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Isabel’s morning briefing

Friday, May 10, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: Measure to create new state agency for childhood services now on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk. Tribune

    - The new agency would be an umbrella for early intervention for children with disabilities and developmental delays from the Department of Human Services; preschool programs overseen by the Illinois State Board of Education; and day care licensing responsibilities handled by DCFS.

    - The Senate passed the bill in a 56-0 vote.

    - The bill is part of Pritzker’s suite of initiatives aimed at enhancing early childhood services in Illinois. The governor has also pushed for greater preschool funding.

* Related stories…

* Mark Denzler

*** Isabel’s top picks ***

* Sun-Times | Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline deluged with calls, hindered by lack of shelter beds: According to the report, the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline saw a 90% increase in calls, texts and messages in 2023, compared to pre-pandemic levels. […] The network, which operates the state’s hotline, reported 47,349 contacts made in 2023 — up 27% from 2022 and 90% from 2019. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has not yet released its data for 2023, but it too reported a “historic high” in 2022, with more than 2,000 calls, chats, and texts received per day.

* WBEZ | Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul sues company for publishing voters’ personal data: A publishing company whose politically slanted newspapers have been derided as “pink slime” is being sued by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul for illegally identifying birthdates and home addresses of “hundreds of thousands” of voters. Raoul’s legal move against Local Government Information Services accuses the company of publishing sensitive personal data that could subject voters across Illinois to identity theft.

*** Statehouse News ***

* ABC Chicago | Mayor Johnson meets with labor leaders on 2nd day in Springfield, continues push for state funds: Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson is heading back to the city Thursday, after a two-day visit to Springfield. Earlier in the day, Johnson held a meet-and-greet with lawmakers and labor leaders at the American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations, or AFL-CIO, Illinois headquarters.

* WGN | CPS to let teachers skip school to lobby lawmakers for more money: hicago Public Schools leaders are giving more than 600 teachers and staff members a paid day-off so they can go to Springfield to lobby lawmakers for more money. A CPS spokesperson confirmed it’s working in conjunction with the Chicago Teachers Union on the legislative push just as the two sides begin contract negotiations. Schools CEO Pedro Martinez and board of education president Jianan Shi will also take part in the lobbying day on May 15.

* WICS | Educators react to legislation aiming to address the teacher shortage: Quincy Public Schools superintendent Todd Pettit said this bill would help those who may have test anxiety because it is a difficult exam to pass. However, he’s unsure if it would help with the shortage in the long run. “Will that assist us with, you know, teacher recruitment and retention? Of course, more people that are in the pool of applicants, that [would] certainly assist us in filling those open positions. But I think that would remain to be seen,” Pettit said.

*** Chicago ***

* South Side Weekly | Many School Districts Have Reformed or Removed Police Since 2020: Starting fall of 2024, there will no longer be any police working as school resource officers (SROs) in CPS. The new policy, passed by the Board of Education in February, is aligned with a significant number of other school districts. According to a report from the advocacy nonprofit Chicago Justice Project, 10 percent of the nation’s largest school districts have reduced the number of police in schools since 2020, and another 27 percent have removed police completely.

* Sun-Times | The ups and downs of Mayor Brandon Johnson’s roller coaster first year: In an interview with the Sun-Times and WBEZ, Johnson reflected on his “remarkable journey” to the mayor’s office and the very “different trajectory” he followed to get there. He’s proud of fulfilling so many items on his progressive to-do list and described a year of accomplishments tempered by impatience. “There are frustrating moments that I do have where you … just wish you could address everything at the same time,” Johnson said. “That’s just unfortunately not where we are — just because the damage has been so severe and it has been so widespread,” especially in “historically marginalized” communities.

* Sun-Times | Crooked Bridgeport bank was ‘a rat’s nest,’ judge says, sentences ex-board member to year and a day in prison: George Kozdemba, a retired manager for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, spent 20 years on the board of Washington Federal Bank for Savings until regulators shut it down in December 2017 because it was being looted by its president, CEO and board chairman, John Gembara. He was found dead days before the bank closed. “I can’t minimize the significance of the criminal activity that caused that bank collapse,” U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall told Kozdemba as she ordered him to spend a year and a day in prison and pay a $25,000 fine.

* Sun-Times | Pedal mettle? Bicycling in Chicago doubled in 5 years, but bikers still worry about safety: Biking is up 119% between the fall of 2019 and the spring of 2023, the study showed. That’s the largest jump in any of the country’s 10 largest cities. […] “Imagine how many more people would be biking if it was safer,” said Christina Whitehouse, founder of the bicycle safety advocacy group Bike Lane Uprising.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Sun-Times | Secret Service building secret Democratic convention communications center in southern suburb: Why so far from the main convention locations of the Loop, where the delegates are booked in eight hotels; the McCormick Place complex, the site of daytime meetings and press briefings; and the United Center, where President Joe Biden will be nominated for a second term? It’s called, in law enforcement lingo, “being off the X.” “The X is the event,” Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Chicago Sun-Times about the location. “You want to be far enough away from the event so that if something were to occur it doesn’t affect your ability to command and control your response.”

