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Meanwhile, in non-campaign news…

Thursday, Jun 30, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

State Senators Karina Villa and Laura Fine held a Senate Behavioral and Mental Health Subject Matter Hearing Thursday to discuss the psychiatric needs of detained youth across Illinois.

“There are hundreds of children across Illinois waiting to receive the care they need and deserve,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “We must prioritize the needs of these children and ensure they have access to the appropriate care.”

The hearing was held at the request of Villa’s Mental Health Advisory Committee, a group made up of mental health professionals in DuPage, Kane and Kendall counties who work together to advocate for mental health resources and care in the community.

The hearing focused on the drastic shortage of residential placements for youth across Illinois in need of psychiatric services. With more than 250 children across Illinois awaiting placement, these children are left at home or in hospitals with no access to adequate facilities with the proper care necessary to serve them. Children who have been through the justice system also experience additional barriers to receiving specialized care.

Family Service Association of Greater Elgin, Kane County Juvenile Justice Center, Peoria Juvenile Detention Center, and Children’s Home Association of Illinois spoke at the hearing to present their thoughts. They work with youth who have experienced significant trauma and present acute psychiatric needs, and have been directly impacted by the lack of inpatient psychiatric placement for youth who need additional services.

“Today’s hearing shined a light on where we need to focus our efforts to improve the delivery of mental healthcare for youth in crisis across Illinois,” said Fine (D-Glenview). “Our committees are working diligently to ensure our children and loved ones have access to vital mental health resources and treatments for successful outcomes.”

* Press release…

A vast network of Community Health Workers trained by the Illinois Public Health Association and Illinois Primary Health Care Association to address health equity gaps during the COVID-19 pandemic will continue offering resources in the Prairie State thanks to new support from the U.S. Center for Disease Control Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Leaders from Illinois’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including Dr. Tracey Smith of IPHA and Ollie Idowu of the IPHCA, joined Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration today to announce the COVID Health Equity Pandemic Health Navigator Project - $10 million program allowing Community Health Workers to continue connecting vulnerable constituents with basic human needs and health resources. Dr. Smith said Community Health Workers were a crucial component to Illinois’ COVID-19 mitigation efforts whose usefulness goes far beyond the pandemic.

“Community Health Workers are a trusted source for communities dealing with long-standing health equity issues in Illinois,” said Dr. Tracey Smith, who serves as director of community health at the Illinois Public Health Association. “Many of the Community Health Workers we hired during the COVID-19 pandemic have already found positions utilizing the skillsets our training provides. We are grateful to IDPH for enabling us to continue this work and further strengthening Illinois’ public health infrastructure.”

* OK, this is tied to the election, but not a strictly political press release…

Beginning tomorrow, the Illinois Family Relief Plan will go into effect, making good on the promise by Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly to provide relief on the grocery tax, gas tax, and property taxes. The plan totals an estimated $1.83 billion in relief, including income and property tax rebates and a temporary cut in several sales taxes. […]

The Family Relief Plan includes several tax holidays, meaning a temporary cut in taxes, including:

    • Groceries: The state’s 1% sales tax on groceries will be suspended July 1 through June 30, 2023, saving consumers $400 million.
    • Gas: The state’s normally scheduled increase in the motor fuel tax will be delayed from July 1 to January 2023, saving consumers $70 million.
    • School supplies: Sales taxes for qualified clothing and school-related items will be reduced from 6.25% to 1.25% for a 10-day window from August 5 to 14, saving consumers $50 million. Items include qualifying clothing and footwear with a retail selling price of less than $125 per item. Eligible school supplies are not subject to the $125 threshold.

In addition, the plan permanently expands the state’s earned income credit from 18% to 20% of the federal credit, while expanding the number of households covered, putting an additional $100 million per year back into the pockets of working families who need it the most.

The State of Illinois is also providing property tax rebates for eligible homeowners in an amount equal to the property tax credit they qualified for on their 2021 Illinois tax returns, up to a maximum of $300. The rebate is not allowed if a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income for the taxable year exceeds $500,000 for returns with a federal filing status of married filing jointly, or $250,000 for all other returns.

Additionally, individuals who made less than $200,000 in 2021 will receive $50 income tax rebates. Couples filing jointly with incomes under $400,000 will receive $100. Tax filers will also receive $100 per dependent they claimed on their 2021 taxes, up to three dependents.

