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Ah, but the algorithms! That’s where I had them!

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Daily Southtown

The losing candidate in the 2022 race for Will County clerk is asking a judge to order a new election in the case, citing mathematic formulas alleging the final count was fraudulent.

Republican Gretchen Fritz filed the lawsuit Dec. 28, claiming she believes “mistakes and fraud have been committed in the casting and counting of ballots” in the Will County clerk’s race because her opponent, Democratic Will County Clerk Lauren Staley Ferry, received more votes than Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker. […]

“It appeared quite unusual that a candidate for Will County Clerk, listed at least eight offices below the office with the most media coverage and largest political spending in the state, would receive more votes than the gubernatorial candidate of her party,” according to the lawsuit. […]

Fritz’s attorney, David Shestokas, said Tuesday the lawsuit highlights a “21st Century approach to manipulating the election process.”

Man, Will County really dodged a bullet. Imagine that person overseeing elections. Whew.

* Also, Fritz’s lawyer David Shestokas ran for attorney general last year as a Republican. He has repeatedly claimed that the 2020 presidential election was corrupted by fraud and even outright stolen…

[Headline explained here.]

…Adding… Per a tip in comments, this is from September of 2020, right as the second wave was gaining steam

Several Will County Republican candidates in the Nov. 3 election say the Illinois Department of Public Health coronavirus data used to restrict Joliet area bars and restaurants from being open for indoor guests is flawed and it’s not accurate data. […]

Will County Board member Gretchen Fritz, District 5 Republican from Plainfield, said she does not believe Will County’s coronavirus data is accurate, either.

Fritz is running on the Nov. 3 ballot for Will County Recorder of Deeds. […]

Fritz contends the totals have been inflated because Pritzker wants to unfairly target the people in Will and Kankakee Counties. “We are never going to get an accurate positivity rate,” Fritz said.


Gov. Pritzker announces end of state COVID-19 public health emergency on May 11

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Press release…

Governor JB Pritzker announced the state’s public health emergency will end on May 11, 2023, aligning the state with the federal government’s decision to end the national public health emergency. Ensuring Illinois’ and the federal government’s health emergencies were linked brought in additional federal funding and expanded healthcare access for residents across the state.

“Since COVID-19 first emerged nearly three years ago, my administration has worked diligently alongside the federal government to battle this once-in-a-generation pandemic by following scientific and medical guidance to support frontline workers and save lives. Our state’s disaster proclamation and executive orders enabled us to use every resource at our disposal from building up testing capacity and expanding our healthcare workforce to supporting our vaccine rollout and mutual aid efforts,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Let me be clear: COVID-19 has not disappeared. It is still a real and present danger to people with compromised immune systems—and I urge all Illinoisans to get vaccinated or get their booster shots if they have not done so already.”

After joining 12 other states and the Department of Health and Human Services in declaring a public health emergency at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 9, 2020, the state of Illinois has continued to remain aligned with the federal government to ensure every available resource was utilized in the state’s COVID-19 response. Illinois residents were able to collect additional SNAP benefits, more than 1.4 million children received Pandemic EBT (nutrition) support, and Medicaid expansion ensured access to telehealth options and the resources Illinoisans needed to stay healthy.

The proclamation formalized emergency procedures by activating the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), bringing together decision makers from every state agency and the state’s highly qualified mutual aid network to deploy resources as necessary during the public health threat.

Since March of 2020, state and local partners benefitted from a disaster proclamation in the following ways:

    • Allowing federal reimbursement for state response costs.
    • Allowing use of State Disaster Relief Fund, covering direct state costs and reimbursements to Illinois National Guard and mutual aid groups.
    • Allowing use of the state’s mutual aid network, groups of public safety response professionals — including hundreds of health care providers and management professionals, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, emergency medical technicians and disaster response professionals — that are available to deploy to areas of shortage.
    • Authorizing the Governor to activate Illinois National Guard reservists, some of whom were doctors and nurses and served on the front lines of the pandemic response.
    • Allowing expedited procurement should it be necessary.
    • Authorizing additional executive actions as needed to protect public health and safety.


Afternoon roundup

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Shelby County only has two prosecutors? Can’t they just permanently share these expenses and duties?

The soon-to-be vacant position of Shelby County’s state’s attorney is set to be temporarily filled with the help of area state’s attorney’s offices.

The Shelby County Board voted during a special meeting Monday night to request that the resident circuit judge “take necessary action” to fill the position until a new state’s attorney can take this post full time. […]

In response to questions from fellow board members, [Shelby County Board Chair Robert Orman] said this action will involve having state’s attorney’s offices from other counties help fill the Shelby County position starting Wednesday. […]

The current Shelby County state’s attorney, Nichole Kroncke, will leave her office Tuesday, Jan. 31, to become a special prosecutor for the Illinois State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor’s Office. Shelby County’s only assistant state’s attorney, Jay Scott, is also set to end his employment on that day.

There has to be a better way.

* ABC 7

A challenge to the Illinois assault weapons ban by McHenry County has been transferred up to federal court after a hearing Monday.

McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally filed the challenge to the Illinois assault weapons ban.

Monday morning, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul made the request to remove the case from state court and send it to federal court.

* Press release…

Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias announced that Illinois will receive $424,500 as part of the $45 million multi-state settlement with Nexo Capital, Inc.

Through its Illinois Securities Department, the Secretary of State’s office joined other state security administrators and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as part of the investigation and settlement of $45 million with Nexo Capital, Inc. (Nexo), which was offering and selling unregistered securities in digital asset investments. This is part of a $45 million settlement, $22.5 million which will be distributed to state securities regulators.

“Crypto assets are not exempt from state and federal regulations, and financial services involved with them must comply with those regulations to ensure consumers are protected,” Secretary Giannoulias said. “We will continue to investigate interest-bearing cryptocurrency accounts and take action against firms that offer them without complying with state law. However, this settlement demonstrates why Illinois investors must make sure that any financial advisor they use is properly registered with the state.”

Nexo’s Earn Interest Product (EIP) accounts allowed customers to deposit crypto assets with Nexo. In exchange, customers earned interest rates on their deposited crypto assets. The quoted rates were significantly higher than rates offered for short-term, investment grade, fixed-income securities, or bank savings accounts.

Illinois found that when Nexo offered its EIP, it failed to disclose material information about the investment and did not disclose all the risks associated with the digital assets.

In addition to the monetary settlement, Nexo agreed that it will stop offering its EIP unless properly registered. It also agreed to notify account holders on or before Feb.1, 2023, that investors should withdraw any assets from their accounts before April 1, 2023. The company also agreed to separate U.S. investor assets, recognize that U.S. investors hold legal title to those assets and not use those assets in risky speculative activities.

* Press release…

Mayoral candidate Paul Vallas outlined his Economic Development plan at a speech today at the City Club. Designed to rebuild disadvantaged communities within the city, Vallas’ plan consists of five major planks that collectively would lay the foundation for sustainability and growth.

Vallas’ full Economic Development plan can be found here:

“For far too long, too little of government has been devoted to holistic and inclusive community development that brings opportunity to the historically disadvantaged and neglected, and as Mayor I will change that course,” said Vallas. “Alongside our key goals of reducing crime and improving public schools, our economic development plan will deliver more opportunity to our city and our residents, helping move Chicago out of the current crisis created by failed leadership and into a brighter future. Our plan isn’t about the same old transactional redistribution of wealth, it is about reactivating the wealth within communities and putting it to work for all Chicagoans.”

Highlights of the Vallas Economic Development plan include:

    • Creating an independent Community Development Authority (CDA) that will operate free from City Hall politics and aldermanic privilege.
    • Establishing a Fair Share Investment Trust to hold and reinvest both public and private monies for second and third generation (re)investment.
    • Implementing a strategy to reclaim and repurpose vacant & idle property across the city’s South and West Sides to support their development into locally owned performing assets like affordable housing.
    • Recognizing that economic development must be supported by an ecosystem of wellness and framework of well-being, by ensuring that all new developments must include an agreement that takes into account cumulative environmental impact and commits funds to social service infrastructure.
    • Elevating and empowering citizens returning from incarceration into full and productive economic and community participation and standing through a blend of alternative educational, workforce development, and prioritization of community development project contractors and vendors who employ returning citizens.

An “independent” development authority and a trust fund. What could possibly go wrong?

* Lightfoot press release excerpt…

As Vallas prepares to rebrand INVEST South/West and sell it as his own, we put together a run down of his less-than-impressive record of financial mismanagement to add some context to his sub-par dupe:

* Politico

The flawed email campaign to recruit student volunteers to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s reelection campaign is now the subject of a negative ad by an independent political action committee.

Cue haunting music: “Politicians have no right to enlist public school students as campaign pawns,” the ad says, referring to emails sent by Lightfoot’s campaign to teachers to rally student volunteers. Lightfoot says the emails were a mistake, and the Chicago Board of Ethics is looking into whether they violated the city’s ethics rules.

Behind the attack: A group called Americans for a Safer and Better Tomorrow PAC is running the digital ad on Facebook and YouTube. It also plans to send texts to likely Chicago Public School parents based on cell numbers on voting records, according to a person familiar with the PAC’s efforts. (Is that different from sending emails to teachers? We’ll defer to the ethics board.)

Connecting the dots: The PAC is the same group behind a poll by M3 pollster in December showing Lightfoot trailing Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and Paul Vallas in the mayor’s race.

So far, it appears to be just a YouTube video. No Facebook ads have been booked that I can find. Also, the committee has so far reported raising just $10K from its own dark money not for profit. M3 polling is run by Matt Podgorski.

* Isabel’s roundup…

    * Capitol News Illinois | Amid ‘unprecedented’ prolonged revenue boom, Illinois finds budget breathing room: The governor attributed the strong revenue performance at least partially to conservative initial budgeting estimates, changes to corporate tax exemptions and collection of online sales tax. Others have cited such factors as inflation and wage growth, as well as changes in consumer spending amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    * Fox 2 Now | ‘St. Louis’ Bears? Illinois rep. wonders amid stadium talks: Todd Maisch, president of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, tells the Chicago Sun Times, “I think it needs to happen by the end of this session. If not, you’re going to start to have other states make their cases on why the Chicago Bears should be the St. Louis Bears.”

    * Crain’s | How Willie Wilson built the fortune that fuels his populist giveaways: His disclosure valued Omar at between $25 million and $50 million. He also reported assets, including his Hazel Crest home (he rents his Wacker Drive penthouse), stock options and bank accounts valued between $2.4 million and $5 million.  … While Wilson says his company does not have any contracts with the city, it was listed as a minority participant, splitting a 30% stake in an up to $30 million contract from the city’s sister agency, Chicago Public Schools, awarded to Office Depot.   

