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*** UPDATED x1 *** Copays and co-insurance to be imposed on undocumented immigrant healthcare starting tomorrow

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

New copays and coinsurance for existing enrollees in the Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors (HBIS) and Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults (HBIA) programs will go into effect on Feb. 1, as the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) previously announced.

Most services covered by the HBIA and HBIS programs, which provide health care coverage for individuals who would be eligible for Medicaid coverage if not for their immigration status, will continue to be free for customers, including primary care visits, prescription medications and vaccinations at a pharmacy or doctor’s office. The new copays and co-insurance will apply to the use of non-emergency hospital or surgical center services, like nonemergent elective surgeries, physical therapy and lab work.

Copays are fixed amounts paid for health care services covered by a health plan, while coinsurance is a type of cost-sharing where a customer pays a percentage of the total price for a covered health care service, and their insurer pays the remainder. Both copays and coinsurance are common cost-sharing practices used in both commercial insurance and in Medicare. Enrollees should always check with their provider on whether they will be charged out-of-pocket costs for a service.

The impact of copays and cost-sharing will vary for participants based on their enrollment in Medicaid Managed Care, which many HBIA and HBIS participants will be transitioning to over the next several months. The copays and coinsurance and the transition to managed care for HBIA and HBIS enrollees are among the cost-saving measures HFS has implemented in order to bring program costs within the budgeted amount for State Fiscal Year 2024.

For those already enrolled or in the process of enrolling in a Managed Care Organization (MCO), out-of-pocket costs will depend on the MCO. Some MCOs are waiving all or some of the allowable charges, which means hospitals or surgical centers will not charge members of that MCO an out-of-pocket cost for some or all non-emergency procedures and services. Those not enrolled in an MCO can be charged copayments or coinsurance.

No copay or cost-sharing may be charged for an emergency service needed to evaluate or stabilize an emergency medical condition, which is a condition with symptoms severe and painful enough that a reasonable person would think they are life-threatening and need immediate medical care. Individuals who have severe symptoms that could be life threatening should not hesitate to seek immediate treatment, and in those instances will not have cost sharing requirements.

Copays and cost-sharing may only be charged on the following services:

    • Non-emergency Inpatient hospitalizations: $250 copayment per stay.
    • Non-emergency Hospital Outpatient Services or Ambulatory Surgical Treatment Center: 10% of what HFS would pay the provider. The amount an enrollee can be charged will vary depending on the service and the provider, and enrollees should check with the provider on whether they will need to pay an out-of-pocket cost for a service.

HFS has removed a previously planned $100 copay for non-emergency hospital ER services, after consulting with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and confirming that the state can seek reimbursement for all emergency room care. In addition, some of the MCOs are waiving copays for certain service types: CountyCare, which only serves customers in Cook County and will serve the majority of HBIA and HBIS enrollees, is waiving all copays and coinsurance for HBIA and HBIS customers.

Beginning January 1, 2024, many HBIA and HBIS customers have begun receiving services through HealthChoice Illinois, the State of Illinois’ Medicaid Managed Care Program. Previously, services were delivered to HBIA and HBIS customers solely via a fee-for-service model. The shift to managed care provides a level of care coordination for customers that isn’t available with fee-for-service. Care coordinators help customers connect with the medical care and social services they need.

MCO enrollment for HBIA and HBIS customers is taking place in waves, with the last cohort of HBIA and HBIS customers enrolling with an MCO April 1. HBIA and HBIS customers are receiving enrollment packets in the mail that explain the transition to managed care and what they need to do. A sample MCO enrollment letter is available here.

HBIA and HBIS enrollees who have comprehensive private insurance or spenddown will remain in fee-for-service and will not enroll with a managed care plan or receive an MCO enrollment mailing.

More information about the HBIA and HBIS transition to managed care is available here.

*** UPDATE *** Healthy Illinois Campaign…

Today, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) will implement co-payments and co-insurance for some nonemergency services for enrollees in the State’s Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults (HBIA) and Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors (HBIS) programs. Yesterday, HFS announced it would no longer go forward with the implementation of co-pays for emergency services. Healthy Illinois Campaign Director Tovia Siegel released the following statement in response to the announcement:

“Healthy Illinois Campaign is pleased the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services announced they will no longer be instituting co-pays for some emergency room visits. This decision will keep Illinoisans safer and allow them to seek the healthcare they need in emergencies.

“However, the two co-payments that will go into effect on February 1 will place a significant burden on both providers and patients, limiting access to healthcare for Illinois’ immigrant community. We urge the Department of Healthcare and Family Services and Managed Care Organizations to reconsider implementing these charges, which will generate a relatively small amount of money but can be the difference between life and death for low-income Illinoisans.

“Healthy Illinois Campaign stands ready to work with HFS and the Governor’s Office to find fiscally responsible and sustainable ways to ensure equitable access to health care for the state’s lowest-income residents.”

  7 Comments      


Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Rick Pearson

* Illinois Realtors are about to drop a $1 million campaign against Bring Chicago Home, says Crain’s

“We’re going to tell Chicago voters that it will harm the city if you create another real estate tax in a city where we’re already overly burdened with real estate taxes,” Jeff Baker, CEO of Springfield-based Illinois Realtors, said in a meeting with several Crain’s reporters on Jan. 30. […]

Baker told Crain’s that “in the next week or so,” the group will roll out a digital ad campaign on social media and streaming services, and plans to spend “about $1 million.”

On the other side, the lead organizers of support for the proposal had raised about $700,000 as of mid-January, Justin Laurence reported for Crain’s.

Illinois Realtors’ campaign against the proposal will entail “about four to six weeks of digital ads, mail and media outreach and get-out-the vote fieldwork,” Baker said, “to try to get the message out as much as possible that we think BHC will be harmful to the real estate economy of the city.”

* Meanwhile… supporters of the referendum on a graduated real estate transfer tax reported a $200,000 contribution today from the Chicago Teachers Union. The committee, End Homelessness, supporting Bring Chicago Home, ended the fourth quarter with about $744K in the bank and has so far reported raising about $245K this calendar year.”

* Press release…

Fire officials and elected leaders today joined together to announce new, first-of-its-kind technology in Illinois will be implemented for south suburban fire departments that will improve emergency response times and emergency care for southland residents.
 
Through a state grant awarded by Sen. Michael Hastings, south suburban fire departments will soon begin implementing new technology called CentralSquare Unify that will sync dispatch services among fire protection districts signed up for the program. In effect, the new technology will provide instant alerts to south suburban fire protection districts when additional assistance is needed to respond to emergencies.
 
“A state grant will allow southland fire districts participating in this program to implement technology that we have not yet seen in Illinois,” Hastings said. “The new Unify program will allow for quicker emergency response for our communities.”
 
With a $600,000 state grant, the CentralSquare Unify program is being led by the Orland Park Fire Protection District and includes participation from numerous south suburban fire districts signed up for the program: Blue Island, Calumet City, Chicago Heights, Country Club Hills, Garden Homes Fire Protection District, Glenwood, Hazel Crest, Homewood, Lemont, Matteson, Merrionette Park, Oak Forest, Palos Fire Protection District, Park Forest, Richton Park, Riverdale, South Holland, Thornton, and Tinley Park. The goal is to expand the technology to as many south suburban fire protection districts as possible to ensure seamless and instant communication capabilities and improve emergency response times.
 

* Press release…

U.S. Representative Mike Bost (IL-12) today announced that his campaign has raised over $468,000 in the final quarter of 2023 and has a war chest of over $1.35 million cash-on-hand.

“Our campaign is firing on all cylinders when it matters most; and our momentum only continues to grow,” said Bost. “We have a conservative message and record of results that our opponent seems unable to refute, and a dominant lead in fundraising that our opponent seems unable to narrow. I can’t thank Southern Illinois Republicans enough for buying into our movement and ensuring we have resources necessary to fight back against the false attacks that keep coming our way.”

* Here’s the rest…

    * Crain’s | Chicago DNC to receive donation from an unlikely ally: Atlanta’s DNC committee: During a brief phone call on Jan. 12 with Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens mentioned that the city’s civic and corporate leaders were still interested in helping the DNC this August, despite losing their bid to host the event last spring. That conversation led to a commitment from a group of around 15 Georgia fundraisers who plan to give at least $500,000 to the Chicago convention, a senior official in Atlanta told Crain’s. The donation will mark the first time a bid committee from a city that once competed for the convention has donated to the host city, said Natalie Edelstein, a spokesperson for the Chicago host committee.

