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Afternoon roundup

Thursday, Mar 30, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From the governor’s press conference today

Q: Legislation you signed, the Gun Dealer Certification Act, tucked into that was a provision that required ISP to collect a bunch of data on gun crimes in the state. They’re supposed to report it to the General Assembly and to you every year, put it up on, for the public to see. ISP said in a report last month that they’ve been unable to compile that data. How can policymakers like you and Rep. Scherer make good, comprehensive statewide gun policy when we don’t have a full picture? And what’s your administration doing to address some of these?

Pritzker: I think it’s an excellent example for all of us that just passing a law by itself isn’t going to get the job done if there is a problem with implementing the law. That’s not the fault of the General Assembly, I think good intentions, and the general and the administration, good intentions, to be able to gather that data.

Here’s what ISP has discovered, which is, as you go county by county, and law enforcement agency by law enforcement agency, it turns out the systems are, some range of, on paper to, you know, to something that’s, let’s say, somewhat modernized. And so collecting that data year in and year out, or even month in and month out, has just been very difficult. The ISP has found they can’t get the data from some places. And so it’s incomplete. ISP is not able to deliver what the law wants it to deliver. And I think we all realize that there are maybe some adjustments that need to be made, and support for the modernization of law enforcement systems at the local level.

Again, it depends on where you go, right? Chicago has systems that allow them to report on a very regular basis. You probably know Jeremy better than I do. I think it’s on a weekly basis, they’re able to deliver stats in every category. I won’t name places, but let’s just say local law enforcement in some smaller jurisdictions really can’t deliver that stuff in a timely fashion.

So we need to make a change in the law, is likely a need. And then we need to make sure that we have systems that regularly pull the data, and it isn’t a human interaction that is required for every one of these jurisdictions. We just have too many local law enforcement agencies to be able to do that.

…Adding… React

“We continue to work with the Illinois State Police to bring this goal to reality,” said Harmon spokesman John Patterson. “We want to make sure the State Police makes available to the public the gun violence information it has, while also working on the bigger issue of how to get more agencies across this state to share that information in a way that’s useful to the public and public policy makers.”


Total nonfarm jobs increased in thirteen metropolitan areas and decreased in one for the year ending February 2023, according to data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (DES). Over-the-year, the unemployment rate decreased in seven areas, increased in five areas and was unchanged in two.

“Today’s data is further indication that job growth continues to trend in the right direction with expansion throughout every corner of the state across sectors,” said Deputy Governor Andy Manar. “Job expansion creates new and growing career opportunities for jobseekers and the demand for employers to invest in and retain the talented and diverse Illinois labor force.”

The metro areas which had the largest over-the-year percentage increases in total nonfarm jobs were the Bloomington MSA (+4.8%, +4,500), the Peoria MSA (3.9%, +6,400), and the Champaign-Urbana MSA (+3.4%, +4,000). Total nonfarm jobs in the Chicago Metropolitan Division were up +2.1% or +77,500. Total nonfarm jobs were down in the Illinois section of the St. Louis MSA (-0.4%, -1,000). Industries that saw job growth in a majority of metro areas included: Mining and Construction and Leisure and Hospitality (fourteen areas each); Education and Health Services, Other Services and Government (thirteen areas each); Manufacturing and Wholesale Trade (eleven areas each); Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities (ten areas).

The metro areas with the largest unemployment rate decreases were in the Chicago Metropolitan Division (-0.9 point to 4.1%), the Rockford MSA (-0.8 point to 6.3%), and the Decatur MSA (-0.6 point to 5.9%). The largest unemployment rate increases were in the Lake County-Kenosha County Metro (+0.4 point to 5.4%), the Davenport-Moline-Rock Island IA-IL MSA (+0.3%, +4.6%) and the Elgin Metro (+0.3 point to 5.9%). The unemployment rate was unchanged in the Bloomington MSA (4.0%) and the Champaign-Urbana MSA (4.1%).

* G-PAC…

Today, the Gun Violence Prevention PAC (G-PAC), the state’s leading gun safety organization, released a statement from its CEO Kathleen Sances, responding to an anti-public safety protest orchestrated by gun lobby supporters, including state lawmakers. The event comes two days after a mass shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville left six dead, including three children.

“It is incredibly disturbing that several lawmakers protested our state’s much-needed assault weapons ban just two days after six people were shot and killed in a school in Nashville with similar weapons.

“Make no mistake, this kind of behavior directly fuels our state and country’s gun violence epidemic, which is now the number one cause of death for children in Illinois and the entire country.