    * Daily Herald | Pritzker helps open CLC’s new $48 million student center in Waukegan: The 62,692-square-foot, six-story building houses support services, a library, a welcome center and a career placement office, as well as adult education classes aimed at connecting nontraditional students to new careers.

    * Press Release | Crypto Lender to Pay Illinois Investors More Than $400,000: Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias announced that Illinois will receive $424,500 as part of the $45 million multi-state settlement with Nexo Capital, Inc.

    * CNN | Prosecutors say Sam Bankman-Fried tried to obscure his crimes with Robinhood’s stock: Prosecutors have since seized the stock and other assets totaling more than $700 million after Bankman-Fried laid claim to the shares saying he legitimately bought them and needed the money to defend against the criminal charges he’s facing.

    * Streets Blog Chicago | Mayoral candidates weigh in on transportation at Safe Streets for All forum: The coalition’s platform calls for investments in pedestrian and biking infrastructure and improvements to CTA service and safety. All candidates except Mayor Lori Lightfoot attended. The event was moderated by Urban Gateways CEO and Elevated Chicago co-chair Leslé Honoré, who posed a set of questions to each mayoral hopeful, curated from queries submitted by pre-registered attendees. Or rather, posed them to candidates who kept their responses concise enough to get through more than one or two.

    * Center Square | Illinois cannabis sales remain strong in 2022: About 113 dispensaries now operate across the state, leading to booming adult use cannabis sales in Illinois. In 2022, legal cannabis sales totaled $1.5 billion, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said.

    * Chalkbeat | Tony Sanders named next Illinois State Superintendent of Education: “Dr. Sanders’ breadth of experience as superintendent of School District U-46 and his entire background have prepared him to take on this role,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement. “His focus on innovation, social emotional development, and academic excellence make him an extraordinary pick. I can think of no better person to lead the Illinois State Board of Education as we continue to invest in, support, and elevate our students and educators.”

    * AP | Adult Happy Meals and the McRib feed McDonald’s sales in the fourth quarter: Global same-store sales — or sales at stores open at least a year — rose 12.6% in the October-December period, the Chicago company said Tuesday. That beat Wall Street expectations for an 8.8% increase, according to analysts polled by FactSet.

    * Marketplace Tech | Rural communities are slow to adopt EVs — but a national charging network depends on them: The federal government aims to change that as part of the Joe Biden administration’s larger plan to decarbonize the transportation sector by 2050. It wants to increase the number of public charging stations for electric cars tenfold by the end of this decade. Rural areas play an important role in the broader electrification plan. In the 2021 infrastructure bill, there’s $7.5 billion dedicated to building out EV chargers nationwide, with a special emphasis on rural America.

    * NPR Illinois | Dirksen Driver’s Services facility to close for lengthy period: A temporary facility at 1650 Wabash Ave., which is comparable in size to the Dirksen Pkwy. facility, will be open Mondays through Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will provide the same services to the public including: the issuance of driver’s licenses, ID cards and instruction permits; license plate sticker renewals; and title and registration services.

    * CNN | ChatGPT creator rolls out ‘imperfect’ tool to help teachers spot potential cheating: OpenAI on Tuesday announced a new feature, called an “AI text classifier,” that allows users to check if an essay was written by a human or AI. But even OpenAI admits it’s “imperfect.”

    * AP | 2 monkeys taken from Dallas Zoo in latest suspicious event: Two monkeys were taken from the Dallas Zoo on Monday, police said, the latest in a string of odd incidents at the attraction being investigated — including fences being cut and the suspicious death of an endangered vulture in the past few weeks.

    * WILL | Hip hop’s history in Illinois and America: Hip hop as a genre is only 50 years old, and its cultural impact in Illinois and America at large is unquestionable. According to Nielsen, hip hop and R&B are the most popular genres in the United States, and it’s the subject of a new documentary. Fight the Power: How Hip Hop Changed the World premieres tonight on your local PBS station. It features interviews from some of the most prominent Hip Hop acts of all time, including Run DMC, and Chicago’s Lupe Fiasco.

    * NBC Chicago | Country Music Star Maren Morris to Headline 2023 Illinois State Fair: “To kick it all off with Maren Morris who brings hit after hit to our Illinois Lottery Grandstand Stage is a dream come true,” Clark continues. “Whether you are a fan of her hit collaboration “The Middle” with Zedd or her hit country singles such as ‘My Church,’ ‘80’s Mercedes’ or ‘The Bones,’ it is sure to be a concert you are not going to want to miss.”

    * Sun-Times | Sean O’Shea, a South Side native who worked at the White House under Clinton, dies at 46: “I am not exaggerating, the guy walked in our office and I think within the first day we were like ‘Who the —k is this kid?’ He was amazing,” said Kris Balderston, who was Mr. O’Shea’s boss while he worked for a semester as a White House intern in the Office of Cabinet Affairs under former President Bill Clinton.


*** UPDATED x1 *** Divided Downstate appellate court narrowly upholds limited TRO on assault weapons ban case

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

*** UPDATE *** Annie Thompson from the attorney general’s office…

The Protect Illinois Communities Act is an important tool in what must be a comprehensive approach to addressing gun violence throughout Illinois, and we remain committed to defending the statute’s constitutionality. We are reviewing the 5th District’s decision, and we will seek its review by the Illinois Supreme Court, and we will ask the court for an expedited schedule.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Fifth Illinois Appellate Court

The narrow issue before us in this case is whether the circuit court of Effingham County properly granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) in favor of plaintiffs under Illinois law. In counts I, II, and III of plaintiffs’ verified complaint, plaintiffs alleged that the procedure by which Public Act 102-1116 (eff. Jan. 10, 2023) (Act or Protect Illinois Communities Act) became law violated the Illinois Constitution and therefore denied them due process of law. In count IV, plaintiffs alleged that the exemptions provided for in the Act violate the equal protection clause of the Illinois Constitution based on their right to keep and bear arms. […]

In order to obtain a TRO, plaintiffs are required to demonstrate the following elements: “(1) a clearly ascertained right in need of protection, (2) irreparable injury in the absence of an injunction, (3) no adequate remedy at law, and (4) a likelihood of success on the merits of the case.” … Once the plaintiff establishes a fair question that his or her rights were violated, the plaintiff has also established a fair question that he or she would likely prevail on his claim. […]

With regard to count I, plaintiffs alleged that the Act violated the “single subject rule” and therefore should be declared unconstitutional. … The Illinois Supreme Court enunciated a two-tier test to determine whether an act runs afoul of the single subject rule. … The court determines first whether the act involves a legitimate single subject and then whether the various provisions within an act all relate to the proper subject at issue. … Thus, in light of the test before the court, and the liberal construction afforded to the single subject rule (Cutinello, 161 Ill. 2d at 423), we cannot conclude that inclusion of these clarifications offends the subject matter so much as to violate the single subject rule. […]

We turn now to count II of the complaint, which alleged the Act violated the three-readings rule found in article IV, section 8 of the Illinois Constitution. … Plaintiffs acknowledged the enrolled-bill doctrine before the circuit court, and that the legislation at issue was certified pursuant to the doctrine. However, plaintiffs asserted the enrolled- bill doctrine should be abandoned and/or abrogated. The circuit court agreed, specifically stating that “the time to revisit this practice is now.” … We cannot agree. … Accordingly, in this case, the circuit court did not have the authority to decide if or when the Illinois Supreme Court should revisit the issue raised by the plaintiffs in count II, and this court does not have that authority either. […]

With regard to count III, plaintiffs alleged that the manner in which the Act was passed violated due process as required by article I, section 2 of the Illinois Constitution, and that accordingly the Act should be declared unconstitutional. Specifically, plaintiffs alleged they “were denied any meaningful opportunity to participate in the passage of [the Act] which attempts to materially impair their fundamental rights to bear arms.” As further explanation, plaintiffs alleged that the “due process violation being complained of herein is the complete and total failure of the [d]efendants to comply with express constitutional procedural guarantees afforded the [p]laintiffs under Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV, § 8(d).” In the response filed with this court, plaintiffs stated that the crux of count III is that plaintiffs “demand the legislative process comply with the procedural requirements of the Illinois Constitution, particularly the single subject rule and the three-readings rule.” However, because we have found there is no likelihood of success on the merits with regard to counts I and II, we must likewise conclude there is no likelihood of success on the merits of count III, because by its plain language it is contingent upon the existence of potentially meritorious claims on counts I and II. As such, we find the trial court erred in granting a TRO on this basis.

With regard to count IV, plaintiffs present an equal protection claim, based not upon the process by which the Act was passed, but upon the groups created by the enumerated exemptions found in the Act. … Defendants claim there is no fundamental right at issue here and so the level of scrutiny is rational basis. This standard requires the court to determine whether the statute bears a rational relationship to a legitimate government purpose. […]

[In Guns Save Life, Inc. v. Ali, the Illinois Supreme Court stated] “We agree that the ordinances impose a burden on the exercise of a fundamental right protected by the second amendment. At its core, the second amendment protects the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms for self-defense in the home.” […]

While there is no dispute that the Illinois Supreme Court did not find the right to bear arms under the Illinois Constitution was a fundamental right in 1984 when deciding Kalodimos, it is equally undisputable that the Illinois Supreme Court now accepts the second amendment as a “fundamental right” guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the fourteenth amendment. […]

Under the strict scrutiny analysis, legislation that significantly interferes with the exercise of a fundamental right will be upheld only if it is “necessary to serve a compelling state interest” and is “narrowly tailored” to effectuate that purpose. … Defendants have argued that plaintiffs have no right in need of protection and are unlikely to succeed on the merits; however, defendants’ arguments were based on an erroneous perception that plaintiffs’ right to keep and bear arms was not a fundamental right. As such, we find that plaintiffs’ allegation that the Act infringes on their rights as Illinois citizens to keep and bear arms is a sufficiently alleged right in need of protection. Here, plaintiffs’ complaint alleged that the legislation’s exemption of seven categories of persons from the now prohibited purchase and/or possession of assault weapons, assault weapons attachments, .50-caliber rifles, and .50-caliber cartridges had no basis and therefore violated equal protection guarantees.

