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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Tuesday, Feb 13, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Illinois Municipal League…

Representing local leaders from across the state, the Illinois Municipal League (IML) announced its annual ‘Moving Cities Forward’ legislative platform, which aims to ensure the long-term success of Illinois’ 1,294 cities, villages and towns. […]

Authority to Fulfill Public Notice Mandates Electronically
HB 3154 (Rep. Ford, D-Chicago) and SB 61 (Sen. Castro, D-Elgin)

Public notice requirements are an important and beneficial service provided to citizens. These requirements also add costs to local governments and their taxpayers, particularly for mandates to place notices in newspapers or mail them to residents. This proposal would allow municipalities the option to fulfill any statutorily-mandated newspaper posting requirement by providing notice on the municipality’s website and on a publicly-available, searchable online database operated independently from the municipality. This is a shift to utilize modern technology in a way that recognizes how the public increasingly finds and views public notices.

Restoration of Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) Revenues
HB 4455 (Rep. DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights)

LGDF distributions play a role in funding critical municipal services and keeping the local tax burden low. Without LGDF, communities across Illinois would need to explore increases to other fees or taxes – including property taxes. Following the enactment of the state income tax in 1969, 10% of total income tax collections were dedicated to LGDF for distribution to municipalities and counties. Since 2011, the state has decreased the local government share of LGDF, so that, as of State Fiscal Year 2024, it is 6.47% of individual income tax collections and 6.845% of corporate income tax collections. This proposal would incrementally increase amounts transferred from the State of Illinois’ General Revenue Fund to LGDF to 10% of net revenue realized from income taxes imposed on individuals, trusts, estates and corporations.

Reamortization of Downstate Public Safety Pension Funds
HB 1185 (Rep. Vella, D-Rockford)

The current amortization schedule for downstate police and firefighter pension funds is significantly shorter than other statewide, state-administered and Chicago-based pension systems despite downstate public safety pension funds having better funding ratios (excluding the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund). This proposal would extend the amortization date for downstate public safety pension funds from the end of MFY 2040 to MFY 2050 or later (2055) and provide immediate financial relief to affected communities.

Municipal Audit Relief
SB 2875 (Sen. D. Turner, D-Springfield)

In addition to an annual requirement to file a financial report with the Illinois State Comptroller, statutory requirements for annual municipal audits to be performed by CPAs are extremely costly, particularly for small municipalities with small annual budgets. For small communities, the annual financial report and extending the current annual CPA audit requirement to every fourth fiscal year, provides sufficient fiscal transparency. Not only are audits performed by CPAs costly, only a limited number of CPAs perform or specialize in municipal audits, making them difficult to locate and contract for their services. This proposal would provide relief to Illinois municipalities with a population of 1,000 or less, while still allowing for effective financial reporting and transparency.

Authority to Conduct Remote Meetings
HB 1408 (Rep. Yang Rohr, D-Naperville) and SB 103 (Sen. Castro, D-Elgin)

This proposal would permit public officials to conduct a remote meeting without the issuance of a gubernatorial or IDPH disaster declaration. Specifically, this proposal would allow the head of a public body to determine if an in-person meeting would pose a risk to the health or safety of members of the public or the public body, or that conducting a remote meeting is in the best interest of the public or the public body.

These issues are just a few of IML’s priorities outlined in ‘Moving Cities Forward’. Please visit the IML website for more information about the 2024 IML State Legislative Agenda (available via this link).

* Illinois AFL-CIO…

The Illinois AFL-CIO today laid out an agenda to build on the Illinois labor movement’s recent successes like the Workers’ Rights Amendment, the Temp Worker Fairness and Safety Act and Paid Leave for All. Among the organization’s legislative priorities is a push to protect all workers from unwanted religious and political speech in the workplace. Known as captive audience meetings, these mandatory meetings subject employees to the religious or political views of the employer during work hours. When employees decline to participate, they often face retaliation or firing.

“Captive audience meetings are a direct violation of workers’ rights. This forces our most vulnerable employees to choose between their job and their personal values,” remarked Illinois AFL-CIO President Tim Drea. “Employers are increasingly using the workplace to advance their political and religious interests, and this creates an atmosphere ripe for coercion. Without protections in place, workers who choose to walk away from these meetings risk their livelihood.”

In the face of growing extremism across the country, legislators from eighteen states have advanced bills to protect workers from unwanted or offensive political and religious speech unrelated to job performance. These bills are designed to prohibit employers from threatening, disciplining, firing, or retaliating against workers who refuse to attend mandatory workplace meetings focused on communicating opinions on political or religious matters. These meetings are frequently used by employers during union organizing drives.

