And if you want to be governor of the state of Illinois, you have to be governor of the city of Chicago, the governor of Peoria, the governor of Bloomington, the governor of Carbondale, the governor of Champaign, the governor of so many other small towns that exist in the state of Illinois. And your job is to represent everybody. So dumping on a city and playing into the right-wing narratives and the dog-whistle politics of the past isn’t going to make things safer or better for anybody. This is just, again, a long standing tradition, whether it’s coming from some folks in the Republican primary here in Illinois, or whether it’s coming from Governor Abbott, that has existed for decades [including other cities like New York, LA and the Bay Area]. And just like public safety policy over the last few decades, it is built on failure. And so I’m disgusted and annoyed because I want to do whatever we can to make sure that people, no matter their zip code, no matter what part of the state they live in, no matter what part of the country they live in, have the safety, the dignity and the life they deserve. And what we aren’t going to do is build that on the backs of a dog-whistle politics that has been failing us over and over again.
* The Question: Should gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey’s comments on Chicago be disqualifying? Make sure to explain your answer.
…Adding… Statement from the Bailey campaign…
Senator Bailey has stated multiple times that Joe Biden is the President. We were answering a vague question on what we believed was based on policy where President Trump put Americans, working families, law and order, and taxpayers first. At earlier publicly recorded forums, we were the only candidate who stated we wouldn’t audit 2020, but would instead focus on election integrity measures moving forward. The Board retroactively added the word “actions” into the question to change the meaning. Everyone who answered the question talked about policy. Senator Bailey is a supporter of President Trump and the America First Agenda. He proudly voted for him in both elections, but he is clearly his own man in how he handles himself and sets policy agendas.
…Adding… Also from the Bailey team…
This is a quote from Suntimes from last year and has been Bailey’s stance since the filing.
“Many times when two people are in a relationship or there’s a marriage and someone’s not happy, someone finally says I’m not happy. To me, that’s what that resolution was. It was a warning shot. “I am going to fight to make Illinois stronger from the north to the south from the east to the west as a whole and to make Chicago the great city that it should be,” Bailey said Tuesday. “But unfortunately, it’s being held hostage with liberal terrible ideas.”
The facial recognition company Clearview AI agreed in a settlement this month to stop selling its massive database of photographs culled from the internet to private firms across the United States. That decision is a direct result of a lawsuit in Illinois, a demonstration that strong privacy laws in a single state can have nationwide ramifications.
The Biometric Information Privacy Act of Illinois sets strict limits on the collection and distribution of personal biometric data, like fingerprints and iris and face scans. The Illinois law is considered among the nation’s strongest, because it limits how much data is collected, requires consumers’ consent and empowers them to sue the companies directly, a right typically limited to the states themselves. While it applies only to Illinois residents, the Clearview case, brought in 2020 by the American Civil Liberties Union, shows that effective statutes can help bring some of Big Tech’s more invasive practices to heel.
Technology companies are in a feverish race to develop reliable means to automate the identification of people through facial scans, thumbprints, palm prints and other personal biometric data. The data is considered particularly valuable because unlike, say, credit card info or home addresses, it cannot be changed. But as these data companies profit by deploying the technology to police departments, federal agencies and a host of private entities, consumers are left with no real guarantees that their personal information is protected.
Facial recognition software, in particular, has been shown to fail too often at identifying people of color, leading in some cases to wrongful arrests and concerns that the software could put up additional barriers to people seeking jobs, unemployment benefits or home loans.
Because the United States lacks meaningful federal privacy protections, states have passed a patchwork of laws that are largely favorable to corporations. By contrast, Europe passed the General Data Protection Regulation six years ago, restricting the online collection and sharing of personal data, despite a tremendous lobbying push against it by the tech companies.
I didn’t fill out the paperwork for the Facebook settlement, but, in full disclosure, I did sign up for a settlement against RayBan…
A proposed settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act regarding biometric facial geometry allegedly collected from consumers who used the Virtual Try-On Application Tool on RayBan.com. The case is Vo v. Luxottica of America Inc., Case No. 2019-CH-10946, currently pending in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, Chancery Division. The proposed Settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing by the Defendant, and the Defendant denies that it violated the law. The Court has not decided who is right or wrong. Rather, to save the time, expense, and distraction of litigation, the parties have agreed to settle the lawsuit. That Settlement has been preliminarily approved.
I used that app several times when I was looking for new shades.
I wanted to highlight for you an interesting development that just happened this week related to election security. Illinois Congressman Mike Bost, Laura Pollastrini and Susan Sweeney with help from Judicial Watch filed a federal lawsuit against the Illinois State Board of Elections related to the counting of ballots AFTER election day. Illinois Democrats passed a law that says mail in ballots must be counted up to 14 days past the election day in November, even if the mailed ballot is NOT postmarked. At the very least, this lawsuit helps highlight this truly ridiculous delay in election results and election integrity issue. You can read the Tribune story on this HERE.
* Irvin campaign…
Today the Irvin for Illinois campaign received the endorsement of former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and current Co-Executive Chairman of Winston & Strawn Dan Webb.
“Richard Irvin understands that to improve the lives of Illinoisans, we must make our state a safer, stronger and less corrupt place to live, work and visit,” Webb said. “His successful track record of reducing crime by prioritizing support and resources for our law enforcement and judicial systems shows that he is the best candidate to lead Illinois in this endeavor over the next four years. I am proud to endorse him for Governor and look forward to supporting and following his campaign to take back Illinois.”
In 1990, Webb received international attention for his successful prosecution of retired Admiral John Poindexter for his role in the Iran–Contra affair. Here in Illinois, as U.S. Attorney, Webb led Operation Greylord for the U.S. Department of Justice, which resulted in the successful prosecution of 76 corrupt judges, police officers, court clerks, and lawyers in Cook County. He has been appointed by courts to act as a Special Prosecutor or in a similar capacity on five occasions, including the recent prosecution and conviction of Jussie Smollett for staging a well-publicized fraudulent hate crime in Chicago.
* GOP AG candidate Dave Shestokas…
Every candidate speaks of crime reduction; the Attorney General is THE ONLY OFFICE THAT CAN AFFECT CHANGE IMMEDIATELY. Dave will. As your elected lawyer and the state’s chief law enforcement officer, the office has the responsibility and autonomy to right wrongs, protect citizens from roaming criminals, lax prosecutors, and election irregularities. Make Crime Illegal Again is not a slogan. It’s a promise.