In response, defendants claimed the purpose of the Act was to reduce firearm deaths and mass shooting casualties and the exempted categories were based on employment and/or training. We note, however, that no such purpose or basis for the exempted categories is found in the record. The closest this record comes is the naming of the Act as the Protect Illinois Communities Act. While intent of legislation can be found by reviewing the legislative history, based on the legislative procedures utilized for this Act, there is no legislative history. We only have post- enactment statements. Comments issued after legislation is passed is “subsequent legislative history,” not “legislative history,” and is entitled to little, if any, weight. … Accordingly, we find that plaintiffs alleged sufficient facts for a TRO to issue on count IV. […]

We hold no crystal ball allowing us to determine the likelihood of potential harm if the TRO is granted, but we temper our lack of prescience with recognition that both interests—whether through the regulation of firearms or through the fundamental right to keep and bear arms—are based on the increased desire to protect and defend loved ones in light of these horrifying and devastating shootings.

Here, we find it extremely relevant that no opportunity for discourse was provided to the citizens of this state that would allow for recognition of the competing interests in accomplishing what we believe is likely a common goal. Nor does it appear that the legislative process allowed for even a moment of debate between the lawmakers to ensure that the enactment of this law was “narrowly tailored” to effectuate the Act’s purpose in any manner that would allow a larger exempted group to retain their fundamental rights. For these reasons, we find that balancing the equities favors the issuance of a TRO for count IV, and therefore, we affirm the trial court’s order granting the TRO for count IV.

* From Justice James Moore’s dissent

I begin by stressing that in my view, this appeal does not allow us to address whether Public Act 102-1116 (eff. Jan. 10, 2023) (Act) infringes upon any rights granted by the United States Constitution, specifically the second amendment. This significant point was expressly stated to the circuit court by counsel for the plaintiffs during the hearing on the emergency motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) when he stated, “We are not making second amendment constitutional arguments here because those are for a different day and a different court ***.” Because no issues related to the second amendment of the United States Constitution are before us, as they were not pleaded and were notably disclaimed by counsel for the plaintiffs, I believe our ruling on the grant of the TRO should in no way be interpreted as instruction or guidance as to any issues that may in the future be raised under the second amendment of the United States Constitution. […]

Turning to count IV, as noted by the majority, in this count the plaintiffs present an equal protection claim, based not upon the process by which the Act was passed, but upon the group created by the enumerated exemptions found in the Act. However, I believe the majority has failed to adequately address a crucial threshold matter relating to count IV. As the Illinois Supreme Court has stated, “it is axiomatic that an equal protection claim requires a showing that the individual raising it is similarly situated to the comparison group.” People v. Masterson, 2011 IL 110072, ¶ 25. If a party fails to show that he is similarly situated to the comparison group, his equal protection challenge fails. Id. The plaintiffs’ complaint failed to allege how each, or even any, of the plaintiffs are similarly situated to the exempted group set forth in the Act. The plaintiffs’ complaint and arguments point to a hypothetical Navy SEAL, but failed to allege this scenario was applicable to the plaintiffs. As set forth above, “to be considered ‘well-pleaded,’ a party’s factual allegations must be supported by allegations of specific facts.” Allegations that are “cursory,” or “inexplicably lacking in specifics,” are not sufficient to support the granting of a TRO. This is true because “the standard for injunctive relief is far too high for a court to rely solely on the moving party’s innuendo.” … Therefore, because the plaintiffs have failed to allege facts demonstrating that they are similarly situated to the exempt group complained of, their equal protection challenge fails, and the circuit court’s granting of the TRO must be reversed in its entirety.

I also cannot agree with the majority that if we were to further analyze count IV, strict scrutiny would apply. … As a factual matter, Ali involved a claim under, inter alia, both the second amendment to the United States Constitution and the Illinois constitutional provisions regarding the right to bear arms. Accordingly, it is not surprising that the court would mention “a fundamental right protected by the second amendment.” At no point did the court state that Kalodimos was no longer good law, or in any other way imply that the right to bear arms is now a fundamental right under the Illinois Constitution. Thus, I cannot attribute to Ali the significance the plaintiffs desire.

Accordingly, in light of the only extant precedent on this question, the only way this court could find that a fair question existed that the plaintiffs had a likelihood of success on the merits of this claim under a strict scrutiny equal protection analysis would be to find that Kalodimos has been overruled by a case or cases other than Ali. There is no evidence to support such a conclusion, and as explained above with regard to the other counts before us in this appeal, the circuit and appellate courts of the State of Illinois are required to apply binding precedent from the Illinois Supreme Court to the facts of the cases before the circuit and appellate courts. […]

Put another way, only the Illinois Supreme Court could rule that in a case such as this one—where the plaintiffs pointedly do not invoke the protections of the second amendment to the United States Constitution, and in fact pointedly disclaimed, in the circuit court, “making second amendment constitutional arguments [in this case]”—the development of federal precedent related to the second amendment to the United States Constitution nevertheless has rendered untenable the Illinois Supreme Court’s previous holding that the right to bear arms under our state constitution is not a fundamental right. […]

(I)n this case the plaintiffs have stated emphatically that they are not proceeding under the United States Constitution, and thus have clearly and unequivocally chosen not to avail themselves of the level of protection offered by the second amendment. That leaves only the protection offered by the Illinois Constitution, which pursuant to Kalodimos does not afford to the plaintiffs a fundamental right and does not entitle them to strict scrutiny analysis of their count IV equal protection claim.


*** UPDATED x1 *** DuPage County sheriff lashes out at media, posts defensive and misleading letter on Facebook

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

*** UPDATE *** It appears the sheriff broke an agreement. From DuPage County Board Chair Deb Conroy…

I’ll just stick by our statement yesterday. We had a productive conversation, and the sheriff assured me he would uphold all state and local laws. During our meeting, we agreed to release a joint statement and say nothing further.

So, as far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing more to say. We move forward, focusing on keeping our residents and community safe.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Background is here if you need it. Letter posted by DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick on Facebook

Do not listen to the media. I was not threatened to be censured or anything else during this meeting.

Um, the public threats of censure clearly came well before the meeting. Sheriff Mendrick knew what he’d gotten himself into and what consequences he faced. As far as I can tell, no media outlet reported that any such threats were made during the meeting. Maybe he just saw something on Facebook.

* Back to the letter

The meeting that I had with States Attorney Bob Berlin and County Board Chair Debra Conroy yesterday was the first day three tiers of government came together in discussion on this topic.

We ALL agreed that our police should not be going to the homes of our law. abiding residents to harass them over gun registration. They get the issues. We will not be sending deputies out proactively to take your lawfully owned guns. Please remove that stressor from your lives.

Sheriff, it was you and others like you who freaked people out by claiming that law enforcement would be going door to door.

* Returning to the letter

What we will be doing is enhancing penalties for those that use guns illegally in the commission of crimes. Those that commit gun crimes in DuPage will find out how seriously we take gun offenses. If you are not using a gun to conduct criminality, you have nothing to fear from us. If your use of a gun is to harm someone within DuPage County, we are united to make sure you endure every possible penalty that we can bestow upon you for your crimes.

We have reached a time where we must protect our citizens from illegal gun use and at the same time allow law-abiding citizens the ability to defend themselves. The media will make up their own version of this interaction to create conflict, but the truth is that we all agree on the difference between lawful citizens and criminals.

So, if a Naperville police officer arrests a gun store owner for selling banned assault weapons, the sheriff will now allow that person to be incarcerated in his county jail?


It’s just a bill

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Politico

We asked about a State Journal Register story that says there are nearly 1,700 bills being introduced from both chambers that apply to income tax credits for eligible taxpayers, state agencies and departments.

That’s not even close to what the story says

As of Friday, there were 1,690 bills introduced from both chambers - 156 in the state Senate and 1,534 in the House. A common thread in the bills was income tax credits applying to a wide spectrum of eligible taxpayers, state agencies. and departments.

The SJ-R story looked at only a sampling of all the bills. Of those 1,690 bills, Speaker Welch has introduced 940 shells. Deputy Majority Leader Mary Flowers introduced another 76 bills, as did Rep. La Shawn Ford.

* Campaign press release, but it ain’t a bad idea…

Kam Buckner filed legislation to ensure that the head of CPS is a Superintendent and not a CEO, ensuring that schools prioritize students, are not run like businesses, and that there are strict education, certification, and work experience requirements for this role.

CPS had a superintendent until 1995 when the legislature changed Illinois’ law and appointed Paul Vallas to run Chicago’s school district. The change has allowed people like Paul Vallas to ignore the needs of children, their families, and communities and instead make decisions driven by financial outcomes and self interest.

“Our school district has been traumatized by school closures and poor decision making,” Buckner said. “By having a CEO lead our schools we have allowed people without the proper job qualifications to run our district as a business and see our children as data points and not the future of our great City. Legislation I have proposed will change that by reinstating the Superintendent role in CPS and eliminating the title of CEO.”

There have been ten CEOs of Chicago’s public schools since Paul Vallas first took office in 1995.

“As CEO Paul Vallas was driven to create a balanced budget for CPS and it resulted in neighborhood school closures for our children,” said Buckner. “He didn’t put our kids first then and he certainly won’t as Mayor of Chicago.”

Paul Vallas has been an opportunist collecting titles instead of prioritizing Chicago’s youth and education. Chicago State University’s board of Trustees created a job specifically for Vallas to help them turn things around but Vallas was terminated by the Trustees after they realized they had been a pawn in his attempt to advance his bonafides among black voters during his first Mayoral run.

“I sat on the board of Trustees that fired Vallas,” Buckner said. “It was clear then and it’s even clearer now that he puts himself first and it is that same self interested attitude that is allowing him to accept donations from people who used our schools to increase their personal profits. We simply cannot have people like this running our schools or our City.”

Paul Vallas has accepted campaign contributions from Deborah Quazzo, a former CPS employee who violated ethical school standards by pitching her businesses to school principals in an effort to secure CPS contracts and she benefitted from a kickback scheme under CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett.

As state Representative, Kam Buckner has sponsored 100s of bills to help improve public safety, education, housing, and transportation in Chicago including legislation on needs based school funding, which set a minimum teacher salary and an elected Chicago school board.

The bill is here.

* Meanwhile

A proposed amendment to the Sports Wagering Act in Illinois filed by Rep. Robert Rita would introduce exchange trade wagering.

House Bill 1405 seeks to extend the current sports betting regulations in the Prairie State to include betting exchanges, defined in the bill as “the buying and selling of betting contracts at any time prior to the conclusion of an event based on a describable zero to 100 scale of probability”.

Under the bill’s terms, two betting exchange licenses would be up for grabs if it were to pass, with licensees liable to a $500,000 licensing fee. 

Any licensee would be allowed to offer betting exchange services for a period of four years initially and may renew for a $100,000 fee as long as the operator remains compliant with regulations. 

* This is a Republican-sponsored bill, so keep that in mind

Illinois lawmakers on Monday introduced workers compensation bills that would affect compensability on cumulative trauma and work travel.

