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Isabel’s morning briefing

Tuesday, Jun 4, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: Judge considering whether slated candidates can appear on November ballot. Capitol News Illinois

A Sangamon County judge is weighing whether to block a new state law that bans the long-practiced tradition of political parties slating candidates for a general election after sitting out of a primary race.

Democrats who control the General Assembly pushed the measure through the legislative process and Gov. JB Pritzker signed it into law in a matter of days last month, arguing that slating is unfair to voters who didn’t get a say in a primary contest. Several would-be Republican candidates then sued over the law, claiming it’s unfair to ban the practice in the middle of an election cycle.

Now, the dispute is in the hands of Sangamon County Judge Gail Noll, who heard two hours of arguments over the case on Monday, which was also the last day slated candidates were able to file their nominating petitions under the old law. Noll last week ordered the State Board of Elections to keep accepting the petitions while the case plays out, which the board had already been doing.

During Monday’s hearing, attorney Jeffrey Schwab said his clients – four Republican candidates from Chicago and its suburbs – weren’t arguing that the law itself is unconstitutional, but that its application to the current election cycle is. […]

Though the lawsuit was only filed against the Board of Elections and Attorney General Kwame Raoul, House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch sought to intervene in the case. Democratic election law attorney Mike Kasper argued on Welch’s behalf that the law was a boon to democracy because candidates used the slating process to escape a tough primary battle.

* Related stories…

*** Isabel’s Top Picks ***

* WTTW | Illinois House Speaker Emphatic That Bears, Sox Won’t Get Public Funding for Stadiums: “As we’ve said to the Bears over and over again, to the White Sox, and also to the Chicago Red Stars, there’s just no appetite to use taxpayer funding to fund stadiums for billionaires,” House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch told WTTW News in an interview Monday. “Even after the election.” Those four words — “even after the election” — send a strong signal that the teams don’t stand much of a chance. That’s because the post-election period is when lawmakers traditionally take their most risky votes because they’re either lame ducks not returning to public office, or at least further away from asking voters to be reelected.

* Tribune | Dolton trustees override Mayor Tiffany Henyard’s veto, solidifying the hiring of Lori Lightfoot as special investigator: Trustee Jason House requested for the board to allow Lightfoot, who was present at the meeting, to make remarks after the vote. However, Henyard denied the request, which she called “political grandstanding” and encouraged a quick adjournment, angering many in the audience. Lightfoot still got up to the podium and managed to briefly address those in attendance before her microphone was shut off by village staff. She later released a statement commending the board’s decision to override the veto and stating her intention to complete a fair and thorough investigation.

* Tribune | Bill aimed at assisting public defenders falls short this spring, backers say they’ll try again in fall: A measure to create a statewide office to assist under-resourced public defenders stalled in the Illinois General Assembly this spring, but the bill’s backers say they will try again when the legislature reconvenes in the fall. “We are going to try to filter as many new ideas or as many new perspectives through the committee process as possible so that we have a really good bill when it’s all said and done,” state Rep. Dave Vella, a Rockford Democrat and former Winnebago County assistant public defender, said Monday.

*** Statehouse News ***

* Tribune | House Speaker Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch sued by staffers who say he thwarted their efforts to form union: About 20 House staff members have pressured Welch, a Democrat from Hillside, to recognize their efforts to form a union for more than a year, leading the speaker to sponsor a measure that would allow legislative staffers working at the state Capitol to organize. The measure passed through the House last year but has since stalled in the Senate. “We will not be put off, ignored or gaslit any longer,” the Illinois Legislative Staff Association said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.

* Tribune | Legislation now before Gov. J.B. Pritzker: Mobile driver’s licenses, medical debt relief and a new state mushroom: Residents would be able to keep digitial versions of their driver’s licenses and other state IDs in their cellphones under legislation pushed by Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias. […] If Pritzker signs the bill, Giannoulias’ office will need to work out more details about how his office will implement and enforce mobile IDs. The secretary said he doesn’t have a timeline for when they will become available to the public.

* Sen. John Curran | Gov. J.B. Pritzker should embrace instead of fight reforms to the Prisoner Review Board: A budget is a concrete list of priorities. And in this budget, and in his own words, the governor is saying that public safety is not a priority. We cannot continue to allow Pritzker and his activist Prisoner Review Board to continue their reckless ideological campaign at the expense of victims throughout our state. We must hold the governor accountable for his actions and push through reforms of the Prisoner Review Board before another family has to wonder, what if?