    * WTTW | Effort to Remove Donald Trump From the Illinois Primary Ballot Continues in State Court: The case was filed Tuesday afternoon, hours after the Trump objectors’ initial attempt to knock the former president from the ballot failed. The Trump objectors, working in concert with the group Free Speech for People, had asked members of the Illinois State Board of Election to ban him from running for president in Illinois.

    * AP | Some Republican leaders are pushing back against the conservative Freedom Caucus in statehouses: In state capitols around the country, Republican legislative leaders are pushing back against a growing network of conservative lawmakers attempting to pull the party further to the right with aggressive tactics aimed not at Democrats but at members of their own party. The infighting has put a spotlight on Republican fissures heading into the November elections, even as former President Donald Trump has been consolidating party support.

    * Fox 32 | IDOT workers rally in Schaumburg to demand fair contract: Teamsters Local 700 President Ramon Williams emphasized the significance of these essential workers, stating, “These hardworking, essential workers help keep our roads safe and our economy moving, especially during the pandemic. They deserve a fair contract that recognizes the value of their work.” Williams continued, urging the State of Illinois to return to the bargaining table with a fair offer that compensates these members without compromising their health and welfare benefits.

    * SJ-R | ‘Important effort’: Illinois Underground Railroad Task Force works to connect projects: “When I see people experiencing through tears and stuff, I see them identifying with what we go through, and I also see them identifying with their own loss of not knowing this (story),” said Wilson, the museum’s founding executive director. “We have people in Jacksonville who didn’t know (the Underground Railroad) was here and we advertise all the time.

    * Tribune | Ex-city official gets 18 months in prison for role concealing multimillion-dollar embezzlement scheme that led to Bridgeport bank collapse: William Mahon, 57, pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to falsify bank records to deceive federal regulators and hide millions in collateral-free loans authorized by then-bank President John Gembara that had essentially turned Washington Federal into a piggy bank for insiders and friends.

    * Sun-Times | 3 charged in scheme directing migrants to shoplift in exchange for fake IDs, sheriff says: Three Mexican nationals had directed recent Venezuelan migrants to steal items from Magnificent Mile stores in exchange for identity cards that would allow them to get jobs, Sheriff Tom Dart said Tuesday. Police discovered the pattern after speaking to dozens of migrants with nearly identical stories, Dart said.

    * Tribune | Video shows educators at University of Chicago charter school mock special education student, call him ‘dumb’: The incident, which was recorded on another student’s cellphone, took place at the UC Charter School’s Woodlawn campus in December 2022. The Tribune reviewed the minute-long video, which offered a troubling glimpse inside the publicly funded high school overseen by the prestigious university.

    * Daily Herald | Additional schools could see relief from O’Hare airplane racket with soundproofing subsidies: It’s been about 10 years since the last of 124 schools near O’Hare was soundproofed. But in 2022, the Federal Aviation Administration approved the city’s Terminal Area Plan which includes a new terminal and concourses, and resulted in an updated noise contour around O’Hare.

    * Crain’s | Boeing CEO says ‘we caused the problem’ in Alaska Air blowout: “While we often use this time of year to share or update our financial and operational objectives, now is not the time for that,” [Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun] told employees in a memo. “We will simply focus on every next airplane while doing everything possible to support our customers, follow the lead of our regulator and ensure the highest standard of safety and quality in all that we do.”

    * Crain’s | Boeing’s move to Chicago was a win for the city. But was it good for Boeing?: The ensuing decades have seen the once-lauded aerospace firm humbled by a string of disasters, the latest a blowout of a cabin panel in midflight. The Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 landed safely, and no lives were lost — in contrast to the 346 who died in two 737 Max crashes in 2018 and 2019. Since then, Boeing has struggled with head-spinning public relations problems, red ink and added costs, settlements and penalties exceeding $20 billion. Its stock, off about 20% since the Jan. 5 Alaska Airlines fiasco, trades at less than half of what it did before the last 737 crash.

    * NYT | The Most Powerful Person in Publishing Doesn’t Like to Talk About Himself: Mr. Malaviya’s primary goal is growth. After the collapse of the Simon & Schuster deal, it became clear Penguin Random House could not buy its way out of the decline, so much of its growth will have to come organically — by selling more books. Mr. Malaviya said that, hopefully, A.I. will help, making it easier to publish more titles without hiring ever more employees. The company has continued to acquire smaller publishers, like Hay House in the United States and Roca Editorial in Spain.

    * AP | Science sleuths are using technology to find fakery and plagiarism in published research: Allegations of research fakery at a leading cancer center have turned a spotlight on scientific integrity and the amateur sleuths uncovering image manipulation in published research. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, announced Jan. 22 it’s requesting retractions and corrections of scientific papers after a British blogger flagged problems in early January.

    * Block Club | Chance The Rapper Playing Bridgeport’s Revived Ramova Theatre: Chance is the first major touring act to take to the stage at the Ramova, the long-closed former movie house that reopened late last year as a concert venue, brewery and diner. Chance is among the investors and co-owners of the historical theater alongside fellow South Side musicians Jennifer Hudson and Quincy Jones.

  13 Comments      


Question of the day

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Interesting


What I’m proposing here is an advisory-only referendum because I wanted to get your thoughts, but I am reserving the right to make the final decision myself.

* The Question: Should CapitolFax.com honor the Chicago Tribune Guild’s picket line tomorrow and not post any stories from the paper? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please. Thanks.

…Adding… The poll is now closed.

  64 Comments      


Sen. Cunningham tries again to limit BIPA’s scope

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Background is here if you need it. Press release…

In an effort to shield Illinois employers from costly lawsuits without rolling back the state’s strict digital privacy protections, State Senator Bill Cunningham filed Senate Bill 2979, which makes changes to the liability guidelines in the Biometric Information Privacy Act.

“Given the rash of cybersecurity breaches we hear about, Illinoisans should be proud that we have arguably the strongest digital privacy laws in the nation. However, our laws have not kept up with changes in technology, which has left some small businesses facing overwhelming financial liabilities,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the Southwest Suburbs. “SB 2979 will keep the current privacy restrictions in place and hold violators accountable, as well as ensure businesses are not unfairly punished for technical violations of the law.”

Under BIPA, private entities must obtain written consent before collecting and storing biometric information, such as an employee’s fingerprint. If a business is sued for violating BIPA, they can be ordered to pay damages for each instance where biometric information is collected — even if they repeatedly collect the same information. This has led to situations where an employer can be ordered to pay millions in liquidated damages, and in a case involving White Castle, billions of dollars, because each collection counts as a separate violation. For instance, businesses that use digital fingerprinting systems for employee timekeeping often take swipes of each employee’s fingerprint multiple times per shift — like when the employee arrives for work, leaves for and returns from a lunch break, or checks out at the end of the work day. Under BIPA, each of those swipes can qualify as a violation of the law if the employee has not provided written consent, exposing the business to a minimum of $1,000 in damages every time a swipe is taken.

Cunningham’s bill would limit the number of claims accrued under that scenario should an employee bring a lawsuit against a company for a violation of BIPA. If a certain biometric identifier is collected by the same employer in the same manner, only one violation would accrue. In other words, the liability faced by the business would accrue on a per-employee basis, rather than a per-collection basis.

SB 2979 also modernizes the manner in which written consent can be granted to include the use of electronic signatures. The original BIPA legislation took effect in 2008 when electronic signatures were not widely used. Cunningham’s legislation clarifies that because using electronic signatures is a common practice to obtain consent, they can be used to comply with BIPA consent requirements.

“Dozens of legislative proposals to update BIPA have been offered in recent years, but most of those efforts have attempted to remove or narrow privacy protections that have been embedded in the law,” said Cunningham. “SB 2979 does not take that approach. Rather, it puts a common-sense formula in place to determine the amount of financial damages that must be paid for violations of the act.”

Senate Bill 2979 was introduced by Cunningham on Wednesday.

I’ll update if I hear back from business groups.

  6 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Campaign update (Updated x2)

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

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After backlash, Rep. Slaughter says he won’t move controversial traffic stop bill, but wants conversation

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Rep. Justin Slaughter (D-Chicago) told me today that he’s been getting pummeled on social media and in his emails about his bill

Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Provides that no law enforcement officer shall stop a motor vehicle for: (i) failing to display registration plates or stickers; (ii) being operated with an expired registration sticker; (iii) violating general speed restrictions (unless that violation is a misdemeanor or felony offense); (iv) improper lane usage (unless that violation is a misdemeanor or felony offense); (v) failing to comply with certain requirements concerning vehicle lamps; (vi) excessive tint; (vii) defective mirrors; (viii) an obstructed windshield or defective windshield wipers; (ix) defective bumpers; (x) excessive exhaust; and (xi) failure of the vehicle operator to wear a safety belt. Provides that no evidence discovered or obtained as the result of a stop in violation of these provisions, including, but not limited to, evidence discovered or obtained with the operator’s consent, shall be admissible in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding. Preempts home rule powers.