“Mandatory employer meetings like these are another egregious method to ‘union-bust’ and put money into the pockets of CEOs at the expense of workers,” stated the bill’s chief Senate sponsor, Illinois State Senator Robert Peters, Chair of the Senate Labor Committee. “We know that unions raise the standard of working conditions, increase wages, and decrease inequality. This legislation allows us to reshape the future of workers’ rights by letting employees join a union free from employer interference.”

Captive audience meetings are the employer-preferred method of union busting. An Economic Policy Institute analysis of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) elections documents shows that 89% of all employers conduct captive audience meetings in response to unionization efforts.

“We need to do everything possible to help the hard-working families of Illinois survive and thrive,” explained Illinois State House Assistant Majority Leader Marcus C. Evans Jr., Chief Sponsor of the bill in the House. “Captive audience meetings impact all workers, whether they are in a union or not. We want to make sure that everyone is safe and secure at work and can walk away without retaliation if they are forced to sit through meetings unrelated to their work responsibilities.”

Often an employer threatens, disciplines, or terminates an employee for objecting to the boss’s political views. Anti-captive audience legislation guarantees workers’ freedoms and ensures that all workers can fully exercise their rights in the workplace.

* Press release…

The City of Chicago will not renew its contract with SoundThinking that expires February 16, 2024, and will decommission the use of ShotSpotter technology on September 22, 2024. During the interim period, law enforcement and other community safety stakeholders will assess tools and programs that effectively increase both safety and trust, and issue recommendations to that effect.

In advance of the decommissioning in September, the Chicago Police Department will work to revamp operations within the Strategic Decision Support Centers, implement new training and further develop response models to gun violence that ultimately reduce shootings and increase accountability.

Moving forward, the City of Chicago will deploy its resources on the most effective strategies and tactics proven to accelerate the current downward trend in violent crime. Doing this work, in consultation with community, violence prevention organizations and law enforcement, provides a pathway to a better, stronger, safer Chicago for all.

* Sun-Times

Mayor Brandon Johnson is expected to announce that he won’t renew the city’s controversial contract with ShotSpotter, making good on a key campaign promise to do away with the gunshot detection system that has come under heavy fire for allegedly being overly costly and ineffective. […]

Johnson outlined the plan during a closed-door meeting Monday night with city officials and advocates, a source said. With ShotSpotter’s roughly $49 million contract expiring on Friday, the city will apparently have to enter into a new deal with parent company SoundThinking to cover the additional months.

While Johnson has publicly remained tight-lipped about his plans for ShotSpotter since taking office, he vowed to nix the deal as a candidate and “invest in new resources that go after illegal guns without physically stopping and frisking Chicagoans on the street.”

He insisted the technology is “unreliable and overly susceptible to human error,” adding that it “played a pivotal role” in the fatal police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo.

* Leigh Giangreco



* Heh



* Here’s the rest…

    * Tribune | Democrats flexed muscles in passing out pork in Springfield: In a state known for negotiating local pork-barrel project funds in at least somewhat of a bipartisan fashion, the maneuver illustrated how Democrats enjoying extraordinary House and Senate majorities flexed their dominance and left minority party Republican legislators wanting. … In 2019, former House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs negotiated various business tax breaks, worked on shaping Pritzker’s statewide pork-barrel bonanza in his first spring session, pulled off a variety of other GOP wins and secured a cut of the local projects for Republicans along the way. “I think most of it, if there was going to be any distribution to Republicans, it was conditioned on putting votes on a budget,” Durkin said. “That’s really what it came down to. And I don’t think that practice has changed.”

    * KFVS | SIH Cancer Institute receives $300K grant: According to a news release, [Republican] State Senator Dale Fowler and [Republican] Representative Paul Jacobs joined members of the cancer institute to announce two $150,000 member initiative grants from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

    * Illinois Answers | Landlord Pushes Tenants Out Despite Getting State Money: Not even through the COVID-19 pandemic when Collier lost her full-time job and worked sparingly as a maid. She was approved for government rental assistance that covered more than two years worth of her $900 monthly rent, records show. And she said she maintained the same system – keeping every email, every invoice and every receipt. So she was stunned when she faced eviction for allegedly being thousands of dollars behind. She found herself tearfully begging her landlord for relief in a court hearing over Zoom — hoping she’d be given a few extra days before getting kicked out. She was not.

