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Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From the National Museum of African American History & Culture

On June 19, 1865, nearly two years after President Abraham Lincoln emancipated enslaved Africans in America, Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas with news of freedom. More than 250,000 African Americans embraced freedom by executive decree in what became known as Juneteenth or Freedom Day.

But

Still, even under Order No. 3, as historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. noted, freedom wasn’t automatic for Texas’s 250,000 enslaved people. “On plantations, masters had to decide when and how to announce the news — or wait for a government agent to arrive — and it was not uncommon for them to delay until after the harvest,” he wrote.

* Fast-forward to 1927

The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 was the most destructive river flood in the history of the United States, with 27,000 square miles inundated in depths of up to 30 feet over the course of several months in early 1927. The period cost of the damage has been estimated to be between $246 million and $1 billion, which ranges from $4.2–$17.3 billion in 2023 dollars. […]

More than 200,000 African Americans were displaced from their homes along the Lower Mississippi River and had to live for lengthy periods in relief camps. As a result of this disruption, many joined the Great Migration from the South to the industrial cities of the North and the Midwest; the migrants preferred to move, rather than return to rural agricultural labor. […]

The flood affected Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Lots of those folks moved to Chicago.

* Blind Lemon Jefferson had already left Texas for Chicago by that time

Henry “Blind Lemon” Jefferson (September 24, 1893 – December 19, 1929) was an American blues and gospel singer-songwriter and musician. He was one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920s and has been called the “Father of the Texas Blues”.

* One of Jefferson’s bigger hits was about that 1927 flood

Thousands people stands on the hill
Looking down were they used to stay

* And if that music isn’t your cup of tea, check out this fabulous mini-concert from the great Chaka Khan

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Cash bail did not necessarily make us any safer (Updated)

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Tom Collins at Shaw Local

A Marseilles man charged with murder was out of custody awaiting trial for multiple felonies when he allegedly killed his father – but Logan Petre wasn’t out because of the SAFE-T Act.

Petre, 21, is charged in La Salle County Circuit Court with first-degree murder. He would face 20 to 60 years in prison with no possibility of probation, if convicted of strangling Leo Petre in the family home. (Logan Petre could face additional time if also convicted of a pending home invasion charge.)

Though Logan Petre was out of custody at the time of Leo’s death, he wasn’t released under no-cash bail established by the SAFE-T Act. Instead, Petre had posted cash bond on his two pending felony cases from June 2023 (home invasion) and July 2023 (aggravated battery). Cash bonds ended in September as a result of the SAFE-T Act. […]

La Salle County State’s Attorney Joe Navarro said he made it a point, during the early hours of the investigation, to see whether Logan Petre had been released under the SAFE-T Act. That proved not to be the case. It was, in fact, victim Leo Petre who posted the $5,000 cash needed to bond his son out for home invasion, Navarro said. […]

“It does not change by opinion of the SAFE-T Act,” Navarro said, “but my understanding was Logan Petre was out on an ankle monitor and was supposed to be attending counseling. That was not followed up on.”

Home invasion is now a detainable offense.

…Adding… Very good point in comments…

Had it not been for those lawsuits by similar minded SAs, the SAFE-T act would have gone into effect on Jan 1, 2023 where this guy would likely not have been able to buy his way out.

Guess what? La Salle County State’s Attorney Joe Navarro was part of that lawsuit.

  11 Comments      


Isabel’s afternoon roundup (Updated)

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

*** Adding *** Personal PAC…

Please find statement below. I have been told that the vote is expected to happen Tuesday or Wednesday of this week.

Lake County’s Circuit Court is about to make a very dangerous decision for reproductive health and rights.
Extreme right-wing politician, Rod Drobinski, seeks appointment by sitting Lake County judges to be an Associate Lake County Judge. 

Lake County residents rejected Drobinski’s bids for state representative and judge of the Circuit Court. His anti-abortion views are too extreme for the district.

Personal PAC CEO Sarah Garza Resnick said, “We will not endorse any judge for election, appointment, or retention who supports anti-abortion judicial candidates. Full stop.”

As a member of Lake County Right to Life, Drobinski has a clear history of opposing abortion rights.  “Local courts are a front-line of defense to protect people seeking abortion services in Illinois,” Garza Resnick added. “We will keep fighting to ensure the Illinois Courts protect all reproductive rights.”

* The Telegraph

Hearings on objections to more than a dozen Republican state legislative candidates, including Jay Keeven of Edwardsville, will be held after hearing officers are assigned to the cases by the Illinois State Board of Elections.

That is expected to happen during the ISBE’s July meeting, with the hearings to be completed in time for the agency board to make a final decision in August to meet the Aug. 23 deadline to finalize the state ballot.

