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Isabel’s morning briefing

Friday, Mar 15, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: Illinois’ high court reports ‘breathtaking’ rise in appeals following elimination of cash bail. WTTW

    - Justices on Illinois’ high court are pitching these changes; legislative sign-off on making an office dedicated to pretrial services into its own standalone entity, and the creation of a new office to support public defenders.
    -Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Jane Theis said the spike in appeals is the “biggest challenge” to the judicial branch’s implementation of the pretrial justice system.
    - The Illinois Supreme Court is seeking $569.1 million in state general revenue funds — $30.9 million more than the $538.2 million proposed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

* Related stories…

* Another mailer featuring the Governor

* Isabel’s top picks…

    * Injustice Watch | Name-change law used to target women running for judge: Ashonta C. Rice’s name was removed from the Cook County ballot under a 2007 law intended to prevent candidates from using name changes to deceive voters. She’s not the first, and some say the law has been used as a political weapon against female candidates instead.

    * Tribune | Gov. J.B. Pritzker announces plan to tear down, replace historic Stateville prison: Pritzker’s proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 includes $900 million to demolish and rebuild the correctional centers and the administration estimates the construction costs at $805 million to $935 million. Pritzker’s administration said it expects that once they’re completed, the rebuilt prisons will save the state an average of $34 million annually by lowering overtime, maintenance and utility costs.

    * SJ-R | Why Pritzker holds ‘degree of skepticism’ on new carbon capture bill: “We’re going to be working through how if he would, we would implement carbon capture in the state of Illinois,” [Pritzker] said at the governor’s office. “Is it going to be safe for people who are living in areas where carbon capture will be taking place? How would we implement it to make sure that in the construction of that, that it would be safe?”

* Heh

* Here’s the rest…

    * Capitol News Illinois | Pritzker agency heads questioned on $1.1 billion revenue proposals: “The idea is that they will not be able to use those losses to reduce revenue,” Illinois Department of Revenue Director David Harris told the House Revenue and Finance Committee on Thursday. “So they’re limited. And thus, since they’re limited in terms of using those losses to reduce revenue, that revenue is going to be now taxed.”

    * Sun-Times | Fewer Illinois residents using payday lenders after state crackdown, study finds: In 2019, Illinois consumers paid $607.4 million in interest and fees — the fourth highest amount in the nation — on more than 1 million payday loans, installment payday loans, auto title loans and small consumer loans, according to Woodstock. In 2022, a year after the predatory loan act went into effect, borrowers took out 105 of those loans and the fees totaled $1,279.

    * ABC Chicago | Effort underway to unseat Illinois’ longest-serving Black legislator, Flowers: ‘38 years is plenty’: “No one has said, ‘Rep. Flowers, you’re too old; you’ve been here too long,’” Flowers said. But her opponent has come close in an ad, which says, “38 years is plenty enough for Mary Flowers. The choice: Mike Crawford. I’m Mike Crawford, an educator.”

    * WBEZ | Nearly all of state’s attorney hopeful Eileen O’Neill Burke’s big funders are white men:Those 25 donors — venture capitalists, investment managers, traders, real estate developers, upscale restaurant chain owners, personal-injury lawyers, and so on — account for about half of the $3.1 million in campaign fundraising that O’Neill Burke had reported to the state by Thursday afternoon, just a few days before the end of voting Tuesday. Her Democratic primary opponent, University of Chicago lecturer Clayton Harris III, won the party’s endorsement but has lagged in fundraising. Harris, whose top 25 donors include nine African Americans and 10 women, has reported $1.2 million in campaign donations.

    * Tribune | As U.S. Rep. Danny Davis seeks 15th term, opponents argue it’s time to move on: Emboldened by Davis’ close call in 2022, when he beat progressive activist Kina Collins by just 6 points, the second-term treasurer is mounting a challenge built on the argument that the South and West side neighborhoods comprising the core of the district have little to show for Davis’ nearly half-century in public office — with more than half of that time in Congress — that began when he was elected the 29th Ward alderman in 1979.

    * Landmark | Rashid faces challenge from former cop in Democratic primary: This is the 62-year-old Vasquez’s second political race. In 2003, the resident of the southwest side of Chicago ran for alderman of Chicago’s 23rd ward, where he was trounced by former Ald. Michael R. Zalewski, the father of the former state representative. Vasquez received only 18.31% of the vote. Vazquez, who now works as an Amtrak police officer after a 32-year career with the Chicago Police Department, said that race soured him on running for office for some time, but now he has decided to make another run for office. Vasquez said that he is running against Rashid because he believes Rashid has not been active in the district and is more focused on Palestinian issues than the nuts and bolts work of being a state representative.

