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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Friday, Mar 22, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Treasurer Frerichs and his spouse have baby twins because of IVF


A group of four House Republicans sent a letter to the Biden administration Wednesday protesting a policy to expand access to in vitro fertilization, or IVF, for veterans.

The letter, addressed to Denis McDonough, the secretary of veterans affairs, was signed by Reps. Matt Rosendale of Montana, Mary Miller of Illinois, Josh Brecheen of Oklahoma and Bob Good of Virginia, who said they had “a plethora of ethical concerns and questions” about the policy.

“IVF is morally dubious and should not be subsidized by the American taxpayer. It is well known that IVF treatments result in a surplus of embryos after the best ones are tested and selected. These embryos are then frozen — at significant cost to the parents — abandoned, or cruelly discarded,” the lawmakers wrote.

Here’s the letter.

* Press release…

Today House Republicans filed the Citizen Law Enforcement Act, HB 5790, to clarify any confusion around illegal immigrants and the right to lawfully carry firearms. The decision to file this measure came in response to the irresponsible court decision out of the Northern District of Illinois, which granted an illegal immigrant the right to carry firearms.

While that ruling is slated to be appealed and only applies to one person, House Republicans stand united in their effort to back the rights of citizens, support public safety, and prevent any further confusion with existing state statute as it related to non-citizen law enforcement officers.

“The recent court decision issued by a radical activist judge will be appealed, but has caused unnecessary confusion that as lawmakers, we want the legislative intent to be clear: illegal immigrants do not have the right to possess firearms PERIOD,” said Assistant Minority Leader John Cabello (Machesney Park).

House Bill 5790 was filed today in the Illinois House. Assistant Minority Leader John Cabello and State Representative Dennis Tipsword (Metamora), who also serve as acting law enforcement officers, are the chief sponsors of the legislation.

* Yeesh

A taste of some replies

* Subscribers know more. Press release…

Today, Healthy School Meals for All Kids, a coalition dedicated to ensuring all Illinois students have access to free school meals, released a new poll showing strong support for providing free breakfast and lunch among voters. The poll found that funding free school meals in the Fiscal Year 2025 budget is the top priority for Illinois voters when compared with other legislative budget priorities proposed this session, with a majority of respondents saying it was either their first or second funding choice.

The poll found that funding free school meals for all students received the majority of support across Illinois and among all ages. 64% of all Illinoisans support it, including 84% of those in the City of Chicago, 62% of those in the Collar counties, 56% of those downstate, and 74% of those between the ages of 18-44. Funding healthy school meals for all kids receives bipartisan support, with 81% of Democrats, 55% of Independents, and 52% of Republicans. 60% of voters said they’d be more likely to vote for their legislator if they support funding the initiative. […]

The Illinois General Assembly recognized the importance of ensuring students can get free meals at school and passed the Healthy School Meals for All law in Spring 2023, which set the framework for providing free breakfast and lunch to all students who want it in the state. However, while the legislation passed with strong, bipartisan support, it did not receive the appropriation needed to pay for it. This year, State Senator Laura Ellman and State Representative Maurice West both filed appropriations bills to provide $209 million in the Fiscal Year 2025 budget to fund the program.

Eight other states, including neighboring Minnesota and Michigan, already have universal school meals. Additional states, including New Jersey and New York, are building up to it in the next few years. Food insecurity is a problem facing communities all across Illinois – whether urban, suburban, or rural, and making free school meals available to all students will help those in every corner of our state. It will advance racial equity and reduce disparities in health and education outcomes, as Black and Latine children are twice as likely to experience food insecurity as white children. It will also help reduce stigma, which is a significant barrier to school meal participation for students who currently qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

Click here for a brief polling memo.

* Daily Southtown

Four Dolton trustees and the village clerk called Thursday for an outside investigator to look into a recent trip to Las Vegas spearheaded by embattled Mayor Tiffany Henyard.