Matt Dietrich, a spokesman for the ISBE, said regardless of how the ISBE rules, the agency’s rulings are expected to be challenged in court. […]

Dietrich said until the hearing officer is named, the specifics of the objections are not made public.

* Tribune

Defense attorneys in the federal racketeering case against former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and his longtime confidant said in new filings Monday that prosecutors’ apparent plan to immunize former state Rep. Eddie Acevedo and compel him to testify is dubious due to “competency issues.”

The filings also previewed what likely will be a key element of Madigan’s defense: that while others may have schemed behind the scenes to try and influence the powerful House speaker, there is no evidence Madigan was in on it or that he took any official action to assist them.

Acevedo, a Madigan acolyte who left the General Assembly in 2017 to become a lobbyist, was allegedly paid by AT&T Illinois through a do-nothing consulting contract as part of an alleged scheme by the telephone giant to illegally influence Madigan as they worked to pass legislation in Springfield.

Prosecutors said in a filing earlier this year that they plan to call Acevedo to testify about the payments, which were allegedly arranged by Madigan’s friend and co-defendant, Michael McClain. Acevedo, who pleaded guilty in 2022 to tax-related offenses related to the same overarching investigation and served six months in prison.

* Naperville Sun

Naperville-based Awake Illinois was called out as one of 1,430 hate and anti-government extremist groups operating in the U.S. in 2023 by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Awake group, which espouses anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and advocates against sex education in schools, was flagged by the center in its Year in Hate & Extremism report.

The annually published report, the center says, is a “comprehensive analysis of the groups and organizational infrastructure upholding white supremacy in the United States.” It includes a “hate map,” tracking groups that land on the center’s hate and extremism radar by state as well as several observed trends in recent hard-right activity.

In its latest analysis, the center found that 39 different hate and anti-government extremist groups were active in Illinois last year. Those, according to the center, included Awake Illinois.

* Austin Berg at the Illinois Policy Institute

*** Statewide ***

* WCIA | Illinois awarding $5 million to local chambers of commerce: The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has announced $5 million in grants to more than 150 organizations. It’s through the Back to Business local chambers program. The goal is to help chambers of commerce bounce back from the impacts of the pandemic.

* WAND | Illinois celebrates record-breaking export sales in 2023: Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced another record-breaking year with export sales over $78.7 billion in 2023. According to rankings by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Illinois leads Midwest as the top exporting state and fifth in the nation.

* Spectrum | West Nile virus found in mosquitos and birds across 13 Illinois counties; IDPH warns public to ‘Fight the Bite’: While no human cases of the virus have been reported, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reminding people of the importance to “Fight the Bite” during National Mosquito Control Awareness Week, June 16-22. […] There were 119 human cases reported last year, which is an increase from 34 human cases in 2022, according to IDPH. Six human deaths attributed to the West Nile virus were reported in 2023, compared to seven in 2022.

*** Downstate ***

* WAND | Ribbon cutting held to reopen Peoria Planned Parenthood after firebombing: The rebuilding and renovations amounted to more than $1 million. On Tuesday, PPIL held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and press conference with Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Michael Cabonargi, Congressman Eric Sorensen, and Illinois State Senator Dave Kohler to unveil the new facility. “We are back and stronger than ever,” said President and CEO of PPIL, Jennifer Welch. “We know the vital role the Peoria Health Center plays in the central Illinois community. The arsonist may have destroyed our health center and robbed the community from accessing care, but we were also brought closer together. Thanks to the ongoing support from Peoria leaders, residents, and donors we have the pleasure to be part of this amazing community once again.”

* SJ-R | Grants available for Black-owned businesses along Route 66 in Illinois: The Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership, a coalition of state Route 66 associations, is offering $50,000 to provide direct grants to help Black-owned or operated businesses and attractions, research and programs on the historic road. “We’re always hoping to get the word out, so more people have the opportunity to apply,” Bill Thomas, chairman of Route 66 Ahead said. “It’s not just preserving the history of Route 66, but this is also an opportunity to help sustain the businesses that already exist.”

* SJ-R | A Springfield high school has finalized a deal to build a new multimillion dollar school: Lutheran High School has finalized a deal to purchase 25 acres on the city’s far south side where it intends to build a new school. The property was purchased from Cherry Hills Church, 2125 Woodside Road. It is just north of the church structure and located off Chatham Road. The school had reached an intent to purchase agreement with the church on the property in December.

