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Afternoon roundup

Tuesday, May 9, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From WBEZ’s story on people whose SNAP benefits were stolen

This tension has fueled a proposed law that would require the Illinois Department of Human Services, or DHS, which administers SNAP benefits around the state, to not only replace stolen benefits with state dollars from January to September 2022, but also to track skimming going forward.

State Rep. Sonya Harper, D-Chicago, a former SNAP recipient, led the proposal’s passage in the House — which included the reimbursement portion. She and legal advocates say the state claims it would cost at least $20 million, but they’re not clear what those estimates are based on.

“They refuse to budge,” Harper said of leaders at DHS who don’t want to include the reimbursement portion.

But her proposal was recently gutted.

State Sen. Mattie Hunter, D-Chicago, introduced an amendment that would strip the reimbursement portion from the bill. There’s a public hearing slated for this week.

The hostile amendment was approved today.

* Nothing to see here. Move along

Illinois leads the nation in the number of tornadoes so far this year with 86. There were 22 confirmed tornadoes alone across the state during a March 31 outbreak that killed several people.

State climatologist Trent Ford said 2023 this far has been highly unusual.

“Our peak is between April and June climatologically, so to get that many tornadoes, basically a year’s worth of tornadoes just in January, February and March is really incredible,” Ford said.

Ford said the traditional so-called “tornado alley” could possibly be shifting slightly east to include Illinois.

“This area here in Illinois and especially further south as you get into parts of Tennessee, Mississippi and down to the Gulf Coast has seen an increase in at least a frequency of those tornado days,” Ford said.

* The House passed HJR35 today to appoint Legislative Inspector General Michael McCuskey to a full five-year term that ends June 30, 2028. Judge McCuskey has a very long and respected history on both the state and federal judicial benches. The joint resolution passed 112-1. Rep. Wilhour was the lone “No” vote, probably because he couldn’t get answers to his questions about what sponsoring Rep. Maurice West planned to do about the powers of the LIG. West is putting together an omnibus bill on ethics and elections.

* Mayor Lightfoot declares emergency…

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot issued an emergency declaration in response to the surge of new arrivals since last month, with large numbers of people, mostly families, arriving to Chicago and following the arrival today of 48 individuals and families inhumanely bussed to Chicago by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Since August 2022, the City has coordinated a multi-departmental, city-wide strategy in partnership with the State and Cook County for receiving and providing emergency care for over 8,000 new arrivals.

This humanitarian crisis has required collective and swift action, which is why the City has partnered with a variety of City departments, Aldermen, community-based organizations, and community leaders to identify sites to serve as temporary respite centers and temporary shelters to address this recent surge in new arrivals.

We should all understand that this crisis will likely deepen before we see it get better, so as we move forward, the City of Chicago will have to bring additional locations online to prepare for the arrival of more individuals and families and to relieve Chicago Police Department districts. The City of Chicago is in the midst of a national humanitarian crisis, and through a unified effort in accordance with its values as a welcoming city, Chicago is doing everything it can to respond to the urgency of this matter. The City has continued to call on federal and state governments to support the new arrival mission with much-needed additional funding and resources for emergency shelter and resettlement, as there are not enough resources currently to meet the need.

* From the ISP…

The Illinois State Police (ISP) Division of Internal Investigation (DII) continues to investigate an officer involved shooting that occurred on Interstate 64 near Mount Vernon, IL in which an ISP officer was shot.

On Tuesday, May 9, 2023 at approximately 3:00 a.m. on Interstate 64 eastbound at mile post 72, an ISP Trooper stopped to assist a stranded motorist on the right shoulder. Upon arrival, the Trooper encountered 23-year-old Brandon L. Griffin of Albuquerque, NM and a female passenger in the vehicle. A second ISP Officer arrived for routine assistance a short time later. While on scene, an altercation occurred during which gunfire was exchanged between Griffin and a responding officer.

A 16-year ISP officer suffered serious, although non-life threatening, injuries after being shot during the altercation and is being treated at a regional hospital. Griffin was pronounced deceased on scene by Jefferson County Coroner’s Office personnel. The other involved Trooper and female passenger were uninjured. Initially, all lanes of Interstate 64 eastbound were closed, but were reopened at approximately 6:25 a.m. Eastbound lanes were temporarily shut down again at 7:48 a.m. as part of the investigation, but reopened at 8:53 a.m.

