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Friday, Jul 28, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* RIP

You know I don’t much like life
I don’t mind admitting that it ain’t right
You know I love to make music
But my head got wrecked by the business

Everybody wanting something from me
They rarely ever wanna just know me
I became the stranger no one sees
Cut glass I’ve crawled upon my knees

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Pritzker signs 133 bills

Friday, Jul 28, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Click here for the list.

* Posted in the order received. Napo…

The South Suburban Airport may soon be reality, thanks to a law championed by State Senator Napoleon Harris, III.

For the last 40 years, lawmakers have attempted to secure a south suburban airport in the Monee community. Where many lawmakers have failed – Harris (D-Harvey) fought and held the state accountable to fulfill its promises to the South Suburbs by requiring the state to establish the process to find partners in the construction of a new south suburban airport.

“This is a touchdown for communities across the South Suburbs,” Harris said. “This airport will serve as an economic engine for our communities and provide local businesses with access to global markets for generations to come.”

The South Suburban Airport Act, which became law more than a decade ago, established that the state may develop a prequalification process. Since its enactment, no process has been established until Harris’ advocacy and leadership in getting this venture into the end zone.

Harris has worked tirelessly to secure this vital resource that will generate new opportunities for job creation and local revenue and help residents across the Southern Cook and Will counties to improve their quality of life.

“For years, the residents of our district have been promised this economic tool,” Harris said. “I am proud to be able to partner with local community leaders to bring home this win for the region.”

This accomplishment will be truly appreciated by communities across the South Suburbs who have been promised access to this vital infrastructure for decades.

House Bill 2531 was signed into law on Friday and goes into effect Jan. 1, 2024.

* Glowiak Hilton…

All schools in Illinois will now be required to supply opioid antagonists for students thanks to a new law led by State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton.

“By ensuring that naloxone is readily available to all students in Illinois, we are helping save our children’s lives,” said Glowiak Hilton (D-Western Springs). “The opioid epidemic has taken a toll on our communities. It’s time we develop and implement the necessary precautions to protect everyone in our classrooms.”

House Bill 3428 will require all K-12 school districts to maintain a supply of an opioid antagonist, a medication that can be used to reverse an opioid overdose, in a secure location. Naloxone should be given to any person who shows signs of an opioid overdose or when an overdose is suspected.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported that opioid overdoses in Illinois have increased 33% from 2019 to 2020, with there being 2,944 opioid overdose fatalities.

“Increasing accessibility of naloxone will provide our educators and faculty with another tool to combat this epidemic,” said Glowiak Hilton. “We need to take every precaution we can to save lives and end this horrific crisis.”

House Bill 3428 was signed into law Friday and goes into effect Jan. 1 2024.

* Koehler…

Drug manufacturers and distributors will now be unable to spike the costs of generic medication thanks to a law spearheaded by State Senator Dave Koehler.

“Every Illinoisan deserves affordable access to necessary medication,” said Koehler (D-Peoria). “This law prevents companies from robbing residents just for an extra buck.”

House Bill 3957 creates the Illinois Generic Drug Pricing Fairness Act, which prohibits manufacturers and distributors from engaging in price gouging of essential off-patent and generic medication.

“We need to stake a stand for our residents and prohibit companies from these manipulative schemes,” said Koehler. “There should never be a situation when someone has to decide between picking up their medication or groceries for their family.”

House Bill 3957 was signed into law Friday and goes into effect Jan. 1, 2024.

* Simmons…

To increase gender inclusivity across the state of Illinois and within state agencies, State Senator Mike Simmons championed a new law that will support state employees who identify as non-binary or gender non-conforming by integrating them into the state’s diverse workforce initiatives.

“This law will ensure our state’s workforce reflects the diversity of our population,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “Recognizing and respecting every identity in the workforce is basic common decency, and everyone deserves to feel seen and supported by the field they want to enter.”

The new law adds state employees who identify as non-binary or gender non-conforming to the list of women, minorities and persons with physical disabilities in regards to agencies tracking this information to help guide efforts to achieve a more diversified state workforce.

“Recognizing gender non-conforming and non-binary people in our state government and state agencies is the first step to promoting inclusivity and bringing different perspectives to the table,” Simmons said.

House Bill 2297 was signed into law on Friday and goes into effect on July 1, 2025.

* Simmons…

To increase the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, State Senator Mike Simmons successfully championed a set of new laws to require permanent vehicle crossing signs to be added to bike trails and created a task force to monitor the impact of local bicycle and pedestrian plans.

“Last summer we lost the lives of two children, on two separate occasions, to cyclists’ accidents in our community,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “We want our residents to feel safe by providing them with the security of increased protections for pedestrians and cyclists to prevent heartbreaking tragedies like we experienced last year.”

Senate Bill 1710 requires bike trails to have warning signs along the path warning pedestrians and cyclists of a vehicle crossing at least 150 feet in advance. The new law ensures cyclists on a trail have ample warning to know when to slow down and stop before a busy intersection. Permanent signage on state roadways warning vehicles of bicycle trail crossings also must be added within 150 feet of a trail crossing so vehicles can yield. Signs to warn cyclists of other trail hazards, damage to the trail, and maintenance of the trail will be installed.

Additionally, House Bill 2131 creates the Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force to help reduce bicycle accidents on roads by reporting detailed analysis of existing practices around speed limits, the reduction of speed limits, the steps to eliminate vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle fatalities on roads, and their lasting impact.