*** Chicago ***

* South Side Weekly | Mayor Johnson on His Organizing Roots and Vision for Chicago : When the interview turned to education, the mayor did not directly answer a yes-or-no question about the possibility of closing public schools during his tenure. Instead, Johnson noted that he participated in the 2015 hunger strike that forced then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel to reopen Dyett High School on the South Side, and offered a quote from W.E.B. DuBois. “The moratorium already exists,” he said. “I fought to make sure that it happened.”

* Crain’s | Digital billboards on the Riverwalk? It’s just one idea this City Hall panel is set to debate: Expanding advertising on the Riverwalk as well as on vacant downtown storefronts, Chicago Transit Authority stations and within Chicago parks, for a fee, and allowing video gambling in Chicago are two of the revenue ideas favored by freshman Ald. William Hall, 6th. Hall told Crain’s other ideas like a city income tax or an increase in property taxes — both of which Johnson has repeatedly said he opposes — will also be on the table when the City Council’s Subcommittee on Revenue, which Hall chairs, meets for the first time on June 26 for a “Revenue 101” crash course.

* Crain’s | WBEZ and Sun-Times unions vote no confidence in Chicago Public Media CEO: With the votes that took place today, the unions signaled they have no confidence in Moog’s leadership. The unions said 86% of members participated in the vote, with 96%, or 114 members, voting no confidence.

* NYT | More Than 1,000 Birds Died One Night in Chicago. Will It Happen Again?: Migration experts said that the unusual mass deaths were the product of a number of common occurrences happening all at once. One factor, they said, was easily preventable: the number of buildings that had their lights on, which disoriented birds that were migrating overnight on Oct. 4. Since October, there have been significant changes at the building where the highest concentration of birds died, McCormick Place Lakeside Center, but advocates for bird safety are seeking measures that protect birds across the city. These measures could include treating windows with film that is more visible to birds, using shutters or drapes to block windows and turning off decorative lighting at night during migration seasons.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Daily Herald | Woman missed out on cicadas 17 years ago, so she brought 6,000 of them to her yard: Seventeen years ago, Bettina Sailer felt cheated when her yard did not buzz with the sound of 17-year cicadas. So, the North Aurora resident went to other parts of the state where cicadas were plentiful and brought the insects back to her yard. This year, Sailer did it again. She now has more than 6,000 cicadas in her front yard.

*** National ***

* Pew Research | Most Black Americans Believe U.S. Institutions Were Designed To Hold Black People Back: A new analysis suggests that many Black Americans believe the racial bias in U.S. institutions is not merely a matter of passive negligence; it is the result of intentional design. Specifically, large majorities describe the prison (74%), political (67%) and economic (65%) systems in the U.S., among others, as having been designed to hold Black people back, either a great deal or a fair amount. Black Americans’ mistrust of U.S. institutions is informed by history, from slavery to the implementation of Jim Crow laws in the South, to the rise of mass incarceration and more. Several studies show that racial disparities in income, wealth, education, imprisonment and health outcomes persist to this day.

  19 Comments      


GOP poll has Sorensen up by 9 points, but below 50 percent

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Politico

A NEW POLL has Democratic Congressman Eric Sorensen leading Republican challenger Joe McGraw in the competitive IL-17 District.

By the numbers: Sorensen is at 44 percent to McGraw’s 35 percent, according to an internal poll from 1892 Polling for the National Republican Congressional Committee and McGraw’s campaign.

POLITICO’s Morning Score by Madison Fernandez scooped the poll, which surveyed 400 likely voters June 8-12. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points.

Bull’s eye: National Republicans are targeting Sorensen’s seat, which leans Democratic. As drawn today, IL-17 would have voted for President Joe Biden over Donald Trump by around 8 percentage points in 2020.

* From the poll

Competitive Political Climate: In a generic Congressional ballot, the Republican and Democrat are tied 40-40%, while 20% of voters are undecided. In 2020, Biden carried IL-17 by +8%. Now Biden is only +1%. The degradation of Biden’s image, ballot, and job approval has downstream effects driving a shifting political environment and creating a Republican opportunity in IL-17.

More…

Crime, the border and inflation/interest rates are McGraw’s core issues so far. The campaign claims their talking points are moving numbers, but they didn’t release even the broad topics they polled.

Americans for Prosperity Action made its first Illinois general election congressional endorsement since 2018 when it backed McGraw this month.

* From US House Speaker Mike Johnson’s recent Peoria visit

Johnson appeared along with 16th District U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood and 17th District candidate Joe McGraw ahead of the Tazewell County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner on Saturday.

McGraw, a retired judge, faces Democratic incumbent Eric Sorensen in November. Freshman Sorensen last won the seat with a 52-48 margin, filling an open spot left by retiring Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos. Bustos had also won decisive elections in the swing district, which elected her while also voting for Trump.

