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Afternoon roundup

Thursday, Apr 27, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Jane Theis was recently interviewed by MC Sungaila for The Portia Project

I’m going to share a judicial secret with you. What keeps judges, especially appellate judges, up at night is the concern and fear that adopting a rule that makes sense in this specific case has unintended consequences on other matters. As they say, things that haven’t even happened yet. If I interpret this word in this statute a certain way, how is this word used elsewhere in other statutes and what harm am I doing?

If I ever had a say in a tip for appellate lawyers, it would be to realize that’s what the judge is thinking about. What are the unintended consequences of deciding this case a certain way? How do you ease the discomfort the judge has? How do you make the judge comfortable to say, “Yes, that’s the good rule here, and good rule moving forward too”? Very often, good appellate lawyers understand that, but many lawyers who do appeals are still just focused on their cases. […]

The judicial perspective has a very different idea than what the lawyers are trying to do to win this case. Lawyers who understand that, and there certainly are wonderful lawyers who can be better advocates, can win more cases if they put the judges’ minds to ease that this is a good rule for everybody moving forward and not just this case.

* Capitol News Illinois

Art Potash, IRMA board chairman and CEO of Potash Markets, a chain of specialty grocery stores in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, noted that more than 6,600 bills have been introduced in the General Assembly this year, the second most ever introduced in the first year of a session.

“Quite frankly, much of the legislation presents additional challenges to the business community,” he said during a luncheon speech. “Thankfully, the respective teams at IRMA and IMA have done a great job of containing most of the harm, at least as we sit here today.”

* Also from the story

During his keynote address, Pritzker touted investments the state has made in workforce training and apprenticeships, as well as his proposed budget that calls for increased funding for community colleges, universities and student financial aid.

“Yes, of course, people are talking to Mississippi about low-wage workers that they can get if they put a low-wage manufacturing facility in that state,” he said. “But what they talk to Illinois about is skilled labor and skilled workers, because we provide those, and we have the third-largest community college system in the entire nation. And we’re utilizing that to make sure that we’re at the top of the heap when it comes to skilled work.”

* DOC numbers

The corrections department reports that there were 76 deaths in Illinois prisons last year, the average age of the deceased being 57.

Of the 76 deaths, 57 were attributed to natural causes, 11 to suicide and one to homicide. The findings in five other cases were pending.

* IDES numbers…

The unemployment rate decreased in eleven areas, increased in one area and was unchanged in two for the year ending March 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, total nonfarm jobs increased in all fourteen metropolitan areas. […]

The metro areas which had the largest over-the-year percentage increases in total nonfarm jobs were the Peoria MSA (+3.9%, +6,400), the Champaign-Urbana MSA (+3.4%, +4,000), and the Bloomington MSA (+3.1%, +2,900). Total nonfarm jobs in the Chicago Metro were up +1.6% or +60,100. Industries that saw job growth in a majority of metro areas included: Education and Health Services (fourteen areas); Leisure and Hospitality (thirteen areas); Wholesale Trade and Government (twelve areas each); Manufacturing and Other Services (eleven areas each); Mining and Construction and Transportation, Utilities and Warehousing (nine areas).

The metro areas with the largest unemployment rate decreases were the Rockford MSA (-1.1 points to 6.7%), the Carbondale-Marion MSA (-0.6 point to 4.0%), and the Springfield MSA (-0.6 point to 3.9%). The Chicago Metro Division unemployment rate fell -0.3 point to 4.1%. The unemployment rate increased in the Lake County-Kenosha County IL-WI Metropolitan Division (+0.2 point to 5.0%). The unemployment rate was unchanged in the Danville MSA (5.4%) and the Davenport-Moline-Rock Island IA-IL MSA (4.1%).

* A blanket ban after a single violation is just totally ridiculous

Reporters covering hearings and press conferences in Cook County have long been allowed to bring their computers and cellphones into the criminal courthouse at 26th and California to do their job.

No more, under an order issued Wednesday by Circuit Court Presiding Judge Erica Reddick.