Income and property tax rebates will be automatically issued to all of the estimated 6.2 million taxpayers who qualify under the Family Relief Plan based on information included in their submitted 2021 tax returns. Comptroller Susanna Mendoza will issue the rebates and expects to begin to cut checks the week of September 12. Distribution will take roughly eight weeks after the rollout begins.

Taxpayers who did not file their 2021 IL-1040 individual income tax returns but want to claim the individual income tax rebate, both the property tax and individual income tax rebates, or solely claim the property tax rebate, can do so. The Department of Revenue will provide an online submission form via the website listed below.

Rebates will be sent automatically using the same method original refunds were transmitted if they were sent directly to the taxpayer by the State of Illinois. If direct deposit was used, the individual rebate will be deposited directly into a taxpayer’s account. If there was no refund or a paper refund was issued, the rebate will be mailed to the address on file. Taxpayers who did not receive a refund directly from the State of Illinois, such as those who received an advance of their refund from their tax preparer, will receive a paper rebate check mailed to the address on file.


*** UPDATED x1 *** IDOT chief says strike halting projects, threatens aggregate companies with suspending contract awards, changing mix designs

Thursday, Jun 30, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Vulcan Materials Co. is one of the three gravel and aggregate companies hit by the Local 150 strike

June 30, 2022

Mr. Chad Groff
Vice President/General Manager Vulcan Materials Company

Dear Mr. Groff:

The ongoing strike has brought many of our projects to a halt, with more projects shutting down by the day. This strike has already negatively impacted several significant improvement projects, including the Jane Byrne Interchange reconstruction in the heart of Chicago and of our entire expressway system, the Interstate 55 and Weber Road interchange, the Interstate 80 bridge in Joliet as well as numerous resurfacing projects throughout northeast Illinois and Chicago.

The timing of the work stoppage could not occur at a worse time, at the height of construction season and during peak driving season with an eager public ready to travel after two years of a pandemic.

With these stoppages, the strike puts in jeopardy the state’s ability to deliver on the governor’s promise to modernize infrastructure, make capital and community investments and create jobs through Rebuild Illinois, the largest capital program in our state’s history and the first in nearly a decade. Additionally, the passage of the federal Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act late last year has Illinois poised to increase these investments to our transportation system and in our communities.

At this time, the Illinois Department of Transportation has no choice but to act in the best interests of the state and our taxpayers. This includes the possibilities of suspending awards from the June letting and revisiting whether to go forward with the upcoming July letting. It should be noted that the department reserves the right to explore using alternative mix designs to ensure the continuity of our projects. The department will not bear any responsibility or cost for increased expenses experienced because of the strike.

The workers of IUOE Local 150 have played a critical role in revitalizing our state’s infrastructure, stepping up to continue working on our job sites as essential workers throughout the pandemic. With the best interests of the state in mind, we call on management to bargain in good faith and offer the wages and protections the workers deserve. We urge the parties to come to a fair resolution without delay.

Omer M. Osman, P.E.

I’ve asked the Chicago Area Aggregate Producers Association for a response.

*** UPDATE *** Chicago Area Aggregate Producers Association…

We appreciate and share the interest that the Illinois Department of Transportation has in seeing IUOE Local 150 end its strike. The Association initiated discussions well ahead of the contract’s expiration date in an effort to prevent disruption to the construction season. We remain committed to a fair, mutually agreeable and economically sustainable resolution to the matters under discussion. It is important to remember that the union is on strike. Our companies’ gates are open, and we are eager for our employees to return to work.

* Local 150 release from earlier today…

Today, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 called on employers to commit to negotiating toward a resolution to a three-week strike that is impacting construction projects across Northern Illinois. Local 150 went on strike against material producers Lehigh Hanson, Vulcan Materials and Lafarge Holcim on June 7th over unfair labor practices the companies committed against their employees. The union has offered to meet anywhere at any time, day or night, weekends and holidays included.

On Tuesday, Local 150 presented the employers a comprehensive proposal on all remaining language and economic issues, and after a brief session on Wednesday, employers left negotiations without committing to any additional dates.

As the strike has gone on, reduced supply of materials has halted construction projects across northern Illinois and resulted in layoffs and project completion delays.

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

    This strike can only be resolved through negotiations with the companies, and they are simply not bargaining in good faith at this time. Every day, more companies are running out of material, more projects are being delayed, and more workers are being laid off as a result.