Johnson believes, despite a funding gap between the candidates, this election will be different. He calls Sorensen a “radical leftist.”

“I think [17th District voters] are going to look for somebody who is a grownup to represent them,” said Johnson. “Somebody who has a great resume and will be a great leader and, I think, will represent the real interest and values of the people in the district.”

* Sorensen attended a reopening event today for the Peoria abortion clinic that was firebombed in 2023. Press release…

Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) is pleased to reopen the newly renovated Peoria Health Center, 2709 N. Knoxville Ave, over a year after it was severely damaged after a firebomb attack in early 2023. The Peoria Health Center suffered extensive damages costing over $1 million to rebuild, depriving the community of essential sexual and reproductive care for over a year. Today, PPIL held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and press conference with Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Michael Cabonargi, Congressman Eric Sorensen, and Illinois State Senator Dave Kohler to unveil the new state-of-the-art facility.

“After so much hard work and determination by our neighbors, I’m excited to celebrate the reopening of the Peoria Planned Parenthood Clinic. What happened in January of last year was a tragic example of what happens when extremism comes home. But extremism will never, ever play in Peoria. We are a more resilient people than ever,” said Congressman Eric Sorensen. “ I’m proud of the commitment of our Peoria community, Planned Parenthood of Illinois, and our local law enforcement who have worked so hard to deliver justice and get our clinic back up and running to serve our neighbors, protect abortion access, and safeguard our freedoms.”

  5 Comments      


Showcasing The Retailers Who Make Illinois Work

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024 - Posted by Advertising Department

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Retail provides one out of every five Illinois jobs, generates the second largest amount of tax revenue for the state, and is the largest source of revenue for local governments. But retail is also so much more, with retailers serving as the trusted contributors to life’s moments, big and small.

We Are Retail and IRMA are dedicated to sharing the stories of retailers like Mark, who serve their communities with dedication and pride.

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It’s just a bill

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Daily Southtown

Homer Township Supervisor Steve Balich reiterated his support Monday for flying the U.S. flag upside down at the township offices in the aftermath of former President Donald Trump’s guilty verdict.

“I have no regrets about the flag, and I did not break any laws,” Balich said in the first public meeting since he ordered the U.S. flag flown upside down on May 31 to signal that the nation was in distress. “I just wanted to make a point and have a lot of people talking about it, and a lot of people have been talking about it.”

Half of the 16 public speakers at Homer Township’s meeting Monday agreed with Balich and voiced their support for his freedom of expression.

“He has a right as an American to say this was a dark day in America,” said Jan Nahorski, a Joliet resident and Army veteran. Nahorski was among a handful of veterans who defended Balich’s right to freedom of speech.

Rep. Harry Benton…

State Rep. Harry Benton, D-Plainfield, has introduced legislation that would prohibit politically motivated efforts to disrespect the flag, responding to a local incident in which a Will County official flew the American flag upside down outside in support of Donald Trump.

“The flag of the United States is an enduring symbol of our national spirit and pride, and of the sacrifices made by every generation of Americans,” Benton said. “As elected leaders, we swear our oath to that flag and the nation it represents, not to a political leader. There’s no excuse for such disrespect of our flag, and the men and women who served to defend it.”

On May 31, Steve Balich, supervisor of Homer Township in Will County, ordered the national flag outside the Homer Township offices to be flown upside down in response to the conviction of former President Donald Trump on 34 felony counts. Benton and others responded with outrage.

On June 11, Benton filed legislation prohibiting such disrespectful conduct. Benton’s House Bill 5860 would make it a crime for a government official to knowingly cause the national flag to be displayed upside down on government property. House Bill 5861 would make doing so a business offense punishable by a fine of up to $25,000.

Both bills clarify that the flag may only be flown upside down in situations where there is dire distress or extreme danger to life or property—the purpose for which such display is prescribed in the U.S. Flag Code.

“The public official who made this sad choice—to disrespect our nation’s flag and everything it stands for—may be disappointed in the outcome of a certain criminal trial, but that is no excuse,” Benton said. “That he then attempted to deflect rising outrage by draping himself in the very same flag he’d just finished spitting on makes his actions all the more pathetic. We may disagree on a lot of things here in Will County, but this isn’t one of them. Despite our differences, we’re all Americans. Most of us, at least, still think that counts for something.”

Thoughts?

  23 Comments      


Revenue omnibus includes some little-noticed charitable provisions

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* AP budget story

“There weren’t tax increases or revenue enhancements against everyday ordinary taxpayers,” said Chicago Democratic Sen. Elgie Sims, a budget negotiator. “What you saw was a recognition of, particularly as it relates to the sports betting industry, the explosion of the industry and some parity.”