H.B. 1543 would determine that an injury arose out of and in the course of employment only if the accident “significantly caused or contributed to both the resulting condition and disability.”

The bill doesn’t define “significantly caused,” so it’s not clear how that would compare to other causation standards such as major contributing cause, proximate cause and predominant cause.

Case law says only that workers must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the work incident or duties were a causative factor in an injury. That bill would limit coverage for cumulative trauma, prohibiting coverage for “ordinary, gradual deterioration or progressive degeneration of the body caused by aging or normal activities of living.”

* Same sponsor for this one

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission would be required to establish a new medical fee schedule and implement a closed drug formulary, under legislation introduced Monday.

H.B. 1548 would render all current medical fee schedules inoperative after Aug. 31, 2024, and establish new reimbursement rates based on Medicare percentages. The bill would also require annual updates to the fee schedule starting Sept. 1, 2025, that would be equal to exactly half the increase in the Consumer Price Index.

H.B. 1546 would require the commission to adopt an evidence-based drug formulary by Sept. 1. The bill does not direct the commission toward any current formulary.

* Stand Up America…

State Legislatures are Back. Here’s How They Can Protect and Strengthen Democracy.

State legislatures are back and beginning to set priorities for the 2023 session. As lawmakers gather it’s critical that they prioritize protecting and strengthening democracy – especially with a divided Congress in Washington.

Legislators and voters in New York and Michigan are coming off of big wins in 2022 – having passed sweeping democracy legislation and ballot initiatives – that will now need to be implemented. Meanwhile, the Illinois and New Mexico legislatures will take up fights that fell short last year like voting rights restoration and a democracy package to create a permanent absentee voter list, restore voting rights, implement automatic voter registration, and more.

Here are a few ways states are prioritizing protecting democracy in 2023:

    • Minnesota: Minnesota lawmakers recently introduced a comprehensive pro-democracy package – the “Democracy for The People Act” – that includes automatic voter registration, restoring the right to vote for Minnesotans on probation or parole, and modernizing the state’s campaign finance system. Legislators also launched a democracy caucus in the Minnesota state house. Recently, lawmakers and voting rights advocates from We Choose Us MN held a press conference to announce a legislative agenda to make the North Star State a national leader in democracy.

    • New Mexico: Last session, New Mexico voting rights advocates nearly passed a sweeping legislative package to strengthen democracy and secure citizens’ access to the ballot. Last week, legislators introduced a revamped version in the statehouse. The bill includes a permanent absentee voter list, rights restoration for people on parole/probation, automatic voter registration, an Election Day holiday, and more. New Mexico lawmakers and advocates hosted a press conference on their plans for the session.

    • Oregon: For the past few years, Oregon advocates have worked diligently to pass legislation to allow currently incarcerated citizens in the state the opportunity to vote to support their communities and families. Last year, the legislation was held up in the Joint Committee on Ways & Means, but with Sen. Elizabeth Steiner and Rep. Tawna Sanchez at the helm of the committee this year, hopes of passage are much greater. A coalition, led by formerly incarcerated individuals, continues to fight to pass the legislation, SB 579, this session.

    • Illinois: Illinois voting rights advocates have been working to pass voting rights restoration for people with felony convictions for years. Last year, SB 828, legislation to restore voting rights for currently incarcerated Illinoisans, came just a few votes shy of passing the House on the final day of session. This session, advocates are bringing back the bill, HB 989, and making sure it is prioritized by lawmakers.

Stand Up America’s members are not new to fighting for legislation to shore up democracy at the state level. In fact, last year, Stand Up America’s members drove more than 1,800 calls and 15,000 emails to legislators and sent over 650,000 texts in support of state-level measures that would strengthen democracy in Arizona, Michigan, New Mexico, Illinois, Oregon, New York, and beyond. This year, they will again work in their state houses to pass legislation to state level protections for their democracy.

* And…

I wonder if the upholstered furniture lobby has a position on that one. /s

…Adding… Press release…

Today, U.S. Congressman Sean Casten (IL-06) introduced a package of legislation to increase the size of the House and Senate, as well as restore the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction to better align with Article III of the US Constitution.

The package, named “A Common Sense Vision for American Democracy” would:
Establish 12 at-large senators to be elected through a nationwide system of ranked choice voting
Add approximately 138 additional Members of the House (if it had been implemented after the 2020 census)
Change the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and create a 13-judge multi-circuit panel to hear cases where the United States or a federal agency is a party

This is the first attempt by a sitting Member of Congress to enact this type of reform. There have been no attempts in Congress to expand the Senate or reinstate the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. The last time the House was expanded was in 1911. After an inability to settle disputes over reapportionment after the 1920 Census, the size of the House was arbitrarily locked in place at 435 in 1929.

An overview of A Common Sense Vision for American Democracy can found below, including bill text and section-by-sections of the legislation.

“The fundamental promise of our democracy is to fulfill the will of the people,” said Rep. Sean Casten. “In recent years, we have failed to meet that promise. There is a growing list of issues – from climate action to gun control to healthcare to voting rights – where the federal government has consistently ignored the priorities of the majority of Americans. This failure not only breeds cynicism but ultimately risks the very survival of our government. We must act against the counter-majoritarian institutions of our political system and seek to reestablish the government as a stalwart for the people.

“The Equal Voices Act will increase the size of the House to be in line with the growing population of the United States. Not only will this bill create smaller districts to allow Members to be more responsive to the needs of their constituents, it will also rebalance inflated representation between districts, and allow for greater diversity that is more representative of our great nation. On top of that, it will grow and equalize the Electoral College, better aligning outcomes with the national popular vote.

“The Senate was purposefully constructed to not reflect the will of the majority. However, a government that doesn’t represent the people cannot sustain the support of the people. This amendment establishes 12 at-large senators to be elected through a nationwide system of ranked choice voting. By creating this bloc of senators, comprising roughly 10% of the body, who are directly responsible to public will, the Senate will be forced to move their agenda towards the will of the majority.

“There are currently incentives to control the composition of the Supreme Court to affect the resolution of disputes in a way that furthers specific policy objectives and politics. These incentives have distorted the actual and perceived fairness and independence of the Court, and this must be remedied. The Constitution gives Congress the power to address the structural concerns of the Supreme Court, and we must do so. It’s time for Congress to restore the Court’s jurisdiction to align with Article III of the Constitution and eliminate the current elements that allow the Court to be gamed for political advantages”


Tony Sanders named new state superintendent of education

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I’ve been following this person for a while on Twitter, etc. and he seems to be pretty darned good at what he does. Press release…

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today named School District U-46 Superintendent Dr. Tony Sanders the new state superintendent of education after a nationwide search. He will assume his duties in late February. ISBE Deputy Education Officer Krish Mohip will serve as interim state superintendent of education during the transition. Dr. Carmen I. Ayala’s term as state superintendent of education concludes Jan. 31. She announced her retirement after 40 years of service and leadership in Illinois public schools.

“Dr. Tony Sanders is an extraordinary choice for State Superintendent of Education,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Dr. Sanders’ breadth of experience as superintendent of School District U-46 and his entire background have prepared him to take on this role. His focus on innovation, social emotional development, and academic excellence make him an extraordinary pick. I can think of no better person to lead the Illinois State Board of Education as we continue to invest in, support, and elevate our students and educators.”

“Dr. Tony Sanders has distinguished himself as a visionary leader and passionate advocate for students and educators,” said ISBE Board Chair Dr. Steven Isoye. “As the superintendent of one of Illinois’ largest school districts, he intimately understands the strengths, the policy history, and the challenges of our public schools. At U-46, he has championed equity, expanded opportunities for students, and brought innovative new programs to the district. The Board looks forward to his leadership; we are confident he will build on our record-high graduation rates and college and career readiness to continue leading Illinois’ schools in a positive direction.

“We are also very grateful to have Krish Mohip serve as interim state superintendent. Krish has a wealth of education leadership experience and will provide important guidance and oversight for the agency during this transition.”

Dr. Sanders expanded the district’s offerings during his tenure in U-46, which is headquartered in Elgin and is the second-largest school district in Illinois. He added full-day kindergarten for all students and implemented a developmentally appropriate play-based instructional program. Dr. Sanders grew the district’s dual language program and created a new alternative high school, the DREAM Academy, to reduce expulsions and better serve students in need of trauma-informed care. He also invested in a grow-your-own educator initiative to provide educational support professionals the ability to return to school to earn their teaching credentials. The initiative has supported more than 60 U-46 employees in receiving full tuition reimbursement as they work toward their teacher licensure. Dr. Sanders improved the district’s financial standing, while overseeing a $660 million operating budget.

Dr. Sanders also has advocated at the state and federal levels as a member and past chair of the Large Countywide and Suburban District Consortium. He supported the effort to reform Illinois’ school funding formula and enact Evidence-Based Funding and to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Prior to becoming the U-46 superintendent in 2014, Dr. Sanders served as the district’s chief of communications and accountability and then chief of staff. He also previously served as the chief communications officer for St. Louis Public Schools and in communications and governmental relations roles within Illinois government, including at ISBE. Dr. Sanders received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois Springfield, his Master of Business Administration from New York Institute of Technology, his Chief School Business Official Endorsement from Northern Illinois University, an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Judson University, and his Doctor of Education from Aurora University.

…Adding… IFT…

The Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery issued the following statement on the appointment of Dr. Anthony “Tony” Sanders as the 31st State Superintendent of Education for the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

“We congratulate Dr. Tony Sanders on his appointment as State Superintendent of Education and are thrilled to partner with him to achieve policies that center and engage our students and teachers, especially our Black and Brown students who are still recovering from the pandemic. As an Illinois superintendent with a strong education background, Dr. Sanders thoroughly understands the challenges facing our students, teachers, and staff. His steady leadership during the pandemic ensured that Elgin students and school staff were safe and healthy.

“During Dr. Sanders’ tenure leading Elgin District U-46, he was a strong advocate for equitable policies for Black and Brown students. His visionary leadership helped improve district assessment data collection to better the student and teacher experience. We support furthering that effort at the state level and call on him to convene assessment experts, including practitioners, to develop an assessment theory of action.

“We appreciate Dr. Sanders past advocacy for the Evidence Based Funding Formula and hope in his new role, he helps to move our state closer to achieving equitable funding and eliminating disparities in districts statewide.

“We thank Dr. Carmen Ayala for her service and strong leadership during the pandemic, and we are eager to work with Dr. Sanders to continue the equity work that Dr. Ayala started on behalf of our students and teachers.”