“Elected officials are public servants. Their energy should, first and foremost, be directed towards centering the needs of their constituents. However, it is clear from this demonstration that members of the Illinois Freedom Caucus are more concerned with filling the coffers of the gun industry than they are protecting the lives of the most vulnerable in our state.

“The people of Illinois deserve to live safe and secure lives. We deserve lawmakers who are dedicated to keeping our families safe. Lawmakers who abuse their platforms to carry the gun lobby’s water will be voted out.”

* Press release…

Chicago City Council members today voted overwhelmingly to make Chicago history and create an independent and co-equal branch of city government. The votes to approve a wide range of rule changes signals a seismic shift for the City Council, establishing its independence and removing power from mayors who in recent decades have determined everything from legislative agendas to committee chairs.

As part of the approved changes, members can now make their own committee chair assignments, which were unveiled today. Vice chairs and new members of each 11-member committee will be chosen after the runoff election April 4. This process will provide new council members a significant say in the composition of the committees for the first time.

The rule changes also increased the number of committees from 19 to 28, allowing for more diverse voices in leadership positions. Members agreed to divide committee chairs in an equitable process that created the most diverse council leadership structure in Chicago history. Under the new committee structure there will be:

    • Increased percentage and total number of committees chaired by Latino Caucus members from four (21%) to eight (28.5%);
    • Increased total number of committees chaired by Black Caucus members from nine to 12;
    • Black and Latino members accounting for 71% of committee chairs in total;
    • Two Latinas chairing council committees for the first time in the council’s history;
    • A record nine women serving as committee chairs, an increase from 26% to 32% of committees; and
    • A record three members of the LGBTQ community serving as committee chairs.

The rule changes not only increase council independence, but also minimize mayoral influence over council deliberations, provide for increased transparency of committee business, and provide new ways for committees to operate.

The budget for the new committees is estimated at $700,000 for the remainder of 2023.

With today’s vote, the council joins other legislative bodies across the country as an independent, co-equal branch of city government. The resolutions detailing the rule changes can be found here and a full list of committee chair assignments can be found here.

* It’s a big hit…

…Adding… Tribune

A Will County judge dismissed an election fraud case Thursday filed by the losing candidate in the 2022 race for Will County clerk that claimed mathematic formulas showed the final vote 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 race because her opponent, Democratic Will County Clerk Lauren Staley Ferry, received more votes than Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker. […]

Odelson, who has been an election law attorney for 50 years, said in court Thursday he had “never ever” seen a case like this one, which he said was not based on facts or presented specific allegations but seemingly came from a “cosmic ray from Mars.”

* Isabel’s roundup…

    * WSIL | $200 million to improve freight routes throughout Illinois: “For the last four years, we’ve invested billions of dollars in communities across Illinois to restore and renew all modes of transportation throughout our state: roads, bridges, airports, and transit, as well as pedestrian and bike routes. And today, I’m proud to announce yet another leap forward — nearly $200 million for the freight routes that have defined Illinois for generations,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “These funds will be used for 22 port, rail, and highway projects in Illinois to address bottlenecks, increase mobility, and improve the supply chain up and down the state.”

    * Crain’s | Peoples Gas breaks another earnings record amid a pending request for a massive rate hike: The natural gas utility serving the city of Chicago earned $209 million, up from $205 million the year before, which also was a record, according to a report made public today. … Peoples has a record $405 million rate hike request pending before the Illinois Commerce Commission, which would take effect at the end of this year. The commission must rule on that by year-end.

    * Crain’s | Illinois lawmakers look to tighten hospital merger rules amid pricing, quality concerns: The new policy, which originated at Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office, would amend the Illinois Antitrust Act, State Finance Act and the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Act in ways that would require health care organizations to notify the AG’s office within 30 days of a proposed merger or acquisition. The legislation, called House Bill 2222, would also give the AG an opportunity to request additional information about a deal that would help determine whether a proposed transaction warrants further action.

    * ProPublica | Sweeping repatriation reform bill unanimously passes Illinois House of Representatives: If signed into law, the legislation would create a protected cemetery for the reburial of repatriated Native American ancestors and establish a committee of tribal leaders to review state projects that may disturb culturally significant sites.

    * CBS Chicago | University of Illinois Medical Center nurses protesting Thursday: They’re fighting for increased security measures after several nurses have been attacked by patients while on the job. The nurses will gather outside of the UIH emergency room at 10 a.m.

    * WIFR | Illinois Tollway decreases toll violation fines with new program: Starting in April, motorists with multiple unpaid toll invoices will see a final notice resulting in $20 fines on top of each invoice. “The Illinois Tollway will no longer issue escalated $50 fines,” Cassaundra Rouse, executive director of the Illinois Tollway states. “It is our hope that every customer takes advantage of all the ways the Tollway offers to pay tolls and avoid fees.”