Effectively immediately, “all media and members of the public except employees and authorized personnel shall not bring cellphones, laptops or any electronic devices into the George N. Leighton Criminal Courthouse.” [..]

The ban stems from an incident this week when a member of the media took photographs with a cellphone while in a courtroom, a breach of court rules, a spokeswoman for Chief Judge Tim Evans said in a statement.

* Press release…

An estimated 780 teachers in 219 school districts across the state of Illinois will be supported by the Elevating Educators: Bilingual Education Grants, shared State Senator Karina Villa. More than $5 million in grants will go toward the bilingual educator pipeline, where teachers will receive training and a license to teach English learners, or students whose native language is not English.

“Every child deserves the same quality of education, regardless of what language they may speak at home,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “I am proud to see this investment in licensing teachers to work with students whose native language is not English.”

The number of English learners in Illinois schools has steadily grown over the last 12 years, however the number of teachers qualified to teach these students has not. Illinois schools serve more than 275,000 English learners — nearly 14% of the state’s student population — who speak around 220 different languages. Illinois schools reported more than 300 unfilled teaching positions in bilingual education as of October 2022. These grants will help address this disparity.

Around 450 teachers already have an Educator License with Stipulations endorsed for Transitional Bilingual Education, a temporary license for teaching English learners that lasts five years. These grants will cover expenses, such as tuition and fees, for teachers who have this temporary license so they can get their permanent teaching license. Districts can also use the grant funds to cover expenses for current teachers licensed in other subjects, which will allow them to earn an English as Second Language or Bilingual Education credential. Funding for the grant comes from federal pandemic relief funds.

“Growing up speaking a language other than English can make young children feel very ‘othered’ and alienated from their peers,” Villa said. “Having teachers who can bring inclusivity into their own classrooms with the languages they speak is very important to show children that being bilingual is valuable, and a great strength.”

* Freedom Caucus…

The IL Freedom Caucus is issuing the following statement on a Secretary of State internal policy requiring individuals taking a driving test to wear a mask.

“We recently became aware of an internal policy that allows driver’s license facilities in Illinois to require drivers to wear masks during the administration of the driving test. Upon learning of this policy, we sent a letter to Secretary Alexi Giannoulias asking him to remove the mask requirement at driver’s license facilities throughout the state.

Illinois is no longer under an emergency declaration. Masking is not required in the vast majority of public spaces throughout the state. Most healthcare facilities have also removed their mask requirements. We urge Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias to affirm the freedom of Illinois residents to make their own healthcare decisions. Masking is voluntary in Illinois and the Secretary of State should recognize that fact by getting rid of this unnecessary mask mandate. Utilizing the services of the Secretary of State’s office should not mean having to give up the basic rights and freedoms we have everywhere else we go in Illinois. We call on Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias to stand up for the rights of our citizens and end the mask mandate at driver’s license facilities in Illinois.”

Illinois is still under a public emergency for a couple more weeks. Secretary of State’s response…

Throughout the pandemic, the Secretary of State’s office has implemented protocols to protect the health and safety of employees and the residents of Illinois. Although we have adjusted these protocols to meet changing circumstances throughout the pandemic, we have measures that follow this goal in place until May 11, which aligns with the state with the federal government’s decision to end the national public health emergency on that date.

* Springfield doesn’t have the only defeated mayor with coping issues…

* Heh…

* Isabel’s roundup…

    * Sun-Times | Naperville gun shop owner takes his case against state ban to U.S. Supreme Court: Bevis, with the National Association for Gun Rights, is asking the highest court for an emergency injunction, arguing that the state ban is unconstitutional.

    * The Appeal | Life in prison for a killing he didn’t cause or condone: In Illinois alone, around 500 people are currently serving first-degree felony murder sentences for killings they did not commit themselves or intend to commit. Reform efforts must consider past injustices as well as future abuses.