    * Sun-Times | Illinois history has lessons on the politics of abortion: You may not know the names Rosemary Mulligan and Penny Pullen, but their 1990 race for a seat in the Illinois Legislature foreshadowed the role of abortion in politics today. Down-ballot races like this highlight the important work of state legislators on issues that affect people most.

    * Sun-Times | Waukegan city clerk charged with misconduct, misapplication of funds: A 15-count indictment was returned Wednesday alleging Kilkelly gave thousands of dollars in credits to businesses that did not qualify for the financial support, the Lake County state’s attorney’s office said. Kikelly’s office and the Waukegan City Council had “repeatedly established” that the credits would solely go to businesses that were considered to be in “good standing,” the state’s attorney’s office said.

    * Chicago Reader | Illinois made it easier for gun violence survivors to apply for compensation. Why aren’t more Chicagoans finding the program?: Yet, during the Trace’s recent survivor storytelling project, an initiative that helped victims write about their experiences, participants said they were still struggling to receive funding. Using records obtained through the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, the Trace analyzed nearly 23,000 claims between January 2018 and November 2023, almost half of which came from Chicago, to see whether the program had improved. The Trace looked at the outcome of claims opened within each calendar year, not the year when they were closed, to assess the timeliness of the program and how legislative changes might have affected application results.

    * WBEZ | Toni Preckwinkle flexes her political muscle as she backs Democrats in Tuesday’s election: From presidential tarmac visits to lauded policy decisions during crises, Preckwinkle focused instead on the power and influence she already had in two of the most important political roles in the region. “She decided to step back, look at what she had and use what she had to show her power. That she was just as powerful as Lori Lightfoot, if not more,” said veteran political strategist Delmarie Cobb, who has known Preckwinkle for more than 20 years. “She didn’t have to flex her muscles publicly. She could go behind the scenes, use the tools she had at her disposal as the Cook County Board president and as the chair of the party, and still continue to amass power and to wield power. And that’s what she did.”

    * Tribune | Cook County offers to chip in on food costs for migrants, approves delay to paid-leave mandate for schools, parks: The proposal is part of Preckwinkle’s commitment, along with Gov. J.B. Pritzker, to help pay for expected costs of new migrant arrivals in Chicago this year. This is the first time the county will help pay for food. Until now, its contribution to the migrant response has centered almost entirely on health care at Cook County Health.

    * Tribune | Cook County approves $17 million settlement for Jackie Wilson, exonerated in 1982 cop killings: The payout will resolve a civil rights lawsuit filed by Jackie Wilson that accused several former Cook County assistant state’s attorneys of railroading him for murders committed by his older brother. It is thought to be among the largest wrongful conviction settlements for a single defendant in county history.

    * CBS Chicago | South suburban Chicago mayor sued by ex-employees claiming they were wrongfully fired: One lawsuit was filed by former Thornton Township human resources manager Sandra Tracy, who claimed she was retaliated against after she refused to put together a list with the “dirt” on township employees. Tracy also claimed she was retaliated against for taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – and was locked out of the township building and made to work out of her car in the parking lot for six months, attorneys alleged.

    * Patch | IPHCA, IHA Welcome Prescription Drug Savings Court Ruling: The 8th Circuit’s decision upheld Arkansas law (Act 1103) prohibiting drug companies from restricting provider access to 340B discounts through contract pharmacies, and agreeing that state law isn’t preempted by federal law, but instead supports the 340B program. Of note, the Court found, “Pharmacy has traditionally been regulated at the state level, and we must assume that absent a strong showing that Congress intended preemption, state statutes that impact health and welfare are not preempted.”

    * Slate | The Parents in My Classroom: My student was partly right. Emergencies happen. Parents want access to their kids. But this wasn’t an emergency. “When my dad texts and asks me how I am,” another ninth grader said, “he gets worried if I don’t message back immediately.” Her friend said: “My mom expects a text each class period so she knows what I’m doing.”

    * Tribune | Chicago has a new ‘I voted!’ sticker. Meet the artist behind the bold and simple design: The artist behind the new sticker, Jane Ignacio, has designed everything for the board for more than 20 years, from its social media posts to its election judge handbooks. “Going to the polling place on Election Day is like my Super Bowl,” the freelance designer said in an interview Thursday.


  1. - Stix Hix - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 8:17 am:

    –To get the pulse of the state (Illinois), we spoke with three white male Trump supporters at a Jimmy John’s in Carbondale.–

    In depth research. Journalism at its best here. s/

  2. - Rachel - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 8:18 am:

    ==Rashid has not been active in the district and is more focused on Palestinian issues than the nuts and bolts work of being a state representative.==

    This is not accurate. It seems to me that,in a very short period of time, Rep Rashid has become a legislative expert on artificial intelligence and other complicated technology issues. Joe Biden recognized this over the summer when he was invited to the White House.