In accordance with the Police and Community Relations Improvement Act (50 ILCS 727) and the Illinois State Police Law (20 ILCS 2605), Special Agents of the Illinois State Police Division of Internal Investigation are investigating these events.

This investigation is open and ongoing. ISP is currently processing evidence and conducting interviews. Upon completion of the investigation, all evidence and facts will be submitted for review to the Jefferson County State’s Attorney’s Office. No additional information is available at this time.

* Rep. Haas…

Following the Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial Ceremony, Firefighter/Paramedic Kyle Haemker of the Bradley Fire Department received the prestigious Medal of Honor. 79th District State Representative Jackie Haas (R-Kankakee), who represents Bradley in the House of Representatives, echoed praises for Firefighter/Paramedic Haemker for this well-deserved award.

On December 14th, 2022, FF/PM Haemker was heading home when he noticed an accident. Stopping to assist, there was a vehicle fully submerged in water. Bystanders informed Haemker that the driver was still inside the vehicle, and he dove into the frigid water to remove the driver from the vehicle, saving this person’s life.

“It’s common to hear that heroes walk among us, but to hear of such courage and strength for one’s neighbor truly demonstrates the heroism of Firefighter Haemker,” said Rep. Haas. “He went out of his way and put himself at risk to save someone else. Selflessness, bravery, and compassion is what drove him and what drives firefighters from Kankakee to Carbondale. The 79th District is so proud of Firefighter Haemker receiving this deserved honor and to have him serve our district.”

The Medal of Honor is the highest award given by the State of Illinois to a firefighter for an act of bravery or heroism, by which the firefighter has demonstrated in great degree the characteristics of selflessness and personal courage above and beyond the call of duty, under adverse conditions, with the possibility of extreme personal risk. It is presented following the Illinois Firefighter Memorial Ceremony at the Illinois State Capitol, a bronze work of art to honor those who have made the supreme sacrifice.

* Jim O’Donnell at the Daily Herald

Two days after his Two Phil’s took a lead in the stretch of the Kentucky Derby before finishing a game second, trainer Larry Rivelli said Monday that the colt will not start in the Preakness.

“Too soon,” Rivelli — a resident of North Barrington — told The Daily Herald. “‘Phil’ came out of the Derby great. We shipped back to Chicago Sunday but the Preakness is just twelve days away. That’s just too soon.”

Sent off as the 9-1 fourth choice in a field of 18, Two Phil’s followed fast fractions before surging into the lead of the $3M, mile-and-one-quarter classic on an inside path turning for home.

Under notably sharp handling by jockey Jareth Loveberry, the 3-year-old chestnut opened up only to be passed by the late-closing champ Mage ($32 to win) in the final 170 yards.


Last week, the “ComEd Four'’ were found guilty on all charges related to a conspiracy to bribe Former Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, and while this guilty verdict is a reflection on every House Democrat who enabled Former Speaker Madigan and the pervasive culture of corruption in Springfield over the past few decades, more questions remain.

At present, one very large question is why – in December 2020 – now House Speaker Chris Welch, Democratic Party of Illinois Chairwoman Lisa Hernandez, and State Rep. Natalie Manley voted along party lines to shut down the Special Investigating Committee tasked with looking into alleged misconduct by then House Speaker Michael Madigan. This was a clear abdication of their responsibility and duty to taxpayers, and they should have to explain this to their constituents.

“Speaker Chris Welch, Democratic Party of Illinois Chairwoman Lisa Hernandez, and other Democrats on the Special Investigating Committee failed the people of Illinois, and it is no surprise they continue to cover up the truth. Why did Welch and Hernandez refer to the special investigation committee on Madigan a ‘political show’ and ‘sham investigation’? They had the opportunity to uphold their oaths of office and end the culture of corruption but chose not to,” said Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy. “This guilty verdict only proved what we already knew – that Illinois Democrat corruption is not a Republican talking point but something that is unfortunately real, pervasive, and a serious threat to honest government,” added Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy.

Instead of promoting accountability, and ending the pervasive corruption that has plagued our state, Speaker Welch, Chairwoman Hernandez, and other House Democrats chose to protect the politicians and political insiders by covering for Mike Madigan, and they were rewarded handsomely for their loyalty with major leadership positions in the Democratic Party. In light of last week’s guilty verdict, Welch and Herandez should have to explain this decision to their constituents and all Illinois voters.