Sims also pointed out the budget’s tax breaks. The income tax personal exemption will increase from $2,425 to $2,775 for 2024. The 1% sales tax on groceries will be eliminated in 2026. And there’s a new child tax credit for low-income families. Those with at least one child under 12 are eligible for the credit, which is 20% of the Earned Income Tax Credit and 40% next year.

Lots more in there, so read the rest if you have time.

* I received a press release yesterday about a couple of lesser-known budget-related items that were in the revenue omnibus bill…

The Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations (AICF) and Forefront commend the General Assembly for enacting the Illinois Gives Tax Credit Act (“Illinois Gives”) and the Workforce Development Through Charitable Loan Repayment Act (“Loan Repayment”). Both programs were included in the FY25 revenue omnibus (HB4951 / Public Act 103-0592, Articles 170 and 10 respectively). Previously, they generated strong bicameral and bipartisan support with sponsors from every organized Caucus in the General Assembly as SB172 (Feigenholtz)/ HB1241 (Croke) and SB3273 (Villanueva)/ HB4736 (Stuart).

Illinois Gives will incentivize up to $100 million in new charitable giving over the next 5 years by authorizing a 25% state income tax credit for charitable donations to eligible permanent endowments held by dozens of qualified community foundations across Illinois. The program, which begins 1/1/25, includes equity provisions and reporting requirements and will be administered by Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR).

In addition to Illinois Gives, the new Loan Repayment program will use private charitable dollars to lure and retain locally needed workers into Illinois communities. Eligible community foundations will directly repay part or all of a worker’s student loans directly to the lender, and the worker will not pay state income tax on that charitable loan repayment. State income tax-free loan repayment will become available to workers after 1/1/26, and will be overseen by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) with support from IDOR and AICF.

Endowed funds at community foundations provide a predictable source of general operating and capital funding for a wide range of nonprofit organizations and programs in every part of the state. “By incentivizing endowment gifts through Illinois Gives, we are creating a permanent funding stream to sustain our nonprofits for generations to come,” said Joshua Gibb, AICF President.

Similar tax credit programs in other states increased both the number of donors and total charitable dollars given. “Nonprofit organizations are the heart of our communities all over Illinois, providing vital services and strengthening communities,” said Andrea Sáenz, President and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust.

Changes to federal tax laws since 2017 reduced incentives for charitable contributions, resulting in both fewer donors and donations nationwide. Illinois Gives will help reverse that trend in Illinois. “The Illinois Gives Act leverages four private dollars for every one state dollar, and represents a historic investment in the nonprofit sector, which typically is not included in the General Assembly’s annual revenue package,” said Holly Ambuehl, Director of Policy and Government Affairs at Forefront.

* From the one-pager on the Illinois Gives Tax Credit Act

• Authorizes a 25% state charitable income tax credit beginning tax year 2025
• To any Illinois taxpayer who makes a charitable gift(s) to a permanent endowment administered by ~40 qualified community foundations in Illinois that serve every county in the state
• Must benefit charitable causes in this state
• Includes a $5 million statewide cap to limit budget impact and a 5-year sunset provision
• May not be carried back and is not refundable; may be carried forward up to 5 years
• Includes public reporting requirements to ensure accountability and transparency

There’s a $100,000 contribution cap and a $5 million program cap.

* Workforce Development Through Charitable Loan Repayment dot points

• Private sector solution for Illinois workforce needs + Illinois resident student debt
• Targets workforce gaps by matching charitable loan repayment with locally needed workers
• Private charitable donations made to eligible Community Foundations are used to directly repay student debt for workers that agree to live and work in a target geography + industry for a certain amount of time
• SB3273/HB4736 subtracts such charitable loan repayment from state income tax for eligible workers

More here.

  6 Comments      


Pritzker teams up with IBM, Discover Financial to push for federal quantum funds

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Earlier this month. The Real Deal

A hefty investment from Big Blue may be the tip of the iceberg that solidifies Illinois as a hub for quantum computing development, which could create more demand for industrial space.

Tech giant IBM is mulling an expansion in Chicago amid “continuously growing interest and investment in quantum computing” across the city and state, Crain’s reported.

The company is collaborating with the University of Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the Bloch Quantum Tech Hub on several projects “to advance our timeline of bringing useful quantum computing to the world, and are looking forward to being a part of other significant developments soon,” Jay Gambetta, vice president of IBM Quantum, told the outlet.