  3. - Blitz - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 8:29 am:

    Yowza, that Slate piece. Kudos for teachers dealing with that, and feel bad for the kids in that situation as it feels like it will really stunt their ability to become their own person and identity.

  4. - JS Mill - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 8:43 am:

    =In depth=

    Depth would seem to be a bit of an oxymoron when discussing the maga movement/tribe.

  5. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 8:49 am:

    “We get a portion of money from fines and fees, but those were diminishing over the last four years anyway.”

    A discordant note from the choir. Curious what the future holds.

  6. - Amalia - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 8:53 am:

    how is this escaping notice of the media?

  7. - H-W - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 8:53 am:

    The Slate article is instructive. There was a time when students had to learn with only books and pencils. Then we introduced electronic tools and eliminated actual books and pencils.

    There was a time when students went to school and had to focus on teachers. If they were dating, students might pass a note or gesture other students in the room.

    Now students bring their pocket computers into the school so they can chat with parents, friends, friends in other classrooms, and surf the web in their laps.

    I cannot imagine how must students actually learn today, but I imagine it to be less on average.

  8. - H-W - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 8:55 am:

    Dating = daring

  9. - Will Colquhoun - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 8:59 am:

    I laughed at the New York Time Pitchbot joke, but not just because of its accurate mocking of the NYT, but also because they clowned themselves by picking the one town in southern Illinois where you would be be *less* likely to find Trump supporters as Carbondale is quite liberal.

    In fact, having grown up in the Chicago burbs and then lived in Jackson Co. for the last 20yrs I can say with confidence that the ‘dale is waaay more liberal than most of Chicagoland.

  10. - Demoralized - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 9:10 am:

    ==My mom expects a text each class period so she knows what I’m doing==

    That has got to be one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. I would hate to be that kid because it’s obvious she has an extremely overbearing parent and I feel sorry for this kid.

    But, I will say, cell phone usage in school is absolutely ridiculous. I get texts every once in a while from my daughter and I’ve asked her why she is using her phone in school. She tells me as long as their work is complete some teachers allow their students to use their phones. It’s ridiculous and I’ve told her to stop using her phone in class no matter what the teacher says.

    If I were a teacher I would have a basket by the door and every single student would be dropping their cell phones in that basket when they enter the classroom and could pick it up when they left.

  11. - Hannibal Lecter - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 9:12 am:

    === If I were a teacher I would have a basket by the door and every single student would be dropping their cell phones in that basket when they enter the classroom and could pick it up when they left. ===

    That is if the school administration allows you to do that. Many do not.

  12. - ;) - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 9:27 am:

    Harmon and Welch are leading the two most dishonest misinformation campaigns this cycle between Toro and lyin’ Mike Crawford. It’s disgusting.

  13. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 9:31 am:

    Illinois banned electronic communication devices like phones from schools in the 90s but rescinded the ban after the Columbine school shooting and other incidents in which cellular communications proved vital.

    Here’s the article on the state ban being rescinded …

    Law allows student cell phones
    Chicago Tribune
    PUBLISHED: August 10, 2002

    Students who have had to duck into bathroom stalls or locker rooms to make a cell phone call may now be able to go public.

    Gov. George Ryan on Friday signed into law a bill that will allow students to use cell phones in the state’s public schools for the first time in more than a decade.

    The new law enables school districts to set their own rules about cell phone use. They can either prohibit or regulate student cell phones.

    “Parents use the phones to stay in contact with their children,” Ryan said. “Incidents involving school violence have also pointed out the importance of having access to cellular communication. It is important that we allow an avenue of communication for these parents and children.”

    Illinois lawmakers banned the phones from public schools in 1990. At that time teachers were concerned that drug deals would be negotiated on cell phones and the shrill rings would disrupt classrooms.

    But times have changed, said Rep. Mary Flowers, (D-Chicago), who championed the initial ban.

    She cited such tragedies as the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the Columbine shootings as examples of the importance of staying connected with loved ones and authorities.

    “With Columbine it was the children who had the cell phones who saved other children’s lives,” Flowers said. “And on Sept. 11 there were no TV cameras on those airplanes. There were no reporters. But they had cell phones. They were able to leave messages for their loved ones that, even a year later, some of them are still playing.”

    Also on Friday the governor signed into law a bill that will allow telephone customers to indicate whether they would like to receive calls from businesses or other groups that sell products or solicit donations.

  14. - TJ - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 9:38 am:

    The pitchbot is always a solid follow.

    === If I were a teacher I would have a basket by the door and every single student would be dropping their cell phones in that basket when they enter the classroom and could pick it up when they left. ===

    And if you were a teacher, you’d probably have nasty notes left on your black/whiteboard and stuff done to your car if you honestly tried to implement a policy like that.