Dave’s Plan his First Day in Office:
1. Reprioritize the first duty of the office is to represent the people, not the government.
2. Reassign Assistant Attorneys General to monitor and initiate prosecutions when local states attorneys don’t. (i.e. Kim Foxx Cook County, Eric Rinehart Lake County, and across the state.)
3. Create a Law Enforcement Liaison Office and hotline to alert the OAG of local prosecutors’ neglect.
4. The Illinois AG Act directs that it is to prosecute election offenses. David as AG will. It is critical to providing legitimacy to everything else that government does.
The Attorney General shall be the legal officer of the State, and shall have the duties and powers that may be prescribed by law.
* Speaking of Shestokas…
* Valencia campaign…
Democratic Secretary of State candidate Anna Valencia announced today that she has earned the endorsement of the United Steelworkers Local 1899. In a statement announcing their endorsement, the union noted Valencia’s working-class background and that members of her own family earned a living working in the Mill. The announcement comes as Valencia continues to build a strong and diverse coalition of supporters and endorsers.
“Anna will bring vigor and vision to the office of the Secretary of State,” the Union’s statement reads. “Like she did in the Chicago City Clerk’s office, she will improve services through modernization, technology, and transparency. With creative leadership and the development of such programs as the Illinois DMV app, self-service kiosks, and digital driver’s licenses, Anna will provide Illinoisans with a Secretary of State’s office that works for them and one that they can be proud of.”
Local 1899 represents nearly 1,500 members and is an affiliate of United Steelworkers, North America’s largest industrial union with 1.2 million members. The United Steelworkers have a proud heritage at Granite City Works, and Local 1899 is known as a leader and activist Union in District 7 and throughout the International Union.
— Congressman Chuy Garcia is endorsing Democrat Fernando “Sergio” Mojica for 13th House District, citing Mojica’s “unique background and decades of work in Chicago communities.” Mojica is running for the seat now held by House Majority Leader Greg Harris, who isn’t seeking reelection.
— Karin Norington-Reaves, a Democratic candidate for Congress in IL-01, is out with a new digital ad that has Rep. Bobby Rush giving her resounding endorsement.
— Assessors race: Former Congressman Luis Gutiérrez and a group of Latino leaders have written a letter calling out “offensive comments about the Latino community” made by Maze Jackson, husband of Cook County assessor candidate Kari Steele. At least some of those signing the letter have endorsed incumbent Assessor Fritz Kaegi. In a statement, Steele responded, saying, “As I said before, I unequivocally reject any hateful rhetoric. My husband has pledged to do better. While the comments referenced by this letter occurred before his pledge, I am disappointed that they were said, and I expect him to do better moving forward.”
* From Heather Wier Vaught’s weekly newsletter…
Chicago Delays Early Voting: The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners announced a delayed start to early voting, but will have the super-site ready this week. […]
Cash Flows In Supreme Court Race: Four Republicans and three Democrats are running for the Supreme Court’s Second District, a seat formerly held by Justice Robert Thomas and currently held by appointed Justice Michael Burke. Two candidates have already broken the contribution caps on the race setting the stage for an expensive primary and general election. Lake County Circuit Judge Daniel Shanes and Kane County Circuit Judge John Noverini have both filed self-funding notices with the State Board of Elections, which lifted caps on contributions to all candidates. Shanes leads the pack in funding after reporting $244,000 on hand at the end of March. Noverini raised over $127,000 by the end of March, but he has only added about $4,000 since. On the Democratic side, Lake County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Rochford leads the pack with more than $375K. Previously the most expensive race was the retention campaign for Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride’s campaign, in part due to spending by Citizens for Judicial Fairnes,s a Ken Griffin-funded campaign opposing Kilbride’s retention. Everyone should keep an eye out for spending from Citizens for Judicial Fairness, even though Griffin’s independent expenditure committee has not involved itself in the Supreme Court race to date.
Today, Democratic candidate for Congress in Illinois’ 1st District Karin Norington-Reaves released a new digital video about the creation of the Chatham Education and Workforce Center which she created to honor the memory of Dr. Betty Howard, killed by gun violence on May 29 in 2014.
“It was one of the greatest honors of my lifetime to pull together the forces of Chicago’s philanthropic and business sectors to create the Chatham Education and Workforce Center from the ground up,” said Norington-Reaves. “I know that giving communities hope through economic opportunity reduces crime and gun violence–that’s the approach that I’m going to take with me to Congress.”
In an interview on Fox 32 Chicago on May 27th, Marie Newman claimed that only 3% of documents related to her bribery scandal have been released, and that the remaining documents deem it a “zero merit case.”
Casten for Congress Spokesman Jacob Vurpillat issued the following statement in response to Newman’s claim:
“If 97% of the documents related to her corruption exonerate her, then voters deserve to see these documents immediately. Congresswoman Newman is either safeguarding critical information from voters or purposefully misleading them in an attempt to downplay the bipartisan House Ethics Committee investigation into her bribery scandal.
“There is no question that the right thing to do is to release the documents, as well as the details of her secret settlement with the man she is accused of bribing. The only question is whether or not Congresswoman Newman has enough respect for voters to do it.”
On December 7th, Newman campaign manager Ben Hardin claimed “information will be made public on January 24th and that it will be definitively clear that there was no ethical wrongdoing.”
On January 24th, the House Ethics Committee decided on a bipartisan basis to extend its review into Newman’s bribery scandal following a report from the nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics that found “substantial reason to believe that Rep. Newman may have promised federal employment to a primary opponent for the purpose of procuring political support.”
Illinois Public Media, WAND News, and the League of Women Voters of Champaign County will host an Illinois 13th Congressional District debate between Republican primary candidates Regan Deering, Matt Hausman, Terry Martin, and Jesse Reising on Thursday, June 2 in the WILL-TV studios located in Urbana, Illinois.
This debate will air on WILL-TV and WSIU-TV and simulcast on radio on WILL-AM 580 and -FM 90.9 out of Urbana, WSIU-FM out of Carbondale, and NPR Illinois (WUIS-FM) out of Springfield. It will air on COZI-TV the following night.
The governor signed a plan into law Friday led by State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton to invest in child care services for workers with non-traditional schedules, such as law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMS personnel and more.
“Finding reliable child care can be difficult for first responders and other third shift emergency workers,” said Glowiak Hilton (D-Western Springs). “By creating the Off-hours Child Care Program Fund, Illinois is working to increase accessibility for parents in public service who work non-traditional hours.”
