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Isabel’s afternoon roundup (Updated x2)

Monday, Mar 18, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

…Adding… The governor has signed the Chicago elected school board bill…

Today, Governor JB Pritzker took the following bill action:

Bill Number: SB0015
Description: Divides the City of Chicago into 10 districts and 20 subdistricts for determining members of the Chicago Board of Education. The Mayor shall appoint the President of the Chicago Board of Education and 10 members. An additional 10 members will be elected to the Board in the 2024 general election. All members of the Chicago Board of Education will be elected in the 2026 general election.
Action: Signed
Effective: Immediately

…Adding… Senate President Don Harmon…

Today marks the start of an exciting new era in community-led education in which the parents, families and taxpayers of Chicago are empowered to decide what is best for their schools. This move to elected, representative democracy for Chicago Public Schools is an achievement decades in the making and a testament to the power of collective action. Special recognition goes to the community advocates who patiently led these efforts for many years, as well as the dedicated legislators who helped shepherd this effort through the legislative process including Senator Rob Martwick, who was the sponsor of the original law that created the elected school board, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, Senator Omar Aquino and Senator Elgie Sims.

* Attorney General Raoul…

Attorney General Kwame Raoul today announced that more than 190 teams of assistant attorneys general and investigators from his office will be monitoring the primary election throughout Illinois on Tuesday, March 19 to ensure that voters’ rights are protected and polling places are accessible.

Raoul urged voters to call his office if they encounter suspected improper or illegal activity. Chicago and northern Illinois voters can call 1-866-536-3496. Central and southern Illinois voters can call 1-866-559-6812. Individuals with hearing or speech disabilities can reach the office by using the 7-1-1 relay service.

“The right to vote is one of the most fundamental rights we have as Americans. This is why my office will be monitoring polling places to ensure that right is protected,” Raoul said. “Voters who feel their voting rights have been violated or who have witnessed concerning behavior should immediately report it to my office or local law enforcement.”

Attorney General Raoul reminded voters of some of their basic voting rights:

    - Voters have the right to vote if they are in line when the polls close at 7 p.m. or at any other time between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Election Day (10 ILCS 5/17-1).
    - If a voter makes a mistake or “spoils” a paper ballot and the voter has not cast the ballot, the voter has the right to receive a replacement ballot (10 ILCS 5/17-11).
    - If a voter cannot read, has trouble understanding English, or has a disability, that voter has the right to request voting assistance from anyone other than his or her employer, an agent of his or her employer, or an officer or agent of his or her union (10 ILCS 5/17-14).
    - Voters have the right to take unpaid time from work to vote, but no more than two successive hours, as long as they have applied with their employer before Election Day. The employer may set the time of day (10 ILCS 5/17-15).
    - No one is allowed to try to influence a voter within 100 feet of the polling place (10 ILCS 5/17-29).
    - Under Illinois law, it is a crime to prevent a person from voting or registering to vote using intimidation, force, threat or deception (10 ILCS 5/29-4).

* Mark Maxwell

* Governor Pritzker in the Tribune

Three weeks ago, I proposed my sixth balanced budget for our state. In my budget address, I argued, as I have in years past, that the people of Illinois deserve relief from recent high inflation, especially every time they shop for groceries. We ought to eliminate the regressive sales tax on groceries and put money back into the pockets of the working families of Illinois. Making life easier for people by lowering the cost of living is one of the most basic responsibilities of government. The cost of food is high, and state government doesn’t need to add to that burden.

Getting rid of the grocery tax should be a bipartisan endeavor championed by every elected official. As you’ve read in these pages, there are some who are fighting against this tax cut, and their excuse is that local governments need their residents to pay grocery taxes. They have even threatened to raise property taxes and cut services if we give everyone some relief at the grocery checkout counter.

What grocery tax cut opponents aren’t telling you is that local governments in Illinois have seen a dramatic increase in funding from state government, and they can afford to lower your local tax burden. In 2010, the state distributed $3.8 billion to local governments, and in 2023, that number nearly doubled to more than $7 billion. While municipalities claim their funding from the Local Government Distributive Fund was cut, the numbers tell a different story. Funding from that source has doubled, from $985 million in 2010 to $1.9 billion today. That’s more than twice the rate of inflation. In fact, since I took office in 2019, local governments have seen a windfall of overall support from state government of an additional $1.3 billion a year.