    * Evanston Now | Council rejects cannabis lounges: But Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd), the only member on the council when it imposed the indoor smoking ban in 2006, said, “I’m a hard no” to permitting the lounges.

    * Washington Times | Government war on TikTok financed by Facebook: Luckily, the media sniffed out this campaign. The Washington Post reported that Facebook paid a GOP firm to engage in a well-funded political sabotage campaign against TikTok. The powerhouse firm Targeted Victory led “a nationwide campaign seeking to turn the public against TikTok” by “placing op-eds and letters to the editor in major regional news outlets, promoting dubious stories about alleged TikTok trends that actually originated on Facebook, and pushing to draw political reporters and local politicians into helping take down its biggest competitor.”

    * Center Square | Bill would make Illinois first state to give the Income Share Agreement industry its own law: A nonprofit policy organization is speaking out against legislation in Springfield that would make Illinois the first state to give the Income Share Agreement industry its own law. ISAs are a type of private student loan where the loan is made in exchange for the student’s agreement to pay the lender a percentage of their future income for up to 20 years.

    * Illinois Times | “Pervasive” deficiencies at Illinois State Police: The findings of inadequate inventory control were the most extensive. Sixty missing items were computers and other storage devices that may have contained confidential information, but there is no record of the data they contained. The auditors found a $1.7 million discrepancy between equipment and data processing expenditures entered on two different state government forms. Auditors were unable to reconcile property control documents, with more than $4 million in “unknown activity” in 2022 and more than $5 million in 2021.

    * Crain’s | Illinois’ first privately built toll bridge opens today: The $170 million project extended Houbolt Road south of U.S. Route 6 over the Des Plaines River into two intermodal facilities where freight is transferred from railcars to trucks. The first privately built toll road in Illinois is opening just as the freight industry is grappling with a decline in shipping after a huge surge during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    * Crain’s | How an unconventional media strategy helped power Brandon Johnson to victory: While opponent Paul Vallas used his deeper campaign coffers to reach voters through television ads and other traditional media, Johnson took his message to smaller, alternative outlets that target demographic niches such as younger voters, minority groups and LGBTQ audiences.

    * Crain’s | Big Fulton Market apartment project moves forward with $125 million loan: High Street Residential, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Trammell Crow, recently broke ground on the 377-unit luxury high-rise at 1112 W. Carroll St., one of the few big multifamily developments to get underway in the neighborhood this year. Though developers have been especially active in the neighborhood over the past few years — and construction continues at many projects there — groundbreakings are a lot less common all over the city these days amid high interest rates and a tighter lending environment.

    * WSIL | Carbondale named one of the cutest small towns in Illinois: The City of Carbondale was named one of the eight cutest small towns in Illinois, according to World Atlas. The site ranked Carbondale as one of the cutest towns, stating the city as a melting pot of culture and nature, as well as, a great place to enjoy the outdoors.

    * Crain’s | New York pharma giant swoops in to take over closing Novartis Libertyville plant : Bristol Myers Squibb said in a statement that it has executed an agreement with Novartis for the plant after Novartis said it would close the plant and lay off 275 people by the end of this year. Bristol Myers Squibb said the transition of the facility will take place over the course of this year but did not disclose any other terms of the deal. The company did not specify how many employees it planned to retain at the plant.

    * Fox Chicago | Huntley High School student charged after sending racist, threatening messages: police: A Huntley High School student is being charged with multiple felonies after they were accused of sending racist and threatening messages. Police say the messages were sent earlier this year but started recirculating around the school this week.

    * WBBM | Glenbard West HS reopened after bomb threat: Police gave the “all clear” at Glenbard West High School.

    * Rest of World | Twitter is complying with more government demands under Elon Musk: It’s been exactly six months since Elon Musk took over Twitter, promising a new era of free speech and independence from political bias. But Twitter’s self-reported data shows that, under Musk, the company has complied with hundreds more government orders for censorship or surveillance — especially in countries such as Turkey and India.