    * Bloomberg | At UChicago, Northwestern and other elite private schools, sticker shock is hitting students: Full costs at elite private colleges now stretch well into the $80,000s, or upward of $320,000 for four years and well above what the typical U.S. household earns. At UChicago, the cost of attendance — tuition, room, board and fees — is just over $81,000. At Northwestern, it’s roughly $84,000.

    * Shaw Local | Thanks in part to Illinois innovation, ‘range anxiety’ won’t hamper electric cars for long: Mohammad Asadi, an assistant professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology, last month co-published a paper in the journal Science with Larry A. Curtiss and other Illinois colleagues about their work on a novel lithium-air battery that has a solid electrolyte made with a mix of polymer and ceramic.

    * Crain’s | City Council moves toward independence after raucous meeting: The rules overhaul was eventually approved after a lengthy debate where those opposed to the deal accused their colleagues of working up a “backroom deal” that was more about securing chairmanships than creating an independent body.

    * Block Club | Englewood’s Long-Awaited Nature Trail Will Cost $72 Million To Build, City Says: Dreams to develop the nature trail were ignited more than a decade ago by neighbors and leaders at the local community organization Grow Greater Englewood. ​​The city obtained the abandoned railroad line in 2014 from Norfolk Southern Railway, a company that in recent years has gained attention for its role in tearing down homes in Englewood to expand its intermodal yard and the freight train derailment in Ohio that sent toxic fumes in the air.

    * WREX | A look inside the planned $22 million renovation of The Rockford Register Star building: The local solar company’s CEO Teague Dickey says the Iconic Energy is about 90 days away from kicking off a $22 million renovation that’s close to his heart. “Yes it’s old and in disrepair, 93-years-old, but it’s important to me being a Rockford person,” Dickey said. “I’d rather have this building than some new thing.”

    * KFVS | Wienermobile coming to southern Ill. this weekend; driver, Carbondale native: Keagan Schlosser, who calls herself Chili Cheez Keagz, competed against thousands of applicants to become one of 12 Hotdoggers nationwide. “I feel fortunate to represent southern Illinois as I criss-cross America–I’ve seen 21 states since June,” Schlosser said.

    * Tech Crunch | Twitter is dying: The value that Twitter’s platform produced, by combining valuable streams of qualification and curiosity, is being beaten and wrung out. What’s left has — for months now — felt like an echo-y shell of its former self. And it’s clear that with every freshly destructive decision — whether it’s unbanning the nazis and letting the toxicity rip, turning verification into a pay-to-play megaphone or literally banning journalists — Musk has applied his vast wealth to destroying as much of the information network’s value as possible in as short a time as possible; each decision triggering another exodus of expertise as more long-time users give up and depart.


  1. - Steve - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 2:30 pm:

    Imagine paying $320K for a B.A. in history.

  2. - NickNombre - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 2:37 pm:

    “That’s not the fault of the General Assembly, I think good intentions, and the general and the administration, good intentions, to be able to gather that data.”

    This is a ridiculous statement by the Governor. It is the responsibility of the General Assembly to pass laws that are actually possible to implement. It is the responsibility of the Governor to veto laws that can’t be implemented. Having good “intentions” is not an excuse for poor governance.

  3. - Elmer - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 2:53 pm:

    Those homemade pop tarts are delicious.

  4. - Proud Sucker - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 3:39 pm:

    Props to my alma mater and Dr. Asadi. Battery tech is moving very rapidly these days.

  5. - Jim Bray - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 4:04 pm:

    Local governments with police agencies might need an incentive to comply with the state statute on gun crime data reporting. If late reporting or non-reporting of data resulted in a decrease in Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) revenues or withholding LGDF until the data were reported, compliance might improve. Another option might be to make compliance a requirement to qualify for grants from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.

  6. - thechampaignlife - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 4:09 pm:

    The other approach would be to exempt small agencies from reporting if the number of gun crimes is minimal. In other words, if their data would not significantly alter the state averages, why hold up the state reporting for a rounding error?

  7. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Mar 30, 23 @ 4:14 pm:

    There’s a lot of good stuff all rolled up in this post.


    –which he said was not based on facts or presented specific allegations but seemingly came from a “cosmic ray from Mars.”–

    Plainfield republicans are like having a small pocket of southern Illinois republicans right here in the suburbs.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Isabel’s afternoon roundup
* Feds to provide more migrant funding... Just $19.3 million for Illinois
* Question of the day
* It’s just a bill
* Bill to expand IVF/infertility insurance coverage overwhelmingly passes Senate
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
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