Pretty cringey.

* Law enforcement’s reaction has also been overwhelmingly negative

Illinois Sheriffs Association Executive Director Jim Kaitschuk said he was “taken aback and extremely concerned” about the bill, and he recommended that sheriffs part of the association to oppose it.

Not being able to pull people over for certain offenses, as well as evidence pulled from those stops being rendered inadmissible, would make it more difficult for police officers to do things like track down a stolen vehicle or catch on to a greater crime like murder or trafficking, he said.

“I just don’t understand it,” Kaitschuk said. “It is truly perplexing to me why we would have a bill introduced of this nature.”

* “This was more of a conversation starter,” Rep. Slaughter told me by phone today. “We won’t be moving it,” he said of his bill.

More of what he told me…

But I do plan to have the conversation about racial disparities. I think the narrative that I’m gonna put a lot of effort into is balance. Not necessarily taking away the tools from law enforcement to make traffic stops, which I get it, the current language is doing that. But the narrative that I would like folks to know is that you don’t want to take away tools for law enforcement to make traffic stops, but at the same time, what is the approach and interventions that law enforcement can make that t least acknowledge racial disparities, and fairness and equity as it relates to these traffic and pedestrian stops.

So, my energy and my efforts, to your question, is to generate the discussion. Now, out of respect for law enforcement, out of respect for law-abiding citizens, it was not my intention to get this reaction. But I certainly understand it because of the broadness of what was reflected in the language.

Please pardon any transcription errors.

* He also pointed to these 2023 WBEZ stories as the reason why the conversation must be had…

    * Traffic stops of Black Illinois drivers at 20-year high despite law Obama championed: The racial gap is widening. In the last two years, the number of traffic stops involving Black drivers has topped 30.5% of all stops statewide, up from 17.5% in 2004, the first year data was released. The state’s adult population is 13.6% Black.

    * Black drivers are pulled over by police more, mostly for non-moving violations: Joshua Levin, an attorney with the ACLU of Illinois, said these encounters are rife for potential “pretextual stops” in which minor traffic violations are used as an excuse to make contact with drivers — at the expense of their civil rights — in an effort to identify more serious crimes. Amid a recent surge in traffic stops by the Chicago Police Department, the ACLU filed a lawsuit earlier this year, saying the department’s practices racially profile, harass and demean law-abiding citizens. The data also show a fivefold increase in the number of Black drivers stopped for non-moving violations and let go with a warning. Latino drivers experienced a fourfold increase since the state began collecting the data. White drivers have seen little change in the number of non-moving stops resulting in a warning.

    * Chicago’s Black, Latino drivers targets of racially biased traffic stops, ACLU lawsuit alleges: Black drivers in Chicago are four to seven times more likely to be pulled over by police than whites, while Latino drivers are stopped twice as often, according to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois claiming a racially biased pattern in how Chicago police enforce traffic laws.

  33 Comments      


Considering the circumstances, how is this a bad thing?

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* ABC7

Taxpayers foot bill for relocating migrants who want to leave Chicago

It’s the secret side of Chicago’s migrant crisis.

Some migrants who arrive here don’t want to stay.

More than 35,000 migrants have been sent to Chicago since 2022, mostly from Texas. The question is, who pays for them to leave? […]

According to the Illinois Department of Human Services, migrant travel costs in the Chicago area, including people leaving by bus, plane and train, total more than $775,000. And when additional travel related expenses such as rideshares are factored in, it’s almost $850,000 of taxpayer money that has been spent on migrants moving out of Chicago.

Seems to me, if migrants want to leave for another state, it makes fiscal sense to help them get there. A one-way ticket is a whole lot cheaper than shelter, food and medical care. Not to mention that it’s the right thing to do.

The state’s tab so far is $638 million. That means $850,000 would be 0.13 percent of the total. Again, this makes fiscal sense.

* This also isn’t a “secret.” From a November 2023 press release

The State is deploying targeted additional funding through a data-driven approach that will address these bottlenecks in all stages of the current asylum seeker response. This includes:

1. WELCOME: $30 million to stand up a large intake center to centrally welcome and comprehensively coordinate new arrivals, prioritizing onward movement. This investment will ensure both a more integrated approach across state, county, city, and community-based organizations but will also ensure better support for those coming to Chicago who are seeking another final destination, or who have sponsors in Illinois and don’t require shelter, thereby better maintaining shelter capacity as a whole. With this approach, data indicates the number of new arrivals requiring shelter can be reduced by 10%.

And this is from the governor’s remarks the same day

In order to address these backlogs and get people off of the streets as we head into winter, the State of Illinois will invest an additional $160 million in IDHS funding to improve every stage of the asylum seeker resettlement journey.

First – Welcome. A portion of new arrivals don’t need shelter as they have friends or family members here in Illinois or do not have Illinois as their final destination. Unfortunately, these individuals are not always identified on the front end and often end up in shelters where they take up capacity and resources before they can continue along on their journey.

To address this, we’re going to invest $30 million toward establishing a large intake center — growing our capacity to centrally welcome and comprehensively coordinate new arrivals needs, including prioritizing onward movement. This investment will ensure both a more integrated approach across State, County, City and CBO providers but also more immediately divert new arrivals from shelters to their final destination, thereby better maintaining our shelter capacity.

The State is also funding a New Life team to deploy to the bus landing zone to ensure every new arrival is supported in a choice to seek alternate arrangements outside the City shelter system. With this approach, we expect to reduce the number of people who need to enter shelters by 10 percent.

* Back to ABC7

State officials say 4,327 migrants have now come and gone. That is more than 10% of the migrants sent to Chicago over the last year and a half.

So, maybe it’s working? I dunno.

* ABC7 also reports that many those who are leaving are heading to New York, Florida and Georgia. “And some are going back to Texas.”

  18 Comments      


It’s just a bill

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* HB4644 from Rep. Abdelnasser Rashid

Amends the Election Code. Provides that a person shall not distribute, or enter into an agreement with another person to distribute, materially deceptive media if: (1) the person knows the media falsely represents a depicted individual; (2) the distribution occurs within 90 days before an election; (3) the person intends the distribution to harm the reputation or electoral prospects of a candidate in an election and the distribution is reasonably likely to cause that result; and (4) the person intends the distribution to change the voting behavior of electors in an election by deceiving the electors into incorrectly believing that the depicted individual in fact engaged in the speech or conduct depicted, and the distribution is reasonably likely to cause that result. Sets forth exceptions to the provision and penalties for violations of the provision. Effective immediately.

* Rep. Anna Moeller filed HB4627 yesterday

Amends the PFAS Reduction Act. Authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency to participate in a safe chemical clearinghouse and to cooperate with the clearinghouse to take specified actions. Directs manufacturers of PFAS or products or product components containing intentionally added PFAS to register the PFAS or the product or product component containing intentionally added PFAS and to provide certain additional information through a data collection interface established cooperatively by the clearinghouse and the Agency. Establishes civil penalties for violations by manufacturers. Authorizes the Agency to adopt rules and enter contracts to implement these provisions. Exempts certain products from these requirements.

* HB4630 from Rep. Wayne Rosenthal

Amends the Humane Care for Animals Act. Provides that a law enforcement officer who arrests the owner of a companion animal for a violation of the owner’s duties may lawfully take possession of some or all of the companion animals in the possession of the owner. Allows a State’s Attorney 30 days (rather than 14 days) after seizure of a companion animal to file a petition for forfeiture prior to trial, asking for permanent forfeiture of the companion animals seized.

* Rep. Kam Buckner filed HB4638

Creates the Local Parking Regulation Act. Provides that, except as otherwise provided in the Act, a unit of local government may not impose or enforce any minimum automobile parking requirements on a development project if the project is located within one-half mile of a public transportation hub. In addition to other listed exceptions and limitations, allows a unit of local government to impose or enforce minimum automobile parking requirements in a development project that is located within one-half mile of a public transportation hub if the unit makes written findings that not imposing or enforcing any minimum automobile parking requirements on the development project would have a substantially negative impact, supported by a preponderance of the evidence in the record, on any of the following circumstances: (1) the region’s ability to meet its housing needs for low-income households and very low-income households; (2) the region’s ability to meet its needs for elderly housing or housing for persons with disabilities; or (3) problems with existing residential parking or commercial parking within one-half mile of the development project. Limits the concurrent exercise of home rule powers. Defines terms. Effective June 1, 2024.

