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Afternoon roundup

Wednesday, Nov 8, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sen. Sue Rezin…

Illinois has once again taken another step closer to paving the way for the development of new nuclear reactors within the state thanks to the passage of Illinois Senate Deputy Minority Leader Sue Rezin’s (R-Morris) new legislation, House Bill 2473, in the Senate on Wednesday, November 8.

“House Bill 2473 is a new piece of legislation designed to thoroughly and specifically address the concerns that the Governor stated in his veto message of my original bill,” said Sen. Rezin. “I would like to personally thank Senate President Harmon, his team, and other stakeholders that assisted throughout this negotiation process.”

House Bill 2473 lifts the ban on next generation nuclear reactors less than 300 MW beginning January 1, 2026. Additionally, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Office of Homeland Security will be directed to establish rules for reactor decommissioning, environmental monitoring, and emergency preparedness by January 1, 2026. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will also provide consultation.

Furthermore, House Bill 2473 authorizes the Governor to commission a brand-new study to research the State’s role in guiding the development of new nuclear technology and makes conforming statutory changes, including updating references to IEMA-OHS in preexisting Illinois law.

“The federal regulatory permitting process already takes six to eight years, so if we want to take advantage of the amazing advancements in new nuclear technology that have occurred over the past decade and prevent our state from falling behind the rest of the nation, we need to end this moratorium now,” continued Sen. Rezin. “Nuclear provides clean, reliable, and secure energy that we can count on as we strive to reach our clean energy goals in Illinois. With the passage of this legislation, we provide our state with the opportunity to truly embrace the next generation of nuclear technology and all of the benefits that it offers.”

House Bill 2473 passed out of the Senate with a 44-7 vote and is now on its way to the House of Representatives for further consideration. Since House Bill 2473 doesn’t take effect until January 1, 2026, it only requires a simple-majority vote in order to be sent to the Governor’s desk.

* Sen. Rachel Ventura…

State Senator Rachel Ventura passed a measure through the Senate that would move the state toward lower emissions, improve air quality throughout Illinois and require newly purchased state-owned vehicles to be zero emission.

“We cannot afford to delay transitioning to zero-emission vehicles,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “With this legislation, Illinois will not only save money in the long run, but will also protect the environment.”

Highway vehicles release about 1.4 billion tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year — mostly in the form of carbon dioxide — which contribute to the global climate crisis. Roughly five to nine tons of greenhouse gases are burned each year for a typical vehicle according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Ventura’s measure aims to lower the state’s overall emissions by addressing the pollutants released into the air by vehicle emissions, which have a direct impact on the environment.

Under Senate Bill 1769, passenger vehicles purchased or leased by the state must either be a manufactured zero-emission vehicle or converted into a zero-emission vehicle with the exception of law enforcement vehicles and vehicles procured by IDOT as part of their consolidated vehicle procurement program by 2030. Currently 13 other states have adopted similar zero-emission vehicle requirements, Minnesota being the only other Midwestern state to do so.

“This is just one step toward mitigating the impacts of the climate crisis. Illinois continues to lead other states, but there is more work to do,” said Ventura. “Going forward, the state needs to create a reliable electrical grid to support the increased demand of electrification, incentivize carbon-free energy production, and expand and restore natural carbon capture methods.”

Senate Bill 1769 passed the Senate on Wednesday and heads to the governor.

* From Gov. JB Pritzker’s Think Big America last night…

“Tonight, Ohio voters showed, once again, that they will not stand for draconian and extreme attacks on their reproductive rights. Ohioans have spoken loud and clear - abortion bans have no place in their state. Women deserve the freedom to make their own reproductive health choices and, thanks to the hard work of Ohioans across the state, that freedom is now protected in the state constitution. Think Big America applauds everyone who worked tirelessly to pass Issue One in a historic victory that will resonate for decades to come. Tonight, we celebrate the win for freedom in Ohio and tomorrow we continue the fight to pursue these same victories for reproductive rights across the country.”

* From Pritzker’s group today…

“Virginians voted to protect the future of abortion in their state and send reproductive rights allies to Richmond. Think Big America congratulates reproductive rights champions, state senators-elect Danica Roem, Schuyler Van Valkenburg, and Russet Perry. Virginia remains the final state in the South without an abortion ban and the message sent on Tuesday is loud and clear - we want to keep it that way. Despite the best efforts by anti-choice extremists and their far-right allies, women’s freedom to determine their own healthcare decisions won out yesterday. Think Big America applauds the hard work of everyone in Virginia who made these victories possible and who have steadfastly defended reproductive rights and abortion access along the way.”

* Isabel’s afternoon roundup…

    * Tribune | Jury selection for ex-Ald. Edward Burke corruption trial continues: That’s a little more than half of the 47 potential jurors who are needed before attorneys can proceed to the next phase of selection, in which each side will get to strike a certain number of people from the jury pool without giving a reason. The slow pace means opening statements in the case will likely be Thursday at the earliest.

