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Isabel’s morning briefing

Monday, Feb 6, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Here you go…

    * Bond Buyer | Illinois reverses decade-long fiscal tide in interim 2022 audit: The state’s net position of governmental activities, which covers government services and tax collections and provides a deeper view of the state’s assets measured against debts and other obligations remained deep in the red at a negative $185.4 billion but it was improved from fiscal 2021’s $199.2 billion deficit.

    * Sun-Times | Pritzker sets aside $40 million for industrial growth:A spokesman for Pritzker was asked if the Chicago Bears could apply for their proposed stadium and associated development in Arlington Heights. He said the Megasites program is limited to industrial development.

    * SJ-R | From repealing the weapons ban to no smoking here are five new bills lawmakers introduced: Through House Bill 1564, Republicans seek to repeal several provisions of the Protect Illinois Communities Act — signed into law as Public Act 102-1116 by Pritzker during the lame-duck session. Specifically, the bill from state Rep. Dave Severin, R-Benton, would remove the act’s language that prevents an individual’s ability to “knowingly possess an assault weapon, assault weapon attachment, .50 caliber rifle, or .50 caliber cartridge,” as of Jan. 1, 2024.

    * The Reporter | Porfirio resigns township post to take Senate seat: He replaces Steve Landek who retired from the legislature but remains mayor of Bridgeview. Township Supervisor Christopher Getty read Porfirio’s letter of resignation to the board.

    * SJ-R | Ameren Illinois cites clean energy act, COVID-19, war for electric, gas rate hike request: The Illinois Commerce Commission will review the requests for a $160.4 million gas rate hike over a year and a four-year $435.6 million electric increase. The reasons for the requests are multi-fold, Ameren communications director Tucker Kennedy said Thursday. It partially stems from a requirement in the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, a green energy package that puts the state on track to be 100% carbon-free with its energy sources by 2050.

    * NPR | At least 30 minutes of recess is now required at Illinois elementary schools: The 30-minute recess law passed in 2021. Surprisingly, the recess requirement was somewhat divisive. It only passed 60-52 in the Illinois House of Representatives. Most of the “nays” were from Republican lawmakers, but a handful of Democrats voted “no” too. That’s mostly because they were concerned about two things. One, will schools be able to staff that much recess time? And two: will schools be able to fit that extra time into an already very-structured school day without sacrificing academics?

    * Laura Washington | Behind Wilson’s ‘rabbits’ comment is an uncomfortable truth about crime in Chicago: As a Tribune editorial noted last week, Wilson’s “rabbit” comments deserve condemnation. Criminal suspects cannot be hunted down like animals. Police must use their training and skills to properly apprehend and hand over suspects for prosecution.

    * Sun-Times | Showing their work: Mayoral hopefuls offer plans to handle shrinking CPS enrollment, less control, union friction: Voters face a long list of candidates for Chicago mayor, some with vastly different views on public schools, and longstanding history, for better or worse, with the district.

    * CNN | Customs officials confiscate 120 cockfighting spurs sent to Illinois: The package was sent from Mexico City to Rantoul, Illinois, according to the news release. The spurs were labeled as “handcrafted Mexican artisan rattles.”

    * Daily Beast | The Democratic Party’s Tortured Relationship With Corporate PAC Money: Republicans, meanwhile, aren’t sweating this question. Of the more than 70 politicians who ran for Congress last year with a “no corporate PAC money” pledge, all but a few were Democrats. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO), and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) have all sworn off corporate PAC donations. But for Senators Cruz and Hawley, that’s because corporate PACs have sworn them off, after their support for overturning the 2020 election.

    * News-Gazette | Strapped city officials look to state for pension bailout: No one has ever accused Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot of being a shrinking violet. She seems to court trouble going out of her way to attack those she perceives as her political opponents. But Lightfoot recently topped her previous political performances by taking the statewide stage and urging the financially struggling state of Illinois to bail out underfunded municipal pension funds, including those in Chicago.

    * Tribune | Civic Federation chief Laurence Msall dies at 61: Msall, whose gentlemanly demeanor and thoughtful speaking were coupled with an intense passion for budgeting and tax policy, died Saturday. He was 61. News of his death spurred a wave of reactions from many in Illinois government as well as the financial community in Chicago.

    * Daily Northwestern | City hosts reception for State Rep. Robyn Gabel following her appointment as Illinois House majority leader: Gabel has represented Illinois’ 18th House District since 2010. As the House’s new second-in-command, Gabel will be responsible for rallying the body’s 78 Democrats, scheduling legislation and crafting legislative strategy.