  15. - HarveyGuy - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 9:43 am:

    Why did my comment get deleted when I asked why is this blog taking a stance against Toro?
    Guzman has been paid to lobby. That’s a fact. She’s also campaigning during her work time. That’s teacher’s dues money spent on a race that teachers had no input into.

  16. - Pundent - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 9:44 am:

    =If I were a teacher I would have a basket by the door and every single student would be dropping their cell phones in that basket when they enter the classroom and could pick it up when they left.=

    This is the norm at my kids public high school. I rarely if ever hear any complaints from kids or parents.

  17. - Proud Papa Bear - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 9:52 am:

    I’ve had students text in class and when I confront them they’ll say they’re texting a parent. My response is that I’m sure they’d appreciate a text outside of instruction time.
    As far as the basket idea, we have them in my class but the deans have told me that we can’t force a student to give theirs up. All we can do is request they put it up. If they don’t but take it out inappropriately we’re supposed to write them up.
    They also put their phones away but listen to music on wireless earbuds. I’m always asking to put those away as well.
    It’s a big hassle. One of the worst parts of my job.

  18. - Rachel - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 9:55 am:

    If JB is okay with candidates in the Toro race using his photo, why doesn’t Guzman and Nayak just use it as well? JB is very popular in Illinois and it seems to show respect to want to appear with him at a Bill signing or an event. It seems strange that the far left progressives and Nayak keep steering away from the Governor in this race. Am I missing something?

  19. - Friendly Bob Adams - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 9:59 am:

    The WBEZ article comes very close to being an in-kind contribution for Burke’s opponent Harris, as if his funding is somehow more virtuous than hers. As long as campaigns require funding, candidates will take what they can get.

  20. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 10:11 am:

    “WBEZ determined the race, Latino ethnicity and gender of each candidate’s top 25 donors using photos, surnames and, when available, public affiliations and statements. Both campaigns also had opportunities to review the designations. Race is an important issue in the election: In Cook County, non-Hispanic whites make up about 41% of the population, but less than 8% of the people in jail. “

    Interesting that WBEZ is bringing up the race of donors. Since the IL State Board of Elections is race-neutral on disclosures - they even went to the trouble of investigating folks to determine their race. Haven’t seen this in the past.

  21. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 11:02 am:

    === when I asked why is this blog taking a stance against Toro?===


    You asked if we were somehow against her because Guzman is a lobbyist. Have you seen where Toro gets her money? It was a ludicrous suggestion.

    Also, if Guzman is campaigning on the CTU’s dime, then that would be a federal felony each time she fills out her time card. Just ask Tom Cullerton.

    You’re just so full of it.

  22. - TJ - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 11:06 am:

    Oh, and good on quality “I voted” stickers. McLean County really needs to up their game on that front. I always put them on the back of my phone.

  23. - Amalia - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 11:23 am:

    The WBEZ story on donors matters because there aren’t enough white people in jail? that’s how it reads. supremely offensive, biased and ridiculous.

  24. - JS Mill - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 12:46 pm:

    =That has got to be one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. I would hate to be that kid because it’s obvious she has an extremely overbearing parent and I feel sorry for this kid.=

    I don’t want to blame parents for my failures, but this issue is pervasive and it undermines our educational mission. It also highlights an issue that I have taken some heat for here, parents are becoming more and more of the problem and not owning their parental responsibilities. Every single piece of research I have read points out that even just having the phone while in class distracts from learning and student achievement, but mom’s and dad’s will fight you every step of the way when it comes to limitations on phones. It sounds like some of the posters here are good parents and reasonable, but that is no longer the norm.

    In the early 2000’s a district I worked in looked at ways to block or jam(can’t remember how it worked) cell service because phones were becoming such a problem. Turns out that FCC rules would not allow it.

  25. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 2:19 pm:

    =Illinois banned electronic communication devices like phones from schools in the 90s but rescinded the ban after the Columbine school shooting and other incidents in which cellular communications proved vital.=

    Mary sponsored both the ban and the repeal iirc. The possibly apocryphal story is that she filed the repeal after not being able to call her daughter during school

  26. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 2:20 pm:

    ==If I were a teacher I would have a basket by the door and every single student would be dropping their cell phones in that basket when they enter the classroom and could pick it up when they left.=

    This is the norm at my kids public high school. I rarely if ever hear any complaints from kids or parents.=


  27. - CHIVIEW - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 3:00 pm:

    WBEZ’s race-baiting “reporting” on fundraisers for the State’s Attorney race is par for the course for that miserable “news” outlet.

  28. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 15, 24 @ 3:37 pm:

    So if white men contribute to Harris, Brandon Johnson etc. it’s cool but if white men give to Burke, Vallas etc. they are bad MAGA right wingers. Got it.

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