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It’s just a bill

Friday, Feb 23, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Secretary of State Giannoulias in the Tribune

New state legislation targets titanium dioxide and four other synthetic ingredients — brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben and red dye No. 3 — that have been linked to serious health problems, including hyperactivity, nervous system damage, reproductive issues, hormonal impairment and even cancer.

I recently stood with state Sen. Willie Preston and Rep. Anne Stava-Murray to introduce the Illinois Food Safety Act, which aims to ban these harmful chemicals in candy, soda and other ultraprocessed foods sold here. […]

As secretary of state, I oversee the state’s organ donor registry, one of the largest organ and tissue donation programs in the nation, which depends on healthy organs for individuals suffering from life-threatening diseases or injuries. Unfortunately, we’re seeing far too many chronically sick individuals in need of transplants these days and far fewer healthy organs available.

The goal of our legislation is to help ensure Illinoisans — and especially our children — eat safer and healthier food. What the bill doesn’t do is equally important: It doesn’t take food off the shelves, it doesn’t force companies to eliminate brands or products, and it doesn’t restrict the manufacturing or distribution of products with those ingredients, so long as they aren’t sold in Illinois.

* Center Square

State Rep. Maura Hirschauer, D-Batavia, introduced House Bill 4709 that would amend the current state statute that says if a county board chooses a school to be a polling place, then the school district must make the school available for use as a polling place.

“At my son’s elementary school, I have to buzz through two doors and show an ID just to talk to the secretary. There’s a disconnect between that safety measure and the safety measures we have in place for polling,” said Hirschauer.

Right now, the law says the school is encouraged to close school for Election Day, which is in November. The law makes no mention of closing schools for primaries or consolidated elections. […]

Lakeview Junior High School is currently used as a polling place in Downers Grove and Superintendent Andrew Wise said when there are distractions where the entire community is let in while school is in session, it raises anxiety.

“It raises anxiety in our students, in our faculty and staff because there are people in the building that have not been granted permission to be inside for the day for a specific purpose,” said Wise.

* WAND

One proposal could support the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation’s goal to reclaim land stolen from them more than 200 years ago. The measure would allow Illinois to transfer ownership of Shabbona Lake State Park to the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. […]

Chief Shab-eh-nay is the great grandfather four generations removed of Joseph Rupnick, Chairman of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation.

“In the 1850s when Chief Shab-eh-nay traveled to his home after we were forcibly removed from Illinois to Kansas to make sure the nation was settled, the government stole the land and illegally auctioned off more than 1,200 acres of his land that was rightfully and legally ours,” Rupnick said. […]

“The governor has shown his support conceptually,” said Rep. Mark Walker (D-Arlington Heights). “The details of this deal are not finally settled. But the Department of Natural Resources has been cooperative and helped with this. We’re going to get there.”

* WGEM

A bill would require public K-12 schools with names, logos or mascots containing Native American tribes or aspects of Native American culture to change them. It’s sponsored by state Rep. Maurice West, D-Rockford.

“The presence of native mascots, logos and names harm native children. They harm native children,” said Megan Bang, director of Northwestern University’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research.

She said research shows mascot names like Warriors, Indians and Braves hurt Native American kids. […]

The bill only impacts public K-12 schools. It does not impact the University of Illinois’ nickname, Fighting Illini.

* RDN

Two Illinois bills seek to create the Motor Vehicle Insurance Fairness Act, which would create a review process for car insurance rate increases in the state.

HB4611, introduced by [Rep. Thaddeus Jones], and SB3213, introduced by Sen. Javier Cervantes (D-District 1), will be heard in the General Assembly’s Insurance Committee Monday. […]

Guzzardi filed a similar bill last year in the House. It never made it out of the Rules Committee after a review by it and the Insurance Policy Subcommittee.

A consumer advocacy group in California, Consumer Watchdog, says an insurance review process in their state has saved consumers from $3 billion in auto insurance hikes since 2002.

* Jenna Prochaska’s op-ed in the Tribune

The Illinois legislature has the opportunity to enact long overdue protections from the harmful effects of so-called “crime-free” housing and nuisance property ordinances.