The leaders also discussed the village’s financial situation, saying they receive calls from contractors who have not been paid, despite the Village Board voting months ago to approve the payments.

“If you’re not paying the bills, what are you paying?” said Trustee Tammy Brown. “My grandad used to say, ‘We in a mighty bad way.’” […]

Trustees, after discussing the village’s debt, voted to ask the Illinois General Assembly to ensure the vendors receive the money they are owed.

If you didn’t know, Henyard released a 30 minute podcast this week. Click here if you want to watch it, but I don’t blame you if you skip it.

* Here’s the rest…

    * WICS | Ex-Iroquois County health admin faces charges for $100k fake timesheet claims: Raoul’s office charged Dee Ann Schippert, 57, of Watseka, with two counts of theft of government property, Class X felonies punishable by up to 30 years in prison; six additional Class 1 felony counts of theft of government property, each punishable by up to 15 years in prison; eight counts of forgery, Class 3 felonies punishable by up to five years in prison; and 17 counts of official misconduct, Class 3 felonies each punishable by up to five years in prison.

    * WSIL | Former Southern Illinois State’s Attorney Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge: A former Williamson County state’s attorney in southern Illinois is in legal trouble and facing the possibility of jail time after he pleaded guilty to a federal charge. A document was filed on March 21, 2024 with the United States District Court Southern District of Illinois for the United States of America vs Brandon Zanotti case, which states a plea agreement was made in regards to one count of false entry in bank records. … The charge stems from a transaction involving several commercial rental properties and a local bank.

    * Effingham Daily News | Effingham County suspends solar project: The Effingham County Board Monday called a halt to a project to install solar panels on the roof of the County Office Building. The decision came after a board member learned that they could get the windows for half the price they had been quoted. Building and Grounds Committee Chairman Tim Ellis said that County Board Chairman Josh Douthit asked for a price from a vendor for replacement windows for the second through fourth floors of the Office Building. The price Douthit received was $150,000. That is half the price the Board had been given as part of the solar project. Ellis said the difference in price made moving ahead with the combination solar panel and window replacement unnecessary.

    * SJ-R | Postal Service: Upcoming changes won’t impact service in Springfield: As the Postal Service continues to review its local operations, I want to lay out the facts of what we are doing. First, we are not closing the Springfield processing and distribution center. We will convert it into a local processing center and the Postal Service intends on investing between $5 million and $8 million into it. These investments include $1 million for a brand-new sorting machine that will help improve delivery services and $5.1 million for modernization efforts and deferred maintenance.

    * Crain’s | Johnson to pick former Housing Department official as city’s first chief homelessness officer: Johnson will soon announce the appointment of Sendy Soto to the position, according to sources familiar with the hire. Soto served as a managing deputy commissioner in the city’s Housing Department from 2020 to 2022 and is currently the senior director of community impact at The Chicago Community Trust, a nonprofit connecting donors with community organizations.

    * Tribune | Chicago ranked 2nd for worst air pollution in 2023 among major US cities, global report says: At one point last summer, Chicago had the poorest air quality recorded among 95 cities in the world. Experts say a major recurring issue and leading cause was pollutants carried by winds across borders and contaminating air elsewhere — such as smoke from forest fires in the Canadian province of Quebec, which blew into Chicago and other U.S. cities.

    * Sun-Times | City Hall got $1 million in fees after Sun-Times asked promoters, teams: Why haven’t you paid up?: Mayor Brandon Johnson’s finance department won’t release details on traffic violators and many scofflaws, but it agreed to release data on $1.3 million in traffic control bills owed by the city’s sports teams, concert promoters and organizers of special events like the 2014 TV show “The Biggest Loser.” And then a funny thing happened once Chicago Sun-Times reporters began calling those businesses: They began paying up. One million dollars of the $1.3 million in unpaid traffic control bills got paid, City Hall records show.