“We can prevent bicycle injuries and accidents by following the rules of the road and watching out for each other,” Simmons said. “I am happy to see these initiatives go into effect to make roadways and bike trails safer for everyone.”

Senate Bill 1710 was signed into law on Friday and goes into effect Jan. 1, 2024. House Bill 2131 was signed into law on Friday and goes into effect immediately.

* Porfirio…

Military service members and the Department of Revenue will see improvements when it comes to requesting and processing sales tax exemptions, thanks to a new law sponsored by State Senator Mike Porfirio.

“There are many sacrifices that our service men and women have made and they deserve any appreciation we can give them,” said Porfirio (D-Lyons Township). “This legislation removes the burden on our service members and provides them with a simpler way to receive this sales tax exemption.”

Senate Bill 1705 would eliminate the need for sales tax exemption certificates by members of the military. Instead, when making an exempt purchase, a service member can present a valid military ID and a form of payment where the military organization is the payor, as well as complete a form by the Department of Revenue.

Currently, the process to receive such exemption requires a single-use sales tax exemption certificate. This has caused the Department of Revenue’s exemption certificate system to become cluttered, with military members frequently applying for certificates as they relocate. Additionally, military members often require an exemption certificate on short notice, leading to delays in the Department’s processing and mailing of certificates.

“This will serve as a small token of appreciation for our service members,” said Porfirio. “It is commonsense to streamline this process for all parties involved.”

The law was signed on Friday and goes into effect Jan. 1, 2024.

* Porfirio…

To build the public’s trust and establish ethical guidelines, State Senator Mike Porfirio supported a measure that addresses ongoing concerns regarding automated traffic enforcement.

“Being an elected official, it’s important to ensure you gain the public’s trust and hold yourself to the highest ethical standards,” said Porfirio (D-Lyons Township). “Accountability and honesty should be at the base of all we do.”

The measure prohibits campaign contributions from contractors who provide the automated traffic enforcement equipment, any political action committee created by such a contractor and any affiliates. Campaign contributions from such sources have been a cause for controversy in past years.

Further, beginning six months before an automated traffic law enforcement system is installed at an intersection, a county or municipality may not change the yellow light interval at that intersection.

Additionally, IDOT can revoke any permit for red light cameras if any official or employee who serves that county or municipality is charged with bribery, official misconduct or a similar crime related to the placement, installation or operation of the automated traffic law enforcement system in the county or municipality.

“It is our duty as state legislators to commit to ethical behavior,” said Porfirio. “Honesty and trust should be at the forefront of our minds. This law will ensure the public can trust those who represent them.”

House Bill 3903 was signed by the governor Friday and goes into effect immediately.

* Villa…

To support the rights of youth committed to county-operated juvenile detention facilities, State Senator Karina Villa championed a new law that ensures youth in these facilities have access to independent assistance and protection.

“Regardless of how these individuals came to be in the detention facilities, they are still young and in need of protection,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “All people in a detention facility should be treated humanely and equally and deserve the chance for a better future — especially those who are minors.”

Under this law, the Office of Independent Juvenile Ombudsman will act as an ombudsman for and secure the rights of youth committed to county-operated juvenile detention facilities or the Department of Juvenile Justice. The ombudsman’s role is to ensure that the rights of youth within the county-operated juvenile detention facilities are fully observed and to assist in pursuing services for committed youth and their families.

The law defines county-operated juvenile detention facilities as any shelter care home, detention care home, or facility designated to detain youth that is not a police or other temporary law enforcement holding location.

“This law will make sure there will always be someone advocating for youth who are detained in the county facilities,” Villa said. “Just because someone has made a mistake does not mean we should give up on them. This law will fight for the children left behind in these detention facilities.”

Senate Bill 2197 was signed on Friday and goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2025.

The SDems are really good at getting releases out the door.

…Adding… I’m gonna post these and then I’m taking my usual Friday afternoon nap. Villa…

There will be more protections against gender-related violence in the workplace thanks to a new law passed by State Senator Karina Villa.

“This law aims to make sure those in a position of power are held responsible for protecting their employees and held accountable when they fail,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “Work should never feel like an unsafe environment for anyone; employees should feel protected by their employers, especially those more at risk for gender-related violence.”

This new law clarifies when an employer can be held liable for gender-related violence committed in the workplace to include if the employer failed to supervise, train or monitor the employee who engaged in the violence; failed to investigate complaints or reports provided to a supervisor or manager and failed to take remedial measures in response to the complaints; or if the gender-related violence was the proximate cause of an injury.

This law also establishes a four-year statute of limitation for bringing a claim of gender-related violence against an employer. In comparison, the statute of limitations for charges of sexual harassment filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights or with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is 300 days.

“Gender-related violence has been a growing issue, taking place in stores, homes and the workplace,” Villa said. “I wish for everyone to feel safer in their day-to-day lives, and this law is a good first step to help women and others who feel threatened in the workplace.”

If you or a loved one is experiencing partner- or gender-related violence, help is available through the Illinois Department of Human Services’ 24-hour hotline at 877-863-6338 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.

House Bill 1363 was signed into law on Friday and goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

* Villa…

There will be more opportunities to donate to the Illinois Dream Fund, which provides scholarships to eligible college students, thanks to a new law by State Senator Karina Villa.

“No matter someone’s immigration status, they deserve the right to education,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “This law will increase funds for scholarships, giving more students the opportunity to attend college.”

The new law allows customers who transmit money internationally the option to voluntarily donate a portion of their money to the Illinois Dream Fund, whose mission is to provide life-changing financial support to non-citizens who wish to pursue higher education and help them successfully work toward degree completion.