* HB4619 from Rep. Harry Benton

Amends the Homeowners’ Energy Policy Statement Act. Prohibits a homeowners’ association, common interest community association, or condominium unit owners’ association from adopting a bylaw or exercising any power that prohibits the installation of a rain water collection system or composting system. Provides that if a building is subject to a homeowners’ association, common interest community association, or condominium unit owners’ association, no deed restrictions, covenants, or similar binding agreements running with the land shall prohibit a rain water collection system or composting system from being installed on a building erected on a lot or parcel covered by the deed restrictions, covenants, or binding agreements. Provides that a property owner may not be denied permission to install a rain water collection system or composting system by any entity granted the power or right in any deed restriction, covenant, or similar binding agreement to approve, forbid, control, or direct alteration of property. Provides that an entity may establish location or design requirements for rain water collection systems or composting systems. Provides that a rain water collection system or composting system shall meet application standards and requirements imposed by State and local permitting authorities. Provides that if approval is required for the installation of a rain water collection system or composting system, an application for approval shall be processed by the appropriate approving entity of the association within 90 days after the submission of the application. Makes corresponding changes.

  21 Comments      


Open thread

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

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

  7 Comments      


Isabel’s morning briefing

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: The Illinois Election Board votes to keep Trump and Biden on the March Primary Ballot. WTTW

    - The bipartisan board was unanimous in each of the rulings.
    - The board voted to dismiss the Trump objection on the basis that the board lacks jurisdiction on a constitutional question.
    - Trump’s candidacy in Illinois could face another challenge, as a lawsuit over the board’s decision is expected.

* Related stories…

* Isabel’s top picks…

    * WGN | Fine dining, first class travel costing taxpayers in south suburbs: Credit card records from Thornton Township show Henyard and other officials spent nearly $67,000 on trips to Portland, Austin, Atlanta and New York City in recent months. In Atlanta, the group stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel and brought home a bill of $9,347. In New York, they stayed at the Mariott Marquis in Times Square where the hotel charged the group $13,098. Airline records show everyone in the group frequently flies first class.

    * Fox 2 Now | Illinois bill could mean fewer traffic stops for speeding, other offenses: The bill would prohibit Illinois law enforcement officers from stopping drivers for several traffic offenses. That includes speeding and improper lane usage, unless either happens to the extent of a misdemeanor or felony offense. According to Illinois’ state laws, drivers commit a Class B misdemeanor offense when they are traveling at least 26 miles per hour above an applicable speed limit or a class A misdemeanor offense when they are traveling at least 35 miles per hour above limit.

    * Crain’s | Illinois Realtors plans $1 million campaign against transfer-tax increase: “We’re going to tell Chicago voters that it will harm the city if you create another real estate tax in a city where we’re already overly burdened with real estate taxes,” Jeff Baker, CEO of Springfield-based Illinois Realtors, said in a meeting with several Crain’s reporters on Jan. 30.

* Here’s the rest of your morning roundup…

    * WLPO | IDOT Workers Plan To Picket Outside Ottawa Office: According to longtime IDOT employee Anderson Klump, fellow IDOT employees plan to picket in front of the District 3 office in Ottawa Wednesday at noon. The IDOT worker says he and others have been working without a union contract for almost 9 months. This despite many non-union executive staff receiving large pay raises last year.

    * WLDS | Budzinski’s Fight for a Bi-Partisan Farm Bill: 13th District Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski says the ongoing budget fight in Washington is standing in the way of a bipartisan compromise on a new Farm Bill being passed. The government’s funding is on a continuing resolution until early March. The country is still operating under the 2018 Farm Bill, and will operate under its continued resolution until September 30th. The 2018 bill expired this past September, but had to be extended because of Congress’ continued gridlock.

    * CNI | Chicago org to receive federal funding to help launch regional water sustainability industry: The U.S. National Science Foundation awarded the grant to Current Innovation NFP, a nonprofit “innovation hub” whose mission is to “solve pressing water challenges caused by climate change and pollution.” It will receive one of 10 inaugural NSF Engine awards aimed at using science and technology to drive regional economies.

    * Streetsblog | “We’re all equally in danger”: Ride Illinois launches statewide bike fatality awareness campaign: Bicycle advocacy organization Ride Illinois recently announced the “Our Response to Fatal Crashes” campaign, an effort to raise awareness of the crisis statewide—especially in areas outside Chicagoland, which have few to no local bike advocacy groups. Ride Illinois recently added a map to their website—inspired, according to the announcement, by Streetsblog Chicago’s map of bike fatalities—tracking all fatal crashes in the state since 2018. We spoke with Dave Simmons, executive director of Ride Illinois about the campaign, and the threats bicyclists face on roadways across the Land of Lincoln.

    * Sun-Times | Marriott, Hyatt hotels at McCormick Place to be official Democratic convention headquarters: The United Center will host the evening sessions with the delegates and speakers at the convention, to run Aug. 19-22, but the hotels will serve as the base of operations for the Biden for President campaign, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic National Convention Committee plus media and other groups.

    * WGN | Bumpy rollout of updated Circuit Court online system as clerk prepares for election: While the case management system gets off the ground, Martinez has been working on a re-election campaign. She says, “it takes more than one term to really change the outcome or the change of the office.” Like her predecessor Dorothy Brown – Martinez has also faced criticism. Late last year – a story generated some headlines accusing her of “pay to play” politics with her campaign receiving donations from employees.

    * Tribune | Chicago aldermen focus on migrant work authorizations rather than shelter conditions: City officials did give the first public glimpse into the grievance system available for residents and staff to use for shelter problems. On average over the past three months, residents have filed 37 grievances per week. In January, an average of 55 resident grievances were filed per week. . City officials did not detail what grievances focused on.

    * Block Quote | Abortion Rights Advocates Warn Edgewater’s New Crisis Pregnancy Center Could Mislead Patients: Aid For Women advertises free pregnancy tests and counseling to help visitors make a “fully informed decision,” but the religious nonprofit doesn’t provide referrals for abortion care under any circumstances, according to its website.

    * Check CU | Yorkville BOE Book Ban Closed Meeting Recording Released – Illinois: The matter that was closed to the public on August 7th, 2023, was a discussion about prohibiting the use of the book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by attorney Bryan Stevenson from being used in the curriculum. The book focuses on injustices in the United States judicial system and documents Stevenson’s efforts to overturn the wrongful conviction of Walter McMillian, a black Alabama man who was convicted of murder in 1988 and spent six years on death row before an appeals court finally overturned his conviction.

    * WBBM | Local civil rights group calls for accountability after Muslim student attacked at Glendale Heights school: In a video posted to social media, a boy grabs a seventh-grade girl wearing a hajib in the hallway of Glenside Middle School around the neck and throws her to the floor. Maggie Slavin with CAIR Chicago told CBS 2 the girl was targeted for wearing a headscarf.

    * Daily Herald | What could be Schaumburg’s last subdivision nears halfway point: The village has issued building permits for 93 of the homes so far, with 70 approved for occupancy. “This project has really done everything we expected,” Mayor Tom Dailly said. “The number of homes being sold has just skyrocketed. They estimated it would take five years. I’ll be surprised if it takes five years.”

    * Fox Chicago | Dixmoor residents sound off after yet another water main break: Last year, the village received $2.2 million to repair the pipeline on the north part of town. There was also $14 million announced in grant money to update the infrastructure, but Mayor Fitzgerald Roberts says they haven’t received the cash yet.

    * AP | Elon Musk cannot keep Tesla compensation package worth more than $55 billion, judge rules: McCormick concluded that the only suitable remedy was for Musk’s compensation package to be rescinded. “In the final analysis, Musk launched a self-driving process, recalibrating the speed and direction along the way as he saw fit,” she wrote. “The process arrived at an unfair price. And through this litigation, the plaintiff requests a recall.”

    * The Atlantic | Should Teens Have Access to Disappearing Messages?: The stories are hauntingly similar: A teenager, their whole life ahead of them, buys a pill from someone on Snapchat. They think it’s OxyContin or Percocet, but it actually contains a lethal amount of fentanyl. They take it; they die. Their bereaved parents are left grasping for an explanation.

    * The Atlantic | The rise of techno-authoritarianism: Facebook (now Meta) has become an avatar of all that is wrong with Silicon Valley. Its self-interested role in spreading global disinformation is an ongoing crisis. Recall, too, the company’s secret mood-manipulation experiment in 2012, which deliberately tinkered with what users saw in their News Feed in order to measure how Facebook could influence people’s emotional states without their knowledge. Or its participation in inciting genocide in Myanmar in 2017. Or its use as a clubhouse for planning and executing the January 6, 2021, insurrection. (In Facebook’s early days, Zuckerberg listed “revolutions” among his interests. This was around the time that he had a business card printed with i’m ceo, bitch.)