Under Glowiak Hilton’s law, the Department of Human Services is required to establish and administer an Off-Hours Child Care Program to assist first responders and other workers with access to off-hours, night, or sleep time child care. The program is appropriated $2 million in the Fiscal Year 2023 budget.
“Many state child care facilities don’t offer services outside of normal work hours,” Glowiak Hilton said. “This measure will help fund child care for hardworking individuals serving our communities.”
Under the law, DHS must implement the program by July 1, 2023.
* Sen. Peters…
Youth in the care of the Department of Children and Family Services are one step closer to receiving the financial resources they need to be ready for adulthood thanks to a measure championed by State Senator Robert Peters
“I’m pleased that we are taking this step to ensure that the state will be proactive at helping youth in care build a strong future during their final years of care,” said Peters (D-Chicago). “We need to do all we can to ensure that they have access to a financial head start before they have to live on their own.”
The new law, formerly known as SB 3470, will require DCFS to save or invest a minimum percentage of a youth’s benefits once they reach the age of 14. This will ensure that when DCFS no longer serves as the financial representative of the youth, they will have some money to help them transition into a successful adult life.
The minimum percentage that DCFS will be required to invest are:
● 40% for youth between the ages of 14-15
● 80% for youth between the ages of 16-17
● 100% for youth between the ages of 18-20
The law will also require the DCFS to take defined actions when applying for and managing certain federal benefits that the department receives on behalf of any youth in care.
“State services should help empower youth and give them strong support to enter our society,” Peters said. “We should not be sending young people out into the world without the resources they need to live independently, and we must ensure that they are able to make the transition into adult life.”
The measure was signed into law Friday and takes effect immediately.
* Sen. Munoz…
Assistant Majority Leader Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) spearheaded a measure to help reduce the number of stolen car parts by requiring people to keep record of the sale of catalytic converters that was signed into law Friday.
“The rise in crime in Chicago and across Illinois was addressed this legislative session,” Munoz said. “This new law will decrease catalytic converter thefts by closing the loophole many found a way around.”
The new law adds catalytic converters to the definition of recyclable metal, requiring record keeping on the purchase of catalytic converters. The license plate number of the vehicle, photographs or video of the seller, a verified name and address of the seller, and a signed declaration by the seller stating that the catalytic converter was not stolen are required.
In addition, the measure prohibits a recyclable metal dealer from purchasing a catalytic converter with a value over $100 with cash.
According to a recent State Farm study, Illinois ranks in the top five states in the nation for catalytic converter thefts.
“I’m hopeful innocent people won’t be affected by this senseless crime anymore,” Munoz said. “We need to keep our streets safe, and this is one way we will do that.”
The new law takes effect immediately.
* Sen. Martwick…
A measure advanced by Senator Robert Martwick to address Illinois’ ever-growing teacher shortage by bringing back retired educators was signed into law.
“There are thousands of classrooms across the state where students are left without a fully qualified instructor during the school day,” said Martwick (D-Chicago). “We need to put teachers in classrooms to ensure our children thrive.”
The new law, formerly known as Senate Bill 3465, amends the Chicago Teacher Article of the Illinois Pension code by allowing retired CPS teachers to return to work without it affecting their pensions. Schools are able to submit documentation with their regional superintendent to request help from retired educators in a “subject shortage area.” This emergency measure will remain in effect until June 30, 2024.
“Although our students have returned to in-person learning, we will not make up for pandemic learning loss without qualified teachers in classrooms to guide and support them,” Martwick said. “I am pleased that we are taking this step to remove a barrier that prevents retired professional educators from returning to schools during this epic shortage.”
SB 3465 was signed into law Friday and takes effect immediately.
* Sen. Crowe…
To streamline the detection process and determine hereditary risks for breast and ovarian cancers in women, a new law by State Senator Rachelle Crowe requires insurance companies to cover the cost of genetic testing kits.
“Early detection through genetic testing is essential for women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancers,” said Crowe (D-Glen Carbon). “By offering genetic testing at no cost, Illinois can offer comfort and stability to individuals who are at the most risk.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the genes most commonly detected in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer are the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. About 3% of breast cancers, approximately 7,500 women per year, and 10% of ovarian cancers, an estimated 2,000 women per year, result from inherited mutations.
Once a test is recommended by a health care provider, Crowe’s law requires insurance coverage for costs associated with genetic testing for the BRCA1 and 2 genes. The measure applies to Illinois residents with individual or group insurance policies issued on or after Jan. 1, 2024.
The Illinois Insurance code requires individual and group insurance health plans to cover annual cancer screenings for women who have tested positive for BRCA1 or 2 mutations. However, the code did not require health insurance plans to cover the gene mutation testing. Some insurance companies have specific genetic testing criteria or do not cover genetic testing in certain situations, even when considered medically necessary.
“By codifying the coverage into law, Illinois is creating a consistent, reliable process for genetic mutation testing for at-risk women,” Crowe said. “Hereditary breast and ovarian cancers pose significant threats to women’s health, and preventative medical treatment can be implemented once the risks are determined.”
House Bill 5334 is effective Jan. 1, 2024.
* Sen. Fine…
State Senator Laura Fine’s (D-Glenview) measure to ensure caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia are trained on how to best treat these specific conditions is now law.
“Before this law, caregivers were not required to receive substantial training on how to specifically care for patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s,” Fine said. “This important change will ensure our loved ones receive treatment specialized to their specific, changing conditions to achieve their highest quality of life possible.”
Over 230,000 people in Illinois are living with Alzheimer’s. Many take part in the Community Care Program, which allows seniors with or without these conditions to receive in-home and community-based services from their own homes. Employees that provide these services are currently required to complete 12 to 24 hours of training, but training specific to dementia and Alzheimer’s patients is optional.
Fine’s law requires employees and contractors with the Department of Aging Service who provide direct service to individuals in the Community Care program to complete at least two hours of training on Alzheimer’s and dementia prior to the start of their employment. Fine believes that condition-specific training is essential to ensuring adults living with these conditions are able to be cared for properly and better understood.
“We want our loved ones with Alzheimer’s and dementia to have access to the best care possible. This training prepares caregivers to respond to issues patients and their families may experience because of their conditions,” Fine said. “This will ensure all Alzheimer’s and dementia patients have access to the highest quality care possible and are able to receive informed support from their caregivers.”
Senate Bill 3707 was signed by the governor May 27, 2022. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2023.