Under this law, the Illinois Dream Fund Commission will also develop a comprehensive program, including creation of informational materials and a marketing plan, to educate people in Illinois about the purpose and benefits of contributions made to the Illinois Dream Fund, such as increasing scholarship opportunities.

“Contributing to someone’s education is a wonderful and noble thing to do,” Villa said. “I encourage everyone who can donate to look into giving to the Illinois Dream Fund when the time comes.”

House Bill 3233 was signed on Friday and goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

* Fine…

The Illinois Department of Public Health’s Newborn Screening program will soon scan for Metachromatic Leukodystrophy, or MLD, a rare genetic disease, thanks to legislation from State Senator Laura Fine.

“Newborns are tested for a variety of disorders with the Newborn Screening Program so that caregivers can plan to support their child’s treatment quickly,” said Fine (D-Glenview). “Including MLD will ensure caregivers of children with MLD are also able to begin their treatment plans as soon as possible.”

MLD is a genetic disorder leading to progressive loss of nervous system function and early death. Currently, MLD is diagnosed through a blood test looking for enzyme deficiency, a urine test or genetic testing. Additional tests can be conducted on those who show progressive symptoms of MLD. While there is no cure for MLD, diagnosing the disease early can lead to treatment options that make a significant difference in the patient’s quality of life.

“Although there is no cure for MLD, having a diagnosis will allow children to receive care that can greatly improve their quality of life,” said Fine. “Adding MLD to the newborn screening list will help families prepare the most effective treatment options to better support their child.”

Senate Bill 67 was signed into law on Friday. It goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

* Villa…

A measure sponsored by State Senator Karina Villa that addresses the shortage of nurses in health care facilities across Illinois was signed into law Friday.

“The ongoing nurse shortage in our state demands our immediate attention,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “Our nurses are the backbone of our health care system, and we owe it to them and our communities to address this issue with urgency. By empowering the Illinois Nursing Workforce Center to look for ways to address the shortage, our hope is this new law will help us retain and recruit nurses throughout our state.”

The growing scarcity of nurses in Illinois, especially in Southern Illinois, hurts patients and existing nurses who have to work without a full staff in some cases. Nurses are a critical part of health care and make up the largest portion of health care professionals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that more than 275,000 additional nurses will be needed from 2020 to 2030.

Villa’s law directs the Nursing Workforce Center to develop strategies to make sure proper actions are being taken to address the statewide nurse shortage. The Nursing Workforce Center will be required to develop a plan to increase the number of nurses in the workforce by distributing a nursing workforce supply survey with all license renewals beginning in 2024. By 2027, the Nursing Workforce Center will develop a nurse demand and employer survey that will be collected biennially.

“Nurses are not just vital health care professionals,” Villa said. “They are caring individuals who dedicate their lives to serving others. We must create an environment that supports and values their contributions to our communities.”

House Bill 1615 was signed into law Friday and goes into effect immediately.

* Peters…

Thanks to a new law sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters, time served in county jail will soon be included as part of the minimum 60-day sentence required to earn discretionary sentence credit.

“Public safety reform needs to happen at every stage of the system,” said Peters (D-Chicago). “Instead of being treated as a number, incarcerated individuals ought to be treated as the humans they are. Modernizing earned sentence credit methods is one way to recognize the humanity of incarcerated individuals.”

Peters’ new law also ensures the Department of Corrections will recalculate program credits awarded to those with justice system involvement who completed rehabilitation programs or re-entry planning before July 2021 at the rate set for the credits on and after July 2021.

“Individuals involved in the justice system who participate in rehabilitation programs while serving time are making positive strides toward personal development and should be rewarded,” said Peters. “This new law makes sure that earned sentence credit is not only awarded to those who have earned it, but is rewarded on a consistent basis.”

House Bill 3026 was signed into law Friday.

* Peters…

With the intention of studying a potential payment plan program for owner-occupants to repay delinquent property taxes, State Senator Robert Peters’ measure creating the Property Tax Payment Plan Task Force was signed into law.

“Cook County’s annual sale of delinquent property taxes puts people at risk of losing their homes if they fall behind on their property taxes,” said Peters (D-Chicago). “Property tax sales and delinquent tax redemption disproportionately affect Black and Brown folks, especially seniors and those living with disabilities.”

Peters’ new law creates the Property Tax Payment Plan Task Force to study a potential payment plan program for residents to repay delinquent property taxes and make recommendations for implementing one or more payment plan options in Cook County. The Task Force will issue a report by Nov. 15, 2023, which will take into account the impact of the payment plan on homeowners, taxpayers, local agencies responsible for the collection of property taxes, and local taxing districts.

“Some people are losing their homes despite owing less than $1,000,” said Peters. “This new task force will illuminate the problems with the current property tax payment system and help local agencies develop ways to partner with homeowners to ensure payment of property taxes instead of taking advantage of people in tough financial situations.”

Senate Bill 74 was signed into law Friday.

* Peters…

A steadfast champion of criminal justice reform and the rights of people involved in the justice system, State Senator Robert Peters expanded upon his work broadening the civil liberties of the more than 70,000 people on probation in Illinois, which was signed into law Friday.

“Probation offers individuals an opportunity to have a sense of freedom under supervision,” said Peters (D-Chicago). “Supervision while adjusting back into modern society should reflect the same rights as civilians in order to accurately judge a person’s ability to maintain the safety of a community.”