    We are again calling on these employers to get back to the table. We will meet them any time – days, nights, weekends or holidays. We have made progress when we have gotten them to the table, but far too much is riding on these negotiations for the employers to stall them.

    Our urgency is not only about working toward a resolution for our members, but in getting laid-off workers back on the job, helping construction businesses get the materials they need, and completing the critical projects that municipalities across the state are now putting on hold.

    Our message is simple: get back to the table or send someone who has the will and the authority to bargain in good faith toward a resolution.


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Thursday, Jun 30, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Pritzker talks about some future plans

Thursday, Jun 30, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Greg Hinz interviewed the governor

But when asked what would be on his second-term agenda, beyond staying the course, the Chicago Democrat listed two items, both dealing with education.

Specifically, a college education ought to be “free” for anyone who comes from a family whose earnings are at or below the state median, Pritzker said.

The second: further increase funding for child care and related preschool programs so that anyone earning 300% of the poverty level would qualify, up from the current 225%. That would make families earning “about $50,000 a year” eligible for help.

Pritzker did not give specific figures or other details, nor did he indicate how he would pay for the new spending. But the governor has strongly asserted in recent years that education is an investment that pays dividends and is a matter of human justice.

From the Pritzker campaign…

Governor Pritzker believes that everyone who chooses to go to college should be able to do so, which is why he’s already taken steps to make college more affordable and accessible.

Since the Governor has taken office, he has increased college scholarships to an historic high of $600 million, and MAP is now serving every eligible student who applies through the end of the academic year, leaving no one on the waitlist for the first time in 20 years.

Over time, the State should work toward a model that helps students at or below the median income attend universities or community colleges, prioritizing those with the greatest financial need. 

* Politico is mainly stuff we’ve covered for days, like this

Watch for a legislative special session: The governor is talking to leaders in the General Assembly about a bill that would expand who can perform abortions.

“Illinois doesn’t allow nurse practitioners to perform procedures but in many other states they do. So if the Legislature passes that, I would sign it,” Pritzker said, explaining it’s necessary as more out-of-state patients come to Illinois seeking abortions.

More legislation in January: Pritzker said he’s seen numerous proposals, including creating a constitutional amendment to further enshrine abortion rights in Illinois. It’s something he supports.

Supreme issue: Pritzker pointed to the two state Supreme Court races in the general election as being important and plans to throw his support into those as well.

* Related…


Today’s must-watch video

Thursday, Jun 30, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* House photographer Scott Olijar talks about his struggles with PTSD from his military service in Afghanistan

PTSD Awareness Month Scott's Story

Our photographer, Scott Olijar, shares his story for PTSD Awareness Month.

Posted by Illinois House Democratic Caucus on Wednesday, June 29, 2022


Election notebook

Thursday, Jun 30, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sen. Darren Bailey on WXAN

And so it’s interesting that Governor Pritzker tries to make abortion the number one issue. Again, that is how out of touch this man is. Because it is indeed crime and public safety are the number is the number one issue for Illinois voters right now.

If it’s the number one issue, Richard Irvin would’ve won the primary.

Bailey was also asked if his win would lead to a “reorganization of the Illinois Republican Party”

We’re already working on that. It demands it. We will bring unity, but things have to change. We don’t just all come in and move on. I’m a person who believes in accountability and transparency. I’ve seen the failures of the last four years. As a matter of fact it was those same failures that basically prompted me to even run for office. … We will, we must make the Republican Party stronger. We have what we need, but there will be some restructuring.

* I dunno, maybe if the Chicago news media had covered him more instead of continuing to cover Irvin long after he imploded and then bought into the Sully Surge, voters might know a bit about him

A post-primary primer: Who is Darren Bailey?

While the downstate politician has had a meteoric rise within the Illinois Republican party, he’s still an unknown to many voters in Chicago. After his victory in Tuesday night’s Republican gubernatorial primary, we take a look at the Trump-backed candidate who tried to kick Chicago out of the state, called it a “hellhole,” celebrated the overturning of Roe v. Wade and, now, is challenging Gov. J.B. Pritzker in the general election.

* Common Cause Illinois

This Tuesday, the great state of Illinois had its primary in anticipation of this year’s midterms. Among victories today include Rep. Mary Miller in the GOP primary for IL-15 and Darren Bailey in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

Both Miller and Bailey are Trump-endorsed candidates who have aided the former president in uplifting the Big Lie, the results of which ended with the Jan. 6 insurrection at our nation’s capital.