    * Chicago Mag | Illinois Route 1 Is a Must-Drive Trek to See the State: The first essential stop on Route 1 is St. Anne, a population-1,200 hamlet in Kankakee County. The village was settled in the 1850s by French Canadians, who named it for Mary’s mother, a saint venerated in Quebec. They built St. Anne’s Church, a Gothic structure that rises stone by stone from the prairie, then lifts a weathered copper belfry toward heaven. It’s a rare remnant of French Illinois, which predated the arrival of the English here by nearly a century. Anne is the patron saint of grandmothers, so since 1886 the church has held a festival for grandparents on her feast day, July 26.

  17 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

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

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Live coverage

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* You can click here or here to follow breaking news because, as I initially suspected, the widget we’ve been using didn’t last long.

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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Mike Miletich



* Politico

— Congressman Bill Foster is out with a new ad focusing on the Belvidere Assembly Plant and featuring members of the United Auto workers talking about how the plant was saved.

— The Illinois Federation of Teachers is out with its endorsements for the March primary. Read ‘em here. […]

— Carolyn Zasada has been endorsed by Democratic state Reps. Stephanie Kifowit and Theresa Mah in her bid for Democratic state Rep. Lance Yednock’s seat in the 76th District. Yednock isn’t running for reelection. Two other Democrats and two Republicans are also running for the seat. More from Shaw Media

* House Republican Organization…

House Republican Leader Tony McCombie is announcing new additions to her leadership teams. State Representatives Amy Elik (Alton) and Dan Ugaste (Geneva) will join McCombie in the new legislative year to continue to fight for better checks and balances in state government and to protect the rights and freedoms of Illinois residents.

* Press release

Nearly $55 million in state grants are being awarded for 111 local park projects throughout Illinois to help communities acquire land and develop recreational opportunities, Gov. JB Pritzker announced today.

For the second year in a row, the governor ensured funding was set aside for economically distressed communities, resulting in 32 underserved locations receiving $18.7 million in grants from the Open Space Land Acquisition and Development, or OSLAD, program. This is the 37th year for the program, which is administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

* And

* Here’s the rest…

    * Crain’s | Study shows how much of a boon Illinois’ film tax credit has been: The top-line numbers are eye-popping: The state averaged $404 million in direct production expenditure by Hollywood studios from 2012 to 2022, billions in additional economic benefits over that time and a $6.81 return on investment for every dollar the state spends on the tax incentive.

    * Peoples Fabric | Financial Wizardry: Paul Vallas Sues to Reveal Fraudster, Finds Another Campaign Error: Two days after last year’s mayoral election, Vallas’ campaign wired $58,001.80 to an account number at Chase Bank. The recipient’s account name entered on his team’s wire transfer was “Vallas for Mayor.” Vallas initiated a lawsuit against Chase to ascertain the identity “of the individual and/or entities that may be responsible in damages related to the April 6, 2023 wire transfer,” as Vallas had “never authorized the transfer.” … It appears the money was transferred to the correct account number, but accidentally listed the wrong accountholder name. Vallas’ campaign had paid $160,260 to the same company just a few days before the wire transfer in question. Since the beginning of the year, Vallas has filed ten amendments to correct previous campaign disclosures of various errors. … In November, a currency exchange filed a lawsuit against Vallas over a campaign check they had cashed for a third party, only for Vallas to later stop payment on the check and refuse to honor it.

    * Hyde Park Herald | 14 Parish gets $57M contract to supply meals for city’s migrant shelters: Hyde Park’s Caribbean fusion eatery 14 Parish received a $57 million contract with the city to supply meals to more than 7,000 migrants living in temporary shelters across the South and West sides. 14 Parish and Seventy-Seven Communities, a suburban caterer, will take over meal distribution for the city’s 28 shelters, according to a Wednesday press release. In it, the city cited a need to reduce the cost of its meal program and improve food quality as its reasons for choosing new vendors.

    * Tribune | Niles, Lincolnwood, Norridge pass ordinances to curb unscheduled bus drop-offs of migrants: The ordinances generally have the same language, giving administrative fines to companies that make unscheduled stops and drop off more than 10 people in the village’s boundaries. The three villages don’t have a Metra connection to the city of Chicago but border the city at multiple points and have Pace and CTA bus routes that connect them to the city.

    * Sun-Times | Chicago’s top cop halting initiative that has sent ‘scarecrow’ police cars downtown: But in an interview, Snelling raised alarms about the overtime spending and the strategy of placing cops at fixed posts. “When we’re putting overtime out there and there’s an overtime initiative, we want to make sure that we’re getting the most effective work from our officers with these overtime initiatives,” he said. “I don’t believe in the scarecrow policing, where it’s just serving as a deterrent.

    * Sun-Times | Chicago police officer charged with DUI in deadly crash outside House of Blues: Tangie Brown, 40, faces counts of aggravated driving under the influence, unlawful use of communication device, reckless driving and other charges in the Dec. 7 crash. Prosecutors said Brown’s blood alcohol level was .093 when she was tested about two hours after the crash. The legal limit in Illinois is .08.

    * WTTW | Native Mollusks Are Key to Freshwater Ecosystems. Here’s How One Group is Helping Build Mussel Mass on the Chicago River: Anyone who thinks of science as a sterile occupation should spend a morning hunting for freshwater mussels in the Chicago River. […] So why would anyone sign up for the job? To play a small role in the revival of Chicago’s once thriving waterway, which is still recovering from decades of abuse.

    * Daily Herald | Waived during the pandemic, student fees reinstated in districts 211 and 214: District 214 will charge $350 per student — less than the pre-pandemic $420 fee recommended for reinstatement by administrators — while District 211 will charge $75, which is less than the $170 amount students paid years ago.

    * Crain’s | Chicago and Detroit wealth management firms merge: Both firms are part of New York City-based Focus Financial Partners and are forming the second “hub” within the wealth management giant that went private last year in an all-cash, $7 billion-plus deal with private equity firm CD&R. Focus has invested in more than 90 firms across the United States.

    * Tribune | Chicago man arrested in massive $400 million ‘SIM swap’ scheme allegedly targeting company’s cryptocurrency accounts: SIM swapping is a technique in which attackers gain control of a telephone number by having it reassigned to a new device. Such attacks represent a growing security threat for government agencies and corporations because they can target not only finances but manipulate social media accounts to spread misinformation, authorities have said.

    * Politico | The anti-abortion plan ready for Trump on Day One: Many of the policies they advocate are ones Trump implemented in his first term and President Joe Biden rescinded — rules that would have a far greater impact in a post-Roe landscape. Other items on the wish list are new, ranging from efforts to undo state and federal programs promoting access to abortion to a de facto national ban. But all have one thing in common: They don’t require congressional approval.

    * WaPo | Want safer streets? Paint them: Asphalt art projects — collaborations between cities, community groups and artists — have taken off in the past decade, thanks to early-adopting cities such as New York, Seattle and Portland, Ore., with help from the National Association of City Transportation Officials and “tactical urbanism” firms such as Street Plans. They provide street designs that cue drivers to slow down, provide people on foot more interesting places to walk and create new local landmarks. They can even be used to widen sidewalks without digging up streets, giving space back to the public and making the whole street safer. To provide a road map for the increasing municipal interest, in 2019 Bloomberg Philanthropies produced the Asphalt Art Guide and launched the Asphalt Art Initiative (AAI), distributing grants to 90 projects in cities across the United States and around the world to produce and assess their own eye-catching street design projects.

    * Daily Herald | Got transponder fatigue? New tollway stickers are now at customer service centers, coming to Jewel and online in February: The upgrade is free and totally optional, officials noted. The tollway is gradually phasing in the new devices and I-PASS customers will not be required to switch if they have a working transponder. The stickers will work in other states that are part of the E-ZPASS coalition, which the tollway belongs to.

    * WCIA | Historic Lincoln Tree topples in Virden, damaging Civil War Era home: The tree towered over the home. It was planted nearly 160 years ago. Town historians say the woman who first lived in the house took the acorn from Oakridge Cemetery in Springfield on the day of Abraham Lincoln’s Funeral.

