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Friday, Aug 25, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The Illinois State Fair is over, the governor has taken action on all legislation, the Illinois Supreme Court has finished (I think) issuing major opinions for the summer, petition filing doesn’t start until Sept. 5 and the Tim Mapes trial has concluded. Next week looks like a unique opportunity to take a little time off and Isabel concurs.

May the wind take your troubles away

Not enough living on the outside

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Afternoon roundup

Friday, Aug 25, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From the National Labor Relations Board

Today, the Board issued a decision in Cemex Construction Materials Pacific, LLC announcing a new framework for determining when employers are required to bargain with unions without a representation election. The new framework will both effectuate employees’ right to bargain through representatives of their own choosing and improve the fairness and integrity of Board-conducted elections.

Under the new framework, when a union requests recognition on the basis that a majority of employees in an appropriate bargaining unit have designated the union as their representative, an employer must either recognize and bargain with the union or promptly file an RM petition seeking an election. However, if an employer who seeks an election commits any unfair labor practice that would require setting aside the election, the petition will be dismissed, and—rather than re-running the election—the Board will order the employer to recognize and bargain with the union.

Wow. That’s big. The decision is here.


The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced the CDC is reporting all 102 Illinois counties remained at a low level for COVID-19 hospital admissions as of the middle of August, though wastewater surveillance is detecting rising Covid-19 activity. IDPH is continuing to closely watch COVID-19 data and also monitoring other respiratory viruses, particularly flu and RSV, ahead of the fall and winter seasons.

“Although hospitalization rates and deaths from COVID-19 remain low, it is important for our residents to know that we are seeing rising COVID-19 activity across Illinois,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “We are fortunate the vast majority of Illinoisians have received immunity from a COVID-19 vaccine or previous infection that protects them against severe disease. However, COVID-19 continues to pose a risk for our seniors, individuals with chronic medical conditions, and those who are immunocompromised. IDPH is closely monitoring COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, emerging variants, and a broad range of respiratory illnesses including flu and RSV. As we approach the fall, our residents will have access to a number of tools, including updated shots and treatments, that can help us avoid another ‘tripledemic.’ Please contact your primary care provider to learn about the options available to protect you and your loved ones this upcoming respiratory season.”

Director Vohra said that the Illinois Wastewater Surveillance System is indicating moderate COVID activity across all sampling regions in Illinois. The system is designed to monitor for levels of COVID-19, flu and RSV viruses in wastewater at 79 locations across Illinois. Flu and RSV activity remain low in the wastewater across all regions.

* I read this report and thought the same. A rarity…

* Press release…

Illinois Railroad Association President Tim Butler was elected Vice Chair of the Illinois High-Speed Rail Commission during the commission’s meeting on Thursday, August 24, 2023. As Vice Chair, Butler will work with Chair Jim Derwinski of Metra and all members of the commission to craft a plan for the future of high-speed rail in Illinois.

“We are blessed to be the only state with all six Class 1 freight railroads,” said Butler. “If we are going to move forward with true high-speed rail in Illinois, our freight railroads are going to be vital partners in this effort. That is why I put my name forward for Vice Chair. Working with Chair Derwinksi, we have representatives of the commuter/passenger rail perspective and the freight rail perspective to help do the work of this commission.

* On to politics. Rep. Mike Coffey (R-Springfield) has a primary opponent. From Kelvin Coburn

I am thrilled to announce my candidacy for the position of Illinois State Representative for the 95th Congressional District. With a deep commitment to our community and a passion for positive change, I am excited to put forth my experience and dedication to serve the people of this district.

Having lived and worked here for many years, I understand the unique challenges and opportunities that our community faces. From education and healthcare to job creation and protecting our Second Amendment rights, I am committed to working tirelessly to address these issues and ensure a brighter future for all.

Throughout my career, I have demonstrated a strong track record of collaborative leadership, effective problem-solving, and a willingness to listen to the concerns of constituents. As your State Representative, I will champion policies that promote collaboration with constituents, economic growth, sustainable development, constitutional rights and term limits.