    * WaPo | Lawmakers see rise in threatening messages as TikTok users swarm Congress: The exact abundance of such calls is unclear, but one Senate aide said their office has received roughly a dozen violent threats since TikTok began urging users to contact members of the chamber, while a House aide said their office has received multiple calls from people suggesting they will commit self-harm if Congress passes legislation targeting the app. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the nature of the outreach.

    * Tribune | Mitski kicks off sold-out four-night stand at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre: Offering a refreshing rebuke of now-customary projection screens, Mitski incorporated imaginative lighting, moody colors and a few basic props to frame her singing and pantomiming of 25 songs. Wearing a white dress shirt and ankle-length pants, she spent nearly all her time on a raised circular platform center stage. Pushed toward the rear, and off to the sides, the band members assumed an anonymous disposition.

    * Fox Chicago | Illinois Girl Scout sells her 100,000th box of cookies: Bristol Sjostrom, 12, of Gardner, has been dedicated to the Girl Scouts for seven years and reached the significant milestone on Wednesday, just days before cookie season ends, which is March 26. During cookie season, Bristol dedicates over 40 hours per week to travel across a seven-county radius alongside her mother, who was also a Girl Scout.

    * Block Club | Cleaning Up Chicago River’s Trash After St. Patrick’s Day: Meet The ‘Paddle Rat Collective’: The Paddle Rat Collective teamed up with their counterparts in Cleveland, TRASHFISH, to throw their own St. Patrick’s Day party right on the river, marking the occassion by filling up garbage bags full of its trash. […] “We grab as much as we can, but to make a dent you would really need a dumpster,” he said. “You paddle by something that should be a spawning salmon, and instead it’s a sparkling Sprite can.”


  1. - JoanP - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 1:56 pm:

    = Bristol dedicates over 40 hours per week to travel across a seven-county radius =

    I like GS cookies as much as anyone, but shouldn’t she be in school?

  2. - Demoralized - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 2:01 pm:

    I do not understand the thought process regarding counting mail in votes. If they aren’t counted fast enough it must mean there is fraud? What difference does it make whether it takes a day to count them or 5 days to count them? Who cares if it takes a few days to know the outcome of an election?

  3. - Give Us Barabbas - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 2:43 pm:

    It’s an embarrassment that it takes the scrutiny of newspapers and TV reporters just to get government agencies and private businesses to do their normal jobs these days. In a time when reporters are getting scarce, but the fecklessness of bureaucrats everywhere is at an all-time high, we need that public watchdog more than ever.

  4. - JS Mill - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 2:44 pm:

    =issued by a radical activist judge will be appealed=

    I didn’t know Clarence Thomas was part of the Northern District.

    =Funding healthy school meals for all kids receives bipartisan support, with 81% of Democrats, 55% of Independents, and 52% of Republicans.=

    What is baffling is the low support from Republicans. Free meals would be a huge boost to rural communities which are mostly high poverty.

    I really hope this bill passes.

  5. - JS Mill - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 2:47 pm:

    =morally dubious=

    Naperville born and raised Mary Miller is morally and intellectually dubious.

  6. - Suburban Mom - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 2:50 pm:

    I used to live in a district that had free universal school lunch and the improvements this brought to my quality of life were enormous. Mornings are less stressful, kids are exposed to a wider variety of foods, you always have something to talk about with other parents at pickup …

    It is definitely one of those “entitlement” programs that the GOP doesn’t want the middle class to get a taste off, because once middle class parents have experienced the glories of free school lunch, it’s going to be a “… pry it from my cold, dead hands” situation.

  7. - low level - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 2:51 pm:

    Eileen Burke is a former prosecutor, circuit court and Appellate Court judge. She will have a team of expert election law attorneys and volunteers watching everything. Both sides will.

    To suggest that somehow Burke will be cheated is not only ridiculous but insulting to her by severely underestimating her abilities.