These ordinances, known as CFNOs, are local laws that encourage landlords to evict or exclude tenants based on their contact with the criminal legal system or calls for police help. The Community Safety through Stable Homes Act, introduced earlier this month by state Rep. La Shawn Ford (H.B. 5314) and state Sen. Karina Villa (S.B. 3680), will provide important protections for Illinois tenants and property owners. The legislation would prevent local governments from imposing penalties based on a tenant’s contact with police. It would also prohibit local policies that encourage or require landlords to use broad criminal background checks or to evict tenants based solely on their contact with the police or alleged criminal or nuisance behavior. […]

The harms caused by CFNOs are well documented and persistent. These ordinances are drafted very broadly and give wide discretion to the local officials charged with enforcing them — often the police. As a result, they can affect innocent tenants who are not at fault for the alleged criminal or nuisance activity and who may even be attempting to report crime or request police assistance. A family in Granite City, Illinois, for example, faced the possibility of eviction under the city’s CFNO based on the alleged criminal activity of the adult daughter, who did not even live with the family in its home.

For more than a decade, advocacy organizations have targeted harmful CFNOs through litigation, local policy advocacy, community outreach and education. The issue has historically united unlikely coalitions. Advocates for tenants have come together with advocates for the rights of property owners, who risk facing unfair penalties for failing to evict tenants under the ordinances. Civil rights groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, as well as groups with an economic libertarian focus such as the Institute for Justice, have taken legal action in response to the civil rights threats CFNOs pose. These efforts have generated important successes, but municipalities throughout the country — including more than 100 in Illinois — continue to enforce some form of CFNO.

* Sen. Mike Porfirio…

State Senator Mike Porfirio introduced legislation that would require public colleges and universities to waive transcript evaluation fees for refugees of Iraq and Afghanistan.

“In waiving these fees, we can invest in the academic journey of Iraqi and Afghan refugees while helping them,” said Porfirio (D-Lyons Township), who served alongside Iraqi and Afghan translators during Operation Iraqi Freedom and served as a police advisor during the war in Afghanistan. “We have a moral obligation to support those who have served shoulder to shoulder with us.”

Currently, transcript evaluations assess foreign transcripts as part of an admission process for higher education institutions. These evaluations are used to establish a U.S.-equivalent GPA, verify the accreditation of the schools where the applicant obtained or will obtain their degree, and benchmark completed coursework to determine if the applicant has met the prerequisite coursework requirements for their intended program.

Some institutions require applicants with foreign transcripts to pay a fee to outside vendors to evaluate the transcripts. Transcript evaluation fees vary widely in price, but they usually cost over $100. Porfirio’s bill would require higher education institutions to waive these fees for Iraqi and Afghan refugees.

* Poynter

The ailing local news industry in Illinois would receive compensation from Big Tech companies and benefit from state tax incentives and a new journalism scholarship program under sweeping legislation introduced in the general assembly this month.

“It is the most ambitious package of local journalism policy that I’ve seen,” Anna Brugmann, policy director for the nonprofit Rebuild Local News, said of two bills introduced by state Sen. Steve Stadelman, a Democrat who chaired the bipartisan Illinois Local Journalism Task Force.

“Employment in newsrooms has drastically declined,” Stadelman said. “A third of the newspapers in Illinois have closed over the years. Clearly there is a crisis in local journalism.”

The Journalism Preservation Act would require Big Tech companies such as Google and Facebook to compensate news organizations for the content that they share, display or link to on their platforms. The Strengthening Community Media Act offers a broad array of incentives, tax breaks and scholarships intended to repopulate local newsrooms. Included in that bill is a provision that calls for 120 days’ written notice before a local news organization may be sold to an out-of-state company.

       

32 Comments
  1. - TJ - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 9:18 am:

    I’m for removing Native American logos and names from schools, but that being said I don’t see how a generic “Warrior” name is offensive. The Golden State Warriors started out just as that, but nowadays literally nobody thinks of them as having Native American-branding and imagery, because they haven’t done so for decades by this point.


  2. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 9:32 am:

    “The presence of native mascots, logos and names harm native children. They harm native children,” said Megan Bang, director of Northwestern University’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research”

    That may well be, not sure why the ILGA needs to get involved. Name/logo/mascot changes are best left to the locally elected school board members. the Northwestern Native American and Indigenous Research Center can/should direct their advocacy to local boards.


  3. - ThePAMan - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 9:43 am:

    Would be nice if “journalists” were not so lazy and actually looked up the genesis of the name “Fighting Illini” (with the capital “F”).