* Rep. Mayfield…

State Rep. Rita Mayfield, D-Waukegan, recently passed a bill that protects dog owners from housing discrimination based on the breed of dog they own. Breed-based discrimination by can lead to higher prices and even to difficulty in finding affordable housing based on outdated and biased beliefs about what breeds are “dangerous.”

“Nobody should have to choose between being able to afford shelter and having to give up a treasured family pet,” Mayfield said. “The idea that certain breeds are inherently dangerous has been debunked for some time and it is time for both public policy and the practices of insurance companies to conform to reality.”

Mayfield’s House Bill 1049—which passed both House and Senate with bipartisan majorities and now goes to the Governor’s desk for signature—prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage or charging exorbitant rates because of the breed of a tenant or homeowner’s dog.

It would remain permissible for insurers to deny or alter coverage based on whether there is evidence that a specific dog poses a provable risk.

“Our dogs are members of our family, not mere possessions to be disposed of because a bean counter doesn’t like them,” Mayfield said. “Making housing more expensive and harder to find for superficial reasons not only doesn’t help anyone, it makes a lot of people worse off. It’s time for a change.”

* This is one weird lede

As states look to generate more revenue in an inflationary economy, along with the risk of a recession, progressive governors like J.B. Pritzker who advocate for progressive income taxes also support one of the most regressive taxes: lotteries.

Governors of almost every ideology back lotteries. And, unlike taxes, lotteries aren’t mandatory.

* Isabel’s roundup…

    * Center Square | Illinois State Police: ‘Assault weapons’ bought during week of injunction are illegal: Illinois State Police say any purchase of firearms or attachments the state deems as “assault weapons” from during the six-day injunction against Illinois’ gun ban will be illegal after Jan. 1, 2024.

    * The Hill | Illinois among the best US states for broadband access: After the pandemic knocked millions of Americans back home to continue work and school, the importance of broadband access in the U.S. has come under a microscope. While the transition had sweeping effects on our mental health, the struggle was compounded in states and areas with poor broadband access. Federal and state authorities have directed billions toward closing the broadband divide, but many Americans may still have a long wait for high-speed internet in their homes.

    * Daily Herald | ‘Absolutely disheartening’: FAA rejects nighttime O’Hare runway rotation to spread out jet noise: The FAA “is not able to approve the air traffic feasibility of the proposal,” Acting Regional Manager Joseph Miniace wrote the Chicago Department of Aviation on May 3.

    * Crain’s | Illinois marijuana sales stalled in April: The number of marijuana products sold in the state during April was up 9% from a year earlier, roughly in line with the growth rate in March.

    * Block Club | Ald. Jim Gardiner Delayed Six Corners Senior Living Complex After Receiving A $5,000 Bribe, Court Documents Allege: Embattled Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th), who was recently reelected to a second term, accepted cash payments from a disgruntled developer in 2019 as a bribe to stall The Point at Six Corners, now known as The Clarendale, according to allegations in court records made public last week as part of an FBI investigation into the alderman.

    * SJ-R | Bill that would raise penalties for assault on DCFS workers faces uphill climb: But bills that would give DCFS case workers like Knight the same protected status as police officers and firefighters harmed while performing official duties have stalled in a House committee. And though a similar Senate bill has shown new signs of life, it, too, faces a difficult climb to passage.

    * Illinois Times | New solar farms proposed for Sangamon County: Homeowners who are opposing the 5-megawatt, $10 million River Maple Solar II project, as well as some homeowners adjacent to a similar-sized proposed solar farm in a more secluded site a half-mile away at Gaule and Jostes roads, say the solar farms will be ugly, scare away birds, deer and foxes, reduce property values and generally interrupt the pastoral landscape many moved to rural America to enjoy.

    * Crain’s | Bally’s plans to offer some city residents stakes in Chicago casino: The Rhode Island-based gambling giant had previously disclosed on its website plans to allow “minority investors” to “own 25% of the project,” which is slated to be developed on the 30-acre riverfront site now home to the Chicago Tribune’s Freedom Center printing plant. Bally’s framed that as a centerpiece of its community benefit commitment to the city.

    * Pioneer Press | In portions of meetings, Skokie officials violated Open Meetings Act, Illinois Attorney General finds: Skokie lawmakers violated the Open Meetings Act for a four-minute portion of a Jan. 3 meeting and a larger portion of a Jan. 17 meeting while discussing the appointment process for village attorneys, per a ruling from the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor, who suggested the non-confidential portion be made public.