Under the new law, an individual on probation, conditional discharge or supervision will not be ordered to refrain from cannabis or alcohol except in specified circumstances. If a court orders someone on probation to be tested for cannabis or alcohol, a statement detailing the relation between the condition of probation and the crime must be provided. The law ensures individuals on probation will not be charged for costs associated with mandatory testing.

Peters’ law also prevents courts from ordering a person on probation, conditional discharge or supervision to refrain from using any substance lawfully prescribed by a medical provider or authorized by the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act.
“There are often circumstances in which individuals on probation use substances like cannabis for medical reasons,” said Peters. “Eliminating barriers for those on probation with a medical diagnosis, as long as the liberties are unrelated to the circumstances that landed them on probation, is a positive step toward true public safety reform.”

Senate Bill 1886 was signed into law Friday.

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Afternoon roundup

Friday, Jul 28, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* It can’t be stressed enough that almost all national economics experts have been consistently and even wildly wrong for more than a year

Another key economic report further propped up the idea that a soft landing is not only possible, but also in motion: The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge continued its deceleration in June while consumers kept the US economic engine running.

Commerce Department data released Friday showed that the Personal Consumption Expenditures price index rose 3% for the 12 months ended in June, easing for the second-consecutive month and stepping back from May’s 3.8% increase.

* Rep. Rita and the Tinley Park mayor have been on the outs for a while now. And it’s coming out into the open

State Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island, is suing Tinley Park and Orland Township as well as village and township officials in federal court, alleging his constitutional rights have been denied because he’s been blocked from taking part in or holding community events.

The lawsuit was filed Friday and cites a “consistent and systematic campaign” to prevent Rita from taking part in events such as the National Night Out Against Crime, scheduled to take place Tuesday in Tinley Park.

The lawsuit also alleges village officials twice denied applications by Rita to hold shredding events last year in Tinley Park, something he had organized for several years prior.

The lawsuit is here.

* Press release…

Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) awarded scholarships to a record 259 college-bound current and former youth in care – the most the agency has ever awarded in its history. The milestone was celebrated at a lunch and ceremony held in the students’ honor at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Lisle, Ill.

Historically, the department has awarded an average of 53 scholarships each year. This year’s record breaking 259 scholarships is a 389% increase over the prior year, demonstrating the department’s commitment to education and increased investment in DCFS programs by Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly. The Governor’s FY24 budget provided$5.66 million in funding for DCFS scholarships, up from just over $1.2 million in FY19. […]

The DCFS Scholarship Program is available to youth who have an open DCFS case, whose cases were closed through adoption or guardianship, or who aged out of care at 18 or older. DCFS Scholarship Program recipients are selected based on their scholastic record and aptitude, community and extracurricular activities, three letters of recommendation, and a personal essay illustrating their purpose for higher education. […]

“The support I received from my DCFS Scholarship far exceeded its financial pillar. It also provided me with the time to focus on my studies, the confidence to enter a classroom with my head held high, and the assurance that success was obtainable,” said Krystal Hudson, event keynote speaker and 2006 scholarship recipient. “Attending the state university of my choice enabled me to create my own future, family, and career in southern Illinois. I am forever grateful for the opportunities given to me through being a recipient of the DCFS Scholarship.”

Scholarship recipients receive up to five consecutive years of tuition and academic fee waivers to be used at participating Illinois state community colleges and public universities, a monthly grant of $1,506 to offset other expenses, and a Medicaid card. Four awards are reserved for the children of veterans, and two awards are reserved for students pursuing degrees in social work in honor of Pamela Knight and Deidre Silas, two DCFS caseworkers who succumbed to injuries sustained in the line of duty.

* “Never mistake activity for achievement”

[Chicago Inspector General Deborah Witzburg] also accused CPD of going through the motions of complying with the federal consent — by reporting the percentage of the consent decree’s 799 paragraphs where there is “some level” of compliance.

That only means they’ve “written a policy that says that they intend to comply” with the mandate. It has “absolutely no impact on real life on the street — either for Chicagoans or members of the department,” Witzburg said.

“The metric that matters is the number of things that have changed in a real operational way. The number of things that are different on Chicago street corners today than they would have been at the beginning of 2019. And that number is in the single digit percentages,” Witzburg said.

That city’s government is just chock full of fittin’ to get ready types.

* No more indoor vaping…


* Isabel’s roundup…

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Report: NASCAR event cost CDOT and CPD at least $3.25 million

Friday, Jul 28, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Jim Daley at the South Side Weekly

The City spent at least $3.25 million on the 2023 NASCAR Chicago Street Race, according to a preliminary analysis by the Weekly. That figure includes more than $2.1 million spent on repairs to the streets that made up the racecourse and an estimated $1.1 million in police overtime associated with the race. The final tally, which could include additional costs such as traffic management, will likely be even higher. […]

NASCAR’s contract is for three years, but it allows either the City or the car-racing company to cancel it. In the deal Lightfoot’s administration inked, NASCAR was required to pay the Chicago Park District a $500,000 fee in the first year along with fifteen percent of concessions and $2 for each ticket sold in its first year (ticket prices started at $269). The fee is slated to increase to $550,000 in 2024 and $605,000 in 2025. […]

According to the document CDOT provided, the street work alone cost $2.15 million. […]

Much of that—nearly $1.8 million—was listed as “Engineering” costs related to concrete, pavement, and landscape work on streets and sidewalks along the racetrack before the race. CDOT replaced the curb and sidewalk on the west side of Columbus Drive, resurfaced and repaved roadways, and installed bus pads for the event. The total budget allocated to CDOT’s Engineering division for 2023 is $7.87 million; the NASCAR-related work ate up about twenty-three percent of that division’s annual budget. […]

A NASCAR-commissioned study predicted the event would generate millions in tax and sales revenue for the City and local businesses. It’s unclear how accurate those numbers were. Choose Chicago, the City’s tourism bureau, has commissioned an economic impact study on the race by researchers at Temple University, Crain’s reported last week.