* CBS Chicago

* My Stateline | Northern lights possible across northern Illinois this weekend: These blasts of electrically charged particles help make the northern lights visible from the poles to as far south as the mid-latitudes. A few of these CMEs in particular were ejected into space hours after the other, hence why the Space Weather Prediction Center issued a G4 geomagnetic storm watch for tonight and Saturday morning. […] Again, with each opportunity to view the northern lights comes a few uncertainties. The first of course being the timing in which the solar storm impacts the the Earth’s atmosphere.

*** Downstate ***

* SJ-R | Springfield urgent care clinic transitioning to SIU Medicine. Here’s what to know: The care previously provided at Memorial Care on North Dirksen Parkway will move to a federally qualified health center administered by SIU Medicine at 3220 Atlanta Street on the north side. The change will impact urgent care employees at the North Dirksen clinic, who have been offered the option to transfer employment to SIU Medicine or move to another Memorial Care location.


  1. - Model T - Friday, May 10, 24 @ 9:01 am:

    Admittedly it’s been over a decade since I’ve been on a roller coaster but don’t they require “highs” and not just plunging to consistently lower lows?

  2. - Homebody - Friday, May 10, 24 @ 9:25 am:

    Regarding the domestic violence call increase post pandemic- I legitimately believe that the pandemic and everything around it just broke a bunch of people. We saw huge upticks in lots of antisocial behaviors. Everyone knows about the crime stats increasing, but anecdotally I feel like lots of other things have gotten worse too in terms of people ignoring traffic laws, just generally being worse to each other.

    I am not making any assertions about causation (some would point to the political environment getting worse too), and some of this may just be weird correlations, but the domestic violence increase just seems to be one more data point for my fuzzy theory.

  3. - NIU Grad - Friday, May 10, 24 @ 9:28 am:

    I think the newest state agency since DoIT? Hopefully it goes better than that did!

  4. - Steve Polite - Friday, May 10, 24 @ 9:47 am:

    “The care previously provided at Memorial Care on North Dirksen Parkway will move to a federally qualified health center administered by SIU Medicine at 3220 Atlanta Street on the north side.”

    This is inaccurate reporting. Memorial Urgent Care has been located at 3220 Atlanta St in Springfield for a long time. There is no facility move. The “health center” is staying at the same location. If the rest of the SJR story is accurate, SIU is only taking over the building. How many local Springfield journalists work at SJR now?

  5. - Dupage - Friday, May 10, 24 @ 10:41 am:

    Earlier this week Governor Pritzker was talking about data centers and the need for additional electric power. I think he is on to something; data centers are going to be a growth industry paying state taxes to whatever state they locate in. If we don’t have enough power available, these data centers will locate in other states that do. The Ameren transmission line project should have been well underway by now. It would be a good idea if lawmakers give the project back to Ameren and let them get the job done. This would allow new data centers to find affordable locations in areas downstate that could use jobs and local tax revenues.

  6. - granville - Friday, May 10, 24 @ 11:31 am:

    Heads up, Politico just posted a gossipy piece up about Brandon Johnson and the convention:

    “[S]oon after he became mayor, [MBJ] hosted DNC Chair Jaime Harrison for lunch and, according to a Democrat familiar with the conversation, immediately pronounced that “nobody else represents the city but me.” He also asked if Harrison would have his back as a fellow Black man (Harrison, I’m told, tried to delicately explain that the convention would be a partnership between the party, the city and the state of Illinois).”

  7. - Frida's boss - Friday, May 10, 24 @ 12:04 pm:

    @Dupage -What Ameren line? According to their own website, the Central Grid Transformation Program is moving on its timeline at the pace they put up. If you know something different please share. No power company is allowed to bypass the ICC or FERC. So how are lawmakers interrupting if this is an ICC issue?

    BTW I love watching videos of Europeans talking down to America about how we don’t understand our energy needs.

  8. - Candy Dogood - Friday, May 10, 24 @ 3:01 pm:

    ===The new agency===

    There are many thousands of unfilled positions that have been budgeted by the Pritzker administration and instead of a focus on hiring the people that are needed to provide government services the Governor’s office is going about a means to create more management positions.

    There’s a hiring crisis and serious organizational culture issues throughout state government and the focus is just to create more managers and another agency culture to be filled to the brim with toxic management practices and under staffing woes.

    The Governor really seems to be running around like he has no idea about the festering conditions that he is responsible for at his existing state agencies.

  9. - Dupage - Friday, May 10, 24 @ 3:42 pm:

    @Frida’s boss- The “right of first refusal” for Ameren was passed last year. It would allow the company to be in charge of building transmission lines, to be able to approve of reputable contractors to build their projects. This was to avoid disreputable contractors from underbidding to get the job, then cutting corners, doing a substandard job or even going bankrupt and not completing the project at all. This leaves Ameren having to pick up the pieces. The legislation was vetoed last year, it needs to be passed and signed this year. The power companies know when a contractor has a record of previous substandard work, they should be able to refuse to use them again even if they are the low-ball bid. I hope if the legislature passes this bill again that Governor Pritzker signs it.

  10. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 10, 24 @ 3:46 pm:

    ===I hope if the legislature passes this bill again===

    Hopes are often dashed in Springfield.

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