  4. - OneMan - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 9:51 am:

    ” What the bill doesn’t do is equally important: It doesn’t take food off the shelves, it doesn’t force companies to eliminate brands or products, and it doesn’t restrict the manufacturing or distribution of products with those ingredients, so long as they aren’t sold in Illinois.”

    It would seem not allowing something to be sold in Illinois is restricting the distribution of products.

    Having individual states regulating food ingredients seems to be a recipe for a lot of confusion.


  5. - Leap Day William - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 10:01 am:

    I’m for removing Native American logos and names from schools, but that being said I don’t see how a generic “Warrior” name is offensive. The Golden State Warriors started out just as that, but nowadays literally nobody thinks of them as having Native American-branding and imagery, because they haven’t done so for decades by this point.

    Valid, but I think that’s because the Golden State Warriors as an organization did away with the imagery voluntarily in the 1970s rather than through a mandate from above. Contrast that with the Fighting Illini name, who despite retiring the chief mascot over 15 years ago now, still finds themselves dealing with the fallout because the administration continues to fumble the issue at every opportunity. No was does some small-town (or even suburban) high school let it go into the night. The district may move to change it, but anybody who votes for it will immediately lose their next election and the town will just go all-in on selling merch with the old logo.

    As an aside and speaking an Illinois alum, I’m fine with the name “Illini” for now, and will accept the benefit of the doubt on the name being representative of the state. That is, until the moment the Peoria Tribe (what’s left of the Illiniwek) issues a statement saying they want it discontinued, at which point I’ll flip on the name just like I did on the chief when the Peoria asked in 2000 for the university to retire it.


  6. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 10:10 am:

    ===best left to the locally elected school board members===

    Try putting some other things in front of that sentence fragment and then tell me how it looks.


  7. - Demoralized - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 10:34 am:

    ==are best left to the locally elected school board members==

    I generally reject this sort of concept. Sometimes you have to force people to act. Simply washing your hands of it because you think the locals should deal with it is not always an acceptable course of action.


  8. - Jibba - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 10:35 am:

    An active SOS tends to be good for the state (improving service, protecting libraries, etc), but this seems like a bit of an overstep that looks more like resume building for higher office. A bit unseemly for year 1, but on brand.


  9. - Stephanie Kollmann - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 10:39 am:

    If “warriors” is an appropriate team name for schoolchildren, what’s wrong with renaming the teams “soldiers” or even “killers” just to rid the name of any vestiges of race and ethnicity


  10. - Stephanie Kollmann - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 10:43 am:

    To spell it out: the reason “warriors” seems more appropriate than “soldiers” is that it’s a word used to describe people in societies that are portrayed as extinct and/or primitive, both of which are stereotypes against indigenous people.


  11. - Baloneymous - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 10:44 am:

    A quick Google search said there are approximately 1,292 Illinois high schools, 1,018 public and 274 private. And IHSA says it has around 777 high schools. An August 2020 Trib article mentioned that around 50 Illinois high schools have Native American imagery or names. I don’t think this bill in unfair at all since it impacts a very small number of schools and should not be that difficult for them to come up with a new name and mascot given the intent of the bill.

    From the Trib article: “Like Morris, Illinois high schools Momence, Nokomis, Sullivan and Shawnee also use the R@dskins name and similar logos. Forty-seven other schools in the state use Native American imagery or names, such as “Warriors,” as mascots.”

    For those who think this is unfair, and not to pick on one school, go to Pawnee high school’s website and just from their homepage tell me there are not offensive images that should not be there in the year 2024. For historical reference, Pekin managed to change its mascot around 1980 when school busing and integration was still on people’s minds. For the commenter who said board members will lose their next election or the town will sell more merchandise, again I say for the one school I singled out tell me how those board members and local residents can defend the images on its school’s website.


  12. - Ex Journo - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 11:11 am:

    ===Would be nice if “journalists” were not so lazy===

    This is one of the most frustrating stories I’ve seen recently. When the whole point of the bill is to focus on reducing harm and NOT promoting racist team names or mascots, it was ridiculous to watch the journalist list and show exactly that all throughout his story. He seems to have completely missed the point and I would recommend to his editor that they have someone with a little more tact cover this topic in the future.


