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Isabel’s morning briefing

Wednesday, Jun 12, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: Hearing officer recommends elections board dismiss illegal coordination complaint against Dan Proft, Darren Bailey. Tribune

A hearing officer has recommended that the Illinois State Board of Elections dismiss a complaint filed by the state Democratic Party contending political operative and right-wing radio show host Dan Proft and former state Sen. Darren Bailey coordinated campaign spending in Bailey’s unsuccessful 2022 race against Gov. J.B. Pritzker. […]

While state and federal laws say independent expenditure PACs are not allowed to coordinate campaign spending with a candidate, hearing examiner James Tenuto basically said that the complaint against Proft’s PAC cannot be sustained because the state lacks rules to define such coordination.

Tenuto said an examination of the facts and evidence presented “does not demonstrate ‘an agreement or some other activity which indicates some level of material involvement in the decision making between the independent committee and candidate of his campaign.’ Thus ‘coordination’ among the respondents has not been proven.”

Tenuto noted that Democrats cited federal rules and regulations to try to establish proof of coordination between Proft and Bailey. But, he said, “Illinois has not adopted any rules and regulations concerning independent expenditures” and said rules or statutory changes are needed to “clarify which activities are acceptable and/or prohibited in regards to independent expenditures.”

*** Isabel’s Top Picks ***

* ABC Chicago | Former Mike Madigan chief of staff Tim Mapes reports to prison: He was sentenced to 30-months in prison. The website for the Federal Bureau of Prisons shows he’s in Pensacola, Florida at a minimum security federal prison camp.

* Crain’s | Judge dismisses Madigan-related whistleblower suit against St. Anthony: A U.S. District Court judge has dismissed charges brought by a former employee at St. Anthony Hospital who alleged the hospital and its CEO showed contracting favoritism to the son of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. Plaintiff Stella Wolf, who had served as chief human resources officer at St. Anthony for four years, was let go in June 2020 as part of a pandemic-era reduction in force. In the 2021 lawsuit, Wolf said the hospital retaliated against her for challenging alleged political corruption and for taking medical leave. Wolf made claims under the Illinois Whistleblower Act and the Family & Medical Leave Act.

*** Statehouse News ***

* WAND | State lawmakers work to protect students, bridge gap in communication: “If a parent, or a teacher, a community member- thinks that a teacher’s actions are egregious enough to warrant removal from the classroom, potential licensure sanctions- there is a process for that,” Jeff Aranowski, the Executive Director of Safe and Healthy Climate for ISBE, told WAND News. But WAND News has learned, there is little communication from other investigating agencies, to ISBE, about staff accused of abuse or neglect. WAND Investigates whether existing laws are working and why new rules may be on the horizon.

* WAND | Mendoza honors central Illinois LGBTQ leaders during Pride Month celebration: The Democrat told reporters at her Springfield office that Pride Month is a critical time to celebrate the bravery LGBTQ+ people have shown in response to ignorance and hate. Mendoza said Illinois believes in equity and inclusion, the right and freedom to be yourself, love who you love and live a life with respect and dignity.

*** Statewide ***

* Chicago Reader | How the Illinois Department of Corrections fails to protect transgender prisoners: Hannah Finnegan transferred to Lawrence Correctional Center in southeastern Illinois in May of 2021. She’d previously been imprisoned at Centralia Correctional Center, another men’s prison about an hour outside Saint Louis. At Centralia, Finnegan, a transgender woman, experienced harassment and abuse from staff and others incarcerated alongside her. She received letters expressing unwanted sexual and romantic interest. She often had to rely on friends she met inside for physical protection. The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) classified Finnegan as “vulnerable,” meaning she was supposed to be housed alone or with others whom staff determined to present a low risk of danger. But at Lawrence, officials assigned her to a cell with someone who’d been convicted of predatory criminal sexual assault, and who was already under investigation by the IDOC for allegedly abusing a past cellmate. While housed together, Finnegan’s cellmate sexually assaulted her in June of 2021.

* WCIA | ISHA announces shot clock for basketball in 2026: The Illinois High School Association announced on Tuesday that starting with the 2026-27 school year, boys and girls varsity basketball games will begin using a shot clock. Teams will have 35 seconds to hit the rim or turn the ball over.