Here are some of the ways we accomplished that: In 2019 when the General Assembly and I closed an online sales tax loophole benefiting mostly out-of-state corporations, Illinois municipalities began receiving an additional $200 million a year in sales tax revenue. That same year, we passed the landmark Rebuild Illinois capital plan, and local governments have benefited from $680 million annually to use at their discretion for local transportation projects. When we legalized cannabis, we ensured locals would see a share of that revenue, now totaling an estimated $100 million per year.

We are also saving local governments $110 million annually by having the state assume the cost of local bond issuances. Just last year, we increased the percentage of individual income taxes that state government shares with municipalities and counties. On top of all of that, the state is sending nearly $80 million a year in video gaming revenue to local governments.

* Ben Szalinski

* Here’s the rest…

    * WTVO | Pritzker signs executive order to reduce costs of sickle cell treatment: “Historically we’ve seen breakthrough treatments end up out of reach for everyday Americans — strictly because of their cost,” said Pritzker. “My goal is to make emerging and transformative gene and cell therapy treatments affordable and available to all Illinoisans who need them. If we can narrow the affordability gap, those who are suffering from these diseases won’t have to wait a generation before they can access these groundbreaking cures.”

    * WICS | Pritzker Announces $5 Million in Funding for the Home Illinois Workforce Pilot Program: The goal of the Home Illinois Workforce Pilot is to support individuals experiencing homelessness by improving employment opportunities, helping them establish financial stability and improving their ability to afford permanent housing in their community. The program is an essential part of the JTED Program. The JTED Program was created to provide workforce training and wrap-around services to bolster equitable workforce recovery for Illinoisans struggling to gain meaningful employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    * SJ-R | Unemployment claims in Illinois stayed the same last week: Initial filings for unemployment benefits in Illinois were unchanged last week compared with the week prior, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday. New jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, hovered at 8,123 in the week ending March 9, in line with the week before, the Labor Department said.

    * Daily Herald | What you need to know before you vote Tuesday: But the presidency isn’t the only office that will be on ballots in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. Races to determine the Democratic and Republican nominees for judicial posts, county board seats, countywide positions and various state and federal offices will be settled, too, as will the fates of a variety of public questions.

    * WTTW | Police Pursuits Cost Chicago Taxpayers $51.4M From 2019 to 2023 as Toll is Set to Nearly Double: Analysis: That toll is set to nearly double, as the Chicago City Council considers paying $45 million to resolve a lawsuit that alleges an unauthorized chase left a 15-year-old boy with a traumatic brain injury, unable to walk or talk.

    * Crain’s | The DEI backlash has come for Chicago C-suites: Only the 295th Black woman to become an architect in the U.S., Dowdell remembers the conversations around diversity and inclusion change in 2020. People from many backgrounds were onboard demanding equity. Then came last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down affirmative action in colleges, which “(raised) all these questions about the sustainability of DEI policies,” Dowdell says. “It’s really disturbing how quickly the pendulum is shifting back toward a less inclusive and diverse society.”

    * Sun-Times | After transgender migrant was shot in Little Village, a cartel-tied Venezuelan was arrested but soon released: While he had been identified as the gunman and police had recovered key evidence — including a shell casing and video of the Ford Explorer used in the attack — Cook County prosecutors wouldn’t bring charges. A spokesperson for the state’s attorney’s office said the case has been “continued for additional investigation,” noting that “no charging decision has been made at this time.”

    * Crain’s | How personal seat licenses could fuel the Bears’ lakefront stadium ambitions: PSLs are a familiar concept for the Bears, which sold such licenses ranging from $765 to $8,500 that collectively raised more than $50 million toward the $690 million renovation of Soldier Field in 2002 — licenses whose value would evaporate should the team ditch its current home at Soldier Field. But ticket market experts say those costs would pale in comparison to the PSL rates the team could charge to back a new venue. That stands to test Bears supporters’ financial willingness to help foot the stadium bill for a team that has seemingly inelastic demand for its product, despite years of mostly middling performance on the field and gripes that many fans are priced out of attending games.

    * Block Club | Related Midwest Should Fix ‘Hot Mess’ Buildings Before Getting Money For New Sox Park, Tenants Say: Residents of Northpoint Apartments in the North of Howard area of Rogers Park rallied outside the River North offices of Related Midwest Friday, calling on the prominent development firm to address longstanding issues at their affordable housing complex. The group also called on city and state officials to deny any requests for public funds to subsidize a joint plan by Related Midwest and the White Sox to build a new stadium at The 78, the South Loop development site owned by Related Midwest, while issues persist at Related’s portfolio of affordable apartments.