    * Crain’s | One of Chicago’s largest hotels changing hands in $500 million deal: Hotel giant Marriott International will purchase the Sheraton Grand Chicago in Streeterville for $300 million and plans to pay an additional $200 million for the land, in accordance with the terms of a settlement agreement with the property’s owner.

    * Tribune | Pat Fitzgerald asks to move up the trial in his lawsuit against Northwestern so he can return to coaching: A Cook County judge has set an April 2025 trial date, but Webb wants it moved to December 2024. “If we get a trial in December and he’s exonerated, he will still have January to get a coaching position” elsewhere, Webb said. “But if he misses three seasons in a row, it’s going to be significantly different.” Judge Daniel Kubasiak acknowledged that timing is important to Fitzgerald, but he added: “I’m not sure I can necessarily allow that to dictate.”

    * Sun-Times | Little Village mass shooting blamed on dispute between migrants, local residents over double-parked car: [Ald] Rodriguez said the shooting highlights “a real poverty of the soul, where people feel like they can resolve conflicts by shooting guns at other people.” He insisted the solution is further restricting access to firearms.

    * Naperville Sun | Property crime went up nearly 8% in Naperville in 2023, police statistics show: While personal crimes dipped in 2023, property offenses accounted for about 65% of Naperville’s total reported crime for the year, most of which involved theft, fraud or vandalism, data shows. City police reported 2,589 crimes against property in 2023, up 181 from 2,408 property crimes in 2022.

    * WGLT | McLean County circuit clerk faces primary challenge from a former employee: Incumbent Circuit Clerk Don Everhart will face Republican challenger Jason Dazey in the March 19 primary, for which early voting is now underway. With no Democrat in the race, the winner is likely to advance to an unopposed election win in November

    * Daily Journal | Former McLean County recorder sees future in alpaca farm: Newcom had been re-elected as McLean County recorder of deeds, but a referendum asking voters if the recorder’s office should be eliminated also passed — 37,699 to 24,207. Newcom asked if anyone had any ideas for a job. The first to respond was a high school friend who owns an alpaca farm in California, suggesting he start one.

    * SJ-R | Central Illinois couple celebrating 72 years of love this Valentine’s Day: Bill believes he was first introduced to Norma at Frist Baptist Church of Chenoa, where Norma grew up and still attends. Bill recalls how he got a friend of his, Bill Harrison, to act as an intermediary. “I saw Norma at the piano (at church) and we kind of made eye contact with each other,” Bill said. “(Bill Harrison) knew Norma already from school, so I kind of used him to make me acquainted with Norma.

    * Bloomberg | Dolly Parton on how she succeeds in business: How does she keep up the momentum? “I work my butt off,” she says in an interview with Bloomberg News to hawk her newest endeavor with Chicago’s Conagra Brands Inc., a grocery store-wide food line, starting with Dolly Parton’s Buttermilk Pancakes.

    * STLPR | For eclipse-loving students and scientists, southern Illinois marks the spot: “To me, there’s always science to be found,” said Brody Echer, an accounting and information systems management student at Iowa State University who is traveling to Carbondale, Illinois, during the eclipse as part of his work on NASA’s Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project. “Eclipses don’t happen every day. It’s one of those things where you have to be there on a certain day, and it won’t wait for anybody.”

    * NYT | The Home of Carter G. Woodson, the Man Behind Black History Month: Though Dr. Woodson was the kind of neighbor who doted on children playing on the street and his stoop, even as other adults told them to behave, 1538 Ninth Street NW was more about his life’s work than serving as a traditional residence. It became known as Dr. Woodson’s “office home,” as Willie Leanna Miles, who was a managing director of the Associated Publishers, put it in her 1991 article “Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson as I Recall Him, 1943-1950.” The article was published in The Journal of Negro History, which was founded by Dr. Woodson and is still running as The Journal of African American History today.

       

15 Comments
  1. - Three Dimensional Checker - Tuesday, Feb 13, 24 @ 2:31 pm:

    This still may be market inefficiency regarding SSTI. Per the Shotspotter contract:

    “3.5.6. Early Termination
    The City may terminate this Contract, in whole or in part, at any time by a notice in writing from the City to the Contractor. The effective date of termination will be the date the notice is received by the Contractor or the date stated in the notice, whichever is later. Subject to the appropriation of funds, City agrees to pay as provided in the Contract, for Services satisfactorily performed prior to the effective date of termination.”