    * WGEM | QPS changes policies for grooming, sexual abuse law: Proposed policy changes will help Quincy Public Schools comply with a new state law tied to grooming of students and child sexual abuse. According to our newsgathering partners at the Herald-Whig, Faith’s Law, set to go into effect July 1, requires an employment history review before hiring someone who has direct contact with students.

    * Business Insider | RIP Metaverse: The Metaverse, the once-buzzy technology that promised to allow users to hang out awkwardly in a disorientating video-game-like world, has died after being abandoned by the business world. It was three years old. … Companies’ rush to get into the game led Wall Street investors, consultants, and analysts to try to one up each other’s projections for the Metaverse’s growth. The consulting firm Gartner claimed that 25% of people would spend at least one hour a day in the Metaverse by 2026. The Wall Street Journal said the Metaverse would change the way we work forever. The global consulting firm McKinsey predicted that the Metaverse could generate up to “$5 trillion in value,” adding that around 95% of business leaders expected the Metaverse to “positively impact their industry” within five to 10 years. Not to be outdone, Citi put out a massive report that declared the Metaverse would be a $13 trillion opportunity.

    * NYT | In Norway, the Electric Vehicle Future Has Already Arrived: About 80 percent of new cars sold in Norway are battery-powered. As a result, the air is cleaner, the streets are quieter and the grid hasn’t collapsed. But problems with unreliable chargers persist.


  1. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 2:39 pm:

    Dear ILGOP,

    What new voters do you think you’ll turn with a lengthy and exhausting release that reads like a conspiracy theory outside the truth of “Guilty on all counts”?

    Who exactly are you owning? A new speaker who most quietly and effectively consolidated his power and rewarded his caucus with gains rarely seen.

    I get the need to have a release and it’s purpose to the base, and keeping the base engaged and angry…

    … I don’t see any way this adds to those you need to win elections.

    The leading GOP candidate for President just lost a civil case. I dunno if these type of releases will help deflect the cultish need to support that candidate.

  2. - Dotnonymous - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 2:47 pm:

    I trust dogs…over people.

  3. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 3:09 pm:

    “A 16-year ISP officer suffered serious, although non-life threatening, injuries…at approximately 3:00 a.m. on Interstate 64 eastbound at mile post 72″

    Working interstates overnight is a tough duty - Prayers for the officer.

  4. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 3:29 pm:

    What ever happened to the phrase “governing by press release?” I used to hear it so much here, and it is still so relevant. Sad.

  5. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 3:36 pm:

    ===What ever happened to the phrase “governing by press release?”===

    Pat Quinn lost /s

  6. - Lurker - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 3:42 pm:

    If Mayor Lightfoot thinks there is an emergency now, wait until the buses start rolling after Thursday. Border mayors have buses lined-up for places like Chicago. What a mess.

  7. - Big Dipper - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 5:37 pm:

    Best part of the Gardiner FBI affidavit:

    but Gardiner responded to the effect of, “You don’t need to do that,” and kicked the aide under the table when they agreed it was important to log the money, according to court records.

  8. - 420 - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 5:42 pm:

    How is 9% growth categorized as stalled?

  9. - H-W - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 5:58 pm:

    This tension has fueled a proposed law that would require the Illinois Department of Human Services, or DHS, which administers SNAP benefits around the state, to not only replace stolen benefits with state dollars from January to September 2022, but also to track skimming going forward.

    Duh, right?

    And this should be a line item with which we can all accept, right?

  10. - Leslie K - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 8:48 pm:

    Prayers for a quick and complete recovery for the ISP Trooper.

    That lottery lede was indeed so weird that I read the article/editorial. It never really made any sense. Not that I was expecting it to, I guess.

  11. - Just Me 2 - Tuesday, May 9, 23 @ 9:22 pm:

    I understand the southern state governors strategies of making the sanctuary states/cities feel the pain of a broken immigration system. However, the execution of their idea is just cruel.

    This isn’t the behavior that people who claim to value all life should exhibit.

  12. - Payback - Wednesday, May 10, 23 @ 3:15 am:

    “In accordance with the Police and Community Relations Improvement Act (50 ILCS 727) and the Illinois State Police Law (20 ILCS 2605), Special Agents of the Illinois State Police Division of Internal Investigation are investigating these events.” So we have a dead guy, and the ISP is investigating the ISP?

    I can maybe buy the idea of ISP being semi-unbiased investigating local cops, but again we see that Illinois is at least forty years behind the times when it comes to police accountability.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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