* WQAD | IL DOT hiring for more than 70 jobs: Most of the jobs are in construction and road maintenance, but there’s also openings in engineering, design and office roles. On Tuesday, June 11, IDOT held a job fair at the Rock Island Holiday Inn, offering 18 positions in the Quad Cities area. IDOT says IL Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois plan, which puts money into state roads and infrastructure, means more opportunities for them.

*** Chicago ***

* NBC Chicago | CPD releases new drafts of crowd control, arrest, protest policies ahead of DNC: The directives, which were recently posted on CPD’s website, are the second chance for public engagement. Initially, CPD’s mass arrest policy was available in February to review. Public comment is now open through June 30. After that, CPD will review the additional feedback received to guide future revisions to the drafts.

* CBS Chicago | Bollards coming to Chicago’s Magnificent Mile this summer to prevent crash-and-grabs: More than 40 protective bollards will be set up on the designated stretch of the Mag Mile. […] The bollards, which will be placed in front of stores, are designed to stop a speeding car. Some retailers this year told CBS 2 they have considered leaving Chicago after their businesses were crashed into and burglarized.

* CBS Chicago | Migrant arrivals have slowed in Chicago, but new shelter opens as need continues: Now, a shelter at St. Bartholomew Church, 3601 N. Lavergne Ave. in the Portage Park neighborhood, is helping migrants who have newly arrived at the city’s landing zone. “With children sleeping on the street, and outside of police stations, and so forth, it was just unconscionable that we would, in this time in history, we would be experiencing that,” said Fr. Michael O’Connell of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish.

* NBC Chicago | New Chicago migrant shelter a joint effort of governments, faith organizations: The Archdiocese and Zakat Foundation tell NBC 5 that there is no 60-day shelter limit here. Right now they have a six month agreement and will determine what happens next once that time approaches.

* Sun-Times | Push to monitor Chicago police traffic stops under federal court order faces stiff resistance from community groups: U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer called the hearings to get input about requirements for traffic stops that could be added to a consent decree that took effect in 2019 and mandates sweeping police reforms. Speakers argued the consent decree isn’t the proper way to address a pressing issue that came under increased scrutiny earlier this year after Reed was killed in a gunfight with police tactical officers who purportedly stopped him for not wearing a seat belt.

* Sun-Times | Judicial giant Harry D. Leinenweber dies at 87: ‘He was the coolest judge I’ve ever seen, on TV or off TV’: U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber took senior status in 2002, but he continued to preside over blockbuster trials 20 years later. They included the trial of former R&B star R. Kelly in 2022 and a major corruption trial involving four political insiders tied to ComEd. “He was an honorable judge and an honorable man,” said Kelly attorney Jennifer Bonjean.

* Fox Chicago | ‘Chicago is why the show is so good’: Gyllenhaal on new Apple TV+ series: Jake Gyllenhaal said that Chicago is the reason why his new AppleTV+ series “Presumed Innocent” is so good. The series follows a Chicago prosecutor who is accused of the murder of a woman he was having an affair with – the eight-episode limited series (which was once a 1990 movie starring Harrison Ford) is set in Chicago. However, despite some beautiful exterior shots of the Chicago skyline, most of the series was filmed in California.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Fox Chicago | Dolton Park District president accuses Mayor Tiffany Henyard of political retaliation: Dolton Park District President Cleo Jones said Henyard is retaliating after the park district allowed four of her political opponents to use a field house for meetings. Jones said part of the retaliation came in the mail last week. “I have four tickets issued from the Village of Dolton,” said Jones. “Each ticket is $500 apiece. That is $2,000 in tickets that I have here.”Jones said they were stunned when they received the citations for doing work without a permit. Two of the tickets were issued for spreading fresh mulch on district playgrounds.

* Fox Chicago | Some Stateville employees push back against prison closure and reassignment plans: Some staff workers said that the state’s plans to demolish and rebuild Stateville will unnecessarily disrupt their lives as the facilities they’d be re-assigned to would require commutes of up to two hours each way. […] State Sen. Rachel Ventura, who represents Joliet, said the timeline doesn’t make sense to her. “To completely shut down Stateville in September when we’re at least a year away from any additional aspects of that, I would say that let the courts say it then because right now you’re the ones making that decision to impact all of these people’s lives,” said Ventura.