The details of IBM’s potential expansion are scarce, but the company’s interest in ramping up its quantum computing operations is a big win for Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who’s been working to put Illinois at the forefront of this technological revolution. Last week, lawmakers approved Pritzker’s request for $500 million dedicated to quantum development, as well as specific tax breaks and other incentives for such projects.

* Today, from Bloomberg

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has turned to a consortium that includes IBM and Discover Financial Services to help win federal funds to develop quantum technology.

The companies will work together with Boston Consulting Group and P33, a nonprofit started by the governor’s sister and former Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, to develop quantum tools to fight financial fraud. The plan is part of a bid to win $70 million from President Joe Biden’s Tech Hubs program established as part of the 2022 Chips and Science Act. […]

Winning the federal money is key to helping fund Quantum Shield, the fraud-detection project that’s part of the Illinois Tech Hubs bid, said Brad Henderson, CEO of P33. The effort is unique because it seeks to use quantum technology, instead of binary traditional computers, to solve a real-world problem. Quantum technology relies on “qubits” and can store data in multiple forms — ones, zeros, both, or something in between. […]

The Biden administration designated 31 hubs last year, including Illinois’ The Bloch Tech Hub, making them eligible for up to $75 million each. Funding announcements are expected this summer. Henderson of P33 expects the results in the next four weeks or so. […]

Illinois has been trying to position itself as a hub for new technologies. Pritzker has made quantum a priority. The governor, often mentioned among the bench of Democrats who may one day wage a White House bid, this year passed a budget that includes $500 million to position the state as a leader in semiconductors, quantum and artificial intelligence.

  6 Comments      


They’ll come back to it

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* WAND

Several Republican state lawmakers hope the Illinois Senate will vote on a plan during veto session to address sexual abuse by educators and authority figures in high schools.

While there are strong protections in place for students 17 and younger, sponsors told WAND News that educators and staff should be charged for sexual conduct with students between 18 and 23 years old.

Under House Bill 4241, teachers or authority figures who sexually abuse these students could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor for their first offense and Class 4 felony for any repeat offenses. […]

House Bill 4241 passed unanimously out of the House on April 19, but the measure failed to move after it arrived in the Senate.

Sen. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) said kids can’t afford to wait any longer for this issue to be addressed.

* Zo Li

The Illinois legislative session wrapped up late last month without tackling the pervasive issue of school ticketing, a practice where schools refer students to police to be disciplined for school misbehavior.

As a civil rights attorney at the MacArthur Justice Center, I’ve traveled around the state to witness the impact of these tickets. One of the first ticketing hearings I saw was in Joliet, purportedly for “disorderly conduct”: A girl with stomach problems disobeyed a teacher’s instructions to leave the bathroom, resulting in a referral to the police, an obligation to attend a hearing on a school day and a $150 fine.

Her experience is not unique. Across Illinois, tickets of up to hundreds of dollars are issued for things like littering, swearing or hallway scuffles — behaviors that schools should address internally with evidence-based solutions like restorative practices. […]

For years, advocates have been trying to pass a bill that will end the ticketing practice — and for yet another year, the state has been resistant. It’s long past time for the state to do the necessary work to reform discipline in schools.

* WAND

The Illinois Senate could pass a plan in November to phase out the sub-minimum wage for workers with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Rep. Theresa Mah (D-Chicago) and many other lawmakers believe it is wrong that some people are paid as low as 50 cents per hour and only make $100 per month.

The proposal could create a special grant fund of $2 million to help community agencies transition away from the sub-minimum wages. The Dignity in Pay Act would eliminate the use of 14-C Certificates on July 1, 2029. […]

House Bill 793 passed out of the House on a bipartisan 78-30 vote with representatives voting present. This plan would need support from three-fifths of the Senate since a vote would take place after May 31.

* AG Update

After seemingly being declared dead for the second year in a row, a late legislative push sprouted new hope that the soybean would be designated as the official state bean of Illinois.

The original bill, sponsored by state Rep. Matt Hanson, D-Montgomery, passed the House last year but was gutted in the Senate. Hanson refiled the state bean language on a different bill this year. It once again passed unanimously out of the House in April. But it was once again knifed in the Senate in mid-May.

But, in a twist of fate, the “gut-and-replace” tactic was used in the waning days of session to resurrect the soybean’s chances of getting its due. […]

However, both Hanson and Sen. Doris Turner said they are committed to getting the legislation across the finish line during the fall veto session in November.

* WAND

The Illinois Senate left Springfield last month without passing a plan to improve security at libraries in response to recent violent threats. […]

People making threats to libraries would be charged with a Class 4 felony, similar to making threats to schools. House Bill 4567 also calls for the Secretary of State’s office to provide grants to libraries to improve their security. […]

This proposal passed out of the House on a 89-20 vote on May 21. Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias hopes senators can pass the legislation during veto session in November.