Common Cause Illinois is a non-partisan, pro-democracy organization. The choice that these candidates offer is not a choice between different views on policy, but rather a choice between democracy and authoritarian rule; a choice between certifiable elections or the ability of ideologue to overturn the will of the people.

Make no mistake: that Jan. 6 was an insurrection, not legitimate political discourse. The beliefs of Rep. Miller and Mr. Bailey do not align with the values of Illinoisans who believe in the freedom to vote without the threat of violence or intimidation. It has long been documented that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election — including in the state of Illinois — and that 2020 had the most secure elections to date. While we do not engage in party politics, it is important that we denounce candidates who perpetuate The Big Lie and who, if elected, would undermine the ability of all Illinoisans to have a say in their future.

After countless audits proving the contrary, the spreading of the Big Lie by Miller, Bailey and candidates like them underscore a known truth: democracy is under attack across America — Illinois included. We must take those threats seriously and be committed to protecting democracy. We agree with state Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield): “If you’re not stepping up and denouncing [the Big Lie and Jan. 6], no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, I don’t have a place for you, because you need to denounce this.”

The upcoming midterm elections are an inflection point for voting rights, and we must be informed about which candidates truly believe in protecting those rights.

* Dems keeping fingers crossed

Two Republican candidates seeking a seat on the Illinois Supreme Court remained locked in a race too close to call following Tuesday’s primary. With 95% of the expected vote in, former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran had a 1.5 percentage point lead over Lake County Circuit Judge Daniel Shanes.

Whoever ultimately prevails will face Democratic primary winner Elizabeth “Liz” Rochford in November to fill the vacant seat left by the retirement of former Chicago Bears kicker Bob Thomas. The 2nd Judicial District has consistently elected Republican justices to the seat since the 1960s, but the Democratic-controlled legislature recently redrew the district boundaries. […]

Curran said the other two Republican candidates in the race, 2nd District Appellate Judge Susan Hutchinson and Kane County Circuit Judge John Noverini, had called to congratulate him.

* Greg Hinz

Pritzker also rejected suggestions that his team chose to ignore talk that Chicago hedge fund owner Ken Griffin would move Citadel’s headquarters to Florida because Griffin was viewed as a political enemy.

“That’s not true at all,” Pritzker said. In fact, “I actually met with him when I became governor” and asked what would make Citadel happier. But Griffin’s list included unacceptable items, such as amending the Illinois Constitution to slash pension payments, Pritzker said.

* As subscribers were told for several days, there’s more to it than this, but, yeah, it’s a huge win

One of the biggest stories out of Tuesday’s primary is Hoan Huynh (pronounced Hahn Win) beating the Democratic establishment in the highly contested 13th District Democratic House race.

Huynh knocked on doors of “every street” in his district, located on Chicago’s North Side, he told Playbook. In the past month, Huynh estimates he hit 7,500 doors. That’s about 250 doors a day, “every day until 9 p.m.”

Five Democratic candidates sought the seat currently held by House Majority Leader Greg Harris, who is retiring. One candidate, Eileen Dordek, was endorsed by Gov. JB Pritzker and at least 13 other Democratic elected officials from across the state. She had $264,000 on hand by election day, including $5,000 from Pritzker.

Huynh had one elected leader in his corner: state Rep. Theresa Mah, who gave his campaign $57,000 to help get his message out.

And it’s a powerful one. Huynh and his family were refugees from Vietnam. His dad served in the South Vietnamese military during the war and was sent to a prison camp for five years just before Huynh was born. The family eventually received political asylum in the United States and lived briefly in Chicago.

Everybody who was anybody was backing Eileen Dordek. Oops. But Huynh also won partly by taking a very non-Democratic (for Illinois) position…

He never explained how he would pay for state and local construction projects without that money.

Also, I distinctly remember being told that “only a few” legislative races were “really hot.” Weird.

* This was another candidate backed by Rep. Delia Ramirez

Also Tuesday, Democratic socialist Anthony Quezada assumed a win over Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr. in the Democratic primary, signaling a leftward shift in the County Board district drawn solely within the city’s Northwest Side. According to the results as of Wednesday, Quezada was leading the incumbent by about 13 points.



