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Afternoon roundup

Wednesday, Feb 1, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Isabel posted this Capitol News Illinois story yesterday, but let’s circle back

Pritzker and Comptroller Susana Mendoza have frequently pointed out that recent budgets have not been balanced by the $8.1 billion in direct federal COVID-19 stimulus funds sent to Illinois through the American Rescue Plan Act. But the comptroller noted in a recent interview with Capitol News Illinois that the economic effects of broader federal stimulus – such as added unemployment benefits and direct checks to Illinoisans – have been a main driver of state revenue growth nationwide.

“The stimulus that went directly into people’s homes was significant in terms of its help, not just in Illinois, but across the country,” Mendoza said. “These numbers could be replicated in any other state, where instead of collapsing the economies, those states saw that their residents who received this direct stimulus did not save it in most instances, but they actually spent it in the marketplace.”

Low unemployment rates continue to boost revenue performance, she said.

* Speaking of the economy, it’s still growing, but a tiny bit slower

The University of Illinois Flash Index for Januarycontinued to decline slowly, falling to 103.1 from the 103.3 level in December 2022.

The lower index reading does not mean the Illinois economy is contracting because any reading above 100 indicates growth.

* Tribune

Startup electric truck manufacturer Rivian said Wednesday it is laying off 6% of its workforce, including a small number of nonmanufacturing employees at its downstate Normal assembly plant.

California-based Rivian has about 7,000 employees at its assembly plant and 14,000 across the company, meaning about 840 total positions are being eliminated. The company did not disclose the number of employees being laid off at the plant, but the restructuring “doesn’t impact manufacturing jobs in Normal,” Rivian CEO and founder R.J. Scaringe said in an email to employees.

* Crain’s Chicago Business

Some policy experts like Bryce Hill, director of fiscal and economic research at the Illinois Policy Institute

The policy expert’s official bio

Bryce Hill is the Director of Fiscal and Economic Research with the Illinois Policy Institute. Bryce graduated from Capital University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science.

Prior to joining the Institute, Bryce was an economic research assistant at The Buckeye Institute in Columbus, Ohio.

According to his LinkedIn profile, he was a research assistant at the IPI clone for eight months while still in college.

* Back to the Crain’s story

A recent statewide poll in Michigan found that 58% of voters support the state’s right-to-work law, though unions are lobbying for its repeal, hoping to be successful now that Democrats control the state House.

A study by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a think tank based in Midland, Mich., states “right-to-work laws have shown themselves to be useful economic development tools. Research by academics and other scholars generally show positive economic gains from adoption of right-to-work laws.”

Not mentioned is that the poll was taken by a Republican PR firm and was commissioned by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, another Illinois Policy Institute clone.

From another poll taken in December for Progress Michigan by liberal pollster PPP

I am going to list possible priorities the Michigan legislature could tackle in 2023 and ask if you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose the legislature taking action on these issues. … Here’s the next issue: repealing Michigan’s right to work laws:

    Strongly support 30%
    Somewhat support 12%
    Somewhat oppose 8%
    Strongly oppose 18%
    Not sure 31%

* Meanwhile, WGN amplifies a police “shortage” in this piece, but couldn’t non-officers handle this paperwork?

A growing shortage of Chicago Police officers is impacting how the department staffs a key office that helps track people convicted of certain crimes. […]

WGN Investigates found people waiting in line for hours, simply to comply with a state law that requires arsonists and those convicted of sex and gun crimes to check-in and register with police. There is no other registration unit in the city.


And from the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation…

From our perspective at CAASE, the sex offender registry system is a drain on law enforcement resources and promotes a lot of myths about sexual violence. As lawyers for victims of sexual harm seeking justice in the criminal legal system, we’ve seen officers having to spend more time on updating registrations for people with past convictions and are compliant or trying to be compliant (as seen in WBEZ and WGN stories), than meeting with victims in real time asking for their help.

The registry system also does not prevent violence from occurring. Most often, people are harmed by people they already know who are not on the registry. This is often a family member, friend or acquaintance, not a stranger they discovered from the registry (survivors know the perpetrator in 85% of sexual assault cases). And, the person who harms them very likely will never be on the registry, given that less than 3% of sexual assault incidents lead to a conviction and likely registration. It’s an uncomfortable truth, as so many things are about the reality of sexual assault and our justice system, versus how people assume it happens from what they see on police TV shows, etc. People may *feel* safer that a registry exists, but research and evidence demonstrates that the registry system doesn’t actually prevent violence or keep people safe.