Discuss.

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Meanwhile… In Opposite Land

Friday, Jul 28, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s op-ed in the Sun-Times

A recent letter, sent under the signature of 19 Republican state attorneys general, demands that the Biden administration allow states with abortion bans to obtain the private medical records of patients seeking legal health care in other states.

In sending this letter, they have made their priorities clear: These attorneys general will use their resources to intimidate women across state lines and weaponize patients’ private health care information against them because they sought legal, and often life-saving, medical care. […]

We know these attempts to pry into patient privacy likely won’t stop at abortion. Access to essential health care like contraceptives, HIV treatment and gender-affirming care may also be at stake. The letter from the 19 Republican attorneys general cites state bans on gender-affirming care as among the reasons the signatories do not want patients’ records to be private. These are attacks on very personal decisions about when and how to build your family and how to live authentically as your true self.

From the letter sent by attorneys general in Mississippi, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Utah

As described above, the proposed rule would bar certain disclosures of PHI [protected health information] to state or local agencies conducting a “criminal, civil, or administrative investigation or proceeding … in connection with” “reproductive health care.” 88 Fed. Reg. at 23552. The proposed rule would thus curtail the ability of state officials to obtain evidence of potential violations of state laws—even when requested under “a court order or other type of legal process.” The proposed rule has deep flaws and should be withdrawn.

* Iowa

The Iowa Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds’ appeal of a lower court order blocking the state’s ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, which Reynolds signed into law this month.

Republican legislators passed the bill this month in a special legislative session, and Reynolds signed it at the Family Leadership Summit, a major gathering of social conservatives that drew top GOP presidential candidates to Iowa.

“Everyone understands that a heartbeat signifies life, and we understand that when it falls silent, something precious has been lost,” Reynolds said moments before she signed the bill into law.

The six-week ban went into effect as soon as she signed it, but it was halted days later, when a Polk County judge temporarily blocked the law following a legal challenge from Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, the Emma Goldman Clinic and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa. For now, abortion remains legal in Iowa until the 20th week of pregnancy.

* Tennessee

This week, a group of teachers filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate Tennessee’s law limiting the teaching of race and gender. The statute, signed by Republican Gov. Bill Lee in 2021, is absurdly vague: It prohibits pedagogy that includes allegedly divisive concepts without defining what that means, leaving teachers fearful that even neutral mentions of such concepts could violate the law.

The lawsuit claims that the Tennessee law violates the 14th Amendment, which requires laws to issue clear, explicit commands. Because of the law’s fuzziness, teachers are left feeling like potential outlaws whenever they voice an idea that a parent might deem unacceptable. […]

The concepts that teachers must not “include” or “promote” in K-12 education are also preposterously vague. Among them are the notion that an individual should feel “discomfort” or “guilt” solely due to her race and the idea that one race is superior to another. The promotion of “division,” whatever that means, is also banned.

Defenders of the law note that it offers an exception for “impartial” discussion of the historical oppression of one group by another and of other “controversial” historical facts. This, they argue, will prevent the whitewashing of history.

* More from Tennessee

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is being sued by its transgender clinic patients, who accuse the hospital of violating their privacy by turning their records over to Tennessee’s attorney general.

Two patients sued Monday in Nashville Chancery Court, saying they were among more than 100 people whose records were sent by Vanderbilt to Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti. His office has said it is examining medical billing in a “run of the mill” fraud investigation that isn’t directed at patients or their families. Vanderbilt has said it was required by law to comply.

The patients say Vanderbilt was aware that Tennessee authorities are hostile toward the rights of transgender people, and should have removed their personally identifying information before turning over the records. […]

The attorney general’s office has said the hospital has been providing records of its gender-related treatment billing since December 2022, and that the records have been kept confidential. Elizabeth Lane Johnson, an attorney general’s office spokesperson, noted Tuesday that the office isn’t a party to the lawsuit, and directed questions to Vanderbilt.

* Missouri

When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, doctors providing obstetrics and gynecological care felt the decision’s effects immediately — especially in Missouri, the nation’s first state to implement a near-total ban on abortion. […]

Another consequence of Missouri’s abortion ban is that fewer doctors are coming to Missouri to complete their OB-GYN residencies, Eisenberg and his colleague, Dr. Jeannie Kelly, told St. Louis on the Air.

“We definitely have seen the ramifications of this law impact who comes here for training,” said Kelly. “Applicants come in, telling us, ‘You are the only program we’ve applied to, in a state where abortion is banned, because we know that this is a facility that still abides by all of the training guidelines and provides training for that care in the state of Illinois when needed.’” […]

“We are one of the top 10 OB-GYN residency training programs in the country,” he said. “Every year that I have been a faculty member, since 2009, we have seen an increasing number of applicants — until the fall of 2022, when we saw a 10% decrease.”

* Florida

Florida’s transgender teens face the longest median travel time to access gender-affirming health care, according to a new study from the Journal of the American Medical Association.