* Sen. Koehler…
A new law championed by State Senator Dave Koehler will keep Illinois on track toward a greener future by expanding recycling opportunities for renewable energy technology.
“Sustainable energy isn’t really sustainable when it requires technology that can’t be reused and is difficult to recycle,” said Koehler (D-Peoria). “As we look to expand the widespread use of renewable energy, we have a responsibility to safely dispose of any associated waste.”
As much as one million total tons of solar panel waste is estimated to accumulate in the United States by 2030, and the U.S. is expected to have the second largest number of retired solar panels in the world by 2050, with as many as an estimated 10 million total tons of panels.
States such as California, Hawaii, New Jersey, North Carolina and Washington have already implemented strategies to address this excess waste, and Illinois would join these states by creating a Renewable Energy Component Recycling Task Force under Senate Bill 3790. The task force will be responsible for investigating options for recycling and other end of life methods for renewable generation components and energy storage devices, and is required to report its findings to the General Assembly by March 1, 2023.
“Our hope is that the task force is able to find new, innovative ways to recycle and reuse materials from our solar panels, ultimately increasing the sustainability of solar energy in Illinois,” said Koehler.
The legislation was signed Friday and goes into effect immediately.
* Sen. Villa…
Under a newly-signed law sponsored by State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago), school boards across the state will have the option to include safe firearm storage in their safety education curriculum.
“Guns are the leading cause of death of children in Illinois,” Villa said. “By giving students the opportunity to learn about safe, responsible firearm ownership, we are giving them the tools to protect themselves and others.”
Under House Bill 5193, safe gun storage will be added to existing safety education instruction taught in schools in Illinois. Automobile safety, CPR training, safety in the home, and safety while carrying out vocational training or work are all examples of what is already included in statewide safety education curriculum.
Under current law, when not in use, firearm owners in Illinois must keep their guns temporarily inoperable with a designated device or mechanism, kept in a securely locked container, or in a location that a minor under the age of 14 would not reasonably have access to. House Bill 5193 would bring this information to classrooms discussing safety in the home in an effort to raise awareness of firearm safety among young adults and to educate them about responsible firearm ownership.
Schools are not mandated to teach safety education, but if they elect to offer it they are required to teach all existing components.
“When firearms are not stored safely and securely, there is always a chance they may fall into the wrong hands, whether that be the hands of small children who don’t understand, or the hands of those who may be a danger to themselves or others,” Villa said. “Promoting positive messages about proper gun storage has the potential to save lives.”
The law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
* Sen. Cunningham…
State Senator Bill Cunningham sponsored legislation that makes it easier for callers to reach 911 during an emergency was signed into law Friday.
“This new law helps children during times of an emergency,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “We are removing barriers that hinder people from calling 911 and we are making it easier for first responders to locate the caller.”
Under current law, multi-line telephone systems require dialing “9″ or another number to reach an outside line. Places like businesses, hotels and government buildings use these systems to handle two or more calls coming in at the same time. Under the new law, MLTS vendors and manufacturers must configure new systems to support direct dialing 911.
This goal of this legislation is protect people and specifically children. Back in 2013, a women was killed in a hotel room by her estranged husband. Her daughter attempted to call 911 four times, but the calls never went through because the hotel’s multi-line telephone system required her to dial “9” before making an outbound call. Illinois will follow suit with other states who have already passed this legislation.
House Bill 5502 will also update regulation on multi-line systems to provide accurate information about the caller’s location within a building or complex. Far too often, large hotels or complexes use multi-line systems and it is difficult for emergency response to get an exact location on the caller. This is ensures people needing help during an emergency are able to be located by first responders.
“This legislation will save lives and could save your child’s life,” Cunningham said.
House Bill 5502 is effective immediately.
* Sen. Johnson…
Schools fees will be waived for low-income students with veteran or active military parents under a new law championed by State Senator Adriane Johnson.
“Veterans and active military members endure many hardships, and families with young children are finding it difficult to keep up with school fees,” said Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove). “By offering support to our heroes and their families, we can assist them through difficult financial times.”
Johnson’s law allows school boards to waive fees for students with a parent who is a veteran or an active member of the military with an income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level, which is an estimated $55,500 for an average family of four.
“Education is critical for children to succeed,” Johnson said. “With this law, Illinois is working to ensure low-income students in military families are able to continue learning without financial burden.”
The law, previously Senate Bill 3867, is effective immediately.
* Sen. Belt…
People will have an additional opportunity to become an organ donor thanks to a measure championed by State Senator Christopher Belt that was signed into law Friday.
“Organ donors save countless lives every year,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “After living on dialysis for a year, I received a kidney transplant in January 2010. I know the importance of giving people more opportunities to become organ donors.”
House Bill 4696 allows the Department of Natural Resources to offer online hunting license holders the opportunity to be redirected to the First Person Consent Organ and Tissue Donor Registry. On average, 300 people die each year waiting for an organ donation. More than 4,700 Illinois residents are waiting for an organ or tissue donation. In 2020, there were 7 million Illinoisans registered as organ donors.
The first-person consent law provides an opportunity to save more lives and ensures that your wish to be an organ/tissue donor is honored. Prior to the first-person consent registry, many Illinoisans who signed the back of their driver’s license as a donor were unaware that family consent was still required in order for donation to occur.
“Hunting is a huge industry in Illinois,” Belt said. “Hunting license holders will soon be able to sign up to be organ donors in an easy, efficient way.”
The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2023.
* Sen. Van Pelt…
Building upon efforts to address maternal and infant mortality in the state of Illinois, the governor signed into law a measure led by State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) to expand access to prenatal services.
“Maternal mortality is a serious matter both in our state, and across the country, especially for Black women,” Van Pelt said. “Making prenatal and perinatal services more accessible can set those expecting up for a healthy delivery.”
Maternal mortality rates increased by 14% since the beginning of the pandemic, with Black women facing maternal mortality rates nearly three times that of white women.
Regular prenatal care for mothers helps to reduce the risk of pregnancy complications, keep track of the baby’s development, and more.
Under this measure, the number of providers a person could potentially choose for care is expanded.
Managed care organizations will pay for preventative prenatal services, perinatal healthcare services, and postpartum services rendered by a non-affiliated provider, as long as that the provider has not rejected a contract offered in good faith within the last twelve months or had a contract terminated for cause.
“Carrying a life inside of you is a precious experience, and every mother deserves quality care,” Van Pelt said. “Laws like this that ensure care for expecting mothers is how we save lives and change statistics.”