Question of the day

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Illinois Chamber President Todd Maisch in Crain’s

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce believes that business and labor can work together. Here are three areas where they can in Illinois. […]

Business and labor both like to build productive assets for our economy. Unfortunately, the state of Illinois has a history of waiting until the last minute to decide what our critical infrastructure needs are and how to pay for them.

The harsh reality is that our typical answer—an increase in the gas tax—will not meet our future needs. Increasing fuel efficiency and a move to electric vehicles will leave our roads, bridges and transit to the ravages of perpetual underfunding. Illinois leads the nation in the vitality of our transportation system. We must have a better way.

Tolling our interstates, allowing public private options and deciding how we fund our waterways and airports are absolute musts. They may not be instantly popular, but we cannot wait for these complicated issues to be addressed years from now. These issues must be addressed now.

Just for a little context, Illinois raised the Motor Fuel Tax by 19 cents per gallon in 2019 and pegged it to inflation. The most recent MFT increase before that was in 1990 - 29 years earlier.

* The Question: Should Illinois convert its interstate highway system to a tolled system? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


Report: ISP takes unspecified enforcement action on weapons ban

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Center Square

Illinois State Police say they took enforcement action against a business for openly advertising the sale of newly banned weapons, but no additional information was provided.

In a YouTube video Friday, gun-rights advocate Todd Vandermyde revealed he’d been told that the state is taking actions to enforce the state’s ban on certain semiautomatic guns and magazines.

“It appears that there was a gun shop that was selling stuff, post the enactment,” Vandermyde said after sharing an anonymous tip that state police confiscated weapons from an individual. 

Monday, a spokesperson for Illinois State Police confirmed in a statement to The Center Square that ISP took enforcement action earlier this month against a business for “openly advertising the sale of banned weapons.” The statement said the investigation is ongoing and additional information wasn’t immediately available.


Isabel’s morning briefing

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Interesting…

* Here’s your morning roundup…


Open thread

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* What’s going on? Keep it Illinois-centric please…


Live coverage

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Follow along with ScribbleLive

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Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

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*** UPDATED x1 *** DuPage Chair Conroy drops censure threat after Sheriff Mendrick backs down

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release

Monday, January 30, 2023

Joint Statement on DuPage County Public Safety

Statement attributable to DuPage County Board Chair Deborah Conroy, DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick, and DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin:

“DuPage County Board Chair Deborah Conroy, Sheriff James Mendrick, and State’s Attorney Robert Berlin engaged in a meaningful conversation during which they discussed their shared commitment to the safety of DuPage County residents. The conversation also included discussion of Illinois’ new assault weapons ban, known as the Protect Illinois Communities Act. Enforcement of this law does not demand that deputies go door to door seeking to remove weapons from those licensed to own them. With this understanding, Sheriff Mendrick is committed to enforcing all state and local laws. Chair Conroy is committed to supporting the Sheriff’s Office in maintaining safe communities within DuPage County and sees no reason to pursue a censure resolution at this time. All parties look forward to positive, productive collaboration on important initiatives that will keep DuPage residents safe and ensure the security of our communities moving forward.”

…Adding… Daily Herald

While the DuPage County Board posted the joint statement on social media Monday afternoon, Mendrick had not yet shared the statement on the sheriff’s social media page as of 3:30 p.m. Monday. Mendrick’s original Jan. 13 statement also remained posted on the DuPage County sheriff’s Facebook page.

County board member Liz Chaplin, a Downers Grove Democrat, said the joint statement was “a good start” but expressed some reservation.

“When I see the sheriff post on social media, I will feel much better about this,” she said. “He has unnecessarily caused a lot of confusion, fear and anger. He needs to publicly set the record straight that he will enforce the law and all laws.”

As of 5 o’clock, it’s still not there.

* Meanwhile, from the Conversation

A gun control law signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois in January 2023 immediately faced opposition from a group key to the law’s enforcement: sheriffs. They are county-level, locally elected public officials who run jails, provide courthouse security, and, in many counties, are the primary providers of law enforcement services.

In Illinois, and around the nation, some sheriffs also view themselves as the ultimate defenders of the U.S. Constitution and its rights – even though there’s no law and no history giving them that position. […]

In our research surveying sheriffs, in 2012 and again in 2021, we have found that sheriffs are far more likely to support looser gun laws than the public at large. And we have also found that that perspective is linked to some sheriffs’ views that they are the highest level of defenders of the U.S. Constitution and Americans’ constitutional rights.

From that poll

Gun laws should be MORE strict than they are today

    19% (Sheriffs)
    53% (Americans in general)

Gun laws should be LESS strict than they are today

    75% (Sheriffs)
    14% (Americans in general)

Current gun laws are about right / No answer / unsure

    6% (Sheriffs)
    32% (Americans in general)

* Back to the story

We traced sheriffs’ views of themselves as ultimate protectors of the Constitution to the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, a political organization founded in 2009 by Richard Mack, a former sheriff of Graham County, Arizona. […]

Mack and his organization have spent more than a decade actively recruiting and training sheriffs to believe that their office is more powerful than the president, and that they can reject laws they believe to be unconstitutional. Mack told NPR in 2019 that sheriffs “have the responsibility to interpose – it’s the ‘doctrine of interposition’ – whenever anybody is trying to diminish or violate the individual rights of our counties.”

Counties have individual rights?

* Interposition

In Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U.S. 1 (1958), the Supreme Court of the United States rejected interposition explicitly. The Supreme Court and the lower federal courts have consistently held that the power to declare federal laws unconstitutional lies with the federal judiciary, not with the states. The courts have held that interposition is not a valid constitutional doctrine when invoked to block enforcement of federal law.

* In other news, the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association is awarding more than $58,000 in college scholarships throughout the state. Individual sheriffs are offering $500 scholarships. For instance

La Salle County Sheriff Adam Diss will award one $500 scholarship. There will be no restriction on any applicant by reason of race, age, creed, color, sex or national origin. The only limitations are as follows:

    Applicants must be permanent Illinois residents
    Scholarships must be utilized at institutions of higher learning within the state of Illinois
    Students must be enrolled as a full-time student during the 2023-24 school year (excluding summer session).

Not mentioned is this essay question

What are your thoughts about the elimination of cash bail in Illinois? Do you think this is a good policy decision? What are the effects? Please explain your rationale for position.

*** UPDATE *** US Rep. Casten…

U.S. Congressman Sean Casten (IL-06) released the following statement regarding the joint statement from DuPage County Board Chair Deb Conroy, Sheriff James Mendrick, and States Attorney Robert Berlin on public safety in DuPage County:

“Public trust in our institutions depends, in part, on the principle that laws, once passed, will apply equally to all. I’m grateful and relieved to hear that Sheriff Mendrick understands this and is committed to fairly and impartially enforcing the laws of Illinois.

“The Protect Illinois Communities Act is an important law passed by our state legislature to prevent future tragedies like the shooting in Highland Park. I would like to thank Chair Deb Conroy for her leadership in DuPage County, as well as all those who stood with me on January 23rd in steadfast commitment to keeping our communities safe.”

On January 19th, Representatives Sean Casten, Delia Ramirez (IL-03), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), and Bill Foster (IL-11) sent a letter to DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick expressing concern over his January 13th statement that he will not enforce the Protect Illinois Communities Act. Rep. Casten then held a press conference on January 23rd to reiterate the importance of enforcing the laws of Illinois.

* Related…


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Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Afternoon roundup

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Illinois Legislative Black Caucus statement on the release of video documenting the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols by Memphis police

“The release of police body camera footage makes clear what we already knew: the murder of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols was brutal and unjustified. Our deepest condolences are with his family and all those who knew and loved him. The police officers who beat this young man to death have no place in law enforcement, and were rightly dismissed. Still, this is not enough. These officers callously and viciously killed another human being, and Mr. Nichols’ family deserves justice. We know very clearly this is about more than a few bad apples.

“For the people who are angry, for the people who are sick of living in fear, we will always stand with you in the fight for justice. We are proud of the steps we have taken in Illinois, including restrictions on dangerous policing methods and closing prosecution loopholes in officer-involved killings, but we know there is still much more work to do.”

More react here.

* Daily Herald

As a draft of legislation that would give the Chicago Bears a massive property tax break at Arlington Park emerges in Springfield, the NFL franchise has a major backer in its corner.

Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch’s lobbying pitch to legislators is practically a version of the “Bear Down, Chicago Bears” fight song, which famously proclaims the team as the “pride and joy of Illinois.”

“They deserve their place in front of the legislature. They’re a huge economic driver and a source of pride for the state. So they deserve everything they can get,” said Maisch, whose organization is pushing a bill that would create a new economic incentive program that the Bears and big developers could tap to pay less than the regular amount of property taxes on a given site. […]

The state’s leading business advocacy organization and the Bears are leading a coalition in support of the so-called PILOT financing tool that would allow developers of “mega projects” — those worth at least $500 million — to make negotiated payments to local taxing bodies instead of the full amount of property taxes. Others who have signed onto the plan are the Illinois Road & Transportation Builders Association and Northwest Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

* Also from the Daily Herald

Although wrong-way crashes are relatively rare, the results can be catastrophic mainly because they typically occur head-on and at high speeds, experts with the National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Highway Administration and AAA have found.

Six in 10 wrong-way collisions involve alcohol impairment, AAA reported. To that point, the McHenry County coroner concluded in November that the driver who crashed into the Dobosz family’s van was intoxicated.

In Illinois, “this is still largely a behavioral driving issue,” IDOT spokeswoman Maria Castaneda explained.

“About two out of three (wrong-way) occurrences involve an impaired driver. Roughly a third of all traffic fatalities involve an impaired driver in Illinois. Drivers are urged to pay close attention and remain focused and alert when driving.”

* As subscribers know, Vallas also received $50,000 from one of Tom DeVore’s top contributors…

* Speaking of money

An outside group hoping to elect City Council candidates it sees as pragmatists geared up its campaign over the weekend, launching ads in five wards. So far, its focus is on helping three appointees of Mayor Lori Lightfoot and going after two candidates who are members of the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America.

The Get Stuff Done PAC — an independent expenditure committee chaired by Michael Ruemmler, an advisor to former Mayor Rahm Emanuel — has raised $1.2 million since its official formation in early December, according to the state board of elections. The group is launching a series of digital ads and sending out mailers supporting 11th Ward Ald. Nicole Lee, 12th Ward Ald. Anabel Abarca, and 24th Ward Ald. Monique Scott. All are appointees of Lightfoot that were selected to fill City Council vacancies. […]

Another former Emanuel donor and confidant, Michael Sacks of Grosvenor Capital Management, contributed $500,000 to Get Stuff Done PAC, while $200,000 came from the political action committee for the laborer’s union, LiUNA (a group that backed Susana Mendoza for mayor in 2019, then Lightfoot in the runoff).