* CD7…

The Center for Racial and Gender Equity (CRGE) has declared strong support for Kina Collins as she runs to represent IL’s 7th Congressional district.

“It is with great enthusiasm, the Center for Racial and Gender Equity announces that we are all in for Kina Collins! We are looking forward to giving Kina our full support in both the primary and general election in 2024.”

The CRGE runs a Black civic engagement program that reaches more than one million voters across Illinois and Wisconsin in an election cycle. The organization builds power by engaging Black voters and empowering Black women’s leadership to advance a legislative agenda and candidates that explicitly support Black women’s liberation.

* Texas…

* Dude was already a little godzilla, so I suppose it won’t hurt him /s…

* Isabel’s roundup…


The local angle

Friday, Aug 25, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Republican congressional candidate Darren Bailey’s reaction to the booking of a former POTUS…

* US Rep. Mike Bost is trying to fend off Bailey’s challenge…

* US Rep. Mary Miller has been a Trump and Bailey ally…

* Republican US Rep. Darin LaHood’s non-government XTwitter account has been silent all month. The Illinois Republican Party’s account hasn’t been silent, but it has been mum on the Georgia indictments…

* The Cook County Republican Party has been far more active, rextweeting various memes and things like this

* I searched the accounts I follow and didn’t see anything mentioning yesterday’s events from elected Democrats, the state party, etc.

* Let’s move on to a different Illinois angle. More background on Illinoisan Trevian Kutti is here if you need it. She’s a bit on the weird side, to say the least. Her booking photo…


* Some background on Stephen Lee is here


Giannoulias ‘disgusted and disheartened’ by library threats, chides Republicans for their silence

Friday, Aug 25, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Background is here if you need it. Media advisory…

Giannoulias to Host Press Conference Highlighting Libraries and Literacy Program Grants, Totaling over $27 Million

Secretary Giannoulias to spotlight libraries and literacy programs across the state

Who: Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Alexi Giannoulias
Elected officials, librarians and literacy organizations

What: Secretary Giannoulias is hosting a press conference to announce the libraries and literacy programs awarded grants by his office. The grants help to support and encourage education, lifelong learning and adult literacy.

* Giannoulias’ response to a question about security resources for libraries

The truth of matter is our office has minimal resources and libraries are already struggling to have the resources they need. They’re also struggling to keep people working there because of these disgusting threats and intimidation that was occurring before these bomb threats. Some are forced to have security guards, most aren’t.

And on a grander scale, I’m so disgusted and disheartened with what’s taking place, especially this week. What the hell is wrong with people? They’re threatening to bomb libraries, because you have libraries were doing their job, which is nurturing kids? We should be putting librarians on a pedestal.

So to me, it’s a sad, sad week for Illinois. It’s a sad day for our country, sad week for our country. But I couldn’t be more proud of our librarians, who by the way continue to go to work every single day, even with these threats, even with this intimidation, the likes of which they’ve never seen. So, disheartening and dangerous.

And I want to make one other point on that, because I know I’m not supposed to talk politics and political parties are irrelevant to me on day like today, we never ask anyone what party they are, we don’t care, we want people to do great work.

But I will also tell you that - and I could be wrong, if I am, I apologize - I didn’t hear one Republican across this state condemn these threats, condemn the attacks. That’s offensive, that’s scary and shows you how politics has invaded which should be something that is completely nonpartisan, which is educating our kids, providing resources for people to go and learn, and the right to the freedom of education in this country has always stood for.

Please pardon all transcription errors.


Mapes conviction coverage roundup

Friday, Aug 25, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* We covered most of this yesterday and before and during the trial, but let’s do a roundup. Jon Seidel at the Sun-Times

Tim Mapes once seemed free and clear, even as the FBI drew its net around his former boss and his longtime colleagues in Springfield.

Months after the indictment of four people with ties to onetime Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, Mapes found himself sitting before a federal grand jury. He had an immunity order, meaning he couldn’t be prosecuted for what he said — as long as he told the truth.

But Mapes decided to lie that day in March 2021.