Abortion coverage roundup

Thursday, Jun 30, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* New York Times

Illinois is quickly emerging as an island of abortion access for people in the Midwest and the South, as neighboring states move to ban the procedure after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to an abortion. Providers in the state had been preparing for a surge of people seeking abortion services, but many said this week that they were still overwhelmed by patients’ reactions to the decision. […]

In anticipation of higher demand, lawmakers who favor abortion rights in some states, including Maryland, have pushed legislation to allow non-physician health providers to perform abortions. Others, like those in Connecticut, have introduced legal protections for providers and for patients who seek services in their states but live in states that prohibit abortion.

In Illinois, providers are also expecting increased interest in medication abortion, which does not require a clinic visit. Out-of-state patients can cross the border into Illinois and meet with a provider virtually, and then have pills mailed to a post office box or a friend at any address within the state.

“Telehealth can work as a pressure relief valve in Illinois,” said Melissa Grant, the chief operations officer of Carafem, an organization that offers telemedicine appointments and sends abortion pills through the mail. Carafem also runs a clinic in Skokie, Ill., just outside Chicago. “We have had people take virtual appointments in their car, in coffee shops, in libraries or just on a quiet corner with a set of headphones,” she said.

* Tennessee

CHOICES Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, an abortion provider in Tennessee, will continue providing abortions under the narrow legal restrictions now in effect in the state.

The Memphis clinic is the only abortion provider still taking new patients in Memphis, and is the only provider in Tennessee to confirm to The Commercial Appeal it is taking new patients. […]

The provider announced in May, after a leaked draft opinion suggested Roe would be overturned, that it would open a clinic in Carbondale, Illinois. The planned clinic will be a three-hour drive from both Memphis and Nashville. CHOICES said the clinic in Carbondale will be the southernmost abortion clinic in Illinois.

* More on the Carbondale clinic

“We’re hoping to be up by August 1,” [Jennifer Pepper, CEO of CHOICES] said, “So that first phase of services will include medication, abortion, and gender affirming care. The second phase of services will include surgical and procedural abortions, […] and then that third phase will be around adding the midwifery and the birth services to get to our full complement of services. And we hope to be at the end of Phase Three within three to five years.”

After CHOICES made this announcement in early May, there were a variety of reactions from Carbondale residents and the surrounding community. Several groups from local churches showed up to a Carbondale City Council meeting to express their dissent, while at the following meeting, abortion rights advocates came to show support for the clinic.

Pepper said, in the face of opposition, she and her staff typically avoid engagement and press on to the best of their abilities.

* Mississippi

Abortion funds in the state and across the country also plan to continue raising money to help people pay to travel out of state for the procedure. For many Mississippians, the closest place to obtain a legal abortion will be southern Illinois. Every neighboring state is also set to ban abortion in almost all cases.

CHOICES: Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, a clinic that is more accessible for many north Mississippians than the Jackson clinic, has announced plans to set up a new location in Carbondale, Illinois – a six-hour drive from Jackson.

* But there may be a catch. You will recall that Peter Breen is a former Illinois state representative

The Thomas More Society, a conservative legal organization, is drafting model legislation for state lawmakers that would allow private citizens to sue anyone who helps a resident of a state that has banned abortion from terminating a pregnancy outside of that state. The draft language will borrow from the novel legal strategy behind a Texas abortion ban enacted last year in which private citizens were empowered to enforce the law through civil litigation.

The subject was much discussed at two national antiabortion conferences last weekend, with several lawmakers interested in introducing these kinds of bills in their own states.

The National Association of Christian Lawmakers, an antiabortion organization led by Republican state legislators, has begun working with the authors of the Texas abortion ban to explore model legislation that would restrict people from crossing state lines for abortions, said Texas state representative Tom Oliverson (R), the charter chair of the group’s national legislative council.

“Just because you jump across a state line doesn’t mean your home state doesn’t have jurisdiction,” said Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel for the Thomas More Society. “It’s not a free abortion card when you drive across the state line.”

* Michigan

At least two county prosecutors would consider criminal charges against abortion providers despite a temporary injunction against enforcement of a 1931 ban, their attorney says, underscoring uncertainty over the legal status of abortion in Michigan.

Enforcement of the old law, which makes performing an abortion a felony by up to four years in prison, was suspended following a May injunction by a lower-court judge.

But David Kallman, a lawyer representing Republican prosecutors in Kent and Jackson counties, says the injunction only applies to the state, not county prosecutors.

* Wisconsin

Abortions have stopped in Wisconsin. A ban from 1849 still on the books has led the state’s four clinics to stop doing them. One district attorney now says he will enforce that old ban.