    You know, according to the law and stuff, this is just a six month extension.


  2. - Huh? - Tuesday, Feb 13, 24 @ 2:32 pm:

    “Municipal Audit Relief”

    Start by telling IDOT to dump any thoughts of to instituting a GATA like system for the local agencies. The legislators passed a law specifically excluding IDOT from GATA. Yet there are people in the Hanley Building trying get around the law and keep it going.


  3. - JoanP - Tuesday, Feb 13, 24 @ 2:37 pm:

    An Oscar* Awareness Day might be a good idea.

    * the cute dog, not the movie award


  4. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Feb 13, 24 @ 2:40 pm:

    “… performed by CPAs are extremely costly, particularly for small municipalities with small annual budgets.”

    It is the cost of doing business, particularly if you expect the State to send you income / sales / gas tax receipts. If you can’t afford it, go out of business.


  5. - I'm old enough to remember ... - Tuesday, Feb 13, 24 @ 2:51 pm:

    The General Assembly should do a throwback week, turn ILGA off and go back to the pre-internet catalog system just for fun.


  6. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Feb 13, 24 @ 3:06 pm:

    HB 3154 - Authority to Fulfill Public Notice Mandates Electronically

    Yes pass this ASAP - units of local gov will save money and finding local legally required postings will be much easier. One could just click on a website rather than having to guess which newspaper was used to publish a notice and then guess when it ran.


  7. - JoanP - Tuesday, Feb 13, 24 @ 3:11 pm:

    = Authority to Fulfill Public Notice Mandates Electronically =

    I get this will save local governments money, but it’s also another nail in the coffin of local newspapers.


  8. - Just a guy - Tuesday, Feb 13, 24 @ 3:50 pm:

    “The City of Chicago will deploy its resources on the most effective strategies and tactics proven to accelerate the current downward trend in violent crime.” Oh Brandon, Brandon, Brandon… https://chicago.suntimes.com/crime/2023/12/7/23992491/chicago-armed-robberies-surge-five-charts


  9. - Annon3 - Tuesday, Feb 13, 24 @ 3:58 pm:

    Jim Durkin- “it was conditioned on putting votes on it” makes sense to me.


  10. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Feb 13, 24 @ 4:31 pm:

    @JoanP- with respect, these local papers are gouging us with four figure costs for these notices. And we have no choice but to pay it. For many of us there is one choice and they know it. We are a small district and we still shell out more than $7,000 per year on average for public notices that could be done on our website. Last year we had multiple public bids plus the normal required notices and we spent $8,000 and change. I also don’t think it is our job to keep them in business.

    Just for reference, the paper we post in serves a town of about 10,000 people and is not located in our district. But is the closest.


  11. - supplied_demand - Tuesday, Feb 13, 24 @ 4:41 pm:

    ==Oh Brandon, Brandon, Brandon==

    Almost all types of crime are down so far in 2024. Some are down significantly like murders, shootings, burglary, vehicle theft.

    https://home.chicagopolice.org/wp-content/uploads/1_PDFsam_CompStat-Public-2024-Week-6.pdf


  12. - Aaron B - Tuesday, Feb 13, 24 @ 4:45 pm:

    HB 3154 - Authority to Fulfill Public Notice Mandates Electronically

    Anyone know if this would only apply to municipalities or if it would be for all units of government?


  13. - JoanP - Tuesday, Feb 13, 24 @ 8:03 pm:

    @ JS Mill -

    Yes, I get that. It’s just that so many local papers are disappearing, which makes me sad. There are a lot of reasons for that, and losing public notices is the least of it.


  14. - Frida's boss - Tuesday, Feb 13, 24 @ 10:03 pm:

    Not using CPA’s I’m guessing the people of Dixon have a thing or two to say. Maybe have the state help pay for the costly mandate if it’s that onerous.

    The local public body can make meetings remote? Would that include a municipality making a decision that their residents don’t want, like tons of different zoning issues that arise every year, and instead of having people come to the meeting and hold them accountable they throw them on a Zoom so they don’t have to face the public?


  15. - Frida's boss - Tuesday, Feb 13, 24 @ 10:18 pm:

    He insisted the solution is further restricting access to firearms.
    “That would resolve so many of these crimes across our country in urban centers,” he said. “I can’t understand why we can’t do the commonsense thing.”
    I agree with Alderman Rodriguez there should be no access to firearms in urban centers. You should pass an ordinance banning them in the city.
    See how that works for you.


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