    * Shaw Local | Livingston County board member chosen as Illinois state rep for 106th District : Bunting will succeed Tom Bennett, who was recently appointed to the Illinois State Senate to replace Jason Barickman. “I am honored to serve as the state representative for the 106th District,” Bunting said. “As farmers and small business owners, my family has seen firsthand how bad policies from Springfield have hurt the business climate in Illinois and have driven families and job creators away. I promise to work tirelessly to bring the conservative values of the residents of this district to Springfield.”

    * Vandalia Radio | Rep Wilhour talks about widening divide between Northern & Downstate Illinois: There has always been a big divide in Illinois—with a large metropolitan area in the northern part of the state holding the majority of the state’s population. And, then the vast amount of the state being one of the leading agriculture producers in the country. But, over the past few years that divide has gotten bigger. And, the political divide has also gotten larger-with downstate being mostly Republican, but Democrats holding a super-majority in both the House and Senate. State Representative Blaine Wilhour says it is apparent there are issues.

    * NPR | How the chip shortage is affecting the credit card business: It used to take seven to 10 business days to get a new credit card. Because of an ongoing chip shortage, deliveries can take almost two months, and that could be the case through the end of the year.

    * Center for Illinois Politics | Three Black Justices, Five Women, Two Men: Breadth of Experience Marks Diverse Illinois Supreme Court: The depth of the state’s highest bench is far deeper than the above broad-brush descriptions convey. The court’s new chief justice is a former public defender and longtime law school professor passionate about the law’s methodical approach to solving complicated problems. One of the state’s first female Black justices worked as a nurse as she was studying to become a lawyer. Others taught English, and served multiple terms in the Illinois House of Representatives. One remains a Church of Christ Deacon.

    * USA Today | A corrupt Chicago cop destroyed hundreds of lives. Now victims want justice.: Nile was among nearly 200 people who have been cleared of charges tied to former Sgt. Ronald Watts and his Chicago Police Department team. It’s the largest series of exonerations in the city’s history, said Joshua Tepfer, a lawyer with the University of Chicago Law School’s Exoneration Project, which has represented most of the victims.

    * Crain’s | Illinois weed sales picked up in January: Illinois marijuana sales started off the new year with their strongest growth in seven months. Recreational cannabis sales rose 9% in January from a year earlier to $127.9 million, according to the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation. That’s the strongest year-over-year growth since June, when marijuana sales increased 10%.

    * Fox Chicago | PAWS Chicago expecting 33 puppies and dogs from Texas tornado zone on Monday: The transfer of pets is being coordinated by Rescued Pets Movement of Houston. The dogs are coming from shelters in Houston, Livingston and Pasadena Texas.

    * Southern | SIU stops Missouri State with 73-53 win: SIU rejoined a four-way tie for first place atop the Missouri Valley Conference Sunday, pulling away in the last 10 minutes to stop Missouri State 73-53.

    * AP | Beyoncé emerges as Grammys queen; Styles wins album honor: The Grammys spread its top awards among other artists, leaving Beyoncé off stage at the end of the night. But the superstar was a constant presence throughout the night, even when she wasn’t in the room, especially once she won her 32nd award and surpassed late composer Georg Solti in all-time wins.

    * Block Club | Holy Plow! Here Are The Winning Names For Seven Chicago Snowplows: More than 7,000 possible plow names were then melted down to 50 finalists, with Chicagoans welcome to vote on winners through Jan. 31. More than 80,000 votes have been counted, according to a Friday city news release. A near-tie for sixth place means the city will dedicate a seventh plow to the people, according to the city.

    * Sun-Times | Shame on Illinois’ ‘Orange Krush’ for foiled Iowa scheme? Only if they don’t try it again: Illinois’ “Orange Krush,” a student spirit group with a delightfully maniacal presence at home basketball games, has an annual tradition of traveling in large numbers to a Big Ten road game and, often, taking the opposing school by complete surprise. At Iowa in 2015, for example, a mobile Krush unit — stealthily clad in black and gold — climbed to their seats at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, waited for the action on the court to begin and then, all at once, tore off their outermost garments to reveal their orange jerseys and go absolutely bananas for the Illini. The Hawkeyes won anyway, but still — come on — the takeover of a section of the stands was great stuff.

       

14 Comments
  1. - Tammy - Monday, Feb 6, 23 @ 8:15 am:

    Saw in that Sun-Times story on the mayoral candidates’ education plans that 22 high schools in Chicago now have fewer than 250 students. Ouch.