That puts up a massive barrier to health care that every major medical association agrees is medically necessary and in certain cases life-saving.

“Access to developmentally appropriate medical and social services for transgender youths is associated with mental health benefits and decreased suicidality,” the study says.

Florida’s median drive time of nearly nine hours was the highest of any state examined in the study.

* Mississippi

Mississippi will have to pay more than $400,000 in attorneys’ fees after the attorney general’s office spent years defending a sodomy law that criminalizes oral and anal sex.

The law in question — Section 97-29-59 — was deemed unconstitutional in 2003 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case Lawrence v. Texas that private sexual conduct was constitutionally protected.

But Mississippi kept its sodomy law on the books, opening the door for a 2016 legal challenge that resulted in the expensive attorneys’ fees.

The AGs office, under both Democrat Jim Hood and Republican Lynn Fitch, fought the class action lawsuit by the Center for Constitutional Rights and other advocacy legal organizations, which sued on behalf of five Mississippians who were required to register as sex offenders for sodomy convictions. […]

Yet Mississippi’s “unnatural intercourse” law is still law. A state representative introduced a bill earlier this year to repeal it, but it received no attention and died in committee. And according to an attorney who worked on the lawsuit, there are still 14 people on the Mississippi Sex Offender Registry who were solely convicted under that law.

* Disney vs DeSantis

Disney rejected Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recent request for immunity from their legal feud Wednesday, with the media conglomerate criticizing the governor and presidential candidate for evading “responsibility for his actions.”

It’s the latest salvo in a legal battle that’s been ongoing since April when the theme park giant filed a suit against the governor in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. The broader battle began the year before, when Disney spoke out against the Parental Rights in Education Act, dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” by critics, which restricts instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in schools.

“The Governor seeks to evade responsibility for his actions on a narrower ground, asserting that a governor cannot be held officially liable for implementing, administering, and enforcing state laws that punish residents for political statements violating a state-prescribed speech code,” company attorneys wrote in a legal filing Wednesday.

DeSantis and his GOP legislative allies responded with actions Disney says were retaliatory and a violation of its free speech rights, such as the governor’s takeover of the company’s special taxing district, previously called the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

  14 Comments      


Pritzker witholds judgement on Chicago’s proposed ‘mansion tax’ as big changes floated

Friday, Jul 28, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I didn’t go to Gov. Pritzker’s event earlier today, but I watched online and then listened to the CMS audio and there was a hole in both recordings at the beginning of Pritzker’s response to a reporter’s question about the proposed hike in Chicago’s real estate transfer tax on properties selling for a million dollars or more. So, I checked in with the governor’s office to clarify what he said and then reconstructed the first part of the first sentence

I’m not necessarily against a change in the real estate transfer tax. We need to see what the results are. There’s still some debate going on, as you know, about what it might look like. I think we have to be careful. Property taxes are too high to begin with in general. We have to be careful about, obviously, I believe more in a graduated system than I do in a flat tax system so that wealthier people carry more of the load than people who are not wealthy. But I’m interested to see what they come up with

Supporters claim the tax would generate $160 million a year for homeless programs, but it appears like it’s about to be changed.

* WTTW

Department of Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara, who will step down at the end of the month, said city officials would recommend the proposal be altered to apply to just to the amount of the sale over $1 million, in an effort to ensure it withstands a legal challenge and lowers the incentive for sellers to “game the system.”

Imposing a marginal tax, rather than a flat tax, would make the tax fairer, and ease the tax burden on two- to six-unit properties, both residential and commercial, Novara said, adding that developments subsidized to be affordable could also be exempted.

For example, a property sold for $1.2 million now pays $9,000 in real estate transfer tax, Novara said. The proposal would hike that to $12,800, an effective increase of about 42% on the $200,000 of the sale price above $1 million, she added. […]

Just 4.3% of all property sales in Chicago total more than $1 million, which requires annual incomes of between $200,000 and $240,000, advocates said. Just 6% of Chicagoans earn that much money.

If they’re gonna do it, a marginal rate is definitely the way to go. And small multi-unit relief is another sign that more experienced hands are now working on this. But those changes will mean less revenue.

* Tribune

The only ways to change the rate, however, are through the Illinois General Assembly, which does not reconvene until the late fall veto session, or a citywide referendum. While aldermen Thursday announced they will opt for the latter, Johnson’s transition committee recently recommended going through the state legislature.

The city council always wants the General Assembly to do its dirty work on taxes. They should really consider holding a referendum.

  11 Comments      


Caption contest!

Friday, Jul 28, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I looked at this pic posted by Andy Manar and my immediate reaction was, “What the heck is in his ears?”…

Pritzker is chatting here with Andrea Pirondini, the CEO of Prysmian Group North America, which is expanding its facility in Du Quoin. Pirondini was born in Italy, so maybe it was some sort of translating device even though Pirondini speaks English quite well?

Was the governor listening to tunes?

* A dark joke among some journalists goes something like: “The best way to kill a good story is to make one too many phone calls.”

Well, I reached out yesterday to Pritzker’s spokesperson Alex Gough who said, “It was quite loud in there and everyone had these so they could hear the mic’d tour guide.”

Drat.

* Act like you never read the post and only saw the pic.