    * Chicago Mag | How a U. of C. Professor Wound Up a Prisoner of Iran: When he opened the door, the leader of the group pulled out papers bearing the stamp of Iran’s attorney general and thrust them at Alizadeh, as if presenting the search warrant were a mere formality and not a necessary legal procedure. As Alizadeh scanned the document, a single line stood out to him: He was being charged with espionage, a capital offense in a country rife with subterfuge surrounding its clandestine nuclear weapons program.

    * NYT | UPS to Cut 12,000 Jobs as Wages Rise and Package Volumes Fall: Carol Tomé, the chief executive of UPS, told analysts on an earnings call Tuesday that it had been a “difficult and disappointing year.” Revenue fell more than 9 percent last year, and profit dropped by a third. Ms. Tomé said most of the job cuts would be made in the first half of the year, reducing expenses by about $1 billion. UPS employs nearly 500,000 people.

    * NBC | Fake news YouTube creators target Black celebrities with AI-generated misinformation: YouTube videos using a mix of artificial intelligence-generated and manipulated media to create fake content have flooded the platform with salacious disinformation about dozens of Black celebrities, including rapper and record executive Sean “Diddy” Combs, TV host Steve Harvey, actor Denzel Washington and Bishop T.D. Jakes.

  19 Comments      


Another area of disagreement between the governor and Chicago’s mayor

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Tribune last week

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson backed calls for a cease-fire in the war in Gaza Wednesday ahead of a hotly contested vote on a City Council cease-fire resolution set for next week.

Asked if he supports the resolution from Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez, 33rd, Johnson said he condemned the actions of Hamas when fighting began.

“But at this point now, I believe we’re looking at 25,000 Palestinians that have been killed,” he said. “The killing has to stop. So, yes, we need a cease-fire.”

* Gov. Pritzker was asked yesterday about the city council resolution and the mayor’s support of it

We all have to recognize that there are an awful lot of people who’ve been affected by the war between Hamas and Israel. The attack by Hamas, of course, was the starting point for all of this. Many people died. Many people are still being held hostage and they need to be released. And that needs to be a precondition for ending the hostilities. What Israel is going after is, of course, the terrorists. And I think we all feel that the innocent civilians, whether they are Palestinians, or Israelis, you know, want to be protected as best that they can be. And we’d all like the the hostilities to cease, but we also need the results that are necessary for that cessation.

Pritzker then went on to say that the resolution will have “no effect on the foreign policy of the United States.” Asked why he believed that, particularly with the Democratic National Convention coming in August, the governor said

The reality is people are just trying to make a statement on their own and using the City Council as some way to amplify their statement as individuals. You know, it’s just not going to have an effect. There are so many aspects of this conflict. Remember, the Iranians have made their militants part of this, they clearly have provided the weaponry, and many of the tools that Hamas used in their attack against Israel. There’s a lot going on here that is not recognized by the City Council’s resolution and for that, I’m sad. But the reality is, I don’t think it’ll have any real impact, other than to make a statement that there are people in the city council who feel strongly one way or another.

Please pardon all transcription errors, and take like five deep breaths before commenting on this one. Thanks.

  27 Comments      


Bears want Arlington Heights site taxed as residential property, push for 62.5 percent appraisal reduction

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Crain’s

The Chicago Bears and three northwest suburban school districts are $100 million apart in their valuations of the vacant former Arlington International Racecourse property in Arlington Heights, a major obstacle that continues to stifle the NFL team’s plan to redevelop the 326-acre site with a stadium-anchored mixed-use campus. […]

Today the team argued at a hearing of the Cook County Board of Review that the land should be appraised at $60 million rather than the $160 million put forward by three area school districts.

The team’s property tax attorney, Matthew Tully, also asked that the team be taxed at the county’s 10% residential rate rather than the 25% commercial rate because of the ongoing demolition work to dismantle the racetrack that formerly occupied the property.

Thoughts?

  42 Comments      


Mapes asks for leniency, feds want him to serve 5 years

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* WTTW

Federal prosecutors say Michael Madigan’s former chief of staff Tim Mapes chose to “willfully obstruct” the government’s sprawling investigation into the former Illinois house speaker when he repeatedly lied to a grand jury and should be sentenced to as much as five years in prison.

In a sentencing memo filed Monday, the government asked a federal judge to sentence Mapes to between 51 and 63 months in prison following his conviction last August on charges of making false declarations and attempted obstruction of justice.

“Even now, after a jury convicted Mapes of both perjury and obstruction of justice, and of every single false statement listed in the indictment, Mapes still refuses to accept responsibility for his actions,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia Schwartz wrote in the memo. “He instead blames the government for not presenting him with more information when he repeatedly (and falsely) asserted a lack of memory before the grand jury.”

* There’s no doubt in my mind that Mapes lied under oath. The feds had him, he undoubtedly knew they had him, and yet he still lied. Why? The prosecutors’ theory

Mapes’ motive for lying was obvious. Mapes wanted to protect his long-time boss, Madigan, as well as his friend McClain, and ensure that he could never become a witness at a criminal trial. After having been compelled to testify despite his assertion of his Fifth Amendment privilege, Mapes relied on “I don’t remember” or “I don’t recall” responses in an effort to make it appear he was fulfilling the immunity order when, in fact, Mapes knew the answers and refused to provide them. Below are just some of the lies Mapes told in the grand jury. Throughout his testimony, Mapes’ goal was to ensure that the government did not learn any useful or new information involving Madigan, McClain, and their relationship to one another.

* From the defense

Tim’s counsel insisted on immunity—Tim himself did not. Counsel requested immunity solely because the government flatly refused to engage at all in a discussion with counsel about the topics they wanted to discuss with Tim, what if any concerns they had about him, and whether they would provide any documents and other information in order to help him best prepare himself to talk about events that had occurred many years ago.

Meh. From the prosecutors

On February 11, 2021, the government questioned Mapes during a proffer-protected interview, with two defense attorneys present. During the interview, Mapes was asked numerous questions about Madigan’s relationship with McClain. Thus, prior to his appearance in front of the grand jury, Mapes was not only fully aware that a major indictment had been returned against his friend, McClain, alleging that he had been acting on behalf of Madigan, but he also knew from the questions that were posed during his interview that the government was keenly interested in the nature of that relationship.

Also, the prosecution has a different version of Mapes’ immunity

On February 12, 2021, after that interview, Mapes was served a subpoena to testify in the grand jury. Tr. 615. Through his defense attorney, he refused to testify by asserting his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Owing to his assertion of his Fifth Amendment privilege, before Mapes’ grand jury appearance, Chief Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer entered an order granting Mapes derivative use immunity pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 6002. On the morning of his grand jury testimony, March 31, 2021, Mapes appeared before Chief Judge Pallmeyer in person, and Chief Judge Pallmeyer admonished Mapes that the order required him to testify truthfully before the grand jury and that, if he failed to do so, he could face prosecution.

* Back to the defense

When considering the nature and circumstances of the offense, accepting the jury’s verdict, we ask the Court to consider that (a) Tim’s allegedly perjurious and obstructive testimony solely concerned legal matters; (b) Tim did not profit from this activity; (c) Tim did not interfere with the investigation; (d) Tim was treated differently than others who appeared before the grand jury (and, in some cases, who testified similarly about a lack of knowledge of criminal conversations between McClain and Madigan); and (e) the underlying bribery offense may actually not be a crime, pending the Supreme Court’s decision in Snyder.

Prosecutors

Mapes claims there is no evidence that he was involved in any of the underlying bribery conduct. Of course, Mapes’ false testimony made it impossible to ever know the full extent of his knowledge of or involvement in the underlying bribery activity that was under investigation. The immunity bestowed on Mapes protected Mapes from any truthful disclosures he made but he chose to provide no information of substance at all. […]

The government is not required to prove that the defendant was actually an accessory to the underlying offense.

* More coverage…

    * Tribune | Prosecutors want up to 5 years in prison for former Madigan aide Tim Mapes, while defense asks for community service: Mapes’ attorneys, meanwhile, asked in a filing of their own for a sentence of probation and community service, arguing he never stood to personally benefit from any of his alleged misstatements and that while he accepts the jury’s verdict he “disagrees with it and continues to maintain his innocence.” “Tim Mapes is a good man,” defense attorneys Andrew Porter and Katie Hill wrote in their 47-page filing. “…He has spent decades working very hard (and expecting it of others) trying to make the State of Illinois better, fairer, and more compassionate to its citizens.” U.S. District Judge John Kness is scheduled to sentence Mapes on Feb. 12.

