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Isabel’s morning briefing

Sunday, May 26, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: Budget negotiations will extend into next week as House leaves Springfield. Capitol New Illinois

Democrats in the General Assembly will go at least three more days past their self-imposed adjournment deadline after failing to pass a budget bill Saturday, although the spending and revenue framework were made public for the first time.

“The House and Senate are very close to an agreement on a final budget,” House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch’s office said in a statement late Saturday night announcing the chamber would adjourn through the holiday weekend.

The Senate was planning to return to the floor Sunday.

The tentative budget measures – all or most of which are expected to be further amended before they clear the General Assembly – tracked closely with the governor’s roughly $53 billion February budget proposal. But there were several deviations from Pritzker’s plan, so full spending estimates were not available Saturday.

*** Isabel’s Top Pick ***

* AP | A 19th century flag disrupts leadership at an Illinois museum and prompts a state investigation: The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is once again under the spotlight after a manager failed to consult a collections committee before purchasing a 21-star flag whose description as a rare banner marking Illinois’ 1818 admission to the Union is disputed. The flag’s acquisition through an online auction for more than $15,000 precipitated an investigation by Illinois’ Office of the Executive Inspector General about money used for the purchase. The purchase also led to division in the Springfield museum’s leadership and may have prompted the firing of an employee who said the acquisition skirted procedures.

*** Statehouse News ***

* Sun-Times | Lawmakers clear major healthcare reforms — but House adjourns for holiday weekend with no budget: “Procedurally, the earliest an agreement could pass both chambers is next week,” Welch said in a statement. “To let members and staff rest and spend time with family, we are adjourning for the holiday weekend and will return to complete this work.” Prior to the House announcement, Illinois Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, told reporters the Senate planned to be in session on Sunday.

* Tribune | Legislature won’t act on Bears’ stadium funding request this spring, lawmakers say: Despite the full backing of Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, who stood with team officials when they unveiled their proposal last month, the Bears’ plan received a cool reception in Springfield. […] Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office called the team’s latest bid to stay in Chicago a “non-starter” in its initial form, and the team’s efforts to round up support among legislative leaders and rank-and-file lawmakers were met with reactions ranging from firm and outspoken opposition to indifference.

* Sports Handle | Illinois Lawmaker Proposes Progressive Tax Rate For Sports Betting: The minimum tax rate as part of HB 4951 is 20%, an increase from the current 15% rate at all levels of operator adjusted gross revenue. The threshold increases to 25% at $30 million in adjusted gross revenue; 30% over $50 million; 35% over $100 million; and 40% over $200 million. Of the eight mobile sports betting operators currently in Illinois, only FanDuel ($429.3 million) and DraftKings ($350 million) would reach that maximum 40% threshold based on their last 12 months of winnings.

*** It’s Almost a Law ***

* WTVO | Stadelman’s bill to support local journalism heads to Pritzker’s desk: The bill would create the Journalism Student Scholarship Program to support students pursuing careers in Illinois journalism. The measure would also require all local news organizations to notify the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and employees 120 days before a sale occurs. This requirement hopes to keep publications local, instead of publications being sold to private equity firms.

* WBBM | Free mental health care for first responders in Illinois clears legislature, awaits governor’s signature: The legislation exempts first responders – including police officers, firefighters, EMT’s and 911 telecommunicators – from cost sharing requirements related to mental health care. Sen. Michael Hastings (D-Frankfort) is the senate sponsor.

* Capitol News Illinois | Health insurance changes targeting ‘utilization management,’ more will head to governor: The Illinois House gave final approval Saturday to a pair of bills that limit the ability of insurance companies to deny coverage or steer individuals toward lower cost, and sometimes less effective, treatments and medications, strategies sometimes referred to as “utilization management.” The package also includes measures giving the Illinois Department of Insurance authority to approve or deny premium rate changes in large-group health insurance plans while banning the sale of short-term, limited duration individual health plans, which are sometimes derisively referred to as “junk insurance.”

* WAND | Illinois House passes Healthcare Protection Act, sends monumental plan to Pritzker: Gov. JB Pritzker’s monumental plan could make Illinois the first state to ban prior authorization for in-patient adult and children’s mental healthcare. The legislation also bans step therapy, or the fail first method, where insurers force people to receive less effective treatment before moving to options initially recommended by doctors.

* WCIA | Mahomet Aquifer concerns dominate House floor discussion on carbon capture bill: Bill sponsor Rep. Ann Williams also sponsored the state’s revolutionary climate and Equitable Jobs Act. That set the state on a mission to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. She said that while the Mahomet Aquifer was not directly excluded from the law, it was adequately protected by a long list of regulations within the law.

* Personal PAC…

Following is a statement from Personal PAC CEO Sarah Garza Resnick on [yesterday’s] Illinois House vote, passing HB5142:

“By passing HB5142, the Governor’s Birth Equity Bill, our state is taking a big stride in addressing the unacceptable health outcome disparities between Black women and all other families.

“This bill is groundbreaking because it positions abortion care as inseparable from the full spectrum of pregnancy, postpartum, and newborn care. We work with providers and advocates every day who know this is the reality. All Illinois families deserve the care that this bill provides, regardless of their income level.