That’s what a jury decided Thursday after five hours of deliberations at the end of a trial that lasted three weeks featuring 18 witnesses and several FBI wiretap recordings. In fact, they said Mapes lied a lot: on seven specific occasions, regarding 14 different topics.

Mapes is now a convicted liar. His word on anything can no longer be trusted in any court, including the court of public opinion. Even so, a commenter asked this yesterday

Now the question becomes who will Mapes roll on to reduce his sentence? Is he finally at a point where he will reveal what he knows? Certainly does not seem like McClain has flipped but who knows?

My reply

First, he’s been convicted of perjury. He’d be a lousy witness even without his own personality, um, issues. Second, unless he knows something the government doesn’t after months of FBI wiretaps, email and document subpoenas, etc. he’s got nothing much to give. Third, even if he did have something, the ComEd Four trial strongly indicates that Madigan is a cooked goose. They don’t need him. Never did, actually.

Also, if the feds truly needed Mapes to make their case against Madigan and McClain they’d have pressed him much harder during the grand jury on far more topics. Also too, Mapes’ cooperation could actually complicate their case because the defense lawyers would make mincemeat out of him on the stand (although I’d almost pay to see it).

* Mapes wasn’t ever cooperative, as Hannah Meisel points out in her story

In a statement late Thursday afternoon, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Morris Pasqual said Mapes’ conviction “should stand as a clear message to witnesses” who are called to appear in front of a grand jury. […]

About six weeks before his grand jury testimony, Mapes sat for an FBI interview in February 2021. During the trial, prosecutors hinted at the fact that Mapes ended the interview after agents broached the subject of Madigan and his close confidant Mike McClain. The FBI was interested in whether McClain, a longtime influential lobbyist in Springfield with whom Mapes also shared a friendship, acted as an “agent” of Madigan.

Shortly after Mapes’ FBI interview, he was subpoenaed for testimony in front of the grand jury, but roughly 10 days later, asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. In response, prosecutors requested the court put Mapes under an immunity order, meaning that in exchange for his truthful testimony, Mapes couldn’t be charged in the investigation.

However, the immunity order also meant that if Mapes lied while under oath, he could be charged. It was under those circumstances that Mapes entered the grand jury room in late March of 2021, where during those two hours of testimony, he was reminded three times of the stakes of lying under oath.

The time to flip was February of 2021, well before the feds asked a judge to impose an immunity order on him. The train left the station and he wasn’t on it. Others quickly hopped aboard, and they’ll be home with their families while Mapes is serving whatever time he gets.

* Jason Meisner and Ray Long at the Tribune

Mapes’ quick-and-quiet exit stood in high contrast to his heyday as Madigan’s longtime chief of staff and executive director of the state Democratic Party, when, as the speaker’s premier gatekeeper, he strode the halls of power with an almost autocratic style.

He also served as the clerk of the House, where he was known as a details-driven micromanager adept at keeping the legislative trains running.

Madigan unceremoniously dumped Mapes from all three positions in June 2018 after a staffer accused him of sexual harassment in a year in which the #MeToo movement cost the careers of several Madigan allies.

The jury’s verdict marked the conclusion of a nearly three-week criminal case that centered on relatively straightforward charges yet delved deeply into the behind-the-scenes political intrigue of the scandals that rocked Madigan’s office and ended his decadeslong grip on power.

* Todd Feurer and Suzanne Le Mignot at CBS 2

“For whatever reason in his heart and his mind, (Mapes) chose loyalty over the truth,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane MacArthur said during closing arguments Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors said Mapes had a mantra: “protect the boss,” and he lied repeatedly to do that. Mapes’ defense said “protect the boss” meant protecting Madigan from political fallout, and nothing else.

As Speaker Madigan’s top aide for more than 25 years, the prosecution said Mapes lied about the nature of the long-term relationship between Madigan and his longtime confidant Michael McClain, arguing Mapes knew McClain, a lobbyist and close Madigan friend, did work for the former speaker.

Federal prosecutors said when called to testify before a grand jury investigating the ComEd case, Mapes lied “to protect the boss Mike Madigan and lied to protect his friend, Mike McClain.”