  45 Comments      


New law adds crisis pregnancy centers into state’s Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act

Friday, Jul 28, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* SB1909 synopsis

Amends the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. Prohibits a limited services pregnancy center from engaging in unfair methods of competition or unfair or deceptive acts or practices: (1) to interfere with or prevent an individual from seeking to gain entry or access to a provider of abortion or emergency contraception; (2) to induce an individual to enter or access the limited services pregnancy center; (3) in advertising, soliciting, or otherwise offering pregnancy-related services; or (4) in conducting, providing, or performing pregnancy-related services. Defines terms. Sets forth legislative intent. Effective immediately.

The bill was signed into law yesterday.

* Tribune

Anti-abortion pregnancy centers can be penalized by the Illinois attorney general if they use deceptive practices or misinformation to interfere with patients seeking abortion care under a measure Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law Thursday.

“Women need access to comprehensive, fact-based health care when making critical decision(s) about their own health — not manipulation or misinformation from politically motivated, nonmedical actors,” Pritzker said in a statement after he signed the bill.

Under the law, clinics are subject to injunctive action and a financial penalty of up to $50,000 under the state’s Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act if they are found to be dissuading “pregnant persons from considering abortion care through deceptive, fraudulent, and misleading information and practices.”

The bill signing was quickly followed by a federal lawsuit from the conservative Chicago nonprofit law firm Thomas More Society that argued the new law infringes on individuals’ First Amendment rights.

The lawsuit is here.

* Effingham Radio

Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Executive Vice President and Head of Litigation, a former Illinois legislator, spoke about the federal lawsuit just filed against the state, following the governor’s signature of SB 1909, which enacted the discriminatory law.

“This is a blatant attempt to chill and silence pro-life speech under the guise of consumer protections,” explained Breen. “Pregnancy help ministries provide real options and assistance to women and families in need, but instead of the praise they deserve, pro-abortion-rights politicians are targeting these ministries with $50,000 fines and injunctions solely because of their pro-life viewpoint.”

The Thomas More Society filed this afternoon in federal court seeking a Temporary Restraining Order and a Preliminary Injunction. NIFLA v. Raoul, case no. 23-50297, is now pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Western Division. The Thomas More Society is seeking to prevent the law from being enforced while the case makes its way through the court system.

* Crain’s

Planned Parenthood Illinois President Jennifer Welch said in a press conference Thursday afternoon, in which Raoul and elected representatives also spoke, that the new law is aimed at stopping pro-life pregnancy centers, some that do not provide medical care, from deceiving women with false claims like “abortion causes breast cancer” and “abortion will make you infertile” and from giving false medical information to women about the status of their pregnancy.

The name of the game for deceptive pro-life organizations is to try to stop people from going into Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, Welch said, trying to redirect them to their centers and trying to delay them from their appointments, and from receiving abortions.

Raoul decried the stories he said he had heard of pro-life centers deceiving patients that they were part of existing abortion clinics and removing them from near an abortion clinic to delay them from entering the clinic they intended on entering.

* ABC Chicago

The attorney general said it’s not about restricting speech.

“You’re not free to lie to people, or to use deceptive practices,” Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said.

Clinic supporters see the law as attempting to effectively shut down clinics and anti-abortion dissent.

The new law is effective immediately, but the legal challenge could block enforcement while the case winds through the courts. The attorney general expressed confidence it will be upheld.

* AP

Ralph Rivera, legislative chairman for Right to Life, was relieved to hear of the quick court action seeking a halt to the law. He maintains it not only chills free speech, is too vague in spelling out what the state might consider a violation. During debate on the House floor in May, Republicans pounded the bill’s sponsor for specifics and to each question, she responded that action would be at the attorney general’s discretion.

“These centers are scared,” Rivera said. “They don’t know if they’ve crossed the line and the attorney general will take them to court and demand all their records, a list of all their donors,” Rivera said.

The pregnancy centers have won in court before. A 2016 law requiring them to provide information on where clients could get an abortion was halted by a federal appeals court and still awaits trial court argument. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2018 that a similar law in California was unconstitutional.

* Related…

    * KHQA | Illinois law bans pro-life pregnancy centers from ‘deceptive practices’: The Deceptive Practices of Limited Services Pregnancy Centers Act, or SB 1909, bars crisis pregnancy centers from using “misinformation, deceptive practices, or misrepresentation in order to interfere with access to abortion services or emergency contraception.”

    * AG Kwame Raoul | To stop abortions, 19 GOP attorneys general want access to women’s medical information. They won’t get it from Illinois: We know that patients are traveling to our state for care, and Illinois providers and support networks have stepped up to serve this influx of patients from other states. Since the fall of Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood of Illinois has seen a 54% increase in abortion patients, and nearly 25% of their patients traveled from another state, compared with 7% before the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. My role as attorney general is to use the tools I have to protect medical providers and support networks and their patients who seek lawful health care in Illinois.

    * Politico | Ohio’s special election has become a proxy war over abortion rights: The push to pass Issue 1 is widely seen as an attempt by Republicans in the state to effectively block a separate initiative for abortion rights that is set to be considered this November. As such, it’s prompting a massive arms raise between heavy-hitting groups on each side of the debate

    * Columbus Dispatch | Who’s funding the Ohio Issue 1 campaigns? Donors from Illinois, D.C. and California: An Illinois billionaire dropped another $4 million into the fight over whether it should be harder to amend Ohio’s Constitution, new campaign filings show. But the donations from shipping supply magnate Richard Uihlein aren’t the only out-of-state money flowing ahead of the Aug. 8 special election. The campaigns for and against Issue 1 are relying heavily on donors from California to Washington, D.C. as they blast the influence of special interests on Ohio politics.