“Our librarians and libraries have faced an onslaught of threats and violence and ideological intimidation for simply serving their communities,” Giannoulias said. “We have seen an escalation of violence seeking to censor and restrict information. This is harmful, not only to these public servants, but to our democracy as a whole.”

  9 Comments      


Open thread

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* What’s going on in your part of Illinois?…

  11 Comments      


Isabel’s morning briefing

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: Galesburg youth detention home accused of abusive practices new in class action lawsuit. PJ Star

    -The Mary Davis Detention Home in Galesburg is being accused of abusive treatment of its residents in a new class action lawsuit filed last month in U.S. District Court in Peoria.
    -Court documents say that the home continues to put young residents in solitary confinement.
    -The complaint, filed by two current teenage residents of the home, says that the home uses extended solitary confinement as a form of punishment, putting those who break rules in confinement for 23 1/2 hours a day, for multiple days, at the whim of staff.

*** Isabel’s Top Picks ***

* Chalkbeat | Illinois’ Teacher of the Year felt like an outsider growing up. Decades on, she wants her students to know they belong.: Fourth and fifth grade teacher Rachael Mahmood wants to ensure all her students feel like they belong. That’s why she works hard to incorporate their identities, cultures, interests, and histories into her lesson plans and assignments. Mahmood, who has taught at Indian Prairie CUSD 204 for the past 19 years, was recently named the Illinois Teacher of the Year for 2024. The Illinois State Board of Education, which gave out the award, said in a press release that Mahmood has “a passion for designing curriculum that affirms students’ identities” and fosters their love of school. That has been a mission for her ever since she was a young student. (Indian Prairie CUSD 204 serves students in some of Chicago’s southwest suburbs.)

* Block Club | Famous Wrigley Field Rooftops Including Torco And Eamus Catuli Buildings Could Be Torn Down: The owners of three iconic, century-old buildings across from Wrigley Field’s right field bleachers on Sheffield Avenue are proposing to tear them down and replace them with one 29-unit apartment building. Meanwhile, some neighbors in the area are pushing back against the project due to the historical significance of the apartment buildings and worry about the preservation of the neighborhood’s character.

*** Statehouse News ***

* Capitol News Illinois | Illinois’ ban on ‘bump stocks’ remains in place despite U.S. Supreme Court decision: “Illinois law is not affected by the decision,” a spokesperson for Attorney General Kwame Raoul said in an email statement Friday. Meanwhile, however, advocates on both sides of the gun control debate in the United States are anxiously waiting to learn whether the high court will hear a broader constitutional challenge to the state’s 2023 assault weapons ban, which includes the state-level ban on bump stocks. An announcement on that appeal could come at any time in the next several days.

* Sun-Times | Schools still rely on cops to ticket kids for minor violations. It’s a practice that should stop.: Across Illinois, tickets of up to hundreds of dollars are issued for things like littering, swearing or hallway scuffles — behaviors that schools should address internally with evidence-based solutions like restorative practices. The ticketing practice is a debilitating symptom of a larger problem: the transformation of our classrooms into carceral spaces. Over the past decades, schools and prisons have become more alike in law, policy, and staffing. Courts have granted prisons tremendous control over prisoners purportedly in the name of rehabilitation and safety — and they’ve extended that same power to schools.

* Capitol City Now | Mendoza: Budget “responsible”: “Government has an obligation to provide essential services to the state of Illinois,” Mendoza told WTAX News. “While $53 billion sounds like a lot of money – and it is – the increase between this year and last year was well below the rate of inflation. So we do have a responsible budget. There are investments that have to be made in the state of Illinois, and particularly when you see those investments, which cost money, being put into areas that have a good return on investment for taxpayers, that’s something that should be applauded.” Mendoza is trying to back away from statements she made after the budget passed … that she wanted to see “across the board cuts” – a phrase which drew an immediate negative response from the governor’s top aides. She says what she really means is to scrutinize everything to see if it’s really the lowest number possible.

* 21st Show | An in-depth look at the new Illinois state budget: Today on the 21st, we’ll take a look at the new state budget. We are joined by Ralph Martire from the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and David Merriman, a professor in the Department of Public Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

*** Statewide ***

* Center Square | Illinois begins multi-year, record-breaking transportation upgrade plan: The state will spend more than $41 billion to build and repair transportation infrastructure. It is the largest investment in state history and will involve all 102 Illinois counties. Gov. J.B. Pritzker said it is an area of the state that has been neglected for years. “Not only was that holding back Illinois’ economic growth, but it was making our residents less safe and our communities less connected to one another,” said Pritzker.