  2. - 47th Ward - Monday, Feb 6, 23 @ 8:15 am:

    RIP Lawrence Msall. He played a big role in improving government transparency and efficiency over many years. He is leaving a great legacy and very large shoes to fill.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 6, 23 @ 8:37 am:

    Laurence Msall was exactly what good governing is

    Msall was driven by policy, shaped compromise by being thoughtful to a greater thought, and was never a permanent enemy, as his permanent interest was a better understanding of monies, budgets, and possible fixes

    Godspeed, sir


  4. - Back to the Future - Monday, Feb 6, 23 @ 9:12 am:

    Reading the Sun Times article on CPS, it looked like Candidate Vallas was the only candidate in favor of supporting charter schools with more public funding.
    Perhaps that idea and coming up with a way to support private schools could give our Chicago children a chance to succeed in what is now a global economy where students in other countries benefit from better educational results.


  5. - Lurker - Monday, Feb 6, 23 @ 9:30 am:

    I love those plow names. Very creative (bp)


  6. - H-WRe: The Sun-Times article on the Orange Crush - Monday, Feb 6, 23 @ 9:32 am:

    (I am not a fan of spelling C words with K - Its a southern thing)

    I have lived here for 28 years now, and am a fan of the Fighting Illini. But the truth is, the Orange Crush was “one-uped.” Had the been more creative, perhaps.

    But Iowa played them well. Give back the money, and give the tickets to local boys and girls. Toche.

    Speaking of the Sun-Times story, I was surprised my original alma mater (West Point) wasn’t mentioned. We have stolen that Navy goat more than a few times. And my last alma mater (NC State) has stolen the UNC goat a few times too.

    Rivalries are rivalries, and this year, Iowa won.

    That does not bode well for Iowa in the coming years.


  7. - Eire17 - Monday, Feb 6, 23 @ 9:46 am:

    It’s a rivalry. Gamesmanship happens. The Krush almost pulled off a great stunt. But Iowa caught on. Returned the money and then not only gave the tickets to the Boys and Girls Club but had them on the court at halftime. I say well played by Iowa.


  8. - Annonin' - Monday, Feb 6, 23 @ 9:50 am:

    Thanx Isabel for noting the Saluki win.

    Msall was a unique intellect and creative thinker. He generally understood that for the thoughtful to be heard they needed to speak reasonably. Screeches tend to be blocked out.
    Prayers for comfort and strength for his family in these sad times.


  9. - Amalia - Monday, Feb 6, 23 @ 10:00 am:

    Sun Times sad article on a shooting victim and witness identification.


  10. - JS Mill - Monday, Feb 6, 23 @ 10:31 am:

    =Perhaps that idea and coming up with a way to support private schools=

    Public dollars should not flow to private schools, unless they are subject to ALL of the same rules and regulations. Full stop.


  11. - Back to the Future - Monday, Feb 6, 23 @ 11:00 am:

    Appreciate JSMill’s thoughts. He clearly knows a lot about education.
    I do think Vallas makes a valid point.
    The current structure does not work for many of our kids.
    Perhaps a tax credit or just giving parents a check to use for whatever school works best for their children would be better long term solution for our children.
    Time for a systemic change.
    Freely admit I am no expert on education, but our children deserve a lot better opportunity to chase that good old American Dream then our current system is giving them.


  12. - H-W - Monday, Feb 6, 23 @ 11:27 am:

    @ Back to the Future

    The problem with shifing funds and funding formulas is that they inevitably mean reducing the amount of funding for those schools that are already struggling.

    If citizens would prefer Choice, or public funding for private schools, they need to first work through the finances in such a way as to cause no harm to those schools and those citizens who rely upon public schools.

    This means more tax funding at the state level, not less, and not equal. More.

    Then, like JS Mill, I would still want to see a plan that holds all schools to the same standards of education.


  13. - Benniefly2 - Monday, Feb 6, 23 @ 12:01 pm:

    It is true that the reasons for the proposed rate hikes are multifold:

    1) Bigger Dividend payouts
    2) Larger and more frequent stock buybacks
    3) Larger exec bonuses due to points 1 and 2


  14. - froganon - Monday, Feb 6, 23 @ 12:04 pm:

    JSMill is spot on, peeling off funding for private schools is not a solution. If taxpayers want to fully fund public schools and private schools, they need to organize and get those referenda passed. Any school that operates with public dollars must be fully transparent with finances (read FOIA) and follow the same rules as the public sector.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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