…Adding… True…

* Isabel rounded up some more…


Pick a lane, please

Friday, Aug 25, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Center Square

At a late Thursday afternoon news conference, Deputy Illinois House Republican Leader Ryan Spain and Assistant Leader Patrick Windhorst wondered how many corruption convictions would it to take for Democrats to get serious about reform at the state capitol.

“Another day, another conviction in federal court,” Spain said, adding that “cleaning up the crisis of corruption that continues to plague the state of Illinois” needs to be a top priority.

Spain and Windhorst called for Gov. J.B. Pritzker to call a special session so lawmakers can work on comprehensive ethics reform.

“How many indictments is too many .. how many guilty verdicts is it going to take to have Democrats join Republicans” in ending the culture of corruption in Springfield, Windhorst said.

* Leader Windhorst was asked at that press conference, “What specific ethics reform would address Mapes’ case of lying to a grand jury and the problems with harassment and intimidation that happened when he was chief of staff?“…

One thing that I think is clear is that Mike Madigan exerted almost absolute control over the House of Representatives. That’s done, as leader Spain referenced, because of the rules that were in place, the laws that are in place. Those things needed to be changed and reformed. Speaker Madigan had such control over Tim Mapes that, even when offered immunity, all he had to do was tell the truth and he would escape prosecution. But instead he lied. That shows the amount of control and power Speaker Madigan had.

So we have to put things into the law and make changes to our rules that will limit the power of one person. You know, there’s the saying that power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. And that’s what we’re seeing, absolute power in one man has corrupted that institution and the leadership of that institution, absolutely.

I don’t disagree that more rule changes are necessary in both chambers. I have long argued that the chamber leaders should not choose committee chairs, vice chairs and minority spokespersons. That should, in my opinion, be done by a caucus vote. I’m sure we can all think of something that could be changed.

* But Mike Madigan and Tim Mapes are long gone. That sort of velvet hammer rule no longer exists. I mean, just ask House Republican Leader Tony McCombie, who said this during the Illinois State Fair last week

The session was complete chaos. And for the first time in decades - in decades - the Democrats didn’t have the capability to negotiate and navigate the budget and they gave up control to the Senate Democrats. Speaker Welch showed that he is the master of mismanagement.

Please pardon all transcription errors.


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Friday, Aug 25, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Meanwhile… In Opposite Land

Friday, Aug 25, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* South Carolina

South Carolina’s new all-male Supreme Court reversed course on abortion Wednesday, upholding a ban on most such procedures after about six weeks of pregnancy.

The continued erosion of legal abortion access across the U.S. South comes after Republican state lawmakers replaced the lone woman on the court, Justice Kaye Hearn, who reached the state’s mandatory retirement age.

The 4-1 ruling departs from the court’s own decision months earlier striking down a similar ban that the Republican-led Legislature passed in 2021. The latest ban takes effect immediately.

Writing for the new majority, Justice John Kittredge acknowledged that the 2023 law also infringes on “a woman’s right of privacy and bodily autonomy,” but said the state Legislature reasonably determined this time around that those interests don’t outweigh “the interest of the unborn child to live.”

* Florida

The Florida State Board of Education is expected to vote Wednesday on new rules at state colleges for transgender employees and students that are intended to comply with a law, passed in May, restricting access to bathrooms.

According to the board’s proposal, colleges will be forced to fire employees who twice use a bathroom other than the one assigned to their sex at birth, despite being asked to leave.

The proposal also states that the bathroom restrictions apply to student housing operated by the colleges, meaning that transgender students living in dorms may be required to use only the bathrooms that align with their sex at birth.

The proposed new regulation shows that colleges, like K-12 schools, will be caught up in the new restrictions and the bureaucracy required to enforce them.

* More from Florida

Parents of Black students in the fourth and fifth grades at Bunnell Elementary in Flagler County are upset, saying their children were targeted for underperforming on standardized tests.