  8. - Gravitas - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 3:06 pm:

    Frank B. DiFranco is still litigating his election loss from November 3, 2020. His opponent, Patricia Fallon, formerly worked for the Cook County Clerk, the official who counts the votes in suburban Cook County. On election night DiFranco was up by 500, but after the mailed ballots were counted he lost by 502.

    It’s a mess having two weeks to process mailed ballots.

  9. - Lincoln Lad - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 3:09 pm:

    You can’t count ballots that haven’t arrived, they are likely still coming in.

  10. - Reading is fundamental - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 3:24 pm:

    =You can’t count ballots that haven’t arrived, they are likely still coming in. =


    From the vote by mail page

    When are the votes from Vote By Mail ballots and Early Voting ballots reported?

    A: On Election Night, the Election Board will report unofficial results that include:

    Votes from all ballots from Vote By Mail that were received and approved on or before the morning of the previous day.
    Votes from all Election Day ballots cast in the precincts.
    Votes from all Early Voting sites open as vote centers on Election Day.

    Then, later-arriving Vote By Mail ballots (those that arrive and are approved the afternoon of Election Day or later), in addition to provisional ballots, will continue to be processed and added to the counts. Under a long-standing state law, election counts are not final and official until at least 14 days after Election Day to allow for all late-arriving Vote By Mail Ballots and all eligible provisional ballots to be included in the counts.

  11. - Run - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 3:30 pm:

    Mary, Mary…why you buggin?

  12. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 3:41 pm:

    ===It’s a mess having two weeks to process mailed ballots===

    Only in your head.

  13. - We've never had one before - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 3:44 pm:

    =issued by a radical activist judge will be appealed=

    I /like/ the ruling. No more FOID, no more CCL. No more a lot of things…

  14. - Demoralized - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 3:48 pm:

    ==On election night DiFranco was up by 500, but after the mailed ballots were counted he lost by 502.==

    What’s your point? He got more votes. Doesn’t matter how long it took to count them. Only in the head of some of you does not having results at the snap of a finger equal something nefarious.

  15. - Demoralized - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 3:52 pm:

    ==No more a lot of things…==

    Yeah. Let’s just let anyone carry a firearm. No rules. Just a free for all. smh

  16. - West Side the Best Side - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 3:57 pm:

    Kind of dubious making a claim of “morally dubious” while pictured standing in front of the most immoral president this country ever had.

  17. - Sue - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 4:01 pm:

    Harris and the machine won’t acknowledge until they are forced to BUT Burke won

  18. - low level - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 4:09 pm:

    ==Harris and the machine won’t acknowledge until they are forced to BUT Burke won==

    Harris and the “machine”, eh? Isnt it funny that Burke has support from numerous committeeman, aldermen and union leaders - aka the organization or “machine”.

  19. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 4:14 pm:

    ===It’s a mess having two weeks to process mailed ballots.===

    Gotta love the fact that some politicos in Illinois think it is perfectly acceptable to deny a person’s right to vote over something beyond their control — like mail.

    Whats wrong with counting ballots?

  20. - fs - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 4:22 pm:

    ==Harris and the machine==

    Big fan of Harris and the Machine’s first album. Second one was a little too bland and formulaic, though.

  21. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 4:24 pm:

    =Harris and the machine won’t acknowledge until they are forced to BUT Burke won=

    That’s odd as Burke hasn’t acknowledged that she won so why would Harris?

  22. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Mar 22, 24 @ 4:27 pm:

    “End vote by mail.”

    I was under the mistaken impression that the folks on the political right would think that those serving in the military should have the opportunity to participate in elections.

    Personally, I would switch to mailing everyone eligible to vote a ballot and allowing them to return it by mail or in person by Election Day. As long as it is postmarked by election day and received in a reasonable amount of time (two weeks), it should be counted.

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* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Isabel’s afternoon roundup
* Feds to provide more migrant funding... Just $19.3 million for Illinois
* Question of the day
* It’s just a bill
* Bill to expand IVF/infertility insurance coverage overwhelmingly passes Senate
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
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