* Center Square | Plans to raze and replace Stateville prison get public hearing: During a Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability meeting Tuesday night in Joliet, Department of Corrections Acting Director Latoya Hughes said Stateville is too far gone to be repaired. “The current living conditions at Stateville are not conducive to rehabilitation,” said Hughes. “The infrastructure is antiquated and inefficient, and delaying action only increases risks to all involved.”

* Aurora Beacon-News | Fox Valley domestic violence shelters running out of space: When Linda Maranda took over the reins of Mutual Ground in August, the new CEO of Aurora’s domestic violence shelter knew she would be dealing with a generous community but also plenty of challenges. Calls to hotlines all across the state are on the rise, according to a recent report that indicated the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline recorded a 90% increase in calls, texts and messages since the pandemic, and a record high 17,972 contacts for requests for shelter in 2022, up 45% from the previous year. Simply stated, says Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence, which runs the hotline, Illinois is not equipped to meet that need.

* Daily Herald | Warren: Bears not ready to sell Arlington Park or minority stake in team: The McCaskey family isn’t considering selling a minority stake in the team to free up cash to get a Bears stadium deal done in Chicago. They’re also not ready to put their 326-acre Arlington Heights property — initially envisioned to be home of the team’s new domed structure — up for sale. […] “Never say never,” Kevin Warren later added. “But that is not something that we would ever focus on.”

* WGN | Filmmaker Jon Siskel’s ‘Memorial’ captures Highland Park shooting’s impact: “We don’t show any of the archive,” said filmmaker Jon Siskel. “You don’t hear any gunshots. it’s kind of a very meditative, poetic film.” Siskel, nephew of the late film critic Gene Siskel, created the 20-minute film ‘Memorial’ after he visited Highland Park, calling the village an unforgettable place after seeing it covered in orange yarn and hand-written notes the community helped weave in the weeks and months after the shooting.

*** Downstate ***

* Rock River Current | Hard Rock Ramps Up Hiring With Hundreds Of Jobs To Fill As It Prepares To Open Rockford Casino: The company extended offers to more than 120 prospective employees Monday during Day 1 of an RSVP-only mass hiring event at the Northern Illinois University Conference Center, which is about a mile east from where the casino is being built. It hopes to extend at least that many offers during the second day.

* WAND | Springfield City Council discuss new ordinance, eliminating alcohol sales after 1 a.m.: “The people who come here from Decatur don’t care about our community,” said Chief Ken Scarlette of the Springfield Police Department. “They come here to do what they want and wreak havoc and go home.”Owners of restaurants and bars pushed back on the restrictions, saying it will prohibit them from making enough to sustain their businesses.

* WCIA | ‘Having to go 20 minutes one way to get one item is a nightmare:’ Central Illinois grocery store filling need for fresh produce, meat in the community: One Central Illinois grocery store is making sure people don’t have to travel far to buy all kinds of foods from fresh produce, meat, eggs, milk, soup, and pasta. […] Market on the Hill is the only grocery store in the community. After the local grocery store in the community shut down several years ago, it raised concerns about where people could shop for food. “The community actually came together and realized that we needed somewhere local to buy produce, fresh meat and other groceries, because otherwise we had to travel all the way to Lincoln or Decatur,” Scattergood said. “It was just going to [be a] 15 or 20 minute drive.”

*** National ***

* Tribune | ‘I was terrified,’ accuser testifies in rape trial of Illinois basketball star Terrence Shannon Jr.: The woman’s testimony took up much of the morning’s court proceedings. The afternoon was largely focused on testimony from the Lawrence police detective who led the investigation into her allegations, and included black-and-white surveillance footage that appeared to show Shannon and the woman moments before — but not during — their alleged encounter inside the Jayhawk Cafe’s Martini Room.

* WCIA | Rep. Miller files legislation to suspend new Title IX rules: Representative Mary Miller (R-IL) filed a resolution Wednesday to prevent schools from losing federal funding if they don’t follow the Title IX policy; 67 of her House Republican colleagues have signed on for the bill. Miller criticized the president for the changes, claiming women and girls would be “at risk” under the law.