    * Center Square | Lawmakers grill IDES director over billions in unemployment fraud during pandemic: A performance audit released by the Office of the Auditor General showed that overpayments of $5.2 billion in the Unemployment Insurance and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance programs were the result of fraud, non-fraud and identity theft between 2020 to 2022. The audit also found that nearly 3,500 inmates in Illinois prisons received fraudulent benefits. The Auditor General’s office found that inmates received over $40 million in benefits.

    * ABC Chicago | Former Chicago Alderman Bob Fioretti officially launches Cook County state’s attorney bid: Bob Fioretti was expected to be at the Billy Goat Tavern on West Madison Street Wednesday morning to say he’s running as a Republican. Fioretti previously ran for Cook County Board president and lost to Toni Preckwinkle.

    * Daily Herald | Deferred prosecution OK’d for Sugar Grove trustee charged with forgery: He is accused of forging the signature of a North Aurora building department official on a certificate of occupancy for a home in the Moose Lake Estates subdivision and presenting the forged document to a title company. Michels works for a company that builds custom homes. According to a North Aurora police report, the forgery was discovered when a homeowner inquired about getting a permit to build a swimming pool. North Aurora employees were confused, however, because they had not issued an occupancy certificate for the house.

    * Crain’s | Paid leave policy outrages Chicago restaurants, but workers want PTO: If passed, the proposal would require Chicago employers to provide employees 10 paid days off starting next year. Companies with more than 100 employees will be required to pay out up to seven unused days off when a worker ends employment. Businesses with 50 or fewer employees would be exempt from having to pay out unused days, and there would be a one-year phase-in of required payout for companies with 51 to 100 workers.

    * SJ-R | Springfield City Council adopts moratorium on residency requirement for municipal workers: Ward 2 Ald. Shawn Gregory, Ward 3 Ald. Roy Williams Jr. and Ward 4 Ald. Larry Rockford voted against the ordinance, which, like two weeks ago at committee of the whole, engendered a long discussion. Before the vote, the council approved two amendments to the ordinance, including one that would subject the council to revisit the ordinance after one year, though no sunset provision was attached to it.

    * NBC Chicago | Several Illinois schools listed in Wall Street Journal rankings of best Midwest colleges: Lake Forest College was named as the second-best small Midwestern college, while ranking 27th overall nationally. The University of St. Francis in Joliet was ranked as the ninth-best small Midwestern college. Four Illinois schools made up the top 10 mid-size colleges, with Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology topping the list.

    * ABC Chicago | Bill Murray, Mike Veeck are new co-owners of Joliet Slammers baseball team: The Joliet City Council unanimously approved the sale Tuesday evening. Murray is part of a group that’s reached an agreement, in principal, to buy 75% of the team. One of the other co-owners is Mike Veeck, the son of late White Sox owner Bill Veeck.

    * Daily Herald | ‘I’m overwhelmed’: Victory Auto Wreckers’ owner says of public response to business closing after 78 years: That’s why Weisner’s phone has been ringing nonstop and T-shirt sales have jumped since he announced the business closing on Dean Richards’ WGN Radio 720 show Sunday morning. “It’s endearing,” he said Tuesday of the ongoing response. “I didn’t think we had that much of an impact on people’s lives. Thank you so much for everything.” Nov. 18 is the last day Victory will accept vehicles and Nov. 30 is the final day it will be open to the public.


  1. - Faithful - Wednesday, Nov 8, 23 @ 4:00 pm:

    It seems crazy that a public official could engage in misconduct by forging documents for personal gain and get delayed prosecution.

  2. - Back to the Future - Wednesday, Nov 8, 23 @ 4:23 pm:

    Surprised to see the General Assembly get around to looking at the 5.2 Billion theft of taxpayer funds.
    Thinking this is the biggest theft under any Governor in the history of the State of Illinois.
    Yet another example of Pritzker having problems with governing through his private corporation structure.

  3. - Steve Polite - Wednesday, Nov 8, 23 @ 4:51 pm:

    @Back to the Future,

    Unemployment fraud during the pandemic was a national problem partially due to the specially created federal PUA portion of unemployment benefits for “gig” workers. Due to the looser federal rules of PUA, it was easier for people to commit fraud across the country. The Governor or his administration had very little control over the PUA other than to implement the federal program. PUA was 100% federally funded, so the state did not lose any money from PUA fraud.

  4. - WK - Wednesday, Nov 8, 23 @ 8:04 pm:

    = The Governor or his administration had very little control over the PUA other than to implement the federal program. =

    You might want to read the audit, or at least the short summary. The administration removed their own safeguards and refused to implement safeguards recommended by the feds. In fact a couple of those fed suggestions weren’t even being followed yet when the audit was released this summer.

  5. - Jibba - Wednesday, Nov 8, 23 @ 11:33 pm:

    Ironic that the company with approval for SMRs just collapsed.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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