  13. - Bogey Golfer - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 11:14 am:

    If the GA passes such legislation, will it also provide the funding to re-logo these schools. We are talking uniforms for athletic teams (and sometimes bands), signage and other items.
    BTW, I am a graduate of a high school that dropped “Indians” as its nickname over 2 years ago and has yet to adopt a replacement.


  14. - Suburban Mom - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 11:21 am:

    Yeah, we have school closed for the primary because one of the local schools in the district is a polling location and they just couldn’t find a way to make it safe enough for a school day while still being accessible to voters … after last year (two years ago?) a man who was clearly mentally unwell lost his mind at a school-based polling station and was screaming things about Democrat pedophiles using voting at schools to prey on children and he tried to grab multiple kids and there was a significant police response. I was there when he started escalating to trying to grab children and shove adults, it was extremely frightening. (He would have been arrested at any polling place, but being at a school was particularly scary.)

    Anyway, now school’s closed on election days. I’m glad, because the situation was legitimately terrifying, but I’m also a little annoyed about the childcare-on-a-random-workday situation.


  15. - Leap Day William - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 11:22 am:

    == For the commenter who said board members will lose their next election or the town will sell more merchandise, again I say for the one school I singled out tell me how those board members and local residents can defend the images on its school’s website. ==

    I’m a huge proponent of mascot name changes, but I also have family in Douglas county who are proud Tuscola supporters. I hear an earful every time this topic comes up about “woke libs” not understanding how it’s actually respectful because the “Native American Guardian Association (the same group pushing for the return of the chief at UIUC and for the Washington NFL team to return to their former name) told them it’s cool and they have their group’s blessing!”, and then wash their hands of it because how can it be racist if someone with dubious, unspecified native heritage is telling them it’s okay? (/sarcasm)

    Look at how many people still buy and sell “Chief” merch. Right before the pandemic, I saw a student walking on campus during Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day wearing a green and white shirt with a Native American in profile with the word “unofficial” in place of the feathers in the headdress. I can still buy newly-created Chief Illiniwek merch from the so-called “Honor the Chief” society.

    I don’t know *how* they can defend the name staying the same, but a good number stand behind it, and often with gusto. I’m not saying they can’t change, I’m saying it will be a fight. However, doing what is right is rarely easy.


  16. - H-W - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 11:26 am:

    @ Donnie Elgin

    You wrote, Name/logo/mascot changes are best left to the locally elected school board members.

    Isn’t that exactly how we got to this point, by not regulating?


  17. - Chito - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 11:33 am:

    “What the bill doesn’t do is equally important: It doesn’t take food off the shelves[…]so long as they aren’t sold in Illinois” - NIMBY


  18. - Baloneymous - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 11:51 am:

    Leap Day—

    I get what you are saying, and I am also a U of I alum who is happy our alma mater no longer uses the “Chief” mascot or has some white goofball parade around Memorial Stadium or Assembly Hall/State Farm Center and pretend they are honoring some tradition.

    As for Tuscola, I also live in a very small town, and luckily the school’s mascot is an animal. And I get how old people in private will talk about those darn “woke libs” but wait until a Daily Show crew or some ambitious teenagers who post a few videos on TikTok of the local idiot wearing a t-shirt and defending his town’s racism masked as pride and tradition. Those same folks and family members won’t be out in the streets yelling about the woke mod. They will stay hidden in their homes like the cowards they are defending their racist belief.


  19. - Steve Polite - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 12:01 pm:

    I am supportive of eliminating Native American imagery or names from K-12 schools. I never have considered the word warrior to imply a Native American. It is a generic word for a soldier or fighter with no connotations of any specific race.

    a person engaged or experienced in warfare; soldier.
    a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness, as in politics or athletics. - Dictionary.com

    : a person engaged or experienced in warfare
    broadly : a person engaged in some struggle or conflict - Merriam-Webster.com


  20. - Monk - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 12:15 pm:

    It’s almost like Alexi has larger aspirations…


  21. - Baloneymous - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 12:43 pm:

    ===I never have considered the word warrior===

    I agree but when a school also uses feathers or a spear with an arrowhead on helmets, jerseys or the school’s logo in addition to the name “Warriors” then it’s not so easy to agree with.