The district attorneys in Dane and Milwaukee counties said they will not prosecute the state’s abortion ban, and the attorney general is suing to block it, but the Sheboygan District Attorney Joel Urmanski said he will prosecute violators unless the courts rule the law is unenforceable.

* Missouri

While the wording of Missouri’s 2019 “trigger law” bans abortions in the cases of rape and incest, those who have ectopic pregnancies will still be able to get treatment, since the revised statutes lists “medical emergencies” as an exception.

However, Dr. Colleen McNicholas says that exception isn’t as helpful as it seems. McNicholas is vice chair of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Missouri section and chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood for the St. Louis and Southwest Missouri Region.

“We always maintain that medical emergencies in abortion bans are essentially meaningless, because what they do is force physicians to decide how sick is too sick, and they really pivot medical decision-making away from what is clinically the most important and best approach for a patient, and now requires that physicians have to contemplate whether their medical decision-making will be able to withstand an investigation from the attorney general,” McNicholas said.

* Indiana

“I’m going to tell you things, but they are not true.”

It’s a line Indiana-based OBGYN Dr. Katie McHugh uses right after she tells a patient they’re pregnant, and before she shares factually inaccurate information about pregnancy and abortion.

Currently, Indiana doctors are required by law to tell anyone who asks for an abortion that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks of pregnancy, which is medically inaccurate.

Though McHugh qualifies her legally-required speech with a warning that what’s she’s about to say is not fact, she says these legalities make it difficult for patients to believe her. […]

As an abortion provider of eight years, McHugh has worked under various Indiana laws that require doctors to provide abortion-seekers misinformation and essentially commit medical malpractice.

Now, she’s applying to practice medicine in nearby states like Illinois, where abortion-seekers in more restrictive states are already starting to come in large numbers.

…Adding… Crain’s op-ed by Eric Bergman, a registered nurse

The Nurse Licensure Compact is not some hastily composed stop gap, but rather a tested and effective program to improve the movement and regulation of nurses across state lines. It is already in place in 38 states and has proven effective in supporting safe, well-regulated movement and care by nurses across state lines.

The nurses’ licenses would be like licenses allowing drivers in any state to drive in all other states on the strength of their home state license. Similarly, the Nurse License Compact sets strict standards and creates cross-border reporting. Only properly licensed and fit nurses can practice nursing in the compact states.

Unlike emergency orders waiving sensible rules about licensing and regulation, the compact will maintain protection, such as required background checks and reporting of violations to maintain public safety.

During the upcoming special session in early July, the legislators should act to pass HB4269 and get it to the governor’s desk so Illinois can guarantee safe, effective legal guidelines for rapidly increasing the available nurses for our reproductive health providers.

…Adding… McHenry County Blog

Planned Parenthood is moving to Rockford as Wisconsin law shuts down abortions.

The organization recently purchased a converted house at 611 Auburn.

In a high traffice residential neighborhood, the house orginally was a doctor’s office.

…Adding… Planned Parenthood denies purchasing the Rockford real estate.


Question of the day

Thursday, Jun 30, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Tina Sfondeles

Republican gubernatorial nominee Darren Bailey acknowledged Wednesday that he’s a millionaire — but, like his big backer former President Donald Trump, the downstate farmer and state senator is refusing to release copies of his income tax returns.

“Right now, I see absolutely no reason in doing that. I don’t see that as a qualifier,” Bailey said in an interview with the Sun-Times on Wednesday. […]

The tradition of Illinois gubernatorial nominees releasing their tax returns before the November election dates back to Republican Gov. Jim Thompson in 1976, at least.It isn’t required of candidates or elected officials. But the voluntary practice provides accountability for a statewide officeholder who will ultimately collect and manage state tax dollars — and also sheds light on potential conflicts.

But Bailey — who has painted his candidacy as a fight for “working families, parents, taxpayers, law enforcement and everyday citizens” — said he’s not interested in disclosing his returns.

* The Question: Should Sen. Bailey release his tax returns? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


State central committee updates

Thursday, Jun 30, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Politico

[Democratic state central committee races where Gov’s Pritzker’s] candidates won or are winning: 5th District candidates Margaret Croke and John Cullerton, 6th District candidate Patrick Hynes, and 17th District’s Maurice West.

Races where Pritzker’s trailing or lost: Hal Sloan is losing to Tom Maillard in the 10th District; Natalie Manley is losing to Christine Benson in the 14th; Liz Brown-Reeves conceded to Katherine Daniels in the 15th; and Jehan Gordon Booth is trailing Pamela Davidson in the 17th.