We would much rather direct these finite resources to supporting survivors in real time asking for help from law enforcement, and to proven prevention strategies like quality health, sex and consent education. We also have to confront the discrimination and oppression that make people disproportionately vulnerable to experiencing harm like sexism, racism, misogyny, poverty, homophobia and transphobia, among others.

We also want to create opportunities for people who have caused harm to successfully re-integrate into their communities, improve their lives, and meet their basic needs. There’s a maze of laws and requirements for people with past convictions to follow that make re-entering their communities extremely difficult, as the 2017 task force report found too. Also, lowering the housing restrictions (from 500 ft to 250 ft) will help address the housing crisis created by the sex offender registry in Chicago and elsewhere among people with sex offenses who have homes but legally cannot live in them when they exit prison.

More here.

* Freshman state Representative protests in Chicago

Following a deadly raid by Israel in the occupied West Bank last week, dozens of protesters gathered in downtown Chicago on Sunday demanding an end to U.S. support for the country and calling for Palestinian independence.

Demonstrators gathered at the intersection of Ida B. Wells Drive and Michigan Avenue, waving Palestinian flags and chanting “Free free Palestine” and “long live Palestine.” The Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine, which organized the protest, called the Israeli raid “a massacre.” […]

State Rep. Abdelnasser Rashid, who joined the rally, said the latest Israeli raids represent “a continuation of what the occupation represents, which is violence against the Palestinian people.”

Rashid urged the crowd to continue to contact elected representatives to enact change in the region.

“I can tell you this, you will have a receptive audience among many of them, maybe not among all but among many,” Rashid said. “It’s on us to take that opportunity to let them know the truth because the truth is on our side. Our struggle is a just struggle.”

* Tribune

Chicago’s mayoral hopefuls exchanged personal attacks during a contentious candidate forum Tuesday evening that was repeatedly interrupted by loud protesters.

A group of demonstrators chanted against Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, who joked during the live broadcast that he must be doing something right if he isn’t mayor yet but already drawing protests. Mayor Lori Lightfoot, meanwhile, stood up for Johnson, saying he “has a right to talk without interruption.”

Nobody seems to know what the hecklers were angry about, but here is a clip

* Speaking of Brandon Johnson, check this out

These opportunities range from generating higher returns by better managing the assets the city owns, to using the city’s buying power to drive lower costs – and then marketing these advantages to businesses and other governments. That means getting serious about selling our world-class water, exploring expanding our public workers health care plan to neighboring municipalities, and additional creative approaches other states and cities have adopted.

Huh? [Hat tip: Jack M Silverstein]

* And while we’re talking about Chicago…

* Also…

More here.

* Press release…

The Illinois Department of Transportation announced today that a series of improvement projects along Interstate 57 made possible by Gov. JB Pritzker’s historic Rebuild Illinois capital program have been completed, with another anticipated to wrap up later this year. The four projects, which involve repairing two bridges and resurfacing nearly 20 miles of interstate highway from Chicago through the south suburbs, represent a total investment of $82.1 million for the region. […]

Projects include:

    • I-57 from Steger Road, in University Park, to West County Line Road, in Peotone
    The $42.2 million project patched and resurfaced the 13-mile stretch of I-57, including the ramps, rest areas and weigh stations. New ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps were constructed at the rest areas and the weigh-in-motion (WIM) scale and Bluetooth sensors were upgraded. The project started in spring 2022 and was completed in December.
    • I-57 bridge over Interstate 80, in Country Club Hills
    The $5.2 million project repaired the bridge deck and structural steel and installed a new bridge deck overlay and approaches. The project started in spring 2022 and was completed in December, with landscaping to be finished this spring.
    • I-57 bridge over the Canadian National Railroad, in Matteson and Richton Park
    The $2.1 million project installed a new bridge deck overlay, replaced joints and repaired structural steel. The project started in spring 2022 and was completed in November.
    • I-57 from Interstate 294, in Posen, to Halsted Street (Illinois 1), in Chicago
    The $32.6 million project consists of patching and resurfacing the 7.6-mile stretch of I-57, along with replacing large overhead expressway signs. The project started in spring 2022 and is anticipated to be completed this fall.