*** Statewide ***

* NBC Chicago | Illinois Secretary of State office impacted by data breach: In a statement to NBC 5 Responds, the Illinois Secretary of State’s office clarified that while their e-mail system was infiltrated, none of the agency’s databases, including those containing driver and vehicle records, were compromised. The office added that they’re strengthening their data security framework to protect against any future attacks.

* Sun-Times | Illinois’ use of cameras that read license plates amounts to ‘dragnet surveillance,’ lawsuit alleges: The suit, filed last week by Cook County residents Stephanie Scholl and Frank Bednarz, names the state police, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Attorney General Kwame Raoul as defendants. “Defendants are tracking anyone who drives to work in Cook County — or to school, or a grocery store, or a doctor’s office, or a pharmacy, or a political rally, or a romantic encounter, or family gathering — every day, without any reason to suspect anyone of anything, and are holding onto those whereabouts just in case they decide in the future that some citizen might be an appropriate target of law enforcement,” the suit said.

* Center Square | Bill allowing IL drivers 3 unpaid tickets before suspension headed for governor: “HB277 is designed to modernize our procedures for people who receive tickets, minor traffic offenses, and fail to appear in court,” said [Rep. Justin Slaughter]. “Current law grants our judges the power to suspend an individual’s driver’s license if he or she fails to appear in court. From a fairness and equity perspective, this current process is creating a significant challenge for individuals at risk as they seek to hold onto their jobs.”

* Daily Herald | Crate-free pork is on the rise in some Illinois grocery chains, but not everywhere: “Most people are totally disconnected to the story of the animals that feed us. They go into a grocery store and they see a shrink-wrapped package of pork,” said Jess Chipkin, founder of nonprofit Crate Free USA. “That’s why one of our goals is to spread awareness of how these animals are fed, how they live their lives — and there are other options.” […] Chipkin, who lives in Huntley, formed the organization in 2015 as Crate Free Illinois before expanding nationwide. The group leads campaigns to petition grocers including Aldi and Trader Joe’s to phase out gestation crates from their supply chains.

*** Chicago ***

* Crain’s | IBM eyes a quantum computing play in Chicago: The company won’t detail exactly what it has in mind. “At IBM, we are excited to see continuously growing interest and investment in quantum computing across Chicago and the state of Illinois,” Jay Gambetta, vice president of IBM Quantum, says in a statement. “We are working with partners such as the University of Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and members of 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.”

* Invisible Institute | What a new state task force can and can’t do — plus, police reform, city policy and community solutions: While the task force cannot enforce its own recommendations, which will be shared with the Illinois General Assembly and Gov. J.B. Pritzker by the end of 2024 (and on a yearly basis after), these recommendations could be the basis of future legislation. “All we can do is put information into legislation requiring [the Chicago Police Department] to do this and requiring them to do that,” Hunter says. Ultimately, enforcement would fall to the Illinois Attorney General’s office, says Hunter.

* AP | Unusual mix of possible candidates line up for Chicago’s first school board elections this fall: “This is not a political race, this is a movement,” said rapper Che “Rhymefest” Smith, who is among dozens of hopefuls who filed fundraising paperwork. “Everyone in this city has a responsibility to the children who are going to be served.” Potential candidates are circulating petitions while educating voters about the inaugural contests. Many are parents, advocates and former educators making their first foray into politics, navigating a steep learning curve with little name recognition or cash.

* Sun-Times | Columbia College Chicago lays off 70 staff members amid budget deficit: Columbia College Chicago announced this week it is laying off 70 staff members to reposition itself as a decline in enrollment has led to a growing budget shortfall. Another 32 vacant positions will be eliminated, a school spokesperson said in a statement. The school’s budget deficit has ballooned to an expected $38 million from about $20 million last year.

* Crain’s | WBEZ union files unfair labor charge against Chicago Public Media: SAG-AFTRA, the union representing staff at WBEZ-FM, has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the parent company of the radio station Chicago Public Media today alleging that the organization refused “to provide information necessary (for them) to represent (their) members and enforce the union contract.” The union announced news of the filing on X today, adding that it marks the first time the union has filed a ULP charge against Chicago Public Media since the union was formed in 2013.