House Bill 5013 was signed into law Friday and goes into effect January 1, 2023.
* Sen. Castro…
Care providers for Illinois residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities will see specific funding go to their wages thanks to a new law sponsored by State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin).
“Ensuring people who care for our state’s most vulnerable residents are properly compensated will help address high turnaround in this workforce,” Castro said. “I am proud to have worked on this legislation to hold employers accountable when it comes to passing along funding increases to their workers.”
Developmental service providers are vital in community residential settings, where they help residents with daily personal care like eating and hygiene as well as teaching life skills and attending to complex medical needs. While funding for these services has increased over recent years, starting wages remain barely above minimum wage, and vacancies remain high. This disparity is because the state does not always require agencies to pass wage increases through to the workers.
The law, formerly known as House Bill 4647, will require developmental services that are licensed through the Illinois Department of Human Services to certify that all legislatively or administratively mandated wage increases are passed on to the employees.
“Care providers are the backbone of our intellectual and developmental disability community. This law will help ensure hard workers are directly receiving funding that is meant for them,” Castro said.
Gov. JB Pritzker signed the law Friday. It goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023.
Apparently, only Senators pass laws. Or at least, according to my inbox. /s
* I’ve had several opportunities to work with Laurie Glenn over the years on stories. This is pretty darned cool…
Laurie R. Glenn’s work to stimulate cultural, artistic, political, social and philosophical debate and discussion between French and U.S. leaders, thinkers, artists and organizers is being recognized with the National Order of Merit from France.
Awarded by the President of the French Republic, and founded 3 December, 1963 by President Charles de Gaulle, the National Order of Merit is an institution of the French Republic born in the middle of the 20th century, the second national Order after the Legion of Honor. Its purpose is to reward “distinguished merit” and encourage the lifeblood of the country.
It is rare for a non-citizen of France to receive the Order of Merit. Recent American honorees include poet Joseph Brodsky, composer Quincy Jones, writer Toni Morrison, technology magnate Bill Gates, and film directors Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese. Laurie R. Glenn will be the most recent addition to the American list of Honorees.
On June 2, 2022 in Paris, France, Army General Benoît Puga the Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honor Chancellor of the National Order of Merit will pin Glenn at a reception with diplomats, civic leaders and French nationals. Fabrice Rozie, the former Cultural Attaché in New York and Chicago nominated Glenn.
In addition, Ms. Glenn conducted workshops in 2017 and 2018 with the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle on using research as a tool for building power and influence on social policy issues.
As a result of her services with the US Embassy in Paris worked with the German Marshall Fund with leaders of inclusion for several years on leadership development in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019.
The job market in Illinois will continue to polarize, with most growth in high- and low-wage occupations, increasing the need for government and the private sector to support work with family-sustaining benefits, a bipartisan task force established by the state Legislature said Tuesday.
The 36-member panel said Illinois could “be a national leader in aligning business and worker needs through defining and enhancing job quality.” It said state government should realign its grants in workforce training and other programs to support jobs with benefits such as health insurance and family leave policies.
The panel’s report sidestepped the issue of mandates on the private sector but called on companies to implement such innovations as “portable” benefits that people can carry from one job to the next and paying workers a subsidy for commuting costs.
Summary of key findings and trends Work Challenges
1. Illinois continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic but recovery has been uneven. As of April, unemployment is down to 4.6 percent in Illinois, but that number is much higher for Black men and women (13.4 percent and 11.4 percent) compared to other groups, illustrating ongoing challenges with equity and job access. New business openings in Illinois continue to increase, with the rate sitting just below its pre- pandemic baseline.
2. Shifts in the Illinois economy away from manufacturing have translated to a loss of middle- wage jobs and a polarized labor market. Over 95 percent of Illinois workers live in urban areas, and although there are wide gaps in the unemployment rate across urban and rural counties, all areas of the state have experienced a hollowing out of middle- wage jobs.
3. Projections indicate growth in lower-wage and higher-wage jobs, further polarizing the labor market. The loss of middle-wage jobs is expected to continue over the next ten years. This highlights the need for policy innovation and business practices to improve the quality of low-wage jobs and create stronger on- ramps to high-wage jobs.
4. Illinois also continues to see gaps in postsecondary access and completion for Black, Latinx, low-income, and rural students. Bachelor’s degree attainment serves as a launch pad to higher-wage jobs, but equity gaps and the costs of accessing four-year colleges have grown prohibitive.
5. Unionization continues to decline, and non- traditional and gig work continues to increase. Nearly 14 percent of the Illinois workforce were part of a union, a number that has continued to decline. Although gig work is difficult to define and track, national estimates are that 16 percent of the workforce participates in some form of temporary work. […]
Summary of Task Force Policy Recommendations Job Quality, Benefits, and Labor Standards
1. Adopt a statewide job quality measurement.
2. Use a job quality measurement mechanism to award state funding.
3. Extend benefits to more people through models that: a. are not tied to any particular job b. support contributions from multiple employers or clients c. cover any worker, including independent contractors and other non-traditional workers.
4. Create paid leave benefit programs to improve economic security for workers when they need to care for themselves and their families.
5. Encourage employers to expand the scope of benefits to include as much employee support as possible, including defraying costs such as transportation.
6. Fund, pilot, and evaluate co-enforcement strategies in sectors with high instances of violations.
7. Consider enacting retaliation protections and stronger penalties for misclassifying employees.
The business community recognizes that the workforce is its primary asset and taking care of workers in a new post-pandemic environment is a top priority. Talent attraction and retention are essential to success and competing in an ultra-competitive global economy, which is why business groups including the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association are disappointed by the outcome of the Future of Work Task Force Report following a deeply flawed process that undermined efforts to have important conversations about improving work for future generations of Illinois residents.
Established in 2021 to assess the current realities of the state’s economy and labor market amid the COVID-19 pandemic and to identify future trends and practices to address the challenges business and workers face, the Task Force has a legal responsibility to operate within specific statutory guidelines allowing for transparency and public participation. However, since the Task Force began meeting last fall there have been numerous statutory violations, which have been brought to the attention of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, which was supposed to provide administrative support, as well as Task Force Co-Chairs and members. These violations are particularly troublesome as this report will be sent to the General Assembly with the intent that recommendations will be implemented through potential legislation.
Many of the violations stemmed from a failure to meet specific requirements set forth by the authorizing legislation, including:
· Failure to appoint all Task Force members until after the legal deadlines to do so.