* CBS | FBI quarterly report shows 15% drop in violent crime compared to last year: The latest preliminary quarterly crime figures from the FBI show dramatic decreases: a 26% drop in murders, robberies down by nearly 18% and violent crime overall down 15% in the first quarter of 2024, compared to last year in the same period. The FBI released only percentages Monday, however, and not the underlying figures, because at this point just 72% of law enforcement agencies have provided their crime data. The bureau will disclose more complete figures once 80% have participated.


  1. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Jun 12, 24 @ 9:02 am:

    Chicago Reader | How the Illinois Department of Corrections fails to protect transgender prisoners

    “at Lawrence, officials assigned her to a cell with someone who’d been convicted of predatory criminal sexual assault, and who was already under investigation by the IDOC for allegedly abusing a past cellmate.”

    That such such a thing is even possible demonstrates the inherent, systematic inhumanity of our prisons system.

    – MrJM

  2. - Stix Hix - Wednesday, Jun 12, 24 @ 9:23 am:

    Dear Mary Miller (no relation):

    Are you talking about all the federal money you have secured for your district?

  3. - ElTacoBandito - Wednesday, Jun 12, 24 @ 9:26 am:

    The Tiffany Heynard situation is getting out of hand now. Surely something can stop her?

  4. - Stormsw7706 - Wednesday, Jun 12, 24 @ 9:28 am:

    Great work Mary. Now you can rest for the next 6 months. Literally the laziest person in Congress unless it pertains to her family farm subsidy. People in her district pay higher taxes on local projects because of her inaction in securing federal infrastructure funds. No difference between her and a potted plant.

  5. - H-W - Wednesday, Jun 12, 24 @ 9:31 am:

    Rep. Mary Miller and her colleagues think taking the enforcement practices out of Title IX will better protect girls and women. If the state cannot be penalized for not protecting girls and women, somehow this is supposed to balance the theoretical harms associated with transgender people existing in our world.

    I suppose we could say Rep. Miller’s approach is consistent with taking enforcement out of the voting rights act, and with preventing organizations from acting affirmatively in general so as to help the disadvantaged.

    Republican policies are so transparently asocial and anti-communal that it is shocking only to see how many working class white folks do not realize these policies are actually holding the working class down. Laws without enforcement prevent all people from rising up, and empower bad actors to retaliate.

  6. - H-W - Wednesday, Jun 12, 24 @ 9:32 am:

    @ Stormsw7706

    I disagree. Potted plants cause no harm.

  7. - Frumpy White Guy - Wednesday, Jun 12, 24 @ 9:50 am:

    Bollards on the Mag Mile is a great idea. Mayor Brandon Johnson should give some thought as to how residents and tourist can manage the negative results of teen trend gatherings that get violent. Useful tips to avoid be attacked. As well as de-escalation strategies and counseling services for the victims could help.

  8. - froganon - Wednesday, Jun 12, 24 @ 11:01 am:

    –But at Lawrence, officials assigned her to a cell with someone who’d been convicted of predatory criminal sexual assault, and who was already under investigation by the IDOC for allegedly abusing a past cellmate. While housed together, Finnegan’s cellmate sexually assaulted her in June of 2021.-

    The individuals responsible for that assignment or for failing to stop should be fired or re-assigned to collecting garbage or laundry. They can’t be entrusted with supervising or working with people or animals. That level of cruelty is vile.

  9. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Jun 12, 24 @ 12:01 pm:


    While he cools his heels in the fed pen for 30 months - let’s hope that SERS’s will soon rule on the “temp” suspension of his $154,000 state pension ane make it perminant

  10. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Jun 12, 24 @ 12:44 pm:

    =The Illinois High School Association announced on Tuesday that starting with the 2026-27 school year, boys and girls varsity basketball games will begin using a shot clock.=

    Fantastic, I cannot wait for the parents to flip out every time an official misses the shot clock expiration. /heavy s

  11. - Dotnonymous x - Wednesday, Jun 12, 24 @ 2:19 pm:

    I want Mary Miller to know I can see though her thin veil.

  12. - Dotnonymous x - Wednesday, Jun 12, 24 @ 5:20 pm:

    Prisons do not have to be instruments of inhumanity…it’s a conscious choice made (and sanctioned) by our punitive culture.

  13. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, Jun 12, 24 @ 9:24 pm:

    I wonder what Mapes and Arroyo will talk about over their breakfast of powdered eggs and instant grits.

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