* WGN | The reason Chicago’s lead pipe replacement plan is taking longer than expected: Dr. Deborah Carroll, director of the government finance research center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, joins Lisa Dent to explain why the City of Chicago has been slow with replacing lead service lines and what residents need to do if think their lines need to be replaced.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Sun-Times | Aurora mayor says Kane County sheriff’s decisions before police shooting led to ‘unfortunate loss of life’: Mayor Richard Irvin was referring to Sheriff Ron Hain’s order to seize the suspect’s car the night before the fatal shooting, “compromising” an undercover Aurora police operation to arrest the man safely. Hain called Irvin’s comments “reckless and inappropriate.”

* Daily Herald | Suburbs face new dilemma with fate of grocery tax in their hands: Hanover Park Mayor Rod Craig, the vice president of the municipal conference and its next president, said he is unsure if his town will enact a grocery tax. “I don’t know if I can do that,” Craig said. “I’ve been trying to keep our taxes low. It’s going to look like if I pass a tax, that’s a negative. If I pass the tax and others around us do not, it’s going to drive business to other communities.”

* ABC Chicago | Waukegan City Council censures alderman for posting Facebook photo of severed arm found at beach: Alderman Keith Turner posted a photo on Facebook, showing a severed arm recently found at a Waukegan beach. […] Turner’s fellow alderpersons demanded Turner apologize to that missing woman’s family. But he said he feels he’s being targeted as a candidate for mayor. Mayor Ann Taylor did not respond directly to those allegations tonight.

* Tribune | Burbank man pleads guilty to dousing police officers with hornet spray during Jan. 6 US Capitol attack: William Lewis, 57, of Burbank, entered his plea to a count of assaulting police officers during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras in Washington, D.C., court records show. Preliminary sentencing guidelines call for 51-63 months in prison, according to Lewis’ plea agreement with prosecutors. Contreras is scheduled to sentence Lewis on Dec. 16.

* ESPN | Bears chairman George McCaskey’s amazing side gig: One of the umpires that day would have more on his mind than calling balls and strikes. Chicago Bears chairman George McCaskey has been officiating youth sports since his football coach at Notre Dame College Prep in Niles, Illinois, asked if any players wanted to ref Pop Warner football. About 50 years later, McCaskey was working home plate for a high school baseball game in a small town a little over an hour west of Chicago. But McCaskey had something else going on that morning: It was the third day of the NFL draft.

*** Downstate ***

* Tribune | A young mother’s murder horrified central Illinois. Decades later, the family convicted in her death says DNA proves they’re innocent: Macon County prosecutors built a case entirely on circumstantial evidence, some of it considered at the time to be cutting-edge forensics — dog hair DNA analysis and comparisons of concrete and cinder samples. In the end, they convinced a jury that the elder Slovers murdered their former daughter-in-law, with their son’s tacit approval, to stop her from taking her 3-year-old son and moving out of state. In the two decades since the Slovers were sent to prison, the salacious details of their case have become fodder for the burgeoning true-crime entertainment industry. All the while, the Slovers have insisted they’re innocent and fought in court to clear their names.

*** National ***

* Huff Post | Teamsters Memo Signals Rift Between Major Unions: Teamsters President Sean O’Brien sent a memo to the union’s officers and organizers on May 23 informing them he had nullified their “no-raid” agreement with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), according to a copy of the memo obtained by HuffPost. No-raid agreements forbid unions from trying to organize one another’s members so that they defect to the other union. The AFL-CIO has a long-standing policy that bars raiding among its member groups, but the Teamsters are not part of the 60-union labor federation, only the IAM is.

* The Atlantic | The One Downside of Gender Equality in Sports: The arrival of a dynamite WNBA rookie class, headlined by the sensational Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese, has prompted an explosion of coverage of women’s basketball. But—and perhaps I should have anticipated this—the surge in popularity has come at a cost. Ill-informed male sports analysts are suddenly chiming in about the league and its players, offering narratives untethered to facts and occasionally making me long for the days when the WNBA largely flew under the radar.


  1. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jun 4, 24 @ 8:05 am:

    Love the story about McCaskey working youth sports as an official Officiating across sports is getting worse and one big reason is that there are fewer folks officiating at the youth level to learn and move up Great that he is contributing to doing things right And that he’s so low key about it

  2. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jun 4, 24 @ 8:48 am:

    George McCaskey spoke at an HS football officials seminar a few years back about his experience and showed a video from NFL films. At that point, he wasn’t chairman and hadn’t officiated HS football for a few years. He gave away his football official stuff to the youngest person at the seminar who it would fit.