Only Black students, whether low scoring or not, were called into an assembly Friday. […]

The students were presented with a PowerPoint the district shared with WESH 2. One page is called the problem: “(African Americans) have underperformed on standardized assessment for the last past three years… Only 32% are at Level 3 or higher.” […]

The parents say they were not told anything about the plan to single out students of color as though they and only they are what’s bringing the school down. The mother we spoke to on-camera says her daughter scored 4 and 5 on recent assessments.

“It became racial for me when they included and boxed all of the Black children together no matter if they were below average, average or above average,” the mother said.

* Tennessee

The signs returned to the Tennessee statehouse after a judge blocked the House GOP rule

People held signs without problems at the Tennessee Capitol complex Wednesday after a judge agreed to temporarily block a new rule advanced by House Republicans that had banned the public from doing so during floor and committee hearings.

The ruling came in a lawsuit that was filed after state troopers removed three people Tuesday who held small signs urging gun control at a hearing on the same statehouse grounds where Republicans also drew attention this year for expelling two young Black Democratic lawmakers for breaking procedural rules.

This week’s removals came at the order of a GOP subcommittee chair, who later instructed troopers to kick the rest of the public out of the committee room after deeming the crowd too unruly. That included grieving parents closely connected to a recent Nashville school shooting, who broke down in tears at the decision.

The emotional and chaotic scene irked both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, while others pointed out that although signs were banned, the public could still freely carry firearms inside the legislative office building. Signs were present during a House committee hearing Wednesday morning.

* Wisconsin

* Missouri

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association this month launched the latest volley in the battle over environmental, social and governance investment factors, filing a federal lawsuit over Missouri’s first-of-its-kind ESG securities rules.

The Show Me State’s new rules require advisors and broker-dealers to obtain written consent from customers to buy or sell an investment produced based on social or other non-financial objectives. The disclosure would require an acknowledgment that incorporating ESG considerations “will result” in investments and advice “that are not solely focused on maximizing a financial return for the client.”

SIFMA named Missouri Secretary of State John “Jay” Ashcroft, who has jurisdiction over the state’s securities, and Missouri Securities Commissioner Douglas Jacoby in the complaint, which was filed in the U.S. District Court of Western District of Missouri, Central Division.

* Georgia

Georgia’s second-largest school district says that it has removed two books from 20 school libraries, saying the books had “highly inappropriate, sexually explicit content.”

The announcement, sent in an electronic message to parents in some Cobb County schools on Monday, comes days after the Republican-majority school board voted 4-3 along party lines to fire a teacher for reading a book about gender identity to fifth-grade students.

Although not new, book removals have surged since 2020, part of a backlash to what kids read and discuss in public schools. Conservatives want to stop children from reading books with themes on sexuality, gender, race and religion that they find objectionable. PEN America, a group promoting freedom of expression, counted 4,000 instances of books banned nationwide from July 2021 to December 2022.

Cobb County, with 106,000 students, said Tuesday that 20 libraries had contained “Flamer” by Mike Curato or “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews, or both. “Flamer” is a graphic novel about a boy who is discovering he is gay and how he is treated at summer camp. “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” contains some discussion of sex and a lot of profanity, but is mainly about two high school boys who befriend a girl dying of cancer. Both were among the most challenged books of 2022, according to a list published by the American Library Association.


Open thread

Friday, Aug 25, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* What’s goin’ on in your part of Illinois?

Here’s a little known fact for Friday: Oscar also has a mugshot…


Isabel’s morning briefing

Friday, Aug 25, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Here you go…


Live coverage

Friday, Aug 25, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ScribbleLive is still down. Twitter has stopped allowing people to embed list feeds on websites. So, click here or here to follow breaking news.

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* Reader comments closed for Juneteenth
* Cash bail did not necessarily make us any safer (Updated)
* Isabel’s afternoon roundup (Updated)
* GOP poll has Sorensen up by 9 points, but below 50 percent
* Showcasing The Retailers Who Make Illinois Work
* It’s just a bill
* Revenue omnibus includes some little-noticed charitable provisions
* Pritzker teams up with IBM, Discover Financial to push for federal quantum funds
* They’ll come back to it
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* Live coverage
* Selected press releases (Live updates)
* Yesterday's stories

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