    * Sun-Times | Video purportedly shows Loop mosque intruder who blurted offensive statements during prayers, smashed doors: It happened just before nightly prayers for Ramadan around 8 p.m., when a man approached the Downtown Islamic Center, 213 S. State St., police and mosque spokesperson Salman Azam said. Video footage from the center shows a man following a pair of women into the building, and shouting and gesturing as someone opens the door for him to leave.

    * Lake County News-Sun | Women’s History Month event honors female Lake County trailblazers; ‘There is so much to admire about their lives and empowerment’: Chacon, Jones and Lee were honored for their achievements at the inaugural Women’s History Month Luncheon of the Lake County Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Chamber of Lake County Thursday at the College of Lake County’s Waukegan campus. Shaunese Teamer, the executive director of the Lake County chamber, said the organization plans to make the luncheon an annual event honoring women members for their accomplishments.

    * Tribune | Solar eclipse: Glasses are key, but did you know clothing choice could enhance viewing?:
    “Tell your friends and family who you’re going to go to the eclipse with to wear bright colors — ridiculously bright colors,” [ NASA volunteer educator and eclipse chaser Gordon Telepun] said. “A combination of reds and greens, maybe some blues and some yellows, if you want to see the Purkinje effect.”

    * AP | ‘Art and science:’ How bracketologists are using artificial intelligence this NCAA Tournament: The technologically inclined are chasing goals even more complicated than selecting the winners of all 67 matchups in both the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments. They are fine-tuning mathematical functions in pursuit of the most objective model for predicting success in the upset-riddled tournament. Some are enlisting AI to perfect their codes or to decide which aspects of team resumes they should weigh most heavily.


  1. - Ducky LaMoore - Monday, Mar 18, 24 @ 2:55 pm:

    “They have even threatened to raise property taxes and cut services if we give everyone some relief at the grocery checkout counter.”

    It’s not a threat. When one revenue stream is ended, there will either be an alternative revenue source, or cuts will be made. It is impractical for smaller local governments to collect the tax independently. So property taxes go up, or services are cut. Either way, it is a potential boon to Pritzker’s political opponents. No matter how small the impact the grocery tax actually has, if there is a recession in the next two years, cuts to services and property tax hikes will be blamed on the governor. Still seems like a strange stand to take.

  2. - Valerie F. Leonard - Monday, Mar 18, 24 @ 3:21 pm:

    It’s too bad the Governor signed an elected school board bill that limits voter choice while making it harder for the average parent to access the ballot if they want to run for the Elected School Board in Chicago.

  3. - Dotnonymous x - Monday, Mar 18, 24 @ 3:30 pm:

    - if there is a recession in the next two years, cuts to services and property tax hikes will be blamed on the governor - …You hope.

  4. - TheInvisibleMan - Monday, Mar 18, 24 @ 4:07 pm:

    –It’s not a threat–

    Has someone cut services already because of this? because otherwise, yes it is just a threat. And a poor one, in the bigger picture.

    Anyone who will believe it’s somehow the fault of the governor when their locals are cutting services, would also blame the governor for it raining on a weekend. It’s not going to move the needle with anyone.

    But please, make sure to announce to all your constituents you can’t make any decisions and everything is the fault of someone else. Sometimes I wonder if these opponents realize they are insulting themselves?

    Nice to see the governor putting out real numbers and tangible examples why locals are in fact getting more money from the state.

  5. - Macon Bakin - Monday, Mar 18, 24 @ 5:27 pm:

    This is not a perfect being enemy of the good type of situation, this is a bill that dements what parents in Chicago have fought for day in day out.

  6. - Steve - Monday, Mar 18, 24 @ 5:30 pm:

    -cuts to services and property tax hikes will be blamed on the governor-

    This is a big assumption here. This is Illinois. MAGA Republicans will get the blame, which is very popular to blame them for Illinois’ problems.

  7. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 18, 24 @ 7:32 pm:

    ===this is a bill that dements what parents in Chicago have fought for day in day out===

    If you’re talking about the elected school board bill, an immediately fully elected bill was stopped by the mayor, the CTU and CPS. Take it up with them because in Spfld it’s 60-30-1.

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