  24 Comments      


Pritzker signs bipartisan ‘commonsense, evidence-based’ bill to ‘make Illinois’ supervision system more transparent and effective’

Friday, Jul 28, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This bill passed unanimously through both chambers and was co-sponsored in the House by Republican floor leader and former prosecutor Rep. Patrick Windhorst. The following REFORM Alliance press release can be read in full by clicking here

The State of Illinois today took a transformative step toward modernizing its supervision system and strengthening public safety as Governor J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 423 into law. The bipartisan legislation earned overwhelming support, including a unanimous vote in the Illinois House, for its commonsense, evidence-based solutions that make Illinois’ supervision system more transparent and effective. It is expected to benefit more than 260,000 people on supervision and save the state of Illinois $16.5 million over the next five years. […]

Speaking at the event, REFORM Alliance co-founder Meek Mill said, “When I was on probation, the system did much more to hold me back than help me succeed. And my experience is just a reflection of millions of other stories that go untold. So it’s an honor to be a part of making the system work better for families in Illinois and across the country. Speaker Pro Tem Jehan Gordon-Booth and Governor Pritzker, we thank you for your leadership.” […]

SB423 goes into effect January 1st, 2024, and includes these evidence-based provisions:

    • Improving education credits that incentivize people on parole or Mandatory Supervised Release (MSR) to obtain a degree, career certificate, or vocational technical certificate.

    • Streamlining early termination processes and increasing government transparency by standardizing review timelines, encouraging officers to recommend early termination for people who have a track record of success, and providing clear feedback for those denied.

    • Tailoring Supervision to an individualized approach to each person’s unique circumstances, focusing on addressing root causes of crime and enhancing public safety. It also limits unnecessary drug testing, saving resources and reducing work interruptions.

    • Expanding virtual reporting permanently for remote check-ins for all forms of supervision in Illinois, reducing disruption to work or childcare responsibilities, and removing barriers to success.

More than 100,000 people are currently on probation, parole, or Mandatory Supervised Release in Illinois, many of whom face insurmountable challenges under the current system. Instead of helping people turn their lives around, Illinois’ supervision system too often operates as a revolving door back to prison. A Department of Corrections (DOC) report revealed that more than 1 in 4 - or 25% - of people across the country released from prison end up back behind bars for a technical violation (non-criminal violation) like missing a meeting with their supervision officer) within three years of their release.

The law is projected to significantly improve outcomes for those under supervision in Illinois, enhancing community stability and safety. Illinois now joins several other states where similar reforms have strengthened public safety, modernized supervision systems, reduced the number of people unnecessarily on supervision, and produced better outcomes for families and communities. REFORM has now passed 17 bipartisan bills in 11 states, creating new pathways that did not exist for more than 677,000 people to exit the system over the next five years.

The press conference can be viewed here.

…Adding… You should really watch this


  6 Comments      


Delivery Helps Chicago Restaurants Grow On Uber Eats

Friday, Jul 28, 2023 - Posted by Advertising Department

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

At Uber Eats, local restaurants are the backbone of our communities and delivery continues to help small business owners reach new customers and increase sales.

We recently published the results of the 2022 US Merchant Impact Report—which come directly from a survey of merchant partners. Read More.

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Good samaritans getting the brush-off, which is creating a Kafkaesque nightmare

Friday, Jul 28, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sun-Times

Todo Para Todos — a migrant shelter whose name means “everything for everyone” — was established as a promise that Chicago was a welcoming city.

It sprung up in Pilsen in May as the city scrambled to house thousands arriving from Latin America and since then has been a refuge for hundreds.

But after staying afloat for months without city funding, those in charge wonder how long it can last and whether operating a shelter without city support does a disservice to the residents.

As the article goes on to explain, the problems go well beyond money. Pilsen residents banded together, found a warehouse and have been providing food and shelter to asylum seekers. The article claims the shelter now houses 220 people, many of whom are children.

Asylum seekers in official city shelters receive wrap-around services which the Pilsen shelter can’t provide. More importantly, while the city’s official shelter occupants are automatically put on a track to receive affordable housing, the folks sheltering in Pilsen don’t qualify for that track, so they’re now in limbo with no way out. All because a group of admirable Chicagoans stepped up and did the right thing

Above all, they’re asking for the city to help those staying at the shelter get the same state rental assistance available at city shelters, said Anna DiStefano, another volunteer at the shelter.

Immigrants at city shelters can get money to cover rent and help finding amendable landlords through the state’s Asylum Seekers Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

If the city won’t act, the state needs to step in. Like now.

Decent people who did the right thing are getting kicked in the teeth. Enough, already.

  14 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition

Friday, Jul 28, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Friday, Jul 28, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Open thread

Friday, Jul 28, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* It’s Friday! What’s going on?…

  8 Comments      


Isabel’s morning briefing

Friday, Jul 28, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Here you go…

  5 Comments      


Live coverage

Friday, Jul 28, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Follow along with ScribbleLive


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« NEWER POSTS PREVIOUS POSTS »
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* After being charged with grooming and possessing images depicting child sexual abuse, Nicholas Kachiroubas to be ousted from ICCB (Updated)
* Isabel’s afternoon roundup
* You reap what you sow
* Coverage roundup: US Supreme Court upholds domestic violence gun law (Updated x2)
* US Attorney's office files blistering motion supporting Haymarket Center's discrimination lawsuit against Itasca (Updated)
* Uber Partners With Cities To Expand Urban Transportation
* It’s just a bill
* Stop Illinois From Making Credit Cards Hard To Use
* Question of the day
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