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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Thursday, Mar 21, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* WBEZ

A miscalculation by the state of Illinois is putting in jeopardy after-school programs that serve about 27,000 students across the state. […]

During the pandemic, the state awarded a new set of programs 21st Century grants and allowed organizations to keep unspent money, not realizing this would result in insufficient funding to continue funding longtime recipients. ISBE estimates this could result in a shortfall of up to $15 million.

“ISBE did not adequately forecast the fiscal impact of these programmatic decisions,” spokeswoman Jackie Matthews said in a statement “ISBE is in the process of establishing new internal fiscal and communications protocols to prevent this type of situation moving forward.”

The state recently told some organizations their grants wouldn’t be renewed after they expired this year, and there would be no application for new grants. This group of recipients had been receiving about $9.7 million, with some getting these grants for decades.

Another group of grantees were promised $15 million through next school year, but the state admits it doesn’t have any 21st Century money left. The Illinois State Board of Education says it has asked the U.S. Department of Education if other money could be made available.

* Here’s an update from Alice Yin on asylum-seeker evictions yesterday



* WBEZ

To prevent the movement of invasive carp into the Great Lakes, the states of Illinois and Michigan and the Army Corps of Engineers need to sign an agreement — but for months they have been locked in a stalemate over what comes next.

Documents obtained by WBEZ show that Illinois wants a better deal that leaves the door open for more federal funding and an incremental construction process.

“While the federal government has determined this project is of the highest priority, the taxpayers of Illinois and Michigan should not be the only states to carry the burden of the non-federal share of funding when the entire Great Lakes region will certainly experience the devastating impact of inaction,” according to a letter signed by Gov. JB Pritzker to the U.S. Army. […]

To protect the lakes, the federal government will pay for 90% of the costs of the project and Illinois and Michigan will pick up the tab on g the 10%. To date, Illinois has already committed $50 million in state funding to the project. But the governor’s letter shows that Pritzker is wary of overcommitting Illinois taxpayers.

* Press release…

Senate Democrats to outline measure to strengthen child labor laws

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ existing child labor laws have not been substantially updated since the industrial era – nor have they been brought into alignment with the prevailing service economy of the 21st century.

To better safeguard the rights and well-being of the state’s youngest residents, members of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus are working to strengthen child labor laws through a measure they will outline at a press conference Friday.

WHO: State Senators Robert Peters (D-Chicago), Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) and Christopher Belt (D-Swansea), as well as AFL-CIO Legislative Director Frances Orenic, and Illinois Department of Labor Legislative Policy Director Anna Koeppel

WHAT: Press conference on strengthening child labor laws

WHEN: Friday, March 22 at 9:30 a.m.

WHERE: Blue Room, Illinois State Capitol and live on BlueRoomStream.com

* And

* Here’s the rest…

    * NBC Chicago | DMV facilities in Illinois back up and running after ‘network outage’: Secretary of State: Drivers License facilities and DMVs in Illinois are back up and running following a nationwide “network outage,” the Illinois Secretary of State said Thursday afternoon. […] Around 12 p.m., Giannoulias told NBC Chicago systems in Illinois were “back up and running.”It wasn’t immediately clear if a network outage remained at other DMV locations across the country.

    * Illinois Times | Springfield doctors join push for statewide insurance reform: Dr. Mary Dobbins, a pediatrician and child psychiatrist at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, also testified and said at the news conference that the bill “literally addresses life-and-death issues.” She said the ongoing shortage of mental-health professionals is “artificially magnified” by insurance requirements and restrictions. “Care is commonly delayed, inaccessible, inadequate or even completely denied,” she said.

    * Tribune | Judge rules CPD officers accused of serious misconduct may choose arbitration, but hearings to remain public: “The restriction of public access to arbitrations for serious police discipline is a direct contravention of the well-defined and dominant public policy of accountability and transparency of the government services in general and the Chicago Police Department specifically,” Mullen wrote. “The Neutral Chair’s decision that the arbitration of any cases where discipline could result in dismissal or suspension in excess of 365 days must proceed in private is against a dominant and well-defined public policy.”

    * Daily Herald | Fewer than 50 votes separate McHenry County Board candidates; race still too close to call:
    Less than 50 votes separate incumbent Eric Hendricks of Lake in the Hills and former board member Robert “Bob” Nowak of Algonquin. Hendricks is ahead in the unofficial totals. McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio said the next update on the votes will be after they’re canvassed on April 8. He said the low turnout was a big reason the clerk’s office isn’t likely to give periodic updates as votes come in since there is a potential to publicize someone’s vote.

    * Tribune | All eyes on election authorities as race for state’s attorney remains tight: Processing of mail ballots will begin Thursday, and scanning and counting kicks off Friday. The first updated unofficial election results should be available by Friday evening, Bever said. Between 40% and 60% of outstanding mail ballots have been returned in the two most recent Chicago elections, according to a Tribune analysis, so it is possible the return rate is closer to about 55,000 for Chicago alone. However, given the historically low voter turnout in this election, that number could be even lower.

    * WBEZ | She called the number on her syllabus offering counseling. No one picked up: So she left, worked at Target for a year then transferred to the University of Illinois Chicago. That’s when she recognized she needed help processing all the change and upheaval she’d experienced. […] “I called them a couple times and it all went to voicemail … I also emailed. There was never a response,” said Dizon, now a junior and a graphic design major. “It was kind of like, ‘Well, you’re all on your own,’ and ‘You have to be tough.’ … I just wish they picked up.”