Henry Crown & Co. heir Lester Crown and his son James Crown each donated $100,000, and Sterling Bay’s Keating Crown, Lester Crown’s grandson, gave $25,000. Duchossois Group CEO Craig Duchossois and the Illinois Restaurant Association PAC both gave $50,000.

Not sure how a committee funded by Sacks, LiUNA, Lester Crown, the Duchossois family and the restaurant association can be described as an “outside group,” but OK.

* Press release…

Following its announcement by city and county officials on Friday, state Rep. Robert “Bob” Rita, D-Blue Island, is promoting awareness of the new 211 social services hotline now available to all residents of Cook County. The hotline is available via phone, text and web chat. Residents can use 211 to be connected with a local Resource Navigator who can assist with finding and accessing assistance and other programs in a wide variety of categories.

“Helping individuals and families to obtain the services they need to live, work and care for their loved ones is one of the most important things government does,” Rita said. “Having all that under one roof, where people can do it all easily and efficiently, just makes sense.”

Categories covered by 211 include Housing, Senior Services, Legal Assistance, Immigration, Veteran Services, Health Care and Utility Assistance. A full list of resource categories as well as additional information can be found at To connect with 211 via text message, residents should text their ZIP code to 898211.

“211 is a game-changer,” Rita said. “I hope that, once more people are aware of it, that it helps them and their families to live safer, healthier, better lives.”

* Media advisory…


Illinois National Guard
Brig. Gen. Rodney Boyd, Assistant Adjutant General-Army, Commander of the Illinois Army National Guard
Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton

Brigadier General Rodney Boyd, the Assistant Adjutant General – Army of the Illinois National Guard and the Commander of the Illinois Army National Guard, will be promoted to Major General making him the highest-ranking minority officer in the nearly 300-year history of the Illinois National Guard. Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton will officiate the ceremony. General Boyd is a native of the South Side of Chicago.

11:00 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 4
Carver Military Academy Auditorium
13100 South Doty Ave.
Chicago, IL 60827

Appointed Assistant Adjutant General-Army and Commander, Illinois Army National Guard on July 1, 2021
Graduated from ILNG Officer Candidate School in August, 1990.
Served as Assistant Chief of Staff J4 (Joint Logistics Wartime) for U.S. Forces Korea
Has deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait

…Adding… Politico

Christian Mitchell, a deputy governor, is leaving the Pritzker administration. No word yet on his next move. But the announcement sparked talk that Mitchell could move to a political position to help Pritzker in a potential presidential run. “Absolutely not,” said a person familiar with Mitchell’s exit.

Literally everything “sparks” that sort of talk these days.

* Isabel’s roundup…

    * Sun-Times | Facing pressure to ban books, suburban libraries ‘becoming a battlefield for the First Amendment: According to the library association, which is based in Chicago, there were 67 attempts to ban books last year in Illinois, up from 41 such efforts in 2021. It says the number of book ban attempts has been on the rise in recent years, with 681 such moves involving more than 1,600 titles throughout the United States in 2021.

    * BGA | Illinois Legislative Oversight is Weak Compared to Other States: Because of this, Illinois’ commission is more easily subject to gridlock, as well as ineffectual oversight, than the commissions in other states. This situation is compounded by having a weak Legislative Inspector General. The commission, being made up of the very people they should be holding accountable, has little incentive to allow the Legislative Inspector General full rein to investigate wrongdoing, and instead is able to keep the legislative watchdog on a short leash.

    * Illinois Newsroom | University of Illinois students caught in financial scams, prompting police outreach: Scammers often target international students and pose as government agencies – threatening to deport students if they don’t send money. University of Illinois Police Department’s Sergeant Robert Murphy says scam cases are difficult to solve, because they often require expensive equipment and technology training.

    * Robin Bertram | Chicago needs to offer homeowners assistance with repairs: Last year, the Pritzker administration set aside $309 million to Illinois homeowners to help pay mortgages and other expenses. In 2023, the administration should offer a different kind of assistance for homeowners: home repairs.

    * ProPublica | Can Community Programs Help Slow the Rise in Violence?: For years, these programs competed with one another for whatever scarce funding was available, passing from one short-lived pilot project to another. Now they are being showered with unprecedented resources: Louisville is getting $24 million; Baltimore will receive $50 million.

    * Daily Beast | The Liberal Case Against Public Unions: Instead of pride, unions enforce a culture of entitlement in many schools and agencies. Employees are ostracized if they strive to do more than the bare minimum. A study by Johns Hopkins University of Providence, Rhode Island, schools found peer pressure against “‘going the extra mile’” which “makes everyone look bad.” The study’s authors also wrote: “Specifically, we heard, ‘Unions discriminate against hard work. They put pressure on those who go above the bare minimum and ask ‘why?’ if you want to do more. This is not only teachers, but secretaries and custodians.”

    * SJ-R | Langfelder, Buscher draw crowd for mayoral forum; tackle Wyndham, partisanship questions: Who Trump was as a candidate compared to his four years as president were not equivalent, she said. “I voted for the candidate who I thought was going to bring new jobs, job creation, corporations back to our states,” Buscher said. “That person did not govern the way I thought they did with that vote.”

    * Fox News | Paul Pelosi attacker David DePape makes chilling call to TV station: ‘I’m so sorry I didn’t get more of them’: Despite saying he didn’t want to jeopardize his case, DePape told KTVU he attacked Pelosi because “liberty isn’t dying, it’s being killed systematically and deliberately.” The “people killing it have names and addresses, so I got their names and addresses so I could pay them a little visit … have a heart-to-heart chat about their bad behavior,” he asserted.

    * WaPo | What if the crisis of democracy is (mostly) in our heads?: To summarize and simplify: Democracy, at least liberal democracy, means both that the winning side must be allowed to govern and that the losing side’s rights must be respected. Sometimes, the two are in tension. When citizens support the party in power, Bryan found, their definition of democracy focuses on that party’s right to govern — or “obeying authority.” When citizens oppose the party in power, their definition of democracy focuses more on the protection of their own rights as a political minority.

    * Sun-Times | Nykia Wright departs as Sun-Times CEO: Nykia Wright, who has had leading executive roles at the Chicago Sun-Times since 2017, managing ownership changes and a shift toward digital operations, is leaving the newspaper. Chicago Public Media, which owns the Sun-Times, announced her departure Monday. Wright issued a message to staff members saying she will announce future plans soon.

    * Crain’s | Drug discovery startup spun out of Northwestern acquired for $50 million: Samdi Tech, a Northwestern University biotech spinout that provides automated screening for early-stage drug invention, has been acquired by pharma services giant Charles River Laboratories.

    * The Atlantic | The narcissism of the angry young men: Some years ago, I got a call from an analyst at the National Counterterrorism Center. After yet another gruesome mass shooting (this time, it was Dylann Roof’s attack on a Bible-study group at a Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, that killed nine and wounded one), I had written an article about the young men who perpetrate such crimes. I suggested that an overview of these killers showed them, in general, to be young losers who failed to mature, and whose lives revolved around various grievances, insecurities, and heroic fantasies. I called them “Lost Boys” as a nod to their arrested adolescence.

    * Journal & Topics | Des Plaines Woman Faces Felony Charges After Allegedly Striking State Police Vehicle: At approximately 6:22 p.m., ISP reported that Des Plaines resident Jasmine Solano, 27, was driving a blue 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan westbound. An ISP officer was tending to an existing crash on the left shoulder of the road. Solano allegedly failed to yield to the stationary emergency vehicle and struck the squad car’s rear.

    * Kaiser Health News | A baby spent 36 days at an in-network hospital. Why did her parents get a huge bill?: It took Kearney months of calls to Blue Cross and the two hospitals to find out why Lurie billed more than $14,000 for physician services: The physicians treating her daughter at Prentice Women’s — an in-network hospital under her health plan— actually worked for a separate, out-of-network hospital. Illinois law bars insurers from charging patients out-of-network rates for neonatal care at in-network hospitals.

    * Sun-Times | Two Chicago universities receive millions in federal funding to expand high-speed internet access: St. Augustine College and Dominican University received federal grants to expand access to high-speed internet on their campuses. The Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program, under the U.S. Department of Commerce, awarded $2.6 million to St. Augustine and $2.5 million to Dominican, the department announced Monday.

    * Illinois News Bureau | Site of integrated Illinois town founded by former slave is newest national park: Frank McWorter, known as “Free Frank,” platted and registered the town of New Philadelphia in 1836. McWorter hired out for extra work on neighboring plantations while enslaved, and he and his wife, Lucy, bought freedom for themselves and 14 other family members. They acquired land in Pike County, and after platting and registering space for the town, Frank and Lucy sold lots to free African American families and European American families attracted to their vision of a community dedicated to freedom. New Philadelphia – just 25 miles from the slave markets in Hannibal, Missouri, – helped people escaping slavery along the Underground Railroad.

    * KHQA | Documentary about the Old State Capitol to air on TV: The documentary features interviews with two of the original architects who were in charge of dismantling and rebuilding the Old State Capitol.

    * NBC Chicago | Chicago ‘Dibs’ Scene Sparks Big Social Media Debate: “I don’t mind dibs when my neighbor spent time clearing dibspot ( I have a cool neighbor that clears 2-3 spots but claims only 1), but in the weather it’s just petty. May as well start dibs in the summer too,” one commenter wrote.

    * CNN | Puppy Bowl XIX: How to watch the other big game: There will be more puppies playing - 122 from 67 shelters and rescues across 34 states - and, for the first-time, the competition will feature a Native American animal organization and a puppy player from Dominica, West Indies.

    * Block Club | In Englewood, Thousands Of Tulips Are Blooming — During The Winter: Southside Blooms, the flower shop of Englewood-based nonprofit Chicago Eco House, 6250 S. Morgan St., is growing 18,000 tulips indoors for a good cause. The program — which has been featured on TV — is known for creating jobs for at-risk youth and converting vacant lots into community assets.


It’s just a bill

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Patrick Keck

As of Friday, there were 1,690 bills introduced from both chambers - 156 in the state Senate and 1,534 in the House. A common thread in the bills was income tax credits applying to a wide spectrum of eligible taxpayers, state agencies. and departments. […]

Under House Bill 1250, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity would be permitted to award up to $50 million in the fiscal year to eligible taxpayers. […]

House Bill 1343 pertains to an individual selling or renting an agricultural asset to a beginning farmer. The bill defines a beginning farmer as someone who “has not received income from agricultural production for more than the 10 most recent taxable years” and has received certification from the state Department of Agriculture identifying them as a beginning farmer. […]

Caregivers of veterans would receive up to a $1,000 credit under legislation from state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville introduced last week.