*** Chicago ***

* Block Club | 2 Shot While Alderman Talks On Facebook Live About Camping Out To Stop Violence: A South Side alderman returned to his campout to stop violence on a South Side street Monday, a day after two people were shot in their faces early Sunday as he talked about his indefinite stay on Facebook Live. Ald. David Moore (17th) said he won’t be deterred by the shooting, and plans to stay on 73rd Street until he sees a positive turn in an area he’s called “an open air drug market.”

* Sun-Times | Violence programs to expand in 4 West Side neighborhoods as business group nears $100 million goal: The neighborhoods are Austin, Garfield Park, Humboldt Park and Little Village. About one of five shootings citywide occur in one of those neighborhoods, according to city crime statistics. […] Anti-violence programs have reached into neighborhoods across the city over the past five years, driven by a massive expansion in funding from philanthropic organizations and government grants for non-policing approaches to combating a surge in violence that began during the COVID-19 pandemic.

* Sun-Times | Efforts to root out Chicago police extremism have ‘fallen short’ of Mayor Johnson’s promises, watchdog says: The harsh criticism was included in an 18-page letter that Inspector General Deborah Witzburg’s office sent to Johnson calling for a coordinated response to “an issue of profound importance and pressing public concern.” “Any ongoing mishandling of the matter puts CPD’s public public legitimacy at critical risk, and profoundly undermines its effectiveness by damaging the very public trust that the city and the department are endeavoring to foster,” Tobara Richardson, deputy inspector general for public safety, wrote on April 25.

* Chalkbeat | Chicago’s Opportunity Index takes center stage in school budget drama: Giving more to schools that need more is a worthy goal, some experts said. But it comes at a complicated time, as the district faces enrollment instability and a deficit brought on by the end of federal COVID recovery money, meaning officials are taking from some campuses to give others a boost. The budget shift is especially challenging to pull off in a district with both large campuses and a growing number of very small schools, experts said.

* Crain’s | Chicago downplays the threat of losing its biggest water customer — DuPage: Chicago will soon begin another round of high-stakes negotiations with the DuPage Water Commission in a bid to retain the city’s largest water customer, but the commission’s recent $80 million suburban land purchase adds bite to its threat to tap into Lake Michigan to bypass the city and become its own water supplier.

* Block Club | Why Is The Wieners Circle Fighting With Portillo’s? A Confusing PETA Stunt Sparks Beef: “The PETA lady rolled up and had no idea that we don’t actually sell pork hot dogs,” Eggert said. “She told us that Portillo’s sent her over here and we had to tell her, “Ma’am, Portillo’s sells pork.’ I think she thought Portillo’s was a vegan restaurant.” […] A spokesperson for Portillo’s told Block Club that the famous Chicago hot dog chain did not partner with PETA for the event. The hot dog chain has avoided responding to social media dunks by Wieners Circle. Block Club reached out to PETA to ask how they got connected with Portillo’s for the stunt, but did not immediately hear back.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Daily Herald | ‘I feel like my brother has been neglected’: Questions linger one year after deadly mass shooting: Investigators with the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office recovered multiple handguns and more than 100 shell casings from the parking lot, along with video footage of what happened. One man has been charged in connection with the shooting, but no one has been arrested for Meadows’ death.

* NBC Chicago | Chicago suburb named ‘safest and most affordable’ city in US in new ranking: Elgin was noted for having a median household income of $85,998, with average mortgage costs of $1,840 and monthly cost of living totals around $4,000. Compared to other cities on the list, Elgin had a low number of property crimes and violent crimes.

* Daily Southtown | US Rep. Robin Kelly, area mayors stress sustainability in renewed push for south suburban airport: Environmental groups and farmers alike have raised concerns about the potential impact of operating a cargo airport and warehouses near Peotone to allow the Will County area to cash in on the increased demand of fast shipping from companies such as Amazon. During a news conference at the East Hazel Crest clerk’s office, Kelly and members of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association stressed their support for building “the greenest airport in North America” as the Illinois Department of Transportation prepares to seek interest from potential developers.

*** Downstate ***

* STLPR | Metro East residents also push for federal radioactive waste exposure compensation: An informal survey they conducted over several years starting in 2009 found 368 cancer cases among residents in a six-block radius of the site. No government agency appears to have formally documented the cancer rates or health outcomes of residents in the community surrounding the plant. While a related federal program has paid more than $64.5 million to 383 former employees of this facility and another just north in Granite City, area residents have never been eligible for government compensation.

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Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

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* Reader comments closed for Juneteenth
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