    * Crain’s | Mayor Brandon Johnson’s first chief of staff quits less than a year into the job: Guidice was not expected to be a long-term aide to Johnson, but it was anticipated he would stay on through the DNC. City Hall veterans and members of the City Council described Guidice’s role as becoming tenuous under Johnson in recent months as he’s been left out of important meetings where a chief of staff would traditionally be included.

    * Sun-Times | Johnson doubles down, appoints official negligent in Little Village dust storm debacle to run Buildings Department: Mayor Brandon Johnson officially appointed Marlene Hopkins, the Buildings Department employee who oversaw a botched implosion of a Little Village coal plant smokestack four years ago, to be the city’s top official responsible for making sure buildings, as well as demolitions, are safe for the public. The appointment must be confirmed by the City Council.

    * Tribune | Judge rules CPD officers accused of serious misconduct may choose arbitration, but hearings to remain public: “The restriction of public access to arbitrations for serious police discipline is a direct contravention of the well-defined and dominant public policy of accountability and transparency of the government services in general and the Chicago Police Department specifically,” Mullen wrote. “The Neutral Chair’s decision that the arbitration of any cases where discipline could result in dismissal or suspension in excess of 365 days must proceed in private is against a dominant and well-defined public policy.”

    * Tribune | Sex assault lawsuit against former CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson dismissed by judge: On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo granted motions for summary judgment filed by both Johnson and the city. “The basic problem with Donald’s claim is that virtually all the evidence of her conduct suggests that she welcomed and was an active participant in her relationship with Johnson,” Bucklo wrote. “The explanation that her friendly, welcoming behavior was an attempt to appease Johnson and make her life more bearable is unavailing because the relevant inquiry considers the objective nature of her conduct as it would appear to Johnson, not solely her subjective intent.”

    * Tribune | March Madness sports betting big business in Illinois, but Bally’s Chicago remains on the sidelines: March Madness tipped off Wednesday with a record $2.72 billion expected to be legally wagered on the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments over the next 2½ weeks, according to the American Gaming Association. A lot of that money will be wagered in Illinois, the third-largest sports betting market in the U.S. None of that money, however, will run through Bally’s Chicago, the city’s first casino, which has yet to open its promised sportsbook.

    * WGN | Illinois State Police to increase compensation for new troopers: ISP announced in a news release Thursday that effective July 1, new troopers will earn a total compensation above $90,000 upon graduation from the Illinois State Police Academy. According to the release, “With the tight labor market, the increase in starting pay and benefits for first-year troopers allows ISP to remain competitive and attract qualified candidates who are dedicated to pursuing justice and protecting the public.”

    * NBC Chicago | Suburban school board members face calls to resign over handling of former staff member’s criminal conduct allegations: “Superintendent? Any plans for you to resign?” NBC Chicago’s Evrod Cassimy said. “No comment,” Fenton School District 100 Superintendent James Ontengco said. Board President Cary Lewis also resisted calls for resignation, answering “absolutely not” to questions regarding his future.

    * Illinois Times | Building “an ecosystem of solutions” on the east side: New city, state funding for CAP 1908 will allow for acquisition of two adjacent buildings

    * WTTW | ‘Dream Realized’ as Illinois Conservation Groups Add 1,000 Acres to Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge: The 985-acre farm is now the single largest property within the boundaries of the refuge, which was established in 2012 and encompasses four conservation core areas that straddle McHenry County in Illinois and Walworth County in Wisconsin, all within the Nippersink Creek Watershed. […] “It’s an extraordinary property,” Emy Brawley, Illinois state director for the Conservation Fund, told WTTW News. “It’s really rare to have a parcel that’s this big.”

    * Block Club | Vic Mensa Surprises Da Book Joint With Check To Cover A Year’s Rent: What a difference a few months can make. After Block Club reported on their decision to keep the store open, the mother and daughter team have been buoyed by an outpouring of community love, an appearance on the “Today” show and — most recently — a donation from South Side rapper Vic Mensa that will keep the lights on for a year.

       

4 Comments
  1. - TJ - Thursday, Mar 21, 24 @ 2:48 pm:

    regarding child labor laws, an important thing to note is that a specific potential child labor constitutional amendment can still be enacted a la the 27th, as it doesn’t include sunset verbiage in it. Would only require ten more states to ratify, and notably eight could be easy passes in the guise of New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, and Hawaii.

    I’m all for states enacting more protections, but there really should be a national movement to get those eight to do so already and then try to find two more states to join in, too.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_Labor_Amendment


  2. - MyTwoCents - Thursday, Mar 21, 24 @ 5:15 pm:

    Re the WBEZ story, here’s something I’ve never understood with the carp. Why is IL on the hook for all this money when IL is the victim, just along with every other state in the Upper Mississippi and Great Lakes? Frankly, all the states in the South where the carp invasion started should also be on the hook for helping to pay for all these efforts.


  3. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 21, 24 @ 5:29 pm:

    ===Why is IL on the hook for all this money when IL is the victim, just along with every other state in the Upper Mississippi and Great Lakes? Frankly, all the states in the South where the carp invasion started should also be on the hook===

    Good question. Same can be said about another current topic that the feds and originating states won’t cover.


  4. - Frida’s boss - Thursday, Mar 21, 24 @ 6:26 pm:

    Run a referendum to help homeless, lose referendum, evict migrants from shelter, create more homeless.
    Great job


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