There’s a virtual dead heat in the 10th District, where Lauren Beth Gash, a former state rep, was challenged by outgoing state Sen. Melinda Bush, who Pritzker endorsed.

Once the roster is set, the newly elected committee members will meet later this summer to conduct officer elections — which will determine whether Congresswoman Robin Kelly remains at the helm.

* Current numbers from Sen. Bush…

Sen. Bush says that as of this morning she is up by 384 votes (24,663 to 24,161), but the mail is still coming in. If the percentages hold, she says, she should win by 700 or so votes (The Cook numbers have been updated since then to 5,877 for LBG and 2,625 for Bush, which is pretty much the same percentage).

And from what I can gather, Benson is leading Rep. Manley by a bit less than 1,000 votes.

Also, Rep. West may not be a sure-fire vote against Chair Kelly.

* But here’s something to remember: The vote for party chair is a weighted vote. It’s not about who has more physical members on the state central committee. So, it’s complicated. First you gotta figure out who won by how much in all the counties in the congressional district, then you gotta figure out the weighting. It’ll take a bit of time. The fact that the governor’s campaign isn’t being Johnny on the spot about the results, however, may tell you something.

* Gov. Pritzker was asked today if he was going to oust US Rep. Robin Kelly as state party chair and if he believes she’s done a good job. His response

Haven’t thought about that. All I want is to make sure that the Democratic Party is organized in a way that we can raise money for state candidates and federal candidates. As you know, there’s challenges with that having a federal office holder as the Chair. I support Congresswoman Robin Kelly, she’s terrific in her role as Congressperson and as somebody who’s lifting up Democrats across the state. So this is really just a matter of how we organize, to make sure we can raise the kind of dollars and organize our party to elect Democrats across the state. She’s great. There are just legal challenges. I think you know about that. The FEC has raised some of those, and they’re very difficult to overcome. And I think you’ve seen it in the challenges that the party’s had in fundraising. Having said that, you know, she’s a terrific leader, I think, you know, some of the people that are standing behind me work with her on a regular basis, as do I. So I intend to continue working with her, but you know, how we organize the party, that’s something that we’ll talk about in the next few weeks.

…Adding… Press release…

Today Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Congressman Danny K. Davis and Congressman Bobby Rush endorsed Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot in her re-election bid for Chicago Mayor. […]

“I am honored to have Congressman Davis, Congresswoman Kelly, and Congressman Rush stand beside me today to announce their support for my re-election campaign,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “They are each leaders who exhibit integrity and compassion. Over the last three years, we have worked hand in hand to deliver real results to Chicago communities that have been left behind for far too long. We share a deep commitment to improving the lives of working people, and I am excited to see what we can continue to accomplish working together.”

“I endorsed Mayor Lightfoot back in February 2019 when her candidacy was a longshot because I knew that she was the one who could guide Chicago through its most challenging moments,” said Rep. Robin Kelly (IL-02). “Three years later, I am proudly still by her side. A significant portion of the 2nd Congressional District is in Chicago and her partnership, as well as leadership, has been invaluable as we continue our work to transform the South Side. Whether its unprecedented funding for community-based violence prevention or investments in high-quality affordable housing in South Chicago through INVEST South/West, this administration is delivering results for our communities. I am proud to call the mayor a close friend and support her campaign for another term in office.”

I assume the favor will be returned. Stay tuned.

…Adding… Rep. Will Davis is a Robin Kelly supporter, so this is no surprise…

“I want to thank 2nd Congressional District voters for electing me to succeed my friend, Al Riley, as Democratic State Central Committeeman. I look forward to representing a diverse group of Democrats from Chicago and the south suburbs to Danville on the Central Committee.

The Democratic Party of Illinois needs strong, ethical, transparent, inclusive and effective leadership, which is why I pledge to vote for Congresswoman Robin Kelly to continue as chair of our party later this summer. She is the first African American and the first woman to serve in that capacity. She has rebuilt the party, engaged the grassroots and expanded its donor base.