“We are grateful to Senate President Don Harmon, Senate leadership, chief co-sponsor, Senator Lakeisa Collins, as well as Speaker Chris Welch and House chief co-sponsor Rep. Robyn Gabel for their work and collaboration.

“We also thank Governor JB Pritzker and Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton for championing HB5142 as part of their maternal health equity budget initiatives.”

*** Statewide ***

* Tribune | Illinois Republicans go all in for Trump at state convention: The southwestern Illinois setting for the 2024 Illinois GOP convention was apt for a political organization that has seen its statewide influence dwindle along geographic lines, leaving Republicans strongest in rural, less populated areas downstate while Democrats have grown beyond their traditional strongholds in Chicago to include the once GOP-rich collar counties.

*** Chicago ***

* Tribune | Chicago honors fallen soldiers and their families at downtown Memorial Day parade, wreath-laying ceremony: Contrary to the often celebratory nature of Memorial Day, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Zeita Merchant reminded the hundreds gathered outside the Daley Center downtown that it’s a solemn day of observance for families and friends of armed service members who lost their lives defending the country. “Our Gold Star families .. reflect on the face and the voice that they ache to see and hear once more,” she said. “The one day we tell the stories of men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

* WBEZ | Uptown was once a vibrant hub for Chicago’s Native American community: Native people have always been in Chicago, despite continued attempts to remove them that culminated in the 1833 Treaty of Chicago. Still, Chicago remains an important place for Native Americans in the region. The Chicago metro area has the third-largest urban Native American population in the United States, estimated to be around 65,000, according to the American Indian Center (AIC). While there isn’t one concentrated neighborhood anymore, Uptown on the city’s North Side used to be that nucleus.

* Sun-Times | White Sox’ bullpen spoils Erick Fedde’s outing in 5-3 loss to Orioles: All reliever Michael Kopech could do was watch with his right hand on his hip as his fastball traveled in the air for a solo home run by Orioles third baseman Jordan Westburg in the eighth inning. After the homer, fans grew restless. They had watched the White Sox’ three-run lead evaporate Saturday in a 5-3 loss.

* Sun-Times | Sky home opener spoiled by 86-82 loss to Sun: For three quarters, the Sky (2-2) looked to be on the verge of beating undefeated teams in back-to-back games. In the final 10 minutes, however, missed rebounds and poor execution resulted in an 86-82 loss to the Sun. The Sky were outscored 27-4 on second-chance points and outrebounded 38-21.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Tribune | Naperville, St. Charles, Winnetka and dozens of other communities urged to double down on coal: Naperville, St. Charles, Winnetka and 29 downstate municipalities are investors in the Prairie State Generating Station, a massive coal-fired power plant in southern Illinois that last year spewed 12.4 million tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere — more than only six other electricity providers in the United States. The Illinois cities, towns and villages are under contract until 2035 to purchase a share of Prairie State’s electricity and help pay off $5 billion in construction debt. But instead of preparing to quickly shift away from the fossil fuel, like scores of other utilities across the country are doing, the Illinois communities could end up relying on Prairie State and another coal plant in Kentucky for most of their electricity until at least 2050.

* Daily Herald | Ex-DuPage prosecutor charged with threatening state legislators on social media: Samuel J. Cundari, 30, has been charged with transmitting in interstate commerce a threat to injure another person, in violation of federal law, according to a news release from the federal prosecutor for the U.S. Central Illinois District.

*** Downstate ***

* BND | St. Clair County has the most women veterans per capita in Illinois: St. Clair County has the greatest number of women veterans per 1,000 women in the Land of Lincoln at 32.61. Monroe County comes in second with 18.36 women veterans per 1,000 women, according to data from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics.

*** National ***

* NYT | How a Profane Joke on Twitter Spawned a Legal Army: Here’s one way to build a legal team: Interview graduates from the top law schools or firms, then hire the most qualified. Akiva Cohen, a trial lawyer at a small New York firm, tried a different way: Spend way too much time on Twitter, talking trash about other lawyers’ cases, then hire the people who post the smartest, most biting comments.

* AP | 5 things to know about Memorial Day, including its evolution and controversies: Memorial Day is supposed to be about mourning the nation’s fallen service members, but it’s come to anchor the unofficial start of summer and a long weekend of discounts on anything from mattresses to lawn mowers. But for people such as Manuel Castañeda Jr., the day is very personal. He lost his father, a U.S. Marine who served in Vietnam, in an accident in 1966 in California while his father was training other Marines.


  1. - Sladay93 - Sunday, May 26, 24 @ 11:48 am:

    Something I found interesting in the revenue bill was the legalization of ground-based sparkler fireworks to those older than 18. It would also have an additional 3% tax on top of the normal state, county and local sales tax.

  2. - LakeCounty - Sunday, May 26, 24 @ 2:39 pm:

    Another unforced error by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. It’s really circling the drain under Shutt’s leadership. The place is hemorrhaging talent the way she’s targeting, forcing out, & driving away employees. Wonder why the Gov keeps her on.

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