  22. - Frida's boss - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 1:16 pm:

    The Mongol Warriors, Greek Warriors, Samurai Warriors, Viking Warriors, Persian Warriors/Immortals, Celtic Warriors, the list could go on. Every class of people has had at some point in their history a “warrior” class within the structure of their society.
    Warrior is not a Native American exclusive term.


  23. - ThePAMan - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 1:18 pm:

    As for the Chief Illiniwek logo still appearing on items, I am not an expert on this, but my understanding is that you still find it for sale because of trademark reasons. If they stop selling/using it, the school can lose the rights to restrict its use generally. I know there is a website out there that focuses on selling these types of branded items (like Bradley Braves and Marquette Warriors, etc.) for that specific reason.


  24. - Stephanie Kollmann - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 1:40 pm:

    Maybe I typed this in invisible ink

    Warrior is “a word used to describe people in societies that are portrayed as extinct and/or primitive, both of which are stereotypes against indigenous people.”


  25. - Anonish - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 1:41 pm:

    Re: school polling places
    Something like 40-50% of polling places are at public schools. We know the election dates for years ahead. These dates are not surprises. The schools should just hold one of their institute days on the primary, general, and consolidated election dates.

    Schools are generally well known locations with parking and generally ADA compliant. If schools start opting out instead of scheduling closed days there is going to be a serious problem in running elections.

    Where will voting happen? Other public buildings like village halls and libraries are already doing it too. Instead of making changes to their schedule (without closing extra days) they are asking to put the ability to run elections at risk.


  26. - Stephanie Kollmann - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 1:41 pm:

    You don’t have to agree that stereotypes that are harmful to children should not be used for sports team names, of course. But how you think of the word warrior isn’t really relevant.


  27. - Two left feet - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 1:49 pm:

    If there is harm in the names, then the state should look at all the Native America names in Illinois.


  28. - JS Mill - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 1:54 pm:

    =It’s sponsored by state Rep. Maurice West, D-Rockford.=

    A quick check of the Google and one finds that the school and its teams are referred to as the “E-Rabs”.

    Guilford HS are the”Vikings”

    Maybe, and this is only a suggestion, Maurice should start in his own backyard.

    I agree with several other posters, the term “Warrior” is not synonymous with Native Americans, but when Native American imagery is added it certainly is.

    I do not like using people’s names or images or Native American imagery for mascots.

    And school board’s, especially small town school boards, are not the group you can rely on to make the correct decisions. Should we leave special education decisions or whether minorities are allowed to enroll, or decisions about allowing the school sponsored expressions of faith up to school boards? I think not. I can name three or four boards off the top of my head that would violate the rights of students in each category if it were left to them.


  29. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 1:56 pm:

    ===Maurice should start in his own backyard===

    What do you think he’s doing?


  30. - H-W - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 2:33 pm:

    @ JS Mill

    I checked, and apparently Rockford High prior to 1940 was known as the “Red and Blacks” based on the school colors. When the school divided into East and a West Rockford high schools, East kept the name so to speak, East - Red and Blacks, or E-RABs.

    From my perspective, that is an odd choice, but if the story is true, I do not see a problem with the name. The story I read also said the original name may have been related to who military units often use colors as names.


  31. - H-W - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 2:59 pm:

    Okay, I am going to correct myself.

    If East wants to keep the name, they ought to keep the name, Red and Blacks (RABs for short). E-RABs only invites criticism and racism from opponents. I see that.

    Is there any evidence that E-RABs was originally chosen with knowledge that the term suggests Arabs? Just curious. I live in a different part of the state. The last time my children’s school changed school names, they went from Cyclones to Sparclones (a coop between the Cyclones and Spartans).

    I was never so happy to see a coop end. Sparclones sounds like sparkles and reminds me of rainbow colored unicorns.

    Good weekend, all.


  32. - Frida's boss - Friday, Feb 23, 24 @ 3:23 pm:

    @Stephanie, where is your definition from?

    Dictionary.com has it as Warrior, noun:
    a person engaged or experienced in warfare; soldier.
    a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness, as in politics or athletics.
    First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English werreieor, from Old North French; equivalent to war

    Cambridge- Warrior noun: a soldier, usually one who has both experience and skill in fighting, especially in the past

    Webster’s- Warrior noun:: a person engaged or experienced in warfare
    broadly : a person engaged in some struggle or conflict

    So you didn’t write in invisible ink, I used 3 different dictionary references for the definition, not yours.


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