· Several meetings were held before all the required Task Force members were appointed.
· The Task Force routinely failed to provide public notice of meetings by omitting meeting locations and times.
Additionally, the final report to be voted upon was provided to the full Task Force at 6:45 a.m. for a 9:00 a.m. vote on the very same day. While the vote only required a majority of the quorum present it should be pointed out that only 17 of the 35 stakeholders voted to approve the report. Further, while DCEO was required to provide administrative support to the Task Force under the statute, two of the Task Force managers charged with planning meetings, developing meeting subject matter, and deciding who could participate were contract lobbyists. This includes one lobbyist who was paid by the Economic Security Project, raising potential conflicts of interest if the group also provided recommendations for the report. DCEO did not respond to questions about these arrangements.
Most of the report’s recommendations were never discussed and none were approved by the entire committee prior to the compiling of the report itself. Disappointingly, many of the recommendations in the report would harm Illinois’ chances to win on the key future growth industries outlined in the state’s 5-year economic development plan. Despite best efforts for meaningful participation, the business community did not get an opportunity for a full and fair hearing of recommendations because of the process and the conflicts of interest of the task force managers. Because of this, the report is not a legitimate starting point to discuss future legislation.
The pandemic has led to fundamental shifts in business operations for many industries, new ways businesses interact with their customers and clients, and, most importantly, how businesses engage, operate, and build their workforces. While the outcome of this Task Force process was profoundly disappointing, the future of work is a critically important conversation that will continue long past the release of this report and the business community remains deeply committed to improving the future of work for generations of Illinois residents and to working with policymakers on these critical issues.
The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association testified before a joint hearing of the House Public Utilities and Energy & Environment Committees today regarding the impact rising energy costs will have on manufacturers and to propose ideas to help ease the pressure.
Manufacturers use one-third of all energy consumed in the United States to produce vital products including food, medicine, furniture and electronics. It is estimated families in central and southern Illinois will soon be paying an extra $626 a year in electricity costs, while manufacturers will likely pay anywhere from tens of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars more in higher electric costs. These added costs come amid rising inflation and a global supply chain crisis already challenging the state’s manufacturing industry. On top of higher costs, concerns about adequate energy supply have led to warnings of potential brownouts this summer, which may force manufacturers to close during peak demand times.
“While it may be too late to prevent higher costs and brownouts this summer, action must be taken now to mitigate ongoing pain for Illinois manufacturers and families already struggling to make ends meet due to rising inflation and economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic,” said Mark Denzler, President and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “Illinois policy makers can no longer ignore warnings about rising energy costs and decreasing reliability as renewable energy resources fall short of making up for capacity lost as fossil fuel power plants are eliminated. As lawmakers were told today by electric grid operators, capacity pressures are expected to get worse before they get better.”
To address these issues, the IMA suggests the following:
· The General Assembly should require the Auditor General to conduct an immediate audit of Illinois’ Renewable Portfolio Standard to understand why the state has routinely failed to meet its goals. Created in 2007, the first goal was set at 20 percent renewables by 2020, and later amended in 2016 to 25 percent by 2025, and again was changed last year to 40 percent by 2030. As it stands, renewables make up less than 10 percent of the state’s energy supply. After spending billions of dollars, Illinois should be better positioned.
· The state should immediately task the Illinois Commerce Commission with the creation of a Resource Adequacy Plan to better understand where we stand and where we are headed. This commission should gather generators, utilities, the business community, and other stakeholders to explore our baseload capacity needs and supply. This is important because Illinois will have shed 6,910 MW of electricity between 2011 and the end of 2022. This capacity has not been replaced, and MISO grid operators have testified they expect to lose one-third of their baseload capacity in the next two years. Illinois cannot make informed energy policy decisions unless we have a clear vision of the issue.
· Some steps may be possible to ease the immediate pain. This includes amending the Clean Energy Jobs Act to redirect the $180 million in Energy Transition Funds to offer rebates to customers to offset these higher costs. These funds should be provided to all customers – residential, commercial, and industrial based on their pro-rated share of the higher costs.
· Illinois has four plants scheduled to close in 2022 – two in June and two in December. While MISO does not have the ability to require these plants to remain operational, Illinois should work with the operators, FERC, and others to encourage these plants to remain open and approve new gas plant operations such as the one proposed in Pawnee to help ease energy supply concerns.
Manufacturers are leading the way in finding innovative ways to harness energy, with pioneering companies developing new technologies that make energy more affordable, reliable, and cleaner with every passing year. Over the last decade, the nation’s manufacturing sector has reduced emissions by 21 percent while increasing economic output by 18 percent. But manufacturers, our communities and Illinois families need stability and certainty moving forward. The manufacturing industry stands ready to work with policy makers to find solutions.
* I asked a couple of groups for their responses. Here’s Jack Darren at the Sierra Club…
The unfortunate price spikes coming to Ameren customers this fall are the result of global market volatility caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine, and national and regional trends away from aging, dirty coal plants. Thank goodness Illinois passed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act in 2021 to put us on a path to independence from fossil fuels and these price spikes by ultimately building 100% of the power supply Illinois will need right here in Illinois, built by our workers earning good wages. Illinois is now better situated than most states for the long term because we have a funded, long-term plan in place to make us independent of and resilient to these spikes in fossil fuel prices.
To dismantle our nation-leading energy plan for the future now, just as Illinois is beginning to implement it and employers from around the world are beginning to invest in clean energy projects here, would be an historic mistake that would recommit us to the dependence on fossil fuels and future price shocks. Defunding CEJA’s equity, workforce development, and just transition programs for coal communities to make payments to large businesses would be a giant step backward to the days when our energy policies were dictated by lobbyists and communities and consumers paid the price.
We do need action this summer to help consumers deal with the rising costs of fossil fuels. Ameren can expand energy assistance programs to help more customers directly, and energy efficiency and demand response programs that are doubly effective, helping participants reduce use and lowering market prices by reducing peak demand. Ameren can speed approvals for the thousands of megawatts of solar projects ready for construction, and MISO can approve new transmission capacity to help get clean energy online faster. We’re ready to engage with stakeholders on these and other solutions that can expedite Illinois’ transition to a clean energy future, and the protections that will deliver for consumers and future generations.