I do not need to wait to see who else will run for DPI chair. Since she became chair last year, Robin has distinguished herself as the best person to lead our party to victory in November and through 2026. It is often said that Black women are the backbone of the Democratic Party; Robin is the embodiment of that. She deserves our support. “


Bailey’s sole defense of his Chicago “hellhole” comment just ain’t true: Suspect was out on cash bail

Thursday, Jun 30, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Fox News

Bailey called Chicago a “hellhole” during a debate last month as the city battles a surge in violence. He pinned the blame on the city and state leadership as businesses flee the state for safer communities.

“The irony of that is, within hours after making that statement, a homeless man was burned alive in downtown Chicago,” Bailey said. “And the interesting thing is the person that committed this crime was out on cash free bail, and this is the problem.”

“Ever since then, Chicago media has been trying to get me to walk this statement back, and that’s what I’m telling these people,” he continued. “And I’m not going to do it.”

* He’s “telling these people” that story a lot

TM: You’ve called Chicago a dysfunctional hellhole. You’re going to need votes from Chicago and the surrounding areas in the suburbs. Do you have any regrets about the way you phrased that?

DB: From what I’m gathering, I believe the people of Chicago have respect for someone who is standing up and telling the truth. Isn’t it ironic within hours after I said that a homeless man was burned alive? And is it even more ironic that the person who committed that terrible crime was roaming from no cash bail from a previous crime that was committed? There’s the breakdown of dysfunction of Chicago.

* Steve Cochran show yesterday

I think it’s amazing that less than six hours after I said that a homeless man was burned alive. And then the person that created that crime, did that, was out on cash free bail. I think that is absolutely amazing.

Suburban Melrose Park resident Joseph Guardia was held without bail after his arrest for allegedly setting “Walking Man” on fire.

* And Guardia was out on bail when he allegedly committed the awful crime

On March 14, 2020, prosecutors charged Guardia with burglary and identity theft, both felonies, for crimes allegedly committed in suburban Melrose Park. Judge Arthur Willis released Guardia on his own recognizance the same day.

But just six days later, prosecutors charged Guardia with committing another burglary in suburban Bellwood. Judge Ramon Ocasio gave him a recognizance bond on the new charges, but ordered him held without bail for violating his release conditions in the Melrose Park case, records show.

On April 2, Judge Gregory Vazquez nixed the no-bail hold and allowed Guardia to go home by posting a bail deposit of $500.

Guardia then failed to appear in court for a hearing in the burglary cases on February 26, 2021 and Ocasio signed two arrest warrants, according to court records. But authorities never tracked Guardia down and he remained on the loose until police arrested him Friday for allegedly setting Kromelis on fire.

Cash bail just isn’t what its defenders say it is.


Fabrizio Lee poll: Pritzker 50-43 over Bailey

Thursday, Jun 30, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This is Proft’s pollster, who was bringing back much the same numbers as other pollsters during the primary…

Full memo is here. Right direction is 40 percent and wrong track is 59 percent. That’s obviously not great, but the result has vastly improved over the years. Back in 2018, after four years of Bruce Rauner, it was 9 percent right direction and 84 percent wrong track.

Also, will Bailey have the financial resources to take advantage of these numbers?

* Methodology

Fabrizio, Lee & Associates conducted a survey of 800 likely 2022 general election voters from June 20th – 21st statewide in Illinois. The interviews were split 35% cell phone/35% SMS to web/30% landline phone, using live operators for the landline phone portion. Geography was matched to past voter turnout in recent midterm general elections. Gender, age, education, party affiliation, and race/ethnicity were matched to demographic profiles of likely voters based on the voter file, state data, exit poll and VoterCast data, and DataTrust modeling. Respondents were randomly selected from lists of known Illinois voters. The margin of error at the 95% confidence interval for 800 voters is ±3.46%.

The sample was light on Latinos, a bit too heavy on whites. Nothing that would hugely change things, though.

…Adding… Some of y’all are reading way too much into this poll. Polls are not necessarily predictive of voter behavior months from now. Polls can only tell you what people are thinking the moment they’re asked. If post-primary polls were totally reliable, Judy Baar Topinka would’ve beaten Rod Blagojevich in 2006. Instead, JBT lost by 10 points.

So, take a breath. And try to analyze this in the moment. Things change in politics all the time. And remember that Blagojevich buried Topinka in TV ads to reverse his early polling deficit.

…Adding… As noted in comments, this poll was taken before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, so, again, everybody on all sides should just take a breath already.

…Adding… Also as noted in comments, this doesn’t include any post-primary “bounce” for Bailey.


Open thread

Thursday, Jun 30, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Have at it.



Thursday, Jun 30, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

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