* Daily Herald

With some finesse, nuclear reactors can be placed on retiring coal plant sites to take advantage of existing transmission, water and transportation infrastructure. This would preserve jobs and revenue in Illinois’s existing energy communities. It would also make certain that the replacement energy is reliable in addition to being carbon-free. A rare win-win.

However, this option is not available to the coal communities of the state. Illinois has a decades-old moratorium on nuclear power, meaning there are restrictions on the construction of new nuclear plants.

The moratorium was introduced under the premise that Illinois had no solution to nuclear waste, which is simply the used nuclear fuel. In actuality, Illinois has a perfect record for managing and storing waste. The used fuel is stored at the power plant in steel and concrete “casks,” requiring less space than a parking lot. In the future, this fuel can be recycled to produce even more power for the reactors!

Back in 1987 when Illinois’s nuclear moratorium was passed, carbon was irrelevant to environmentalists. Nearly 40 years later, we understand the need for clean and reliable nuclear powering our state regardless of time of day or season.

Fortunately, action is already being taken to change this. Rep. Mark Walker, an Arlington Heights Democrat, has introduced a bill to repeal the ban. Sen. Sue Rezin, a Morris Republican, has filed a similar bill in the Senate, one of numerous indications that the proposal will enjoy bipartisan support. These bills require no allocation of funding or commitment to building future nuclear power plants — they simply put the option for new nuclear investment back on the table in Illinois.

* Sun-Times

State Rep. Edgar Gonzalez and state Sen. Robert Peters, both Chicago Democrats, said Monday they will introduce a bill to protect temporary workers’ rights.

The Temp Worker and Fairness Safety Act would make it easier for workers to sue temp agencies, unionize and strike, attorney Chris Williams said.

It would also make it harder for temp agencies to use noncompete clauses and other tactics to discourage workers from moving to permanent employment with a client.

“By passing this bill into law, we will set the standard for temp worker protections with the rights of workers and create meaningful pathways to union membership for every worker everywhere,” Gonzalez said.

* The Telegraph

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, has introduced the Beginning Agriculturist Lifetime Employment (BALE) Act to help ensure agricultural producers – especially those just getting started – have access to credit to expand or diversify their operations.

The act builds on a provision sponsored by Bost in the 2018 Farm Bill to increase caps on conservation, ownership, and operator loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Guaranteed and Direct Loan Programs.

“Sky-high inflation and supply chain challenges have made it even more expensive for our Southern Illinois farmers to build their businesses, especially those just starting out,” said Bost. “I was proud to lead this effort in the 2018 Farm Bill and will continue fighting to help ensure that the farmers who feed our nation can access the financing they need.”

…Adding… Another one…


Some Republicans open to abortion ban exceptions, but people rarely qualify in more restrictive states

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Stateline

Even as anti-abortion legislators and advocates celebrated, they considered how much further they could go — perhaps by barring Tennesseans from seeking abortions in other states, or by restricting contraception.

But now, some GOP legislative leaders have returned to Nashville for the new session with a different attitude. Swayed by input from constituents and health care providers — and perhaps by a November poll showing that 75% of Tennesseans believe abortion should be legal in cases of rape and incest — some key Republicans say they want to add exceptions to the law. […]

Some Republicans in other states with strict abortion bans, including Texas and Wisconsin, also might be interested in adding rape and incest exceptions. But abortion rights supporters point out that few if any patients have qualified for abortions in the states that do have exceptions.

An August poll by the University of Texas showed that 78% of Texans support an exception for incest and 80% favor an exception for rape. GOP House Speaker Dade Phelan said at the Texas Tribune Festival in September that he has heard from House members who are concerned about the absence of exceptions.

Here’s the poll if you’re interested.

* Caveat

Most state abortion bans with exceptions for rape and incest require victims to provide a police report proving the crime, adding an extremely challenging legal barrier that activists say are meant to discourage survivors from pursuing abortions.

* Politico

Some state laws, for instance, require people to file a police report to qualify for a rape or incest exemption — a deterrent to marginalized groups that fear contact with law enforcement or those who don’t know how to navigate the legal system.

Ashley Coffield, the CEO of Tennessee’s Planned Parenthood Affiliate, said that in the 10 years she’s worked there, they never had a case of rape or incest qualify for Medicaid coverage. Planned Parenthood’s Missouri affiliate pointed to a similar record when asked why they oppose the push to add exceptions, saying that in the 18 months before Roe was overturned, only two of their patients qualified under the rape and incest exemptions for Medicaid coverage.

“They don’t actually protect patients in reality, and neither do medical emergency exemptions,” said Bonyen Lee-Gilmore, the spokesperson for the network’s St. Louis region clinics. “As the provider, we know that folks very rarely qualify.”

* County 10

[Cristina Gonzales, a registered nurse and trained sexual assault nurse examiner]’s feedback focused on the caveat allowing abortions in the case of rape.

That exception “assumes that reporting an assault is available to all victims,” she said, “thus ignoring those in a community where justice for such crimes is unattainable.”

Many of the sexual assault survivors Gonzales worked with on the reservation were “resolved that justice would not be served” by a police report, she explained, and they “feared retaliation” from their assailants – often people they knew – if law enforcement got involved.

“Making a police report was not an option,” Gonzales said. “They feel unempowered to make police reports because of the fear of retaliation, from being ostracized, and from the violence that could come (from) the assailant’s family to their family.”

* New York Times

An example of that disconnect is in Louisiana, which has exceptions for protecting the life or health of the patient and for deadly birth defects, and has reported zero abortions since its ban took effect. Mississippi, with exceptions for rape and protecting the life of the patient, has reported no more than two. Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri and Texas have exceptions for protecting a patient’s life or health and have reported similarly low abortion figures.

* More…


Pritzker: Tollway chair leaving after a year “to focus on her health challenges”

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

Governor JB Pritzker accepted the resignation of Tollway Chair Dorothy Abreu, as she leaves to focus on her health challenges.

“I appreciate Dorothy’s service and dedication to both the Tollway and the people of Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Her work has undoubtedly improved our infrastructure and she is leaving the Tollway in a strong financial and operational position. I wish Dorothy and her family well.”

“The past eleven months leading the Illinois Tollway have been a tremendous journey for me,” Dorothy Abreu, Director, and Chair of the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. “As I promised on day one, I have conducted my affairs with integrity and strived to provide transparency with all stakeholders. I am grateful for the opportunity to have helped oversee the Tollway and the more than 1,200 dedicated employees that make it great.”

Vice Chairman Jim Connolly will assume the responsibilities of the board chair until the Governor names a new permanent chair.

Her replacement will be Pritzker’s third since 2019. Will Evans served for three years until resigning. Abreu replaced Evans.


Tom DeVore fights with Rep. Caulkins over gun suit

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Facebook video from Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) a week ago

Big announcement today. We’re going to sue in Macon Countyover this unconstitutional gun grab. If you want to be a part of our group, send your information to me, Dan at Dan Now, there’s no charge for this, but we certainly would appreciate a donation from everybody to help defray our legal expenses. So, if you can help us out, we’d like to have a $200 donation. You can send it to me here at the office or you can take it down to the Bullet Trap. All funds will be used to pay for our legal expenses. Anything left over will be used to help defend our Second Amendment rights. So, we’re gonna file this on Thursday. So if you want to be a part of the Macon County lawsuit, now’s the time.

Rep. Caulkins allegedly asked people to send the money to his campaign account.

* Today’s press release from Tom DeVore

Today we entered our appearance on behalf of several citizens of the State of Illinois in the firearms lawsuit filed by State Representative Dan Caulkins in Macon County, IL. The filing is attached to this press release and speaks for itself. My clients asked me to protect them from any risks now associated with being solicited by State Representative Dan Caulkins to join his lawsuit. While only one of them submitted a financial donation to Representative Caulkins political campaign account, at his direct request for alleged legal defense expenses, she is hopeful the transaction will not be finalized, and her money returned.

My clients were led to believe each would be allowed to join the lawsuit as party plaintiffs and none of them were aware that financial donations being solicited were not payments being made directly to an attorney, but actually being deposited into the political campaign account of Representative Caulkins. Without any knowledge or consent of my clients, Caulkins lawyers failed to join them as plaintiffs, as each was led to believe by Caulkins would be the case, and instead learned only after the case was filed that they were now going to be members of a nonexistent entity characterized as an association which none of them had ever heard of or ever agreed to become a member.

Sadly, whether intentional or otherwise, several hundred citizens of the State of Illinois, in their efforts to obtain individual legal representation for themselves, are likely going to be required to find other avenues to assert their rights. It is never appropriate for non-lawyer politicians to engage directly, or as intermediaries, in the solicitation of clients in need of legal representation to seemingly further their own political or pecuniary benefit. They should consider sticking with the legislative process and leave the judicial process to the legal professionals. I am confident that my client who did in fact initiate a financial contribution to Caulkins political campaign account will receive her funds back, and I am hopeful that anyone else who’s similarly situated does as well.

* From DeVore’s legal filing

As a result of Caulkins Facebook video, Lyons requested to join the lawsuit on January 24, 2023.

On January 25, 2023 at 7:54 A.M., Caulkins responded to Lyons and affirmed she had joined the lawsuit and sought a financial donation to his political campaign account.

Lyons did in fact click the link [] and make a contribution to Caulkins campaign in the amount of $50 but as of yet is has not cleared her bank account.

On January 23, 2023 at 3:46 P.M., Martz responded to Caulkins and provided his Name, Address and phone number.

After Martz continually tried to determine if he was accepted as a client, Caulkins replied to Martz to be patient as they were checking e-mails with the lawyers.

At this point, Martz has no ability to know if he has been added to this alleged list of members or not. […]

Caulkins has admitted payments received as a result of his solicitation of clients to join his lawsuit have all, or in part, been deposited into his political campaign account. […]

It is clear from reading Caulkins legal jargon that he, and other unknown persons, decided to arbitrarily create this fiction of an unincorporated association merely due to the fact that hundreds of citizens responded to his solicitation to “join a lawsuit” and the resources it takes to onboard all these clients was likely overwhelming which is evidenced by Caulkins statement that an updated list of alleged members is forthcoming after e-mails are sorted out.

There is no recognized jurisprudence which holds Movants who merely desired to join a lawsuit, after being solicited by Caulkins, were assenting to becoming members to the Law- Abiding Gun Owners of Macon County for which they had never heard about.