* Press release…

After nearly three years of reduced operating hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois State Museum (ISM) is announcing that, effective today, its flagship facility in Springfield and its Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown will return to pre-pandemic operating hours.

Additionally, the Illinois State Museum flagship facility in Springfield and all its affiliated locations will continue to offer free admission.

“We are thrilled to announce this expansion of hours and continued free admission at the Illinois State Museum and Dickson Mounds,” said Natalie Phelps Finnie, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which oversees ISM operations. “These attractions are special places with a long history of delivering exciting, educational and affordable experiences for all visitors.”

The Museum’s downtown Springfield facility will now be open to visitors seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown will open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Sunday. ISM’s Lockport Gallery in Lockport will continue to operate five days a week. The location’s hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

For more information on the Illinois State Museum’s location and hours, visitors can learn more at

* Politico

If you are Rep. Kelly Cassidy, Playbook would like to know what you look for in a good central committee member. Email

From my favorite group chat, here’s another ChatGPT request…

Please write a funny email in the form of an epic poem from Rep. Kelly Cassidy to Politico Playbook about what she looks for in a good central committee member.

Dear Politico Playbook, I write to you
With tales of what I look for in a crew
Of central committee members, brave and true
Their duties, many, their challenges few.

I search for ones with wit and tonque sharp
Who can recite the rules with nary a harp
And make decisions that won’t bring us harm
And put our party’s values at the forefront, arm in arm.

Ilook for ones who know how to communicate
And work well with others, it’s simply first-rate
For in a team, we rise and conquer all
With a united front. we’ll never fall.

But most of all, I seek a member bold
With a heart of gold and a story untold
Someone who laughs at life’s little quirks
And never fails to put forth their best in their work.

So if you know of someone who fits the bill
Send them my way, I promise I will
Welcome them to our central committee band
Where together, we’ll make our party stand!

Yours truly,
Rep. Kelly Cassidy

* Isabel’s roundup…


  1. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 2:20 pm:

    “Stop saying CPD has “staffing” problems when you mean “priority,” “efficiency,” or “management”"

    It’s hard to have cops on the street, when so many are stuck at desks doing busy work because of misconduct. Does CPD need more cops on the street…or detectives investigating/solving crimes?

  2. - Jockey - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 2:21 pm:

    This is a huge blow to LL’s re-election efforts:

  3. - Norseman - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 2:24 pm:

    Crain credibility diminishes further whenever they refer to IPI and its ilk as think tanks.

  4. - Benjamin - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 2:25 pm:

    Regarding Brandon Johnson and “selling our world-class water,” I interpreted that not as literally selling Lake Michigan water to corporate buyers as using the presence of abundant fresh water as a selling point to manufacturers looking to start a plant or relocate. We largely take it for granted, but having lots of relatively cheap water is a major advantage of Illinois over, say, Arizona or Nevada.

  5. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 2:29 pm:

    You don’t know how cold Chicago can get until you have to wait on the El platform for a train that isn’t coming.

  6. - Jerry - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 2:36 pm:

    “Right to Work”….another meaningless slogan from Republicans. So it’s illegal to work?

  7. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 2:37 pm:

    ===This is a huge blow to LL’s re-election===

    You were expecting him to endorse her? Why?

  8. - Jerry - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 2:37 pm:


    Well said.

  9. - James - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 2:40 pm:

    Vanilla Man would be proud of Chat GPT.

  10. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 3:02 pm:

    ===You were expecting him to endorse her? Why?===

    I am skeptical if her endorsers are actually going to work for her. Seems like a lot out there will endorse her officially to avoid retribution if she wins, but tell their people privately anyone else.

  11. - JoanP - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 3:04 pm:

    I will say, Brandon Johnson is good with the snappy comebacks.

  12. - City Zen - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 3:05 pm:

    ==That means getting serious about selling our world-class water==

    Ameya Pawar already sold it.