* And here’s the Illinois Environmental Council…
The Illinois Manufacturers Association has put forth proposals that are designed to both exacerbate the impacts of climate change and expand the racial wealth gap. Neither of those is the right direction for Illinois. At the hearing Thursday, the regional grid operator testified that there are enough CEJA-enabled renewable energy projects waiting in the queue for approval to avoid any price increases driven by reliability concerns. Instead of going backward, we should be focused on getting those job-creating projects built in an equitable way.
…Adding…. Media advisory…
In partnership with the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, several community organizations will be hosting a rally and press conference on Wednesday, June 1 to call on Ameren to take action to protect consumers and the power grid across Illinois. Communities in Central and Southern Illinois are facing rising electricity costs as a result of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Ameren’s resistance to programs that save on energy, and efforts by fossil fuel companies to slow the transition to affordable, clean energy. Environmental, consumer, and community advocates with the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition will rally together to demand that Ameren take meaningful action to empower consumers to utilize policies enshrined in the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) to generate enough power to meet peak demand for electricity while also delivering power at a reasonable cost to consumers and small businesses.
WHEN: Wednesday, June 1, 2022 at 10:00 AM Central Time
Scott Allen, Citizens Utility Board
Sangamon Valley Group of Sierra Club Illinois
Faith Coalition for the Common Good
WHAT: Rally and press conference calling on Ameren-Illinois to act swiftly to protect Illinois customers and our electric grid amidst rising electricity costs
WHERE: Ameren-Illinois Offices, 200 W Washington Street Springfield, Illinois 62701
* The Belleville News-Democrat asked gubernatorial candidates: “Who are your top three campaign contributors?” Here’s Richard Irvin’s response…
We have three main contributors to our campaign to take back our state: people who tell us we have their vote, people who volunteer to put up signs or make phone calls to get our message out, and people who contribute financially to help us fight back against the millions of dollars. J.B. Pritkzer and his Democratic allies are spending on false TV ads attacking us. I’m proud to count Troopers Lodge #41, the Illinois FOP Labor Council, the Chicago FOP, the Aurora police union, and countless law enforcement leaders around the state as supporters of our campaign. I’m also proud to be supported by former Congressman John Shimkus and many other conservative leaders around Illinois.
Apparently, Ken Griffin is the man who must not be named.
Two additional candidates round out the primary field, Gary Rabine, a highly successful owner of multiple businesses from McHenry, and state Sen. Darren Bailey, a farmer from downstate Xenia whose career in the legislature was most noted for his expulsion from the House floor when, then a state representative, he refused to abide by rules at the height of the pandemic requiring all members to wear face masks.
Be aware: We are not indifferent to the optics or the complications posed by Irvin’s well-publicized, well-financed backing by Illinois’ richest person, hedge fund manager Ken Griffin. Irvin still has far to go to prove that he is indeed his own person, willing to lead according to the dictates of his own conscience and insights and not those of a well-heeled financial backer.
But we hope he gets more opportunity in a broader campaign to show his full personal political profile.
…Adding… The Tribune endorsed Paul Schimpf (I did not make that up), used a quote from my publication to disqualify Bailey from consideration and had this to say about Griffin and Irvin…
As politically engaged Illinoisans, Griffin and Uihlein are entitled to spend their money as they see fit. But we see troubling issues with both of their preferred candidates. […]
But we’re troubled by what occurred when Irvin arrived on the scene while officers were arresting his then-girlfriend, accused of hitting a security guard at a marijuana store last year. According to a police report, he said that the charges would be “taken care of.” He’s insisted he meant that the woman would be afforded an attorney but we’ve heard phrases like “taken care of” a few too many times before in Illinois politics and we need a better explanation.
We’re similarly troubled by Irvin’s frequent reticence when it comes to being frank with the media (although he did show up for us and answered our queries), his sometimes prickly temperament in the face of fair questions, and by a lack of a consistent worldview that could appeal to moderate Democrats and Republicans looking for a common sense candidate they can trust to safeguard their economic futures and solve some of the state’s problems.
If Irvin is willing to separate from Trump and appeal to moderate, common sense voters, including centrist Democrats, he should find the courage to say so, clearly, without weaving and dodging, flip-flopping and hedging his bets.
Matteson, IL, May 31, 2022-Today, Rep. Robin Kelly announced she will run for re-election as Chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois.
“Today, I am honored and excited to announce I will be running for re-election as Chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois,” said DPI Chair Rep. Robin Kelly. “I couldn’t be prouder of the progress we’ve made together in the last fourteen months and with a full slate of fantastic Democratic candidates gearing up for this fall’s midterm election, now is the time to reaffirm our commitment to a party that is inclusive, transparent, and active in everything we do. I ask all State Central Committee candidates to join me as we continue to fight for Democratic values for all in Illinois.”
Chair Kelly was elected in March 2021 as the first woman chair and first Black chair in DPI history. Since her historic election, Chair Kelly has overhauled the party, reorganizing the party structure to bring in new voices while hiring a new team of staff and vendors as well as instituting a successful new fundraising structure.
“Before I was elected, party power in Illinois was concentrated in the hands of too few people,” said Chair Kelly. “Now, not only do diverse voices guide our work, but I am proud to show up for Democrats in every corner of Illinois. We need a party chair who listens to others, works collaboratively, and never forgets that it is the Democratic voters of this state who must ultimately guide our work for the benefit of all Democratic nominees. I humbly ask for a full term to continue our work together toward these goals.”
Under Chair Kelly’s leadership, the Democratic Party of Illinois has taken significant steps in modernizing the party and providing foundational services common among other state parties nationwide. Accomplishments include:
• Raised more than $1.9 million in federal and non-federal money under a new, diversified fundraising structure including a grassroots donor program, which bolsters the Party’s pre-Coordinated campaign budget to over $4.2 million cash on hand.
• Lowered Party administrative costs to save tens of thousands of dollars annually while bringing in more specific-to-state party expertise.
• Expanded data and technology trainings for candidates, staff, and activists every month, plus a brand-new candidate training program run in conjunction with the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association to focus on building the strongest bench of candidates statewide.
• Built out a traditional and social media outreach strategy to center the DPI as the standard-bearer of the Democratic message while holding Republicans accountable, including building an email list from scratch of more than 100,000 people (and growing) to reach Democratic voters where they are.
• Building out a statewide organizing team recruiting and connecting volunteers with local campaigns and party organizations.
• Re-engaged with the national Democratic Party, including the election of Chair Kelly as a representative of the Midwest Caucus to the Executive Committee of the DNC, support for the bid for the 2024 Democratic National Convention, and an application for Illinois to be included as a 2024 early state primary.
The chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois is elected by a weighted vote of the Democratic State Central Committee, who are individually elected in the June 28 primary. The chair must be a sitting State Central Committeeperson. Chair Kelly has no opposition in her re-election campaign as State Central Committeeperson from Illinois’ Second Congressional District.
Kelly was elected party chair in 2021 after Michael Madigan stepped down from his 23-year reign. Kelly defeated Chicago Ald. Michelle Harris for the job, creating some intraparty tension that continues to bubble up. Kelly was backed by Sen. Dick Durbin, and Harris was endorsed by Gov. JB Pritzker.
For months there was buzz that the relationships between Kelly and Pritzker, and Durbin and Pritzker, were chilly — though all parties were publicly professional about it all (maybe through gritted teeth).
And now the top party job is up for grabs again.
Pritzker has enlisted former Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes to recruit allies to run for seats on the Democratic Central Committee. They will be elected during the June 28 primary. Winners will then pick the party chair. […]
Pritzker has given $20,000 to Liz Brown-Reeves, a former Madigan aide turned lobbyist, for her race to join the Democratic Central Committee in a contest against Katherine Daniels, the sitting chair of the Adams County Democrats. Daniels is endorsed by the Sangamon County Democratic Party, which is headed by longtime Durbin ally Bill Houlihan.
The Sangamon County party is meeting this week to try to overturn that endorsement of Adams County resident Katherine Daniels. Stay tuned.
* In the meantime, Brown-Reeves has reported raising more than $41K so far and is putting that money to work. She already sent out one mailer featuring the governor, and here’s her second piece…
* And she lined up Secretary White’s endorsement…
As early voting begins for the June 28th primary, Secretary of State Jesse White endorsed Liz Brown-Reeves (D-Springfield) for Democratic State Central Committee in the 15th Congressional District.
“I have known Liz since she was a college student at SIU Carbondale and have followed her professional career in Springfield for the last twenty-two years. It’s extremely important to have strong, experienced Democrats in our party that have a comprehensive knowledge of downstate politics,” said Secretary of State Jesse White. “Liz is a go-getter and hard worker. Her enthusiasm is infectious and is much needed in our party, especially downstate. Liz has dedicated her life to helping elect Democrats and she will be a significant addition to the Democratic Party of Illinois,”
Secretary White joins the long list of supporters for Liz Brown-Reeves that includes Governor JB Pritzker, former Senator Andy Manar, Senator Doris Turner, former State Representative Julie Curry and House Assistant Majority Leader Jay Hoffman.
“Jesse White is a hero in Illinois politics. His groundbreaking, people-first approach has been the model in Illinois state government. To receive the endorsement of Secretary White is a tremendous honor and I vow to continue to his legacy in every part of Illinois - including the reddest ones in our State,” said Liz Brown-Reeves.
More information on Liz and her campaign can be found at https://www.facebook.com/LizBrownReevesforIL15.
A mailer featuring White is forthcoming.
Needless to say, this much time, energy and money going into a state central committeeperson race is extraordinarily rare. As an example, Gov. Pritzker has so far only given one committee, Friends of Chakena Perry, more money than Brown. Legislators with primaries received $5K.
The long Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer and is perhaps best known in Chicago as the beginning of its long, hot season of gun violence. The morning-after news coverage typically notes the holiday “was the most violent weekend of the year so far,” or some such thing.
You’ve probably seen the polling that shows crime isn’t the super-hot political issue it’s often portrayed to be. But don’t kid yourself. It’s still high enough on voters’ lists to make a difference, usually coming in second behind economic issues.
That’s one reason why Gov. J.B. Pritzker sent out a press release last week touting his violence reduction efforts, including “surging” $18 million in new state funding for a thousand summer jobs in Chicago for kids in “high-risk” situations. He claimed in the release that $10 million has already been released to groups ahead of the summer.
The governor’s office told me the Illinois Department of Human Services has sent $83 million “out the door” this fiscal year to community providers for anti-violence efforts. It also says $27.2 million is “heading out in the next month, before the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
That spending, the Pritzker administration says, is up from the $60 million spent by IDHS in all of last fiscal year. In addition, the administration points to $113 million in grants available to groups through the department’s notice of funding opportunity process.
Considering that the city of Chicago alone is directly spending $1.7 billion this fiscal year on law enforcement, these are relatively modest programs. But the state money is still a decent pile of cash.
And because the state largesse is being spent by individual grant recipients, there’s always the danger it could be misused or misdirected.
Just ask former Gov. Pat Quinn, who took an enormous amount of political heat for the way some of his $54 million anti-violence Neighborhood Funding Initiative Program money was spent in 2010, leading up to the election.
Quinn was slammed for various silly attempts to keep kids off the street, up to and including paying kids to march in a parade with the governor. Nothing much ever came of the various probes into the program, but, even if there was no criminal intent, its execution was a complete mess and ill-conceived. The last thing Pritzker needs is a re-run.
Some Democratic state legislators have been pushing news media outlets to write stories about how their favored anti-violence groups haven’t received more funding, but the governor’s office has resisted in certain instances where the groups would likely draw unfavorable attention from those very same media outlets.
The Pritzker people have taken a different approach than Quinn, and hopefully (for the governor’s own sake and for the state’s) they won’t be making the same sort of mistakes as the last Democratic governor.
Even so, it’s likely that somebody will screw up somewhere and wind up on the front page of a newspaper or the leading item during a TV newscast. Violence interruption and prevention programs rarely get the benefit of the doubt from the news media. From the coverage, it would be easy to conclude that Quinn’s program had far more downsides than upsides. Because of that, it took years and years before the state legislature was willing to give the concept another chance.
On the other hand, if there’s too much caution, then not enough grant money arrives in time for the summer, which would be a PR disaster. It’s also worth noting that it often takes a month or more for groups to complete the paperwork and navigate the various processes to actually receive grant monies after the cash has been awarded by the state.
So, even though the state can claim the money is “out the door,” the funds may not yet be available to spend.
But this should be more than just about the fact the state is spending money. It’s crucial these programs actually show some real, tangible results.
Chicago and most smaller cities in this state have been gut-punched by violent crime. Police officers and replacement recruits are in short supply here and throughout the country. Violence interruption and prevention needs to show tangible results, not only for the present, but for the future. Convincing the General Assembly to support more programs down the road could turn out to be nearly impossible if this fails.