    * Sun-Times | Madigan’s ex-chief of staff should get up to 5 years in prison for lies ‘calculated to thwart’ probe into former boss, feds say: Defense attorneys Andrew Porter and Katie Hill argued that, between Mapes’ prosecution and his 2018 dismissal by Madigan, “the last five years have constituted a half decade of misery for Tim and his family.” They pointed to more than 130 letters of support and insisted that “sending this nearly 70-year-old man to prison would achieve nothing more than to inflict undue additional suffering and hardship on Tim, his family, and his community.”

  12 Comments      


Sounds like a sit-down is in order here

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* January 24

In mid-November, Pritzker pledged to use $65 million to open a 200-bed shelter in a vacant CVS drugstore in Little Village and to house another 2,000 migrants in a massive, winterized base camp. Plans to build that structure in Brighton Park were scuttled by state officials, citing environmental concerns.

“The state committed to 2,200 beds, and we could really use those beds right now,” Johnson said.

* Yesterday

Illinois remains committed to building new shelters, Johnson said. He called on the state to build at any sites it is considering. The process of prepping buildings for shelters is slow, he added.

“Remember: the state of Illinois committed to 2,200 beds, right? So, so far they have 200. They’re still committed to 2,000 beds. But again, the goal is of course, is to resettle families as fast as we can to make sure that we are able to handle the flow in the event that it picks up again,” he said. “The state of Illinois can move today to build a shelter, and I’m confident that that will take place.”

The mayor has been saying lately that the state can build shelters anywhere it wants, including in other towns.

* I asked the governor’s spokesperson why there’s been a delay…

We have repeatedly asked the city where they would like to locate the additional beds after the tent site did not meet IEPA standards. They have not provided us where or how they prefer we provide the additional capacity.

The governor has often said the state doesn’t control any facilities that it can use, so it needs the city to choose locations.

* Meanwhile, the mayor said yesterday that the influx was costing the city $1.5 million a day, and he reminded reporters that he budgeted $150 million. So, Isabel asked Gov. Pritzker today what he hopes the city will do in April when its appropriation runs out

We’re gonna have to continue to manage the influx of migrants to the city would be my expectation. And so, as partners with the county, with the state, the city is going to have to be right there at the table as they are now to make sure that we’re serving the needs of those who, in this humanitarian crisis, need our help.

* More from Isabel…

    * Tribune | Mayor Brandon Johnson postpones shelter eviction dates until March: Migrants who originally had an exit date between Jan. 16 and Feb. 29 will be given a 60-day extension starting from their original exit date, according to Brandie Knazze, head of the city’s Department of Family and Support Services. If an individual was scheduled to leave Jan. 16, for example, their new exit date is March 16. There are 5,673 people who fall into that category. The 2,119 individuals who were scheduled to exit between Mar. 1 and Mar. 28 will receive a 30-day extension. Anyone who enters the shelter system starting today will receive the standard 60-day notice. The 5,910 new arrivals who entered the shelter system between Aug. 1 and Nov. 16, 2023, will also receive their 60-day notice starting Feb. 1. Those individuals are eligible for the state’s three-month rental assistance program.

    * ABC Chicago | City Council committee to meet on conditions of Chicago migrant shelters: A City Council committee will meet Tuesday morning to discuss conditions at migrant shelters across the city. The meeting comes as Mayor Brandon Johnson has extended the deadline once again for evicting Chicago migrants from city-run shelters.

    * Center Square | Chicago provides 300,000 meals a week to non-citizen migrants, among other services: The taxpayer cost to care for the migrants is about $1.5 million per day. Johnson said that money has gone to housing, health care and meals. “In response, my administration and our city have stepped up to meet this moment,” Johnson said. “We have stood up 28 temporary emergency shelters, and we have done this across the entire city of Chicago. We have provided over 300,000 meals per week.”

    * Sen. John Curran | Gov. J.B. Pritzker invited, then mismanaged Illinois’ migrant crisis: This isn’t an argument about the value of immigration and the role it has played in building the United States of America. It’s a question of reality, of management and of what our already overtaxed residents can afford. The people of Illinois cannot afford the misplaced priorities, radical policies and grandiose promises of a governor seeking attention on the national stage.

    * Austin American-Statesman | Texas paid at least $135,000 to fly migrants from El Paso to Chicago, records show: The $135,000 figure represents a portion of the total cost of flying migrants since the initial Dec. 19 flight. Since then, the state has flown nearly 900 passengers out of the state, said Wes Rapaport, a TDEM spokesperson, in a statement.

  12 Comments      


Illinois State Board of Elections bows to precedent, punts on Trump ballot status

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Tribune

* Background from Rick’s earlier story

A state elections hearing officer agreed with objectors that former President Donald Trump “engaged in insurrection” at the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, but said he believed it is up to the courts and not the State Board of Elections to decide whether to remove him from the March 19 Illinois primary ballot.

The nonbinding recommendation from Clark Erickson, a retired Republican judge from Kankakee County, comes ahead of the state election board’s meeting Tuesday to certify the names that will appear on the primary ballot. […]

Section 3 of the post-Civil War era amendment says those who have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution “as member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state,” shall not be able to serve in Congress or “hold any office, civil or military” if they have engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” against the Constitution.

Erickson said previous Illinois Supreme Court rulings bar the State Board of Elections from acting on candidate disqualifications based on constitutional analysis. Because of those rulings, he said, the board should reject the Trump ballot objection.

“It is impossible to imagine the Board deciding whether Candidate Trump is disqualified by Section 3 without the Board engaging in significant and sophisticated constitutional analysis,” Erickson wrote. “All in all, attempting to resolve a constitutional issue within the expedited schedule of an election board hearing is somewhat akin to scheduling a two-minute round between heavyweight boxers in a telephone booth.”

* From the 14th Amendment

Section 3.
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

But there’s also Section 5

The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Deep breaths, please.

  22 Comments      


Jason Isbell will perform at the Illinois State Fair

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit will perform at the Illinois State Fair on Sun., Aug. 11 with special guest Ashley McBryde kicking off the evening.

The band’s latest album, “Weathervanes,” combines a storyteller at the peak of his craft with a band who has earned its place in rock and roll history. The songs on the album have been described as those that make you cry alone in your car while others make you sing along with thousands of strangers. Such high praise is backed up by multiple Grammy award nominations, including Best Americana Album.

“Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit will add a unique flavor to the Illinois State Fair Grandstand lineup,” said Illinois State Fair Manager Rebecca Clark. “We are excited to book an Americana icon and look forward to a powerful performance from the band.”

Ashley McBryde has earned some of the industry’s biggest accolades, including a Grammy, CMA and ACM awards in addition to being inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. The Arkansas native’s latest critically acclaimed album The Devil I Know is available now.

Ticket sales for Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit go on sale Feb. 3 at 10 a.m. on Ticketmaster. Tickets for all other announced show are on sale via Ticketmaster.

Tier 3 - $38 / Tier 2 - $43 / Tier 1 - $48 / SRO Track - $48 / Blue Ribbon Zone - $103

*A $30 Pre-Show Party ticket is offered as an additional upgrade for all paid concerts.

Very, very cool.

* From the new album

  25 Comments      


It’s just a bill

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Rep. Justin Slaughter filed HB4603 yesterday

Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Provides that no law enforcement officer shall stop a motor vehicle for: (i) failing to display registration plates or stickers; (ii) being operated with an expired registration sticker; (iii) violating general speed restrictions (unless that violation is a misdemeanor or felony offense); (iv) improper lane usage (unless that violation is a misdemeanor or felony offense); (v) failing to comply with certain requirements concerning vehicle lamps; (vi) excessive tint; (vii) defective mirrors; (viii) an obstructed windshield or defective windshield wipers; (ix) defective bumpers; (x) excessive exhaust; and (xi) failure of the vehicle operator to wear a safety belt. Provides that no evidence discovered or obtained as the result of a stop in violation of these provisions, including, but not limited to, evidence discovered or obtained with the operator’s consent, shall be admissible in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding. Preempts home rule powers.

* HB4621 from Rep. Justin Slaughter

Amends the Pretrial Services Act. Establishes in the judicial branch of State government an office to be known as the Office of Statewide Pretrial Services. Provides that the office shall be under the supervision and direction of a Director who shall be appointed by a vote of a majority of the Illinois Supreme Court Justices for a 4-year term and until a successor is appointed and qualified. Provides that the Director shall adopt rules, instructions, and orders, consistent with the Act, further defining the organization of this office and the duties of its employees. Provides that the Illinois Supreme Court shall approve or modify an operational budget submitted to it by the Office of Statewide Pretrial Services and set the number of employees each year. Provides that the Chief Judge of each circuit court shall elect to receive pretrial services either through the Office or through a local pretrial services agency (rather than each circuit shall establish a pretrial service agency). Provides that the pretrial services agency has a duty to provide the court with accurate background data regarding the pretrial release of persons charged with felonies and effective supervision of compliance with the terms and conditions imposed on release. Effective immediately.