  13. - Hannibal Lecter - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 3:11 pm:

    === That means getting serious about selling our world-class water ===

    Some of the water coming out of the faucets at the County building is yellow. Just saying.

  14. - B Team - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 3:17 pm:

    Dear Rivian,

    Please lower the prices of your vehicles. That way you will sell more vehicles.

    Thanks, BTeam

  15. - Chitowndrummer - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 3:54 pm:

    In re: Brandon Johnson’s “that means getting serious about selling our world-class water” comment, he’s certainly right about it being “world-class.” FWIW, the City has been selling water to suburban communities and other regional water systems for many decades; Chicago currently derives roughly $400 million annually from doing so, revenue that goes directly into the City’s Water Fund (one of Chicago’s “Enterprise Funds”) to help operate, maintain and improve its water system.

  16. - Shytown - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 3:54 pm:

    Omg that Crain’s story. That’s what they get when hiring reporters with little experience in this space.

  17. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 4:02 pm:

    –The registry system also does not prevent violence from occurring.–

    Garbage in, garbage out.

    It would work a lot better if abusers were put on the registry the first time, instead of only getting probation and still not being put on the registry the 16th time.

    The lack of police caring about doing paperwork is only exceeded by their lack of interest in arresting abusers.

  18. - JoanP - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 4:22 pm:

    @ TheInvisibleMan,

    Whether or not you have to register as a sex offender is dependent on what you are convicted of, not whether you have priors or get probation.

    As should be clear from the article to which you have linked.

  19. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 4:34 pm:

    Joan, I am well aware how this works thank you.

    When the SA drops more than half the charges, and gives probation which does not require registration, then there is no way for his offenses to be included in the data set of how well registration works. The abuse still happened though. The victims are still real.

    The charges dropped are absolutely crimes that require registration, in situations other than a diocese teacher being caught on video for the whole world to see and then arrested for it. Yet somehow, not this time.

    Prior to this incident, the SA wasn’t interested in listening to any of the almost dozen other young men who had a story to tell. He should have been on the registration long ago, but that would “look bad for the church”.

    The guys problems just went away quietly last time by him resigning his teaching position at the local diocese. The diocese then placed him into another position in another school within the diocese just prior to this incident happening. He was even wearing his “St. Paul youth ministry” shirt when he was caught.

    As I tried to be clear in stating, the registration data is not to be relied on when a significant number of people who are already repeating their offenses are not being placed on it for ‘reasons’.

  20. - cermak_rda - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 4:44 pm:

    I thought the purpose of the registry was to make a pool of usual suspects who can easily be compared against in the event of future crimes. Given sexual crimes seem to have a higher recidivism rate than others, this seems fair when getting on the registry is an alternative to a longer sentence or even a sentence.

  21. - Been There - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 5:04 pm:

    That chart showing each cities police per 100,000 is kind of misleading. NY has 35,000 cops but has 19,000 civilian personnel. Chicago has 11,500 but only around 1,500 civilians. But I guess that also brings up other point about why we need cops in a lot of those administrative jobs.

  22. - DHS Drone - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 5:14 pm:

    If you took clerical duties away from uniformed officers, what would all the “House Mouses” do? /s

  23. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 5:21 pm:

    Re: “selling world class water” — there is a lot of manufacturing that requires fresh water, specifically in the food packaging industry, but as we all know Chicago isn’t exactly welcoming to businesses these days.

  24. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 5:47 pm:

    ===selling world class water===

    It’s like Marx said: “Workers of the world, sell your City’s water supply.”

  25. - The Other Rich Hill - Wednesday, Feb 1, 23 @ 9:45 pm:

    Crain’s calling the water boy a “policy expert” is an insult to failed interns everywhere.

    What a joke.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Isabel’s afternoon roundup
* McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally abruptly aborts reelection bid without explanation
* Question of the day
* It’s just a bill
* Protect Illinois Hospitality – Vote No On House Bill 5345
* You gotta be kidding me
* Showcasing The Retailers Who Make Illinois Work
* Moody’s revises Illinois outlook from stable to positive (Updated)
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* Live coverage
* *** UPDATED x1 - Equality Illinois 'alarmed' over possible Harris appointment *** Personal PAC warns Democratic committeepersons about Sen. Napoleon Harris
* Yesterday's stories

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