    He stuck around for the whole thing, answered many questions about the Bears and officiating, and did an excellent job with it.

    He was asked about the return of the Honeybears, and he commented more or less that as long as it was about ‘cheesecake’ (my term, not his), he didn’t see a place for it. He also took a couple of awkward questions from someone who was part of the chain crew at Bears games on why they got replaced (the chain crew, timers, and folks like that were chosen by the NFL, and he said they had nothing to do about it).

  3. - Rahm's Parking Meter - Tuesday, Jun 4, 24 @ 9:57 am:

    If you watch the Welch interview, he stuck a knife through Reinsdorf and McCaskey with the “even after the election” quote. If that is true, their dreams on the lakefront and the 78 are dead.

  4. - Annonin' - Tuesday, Jun 4, 24 @ 10:32 am:

    Curious why the epic visit of Speaker Mike Johnson to Peoria did earn a spot in the round up? Johnson sucked up to Trump. The Confessed Congress and son, Smiley, continued the repay for their special Dept of Justice deal and downstate GOPies continued to cringe at their prospect in November. Very entertaining evening. Perhaps lack of attention stemmed from the fact newsies were barred from the actual event and given crumbs from a media avail.

  5. - Larry Bowa Jr. - Tuesday, Jun 4, 24 @ 11:08 am:

    “Officiating across sports is getting worse”

    There is zero evidence to support this claim.
    I played enough sports 30 years ago to know that refs have always been humans who get things wrong sometimes.
    The problem is, and always has been, parents and coaches who cannot place youth sports in its appropriate context. When you’re out there under the delusion that your kid has a chance to be the next Mia Hamm instead of what she’s actually going to be, you’re a lot more likely to get worked up to the point of embarrassment about a ‘blown call.’

  6. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 4, 24 @ 11:10 am:

    === refs have always been humans who get things wrong sometimes===

    From 1999…

    Illinois Senate President James “Pate” Philip would have us all taking swings at the refs who donate their time and talents so our kids can play ball. “They make more mistakes and everybody gets so mad at them, it isn’t even funny,” says Philip.

    Who’s getting mad at them, senator? It’s not the kids on the field. Rather it’s the coaches and the parents on the sidelines. The kids usually congregate in embarrassed clusters when the adults start screaming at the refs, umpires or each other.

    “I just say maybe they deserve a pop once in a while,” continues Philip. Sure, why shouldn’t that student, father or mother who’s refereeing or umpiring be popped? Think of the lessons our kids can learn about life and how to settle disputes.

    With all of the soul-searching and legislative initiatives in the wake of the Columbine High School tragedy, wouldn’t passage of the state bill stiffening penalties for assaulting a sports official be a step toward ensuring our children’s safety and well-being?

  7. - former southerner - Tuesday, Jun 4, 24 @ 11:24 am:

    Love your “replay” from 1999 Rich!

    I coached youth soccer for years and now volunteer as a high school sports photographer and you are spot on about who is making all of the noise over what they think are bad calls.

    They are probably members of the same tribe who claim election fraud whenever their “team” doesn’t win.

  8. - Suburban Mom - Tuesday, Jun 4, 24 @ 11:49 am:

    our park district adopted an absolutely zero tolerance policy for parent misbehavior towards refs — you can get banned for a year — and the whole experience is just SO much nicer. And so many of the park district refs for youth sports are local high school kids, I just hated it when some unhinged sports dad would be screaming at a 16-year-old over a 7-year-old’s soccer game where half the kids are picking dandelions and uninterested in the ball

  9. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jun 4, 24 @ 11:49 am:

    @LarryBowaJr parents are a HUGE problem. they should be required to sign conduct pledges and conduct should be monitored. but are you familiar with the flap over VAR in the English Premier League? the offside issues? the question of cards in women’s lacrosse? those are just some of the officiating issues both rules and how rules are carried out that I see on a regular basis. at least one bad ump quit MLB thank goddess more practice needed at the lower levels to get people up to speed especially in the face of screaming parents Fewer people available to do the work It is a big concern. it’s not just the parents

  10. - thisjustinagain - Tuesday, Jun 4, 24 @ 12:49 pm:

    The parents of child or adult athletes need to keep themselves in the boundaries of reason. And as to pro sports, the NFL has had serious issues with officiating and call reviews despite efforts to improve over the last few years.

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