* HB4613 from Rep. Maura Hirschauer

Amends the Probate Act of 1975. Allows a ward in guardianship to get married who understands the nature, effect, duties, and obligations of marriage. Prior consent of the guardian of the person or estate or approval of the court is not required for the ward to enter into a marriage. A guardian may contest the validity of the marriage pursuant to Sections 301 and 302 of Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

* Rep. Bradley Fritts introduced HB4612

Amends the Counties Code. Provides that a county may set blade tip height limitations for wind towers in commercial wind energy facilities near a restricted landing area to ensure compliance with specified provisions of the Illinois Administrative Code.

* HB4602 from Rep. Marcus Evans

Amends the One Day Rest In Seven Act. Provides that the calculation of required rest days does not include any time that the employee is on call. Provides that an employee who voluntarily agrees to work on a day of rest must be paid at his or her regular hourly rate or, if applicable, at the overtime wage rate as required by the Illinois Minimum Wage Law. Provides that every employer shall permit its employees who are scheduled or expected to work (rather than are to work) for 7 1/2 continuous hours at least 20 minutes for a meal period beginning no later than 5 hours after the start of the work period. Provides that any employer, or agent or officer of an employer, has violated the Act if he or she discharges, takes an adverse action against, or in any other manner discriminates against any employee because that employee has exercised a right under the Act. Provides that the Director of Labor may (rather than shall) grant long term and short permits authorizing the employment of persons on days of rest. Makes changes in provisions concerning definitions; posting requirements; recordkeeping; and civil offenses. Makes other changes.

* HB4622 from Rep. Daniel Didech

Creates the Local School District Mandate Note Act. Provides that, every bill that imposes or could impose a mandate on local school districts, upon the request of any member, shall have prepared for it, before second reading in the house of introduction, a brief explanatory statement or note that shall include a reliable estimate of the anticipated fiscal and operational impact of those mandates on local school districts. Provides that the sponsor of each bill for which a request has been made shall present a copy of the bill with the request for a local school district mandate note to the State Board of Education. Provides that the State Board of Education shall prepare and submit the note to the sponsor of the bill within 5 calendar days, except as specified. Sets forth provisions concerning the requisites and contents of the note; comments or opinions included in the note; and the appearance of State officials and employees in support or opposition of measure.

* HB4626 from Rep. Janet Yang Rohr

Amends the School Code. Provides that a public school student may communicate and work with federally elected, State-elected, or locally elected officials or other stakeholders or officials as part of the student’s education.

  43 Comments      


Open thread

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* What’s going on in your part of Illinois?…

  13 Comments      


Isabel’s morning briefing

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: Johnson extends shelter stays for migrants for third time. Crain’s

    - The delay comes three days before nearly 2,000 migrants would be required to leave city shelters.
    - People who were expected to leave between January and the end of February -roughly 5,700 people- will now receive a 60-day extension.
    - As of Monday, more than 14,100 people were staying across 28 city shelters, with a little over 180 staying at O’Hare Airport as they waited for a shelter bed.

* Related stories…

* Isabel’s top picks…

At 9 am Governor Pritzker will announce the National Science Foundation grant award. Click here to watch.

* Here’s the rest of your morning roundup…

    * STL Today | Holleman: To get things done, Illinois’ Nikki Budzinski says she ignores ‘political noise’: Nikki Budzinski didn’t arrive on time for an interview. In fact, she was early. Should Budzinski, a Democrat who just finished her first year representing part of the Metro East area in the U.S. House, be aiming to position herself as unique among politicians, punctuality is a solid start.

    * WTTW | Rep. Delia Ramirez on Immigration Policy, Congressional Conflict Over Bipartisan Border Deal: Ramirez: I have felt the urgency to pass immigration reform since the moment my mother crossed the Rio Grande pregnant with me. This isn’t simply an election-year issue to our immigrant communities, it is a 365/24/7 issue. I’ve presented 17 ideas to my colleagues about how we could take concrete action to reform our immigration system rather than waste time and congressional resources on baseless impeachment.

    * Sun-Times | Brent Manning, former director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, dies at age 70: John Schmitt, the first executive director of the Illinois Conservation Foundation, rattled off an impressive list of accomplishments during Mr. Manning’s time as director: “Conservation Congress, Habitat Stamp, Conservation Reserve Plan, the additions of [Jim Edgar/Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area] and other sites, the World Shooting site Downstate, Illinois Conservation Foundation that I worked for Brent and we raised over $16 million for the IDNR, new IDNR headquarters … the list goes on and on…He was an outstanding mentor and friend.”

    * Tribune | Support staff at Crystal Lake D47 file unfair labor practice charge after district hires staffing firm: Crystal Lake Association of Support Staff, or CLASS, the union representing Chaix and more than 100 paraprofessionals across 12 schools in District 47, filed an unfair labor practice charge with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board in October after district administrators retained a recruiting firm to hire temporary employees. The union said the move was made illegally and without giving them notice.

    * STL Today | Miscommunication between lawyer, police caused fugitive label for former Town and Country cop: The issues with Fowle’s arrest began when, in an unusual move, before Fowle was in custody, Lozano filed a motion to reduce Fowle’s bond. A hearing was scheduled and approved by a judge even though Fowle had not surrendered. “The timing was just not good,” Lozano said Monday. “Which was my fault. I was out of state … so I scheduled with the court a bond hearing for this morning.”

    * The Center Square | Illinois partners with Google for AI-driven child behavioral health portal: Gov. J.B. Pritzker was at Google Chicago Monday to announce the creation of BEACON, or the Behavioral Health Care and Ongoing Navigation, a service access portal for Illinois families to access behavioral and mental health resources for children. The plan will incorporate artificial intelligence and create an online portal that provides families with access to behavioral and mental health resources.

    * Sun-Times | Cook County treasurer mails nearly 2 million first installment property tax bills: Property taxes are mailed twice a year in Cook County. This first installment is equal to 55% of last year’s total. Residents wanting to use exemptions, which reduce their total property taxes, can apply those to the second installment.

    * WBEZ | Illinois election officials are ramping up efforts to recruit election judges for March primary: “We need help, real help, to prop up democracy. Because if we don’t get the election judges there, it allows these other factors to win,” Ed Michalowski, the Cook County deputy clerk of elections said. “When good people could serve as election judges, and they don’t, it allows for some of that negativity to creep in, and some of those false statements and some of those false expressions on the internet.”

    * Decatur Tribune | FOP State Lodge endorses Regan Deering in race for 88th District Illinois House: “Regan Deering listens to the concerns of the law enforcement officers who protect our communities, and will fight for the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to keep our citizens safe,” said Illinois FOP State Lodge President Chris Southwood. “Regan feels that it’s the heroes in blue, and not the perpetrators in the shadows, that should be backed by state government, and that is why she has our support in this election.”

    * Sun-Times | Formula One in Chicago? Series applies for race trademarks: There is some indication the city has held initial talks with F1 about a possible Chicago race, downtown Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) says. “I’m told that F1 typically requires a 10-year minimum deal. And that appears to be non-negotiable. The conversation [with the city] did not get much past that,” Hopkins said.

    * Crain’s | Baseball commish gives thumbs-up to ‘game changer’ Sox stadium plan: Manfred said what’s particularly solid about the proposal is the “proximity to downtown” it would bring a team that now plays several miles to the south in a neighborhood that pretty much shuts down after dark. “Baseball has always worked well close to downtown,” which offers not only other entertainment options but good transit and highway access.

    * Sun-Times | State Street Macy’s shutters basement candy department — but vows ‘we will always sell Frango’s chocolates’: Now one floor above, there’s a new in-store bulk candy shop called It’Sugar, which opened in November last year. It’Sugar also has locations on the Magnificent Mile and Navy Pier. The store offers an array of sugary treats, including vintage candies, giant gummy bears and Japanese sodas, said Megan Peterson, a supervisor at It’Sugar.

    * Crain’s | Weed sales boom in Dry January as people drink less: Revenues at Curaleaf, Green Thumb Industries Inc., Verano Holdings Corp., Tilray and Canopy Growth Corp. are set to grow about 6% on average in the first quarter. At the state level, Oregon’s cannabis sales have jumped 19% on average in January since 2018 versus 12% on average in other months. In Colorado, cannabis sales grow the fastest in January on average.

  13 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - A big campaign update

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Live coverage

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* You can click here or here to follow breaking news because, as I initially suspected, the widget we had been using didn’t last long.

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