This associational fiction, which Caulkins only advised the Movants of after the lawsuit was filed, is nothing more than a poorly devised and otherwise unlawful legal strategy to get around having to provide proper and adequate legal representation to the Movants, and those similarly situated, which is what each was lad to believe they were going to be provided

There are no by-laws, no constitution, no applications for membership, no membership dues, nothing available to characterize such action of Movants as an assent on the part of any of them to become a member of any association.

The law does not allow this fiction which Caulkins attempts to present to the Court through his attorneys as such would be a workaround to joinder and class action jurisprudence under Illinois law.

This Court will assuredly, at what will be the request of the Defendants, dismiss this alleged association for failing in all aspect to have standing as a lawful entity, but Movants are merely asking this Court to enjoin Caulkins, and the attorneys of record, from adducing their names on any list as alleged members of this association and further enjoining Stocks and Eck from seeking payment for legal fees from them as alleged members of this association.

WHEREFORE, Movants, herein request that this court enter an Order: […]

Finding under the facts presented herein, Dan Caulkins, or the attorneys of record are enjoined from submitting any list of members of the alleged unincorporated association which list would include any of the movants;

Enter an injunction enjoining Dan Caulkins to return any payments made by Movants back
to them instanter;

Enter an injunction enjoining the Stocks and Eck from seeking payment for services from Movants which may be incurred in counsels representation of the alleged association


ChatGPT takes on the governor’s verbal tics

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* A friend came up with this ChatGPT query…

Please write a short story of Illinois Governor JB Pritzker going through an ordinary day and telling people “As you know…”

He does that a lot. The response…

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker woke up early on a typical weekday morning. As he got ready for his day, he couldn’t help but think about all the important tasks ahead of him. “As you know,” he thought to himself, “there’s never a dull moment in this job.”

He arrived at the state capitol building and immediately went to work. “As you know,” he told his staff, “we have to address the budget deficit and find ways to fund our schools and infrastructure projects.”

He then met with business leaders to discuss ways to improve the state’s economy. “As you know.” he told them, “Illinois has some of the best companies and most talented workforce in the country, but we need to do more to attract new businesses and create jobs.”

Later in the day, he visited a school in a low-income neighborhood to talk to students about the importance of education. “As you know,” he said, “your education is the key to your future success and the success of our state.”

As the day came to a close, Governor Pritzker reflected on all that he had accomplished. “As you know.’ ” he thought, “there’s still much work to be done, but I’m committed to making Illinois a better place for all its residents.”

With that, he headed home, ready to tackle another day as governor.


* My own query today…

Suggest a conversation between Gov. JB Pritzker and a communications staffer over the governor’s repeated and problematic use of the phrase “you know” when answering reporters’ questions.

My father’s greatest pet peeve is people who say “you know” all the time. It has rubbed off on me. The other day, in fact, I told you I’d edited out several uses of that phrase to make the governor’s remarks more readable.

The response…

Gov. JB Pritzker: Hey, how’s it going?

Communications Staffer: Good morning, Governor. I wanted to talk to you about your recent press conferences.

Gov. JB Pritzker: Sure, what’s on your mind?

Communications Staffer: You’ve been using the phrase “you know” quite a bit when answering questions from reporters. It’s starting to become a bit of a distraction.

Gov. JB Pritzker: Oh, is it? I hadn’t noticed.

Communications Staffer: Yes, it is. It can come across as uncertain or unprepared. It’s important to present a confident and professional image, especially in front of the media.

Gov. JB Pritzker: I see what you mean. So, what do you suggest I do instead?

Communications Staffer: Instead of using “you know,” try taking a pause or using filler words like “um” or “ah” to buy yourself some time to think about your answer. It will give you a moment to gather your thoughts and present a clearer, more concise response.

Gov. JB Pritzker: Alright, I’ll give it a try. Thank you for the advice.

Communications Staffer: You’re welcome. And if you need any more help or tips, just let me know. We want to make sure you’re always putting your best foot forward.


….Adding… While answering reporters’ questions today, Gov. Pritzker did not say either “As you know” or “you know” one time.

…Adding… From that same friend above…

Please write a short story about Illinois Governor B Pritzker celebrating after making it through a press conference without saying “as you know”

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker stood in front of the podium, sweat beading on his forehead as he gazed out at the sea of reporters gathered in the room. He had a reputation for frequently using the phrase “as you know” in his speeches and press conferences, and today was a particularly important day. He was determined to break that habit and deliver a clear, concise message to the public.

As the questions began to fly, Governor Pritzker kept his cool and answered each one with confidence and clarity, never once resorting to his infamous phrase. The reporters were taken aback by his newfound composure, and when the press conference finally ended, Governor Pritzker let out a huge sigh of relief.

He made his way back to his office, where his staff was waiting with applause and cheers.

They all knew how hard he had worked to break this habit, and they were proud of their boss for finally doing it. Governor Pritzker beamed with pride, knowing that he had accomplished something that had eluded him for so long.

As the day went on, Governor Pritzker received calls and messages of congratulations from all over the state, congratulating him on his impressive performance at the press conference. He was elated, feeling a sense of accomplishment that he had never experienced before.

That night, as he sat in his office reflecting on the day’s events, Governor Pritzker couldn’t help but smile as he realized that he had truly made it through a press conference without saying “as you know.” It was a small victory, but it meant the world to him. He was ready to tackle any challenges that lay ahead, confident in his ability to communicate effectively with the people of Illinois.


Lightfoot once again advocates pension reform, but refuses to say what she wants

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sun-Times

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Friday she’s done all she can to put Chicago’s four city employee pension funds on solid footing — and now, Springfield must do its part. […]

On Friday, Lightfoot said it’s time for the city and its labor unions to “get to the table, make some hard choices, but do the right thing” to make certain that pensions promised to city employees and retirees are “actually available” to honor those promises.

“I’m not prepared to talk about specifics here. But we have to be at the table with all of the relevant stakeholders and think about structural changes that are necessary to shore up the pensions — not taking away the benefits that existing retirees are getting. We’ve got to look at other things that we can do. You know the list. What’s missing is the political will. And we’ve got to find it,” she said. […]

Civic Federation President Laurence Msall made the same argument, while applauding the mayor for including the pension prepayment in her preelection budget. […]

Pressed to identify funding sources, Msall made a renewed pitch for taxing retirement income in Illinois, broadening the sales tax umbrella to include professional services and amending the Illinois Constitution to eliminate the pension protection clause.

60-30-1. None of that has any of those numbers.


State law infuriates auto manufacturers, with one calling it “crony capitalism at work”

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

The Rockford Register-Star reported last week that the state of Illinois “has submitted what could be its best offer to keep the Belvidere Assembly Plant operating and save what could be thousands of jobs.”

Stellantis announced in December it would idle its Jeep Cherokee assembly plant in February. So there appears to be a glimmer of hope that the state can finally notch a victory with a carmaker after years of trying.

And the online Web site Jalopnik recently reported that Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin told the Ford Motor Company that he didn’t want their $3.5 billion electric vehicle-battery plant which would employ 2,500 workers because the company had partnered with China.

Ford already has a big assembly plant in Chicago. Maybe the state could capitalize on this Virginia thing

But something else happened in December that highlighted why Illinois has had so much trouble closing deals with the automotive industry, even with a couple of lucrative subsidy laws passed within the last year or so.

Volkswagen filed a federal lawsuit in December that described a bill which overwhelmingly passed both Illinois legislative chambers and was signed into law in 2021 as “crony capitalism at work: Redistributive legislation that takes hundreds of millions of dollars from some (but not all) motor vehicle manufacturers and, for no public purpose, deposits that money directly into the pockets of politically-favored Illinois [car] dealers.” The automaker claims the law is costing it an extra $10 million a year.

The bill in question (HB3940) was hotly opposed by automotive manufacturers. The law forces manufacturers to reimburse car dealers at a much higher rate (the auto industry says it’s a 50-percent higher rate) for warranty repairs. The bill came about after a labor dispute between dealerships and a mechanics union. They apparently decided to let the car makers pay to resolve their monetary dispute, although the mechanics ended up on strike anyway because the dealers allegedly kept the new windfall initially instead of passing it through.

Just about every state legislator has multiple auto-dealers in their districts and Democrats have been eagerly allying themselves ever closer with organized labor in past years, so the bill hit a sweet spot with both parties and cleared the House 85-24 and then passed the Senate without a single dissenting vote a few weeks later.

The manufacturers say the law is costing the industry $240 million a year. Yes, you read that right: $240 million. Per year. They claim Illinois has the highest warranty-repair costs in the nation. By far.

The manufacturers were furious and remain so. And since the cost of doing business in a state is a main factor in deciding where to locate a new plant or keep a plant open, the law is not helping Illinois overcome automaker objections.

The subsidies the state can offer simply don’t compare with the gigantic annual cost of that 2021 law. Couple that with our high local property taxes (these electric-vehicle plants take up huge amounts of space) and other costs and hurdles (Ohio, like Illinois, is not a “right to work” state, but has a new concierge system to quickly clear red tape), and you can see why the state hasn’t yet convinced a national or international corporation to construct an electric vehicle-related facility here.

It’s no secret that Illinois has reputational issues. People love to run Illinois down. It seems to be a major sport everywhere. When Governor JB Pritzker recently appeared on CNBC while he was at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the first question he faced was how he would attract businesses when so many existing businesses want to leave Illinois.

That 2021 law merely added to the state’s reputational problems. Manufacturers say that the bipartisan eagerness to quickly throw them under the bus is something they hadn’t ever witnessed before here. The substance was bad enough, but the process was outrageous, they say. One industry lobbyist called the process a “radical departure” from the past. The whole thing is understandably giving them quite a bit of pause.

Even so, a key labor leader says unions haven’t yet been approached to repeal or modify the law (manufacturers disagree) and an official with the governor’s office says they are unaware that this remains a big issue with car makers.

I suppose we’ll see what happens with the Stellantis Belvidere plant in the coming days. If Governor Pritzker does cut a deal and convinces the company to stay and even expand, he’ll have overcome some gargantuan hurdles.

* Meanwhile, from Crain’s

For weeks, Crain has written about how Pritzker has staked a fair-sized chunk of his deal-making chops on replacing the soon-to-be shuttered Stellantis Jeep plant in Belvidere with a new generation, long-lived EV factory. What’s new is that government and private sector sources say that the fight has boiled down to Illinois vs. Michigan, pitting governor against governor.

“They’re both pulling out all the stops,” with calls, letters and other constant communication, says one source in a position to know. “This one counts.”


Isabel’s morning briefing

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Thoughts?…

* Here’s your morning roundup…


Open thread

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Good morning! Congratulations if you happen to be an Eagles or Chiefs fan! What’s goin’ on in Illinois today?


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Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Live coverage

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Follow along with ScribbleLive

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