    * NYT | Inflation Is Still High. What’s Driving It Has Changed.: What generated the painful inflation, and what comes next? A look through the data reveals a situation that arose from pandemic disruptions and the government’s response, was worsened by the war in Ukraine and is now cooling as supply problems clear up and the economy slows. But it also illustrates that U.S. inflation today is drastically different from the price increases that first appeared in 2021, driven by stubborn price increases for services like airfare and child care instead of by the cost of goods.

    * WICS | Girl Scouts of Central Illinois introduces first responders career exploration: The girls will join the ranks of firefighters and law enforcement personnel to learn how they ensure public safety for our communities and spend some time with women who hold key roles in these careers.

    * Rolling Stone | The Online Racists Stealing Military Secrets: While Republicans in Congress have played down the risk of extremists in the military, experts who follow the issue say they’re not surprised to see extremist beliefs and leaks of classified information coincide. In a 2021 hearing on extremism in the armed forces, Republican members of Congress wondered aloud whether the issue had really “proven itself to be a major problem” or whether the issue was merely “political theater” for Democrats to enforce a partisan ideological discipline on the armed services. Republicans in the House and Senate have blasted Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s training efforts to root out extremism and voted against legislation to track “white-supremacist and neo-Nazi activity in the uniformed services.”


  1. - Roadrager - Thursday, Apr 27, 23 @ 2:45 pm:

    Tin Evans’ courts are not for the people. They are for the judges, plenty of whom accidentally/repeatedly couldn’t figure out how to stream their proceedings during the pandemic restrictions.

    As I said earlier in the week, Kim Foxx’s departure isn’t going to fix a lot of the problems with the justice system in Cook County.

  2. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Apr 27, 23 @ 3:04 pm:

    …since the city also bans open-air smoking of cannabis.

    Is that a legal ban?

  3. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Apr 27, 23 @ 3:14 pm:

    –The Washington Post reported that Facebook paid a GOP firm to engage in a well-funded political sabotage campaign against TikTok.–

    I have to hand it to facebook though. They know the only real purpose of the GOP is to sabotage things.

    TikTok is also where large numbers of young people gather and more importantly *organize* for civic engagement. And we all know how much the GOP loves the idea of young people voting. I’m more surprised facebook didn’t find out the GOP was already trying to sabotage tiktok.

  4. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Apr 27, 23 @ 3:20 pm:

    “… several audit findings can be attributed to the previous Public Safety Shared Services Center, which performed personnel, procurement and financial process duties for state agencies.”

    Another gift from John Filan. /s

  5. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 27, 23 @ 3:34 pm:

    ===Masking is voluntary in Illinois and the Secretary of State should recognize that fact by getting rid of this unnecessary mask mandate.===

    Is the Freedom Caucus mandating “no masks”?

    I’ll let that fester for a bit.

  6. - H-W - Thursday, Apr 27, 23 @ 3:42 pm:

    @ Oswego Willy

    I think they are just positioning for a shallow victory, knowing full well that the mandate will be lifted in a couple weeks anyway. If they cannot win in the legislature, they can always claim later to their constituents that they fought for them continuously.

    If by chance the mandate is lifted early by the Secretary, they get to claim the forced the Secretary to do so (just like DeVore did is his grifting of his followers).

    Its a simple gambling proposition. Nothing to lose either way, and always standing up for the people who support them.

  7. - JS Mill - Thursday, Apr 27, 23 @ 3:54 pm:

    =“Quite frankly, much of the legislation presents additional challenges to the business community,”=

    Cry me a river.

  8. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 27, 23 @ 4:11 pm:

    - H-W -

    I’m just “enjoying” the limited thoughts they have to thinking they change policy.

    They can’t be any more useless, but here’s an example of that.

    That’s all. It’s all good.

  9. - ESR - Thursday, Apr 27, 23 @ 8:03 pm:

    “Quite frankly, much of the legislation presents additional challenges to the business community.

    Cry me a river.”

    Very mature. Substitute “additional unfunded mandates on school districts (even ones that should have been consolidated years ago)” and you’d be all about it.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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