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Isabel’s morning briefing

Thursday, Jun 13, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: Communities, commission push Pritzker admin for more prison plan details. Capitol News Illinois

    -The plan seeks to demolish and rebuild Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, along with Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln, following a commissioned report that showed they were among several IDOC facilities in disrepair.
    - The Tuesday night public hearing was the first of two on the planned demolitions and closures that will be held by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability this week before it gives a nonbinding recommendation to the governor on Friday.
    - While the governor’s office has not announced an explicit plan for Logan’s rebuild, it has noted it plans to keep the current facility open until a new one is built on the grounds at the Stateville site.

* Related stories…

*** Isabel’s Top Picks ***

* Crain’s | Johnson all in on ‘game changer’ quantum center at South Works site: Sources inside and outside city government confirm Johnson and aides have crafted an incentive package with the state and Cook County intended to get California-based PsiQuantum to locate a new type of supercomputer on property developer Related Midwest is purchasing from USX, the corporate descendant of U.S. Steel, which once operated a huge plant in a swath of the city that’s never recovered from the closure of local steel mills decades ago.

* NYT | Amtrak Pays Executives Six-Figure Bonuses as Losses Continue: Fourteen Amtrak executives received more than $200,000 each in incentive bonuses last year despite the service’s poor recent financial performance and struggles with its capital improvement projects, according to documents obtained by The New York Times. In 2023, Amtrak paid out more than $5 million in short- and long-term incentive bonuses to its executives even as the passenger rail service posted $1.7 billion in losses, according to records obtained from Senator Ted Cruz’s office. Particularly problematic for Amtrak has been its effort to upgrade its service on the Acela, a popular high-speed express route between Boston and Washington, D.C.

*** Statehouse News ***

* Closing Keynote | Illinois First Assistant Deputy Governor Ryan Croke discusses access to health insurance and investments in disability services: “What has driven the push for the Healthcare Protection Act in Illinois is an unyielding commitment on the part of the governor to expand healthcare, [and] to make healthcare more easily navigable for ordinary people across the state. I think that, in short, the expected outcomes are better access to care for a broader swath of our neighbors,” Croke said.

* Agrinews | Lawmakers pass carbon capture guidelines: With multiple corporations targeting Illinois for underground carbon storage and the pipelines that go along with it, the General Assembly passed the Safety and Aid for the Environment in Carbon Capture and Sequestration Act on May 26. The legislation, if signed by the governor, includes a statewide moratorium on construction of carbon dioxide pipelines for two years or until the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has adopted revised federal safety standards, whichever comes first.

*** Statewide ***

* Sun-Times | New data on out-of-state abortion patients are a reason to keep abortion rights in mind this November: Nearly a quarter of patients traveled from 41 different states over the last two years, many from neighboring Wisconsin, which has banned abortions after 21 weeks and 6 days; and Indiana, where abortions are now completely banned. In the downstate Carbondale clinic, 90% of patients seeking abortions came from 16 states, many in the south, such as Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas and elsewhere.

* Sun-Times | Secretary of state brings the DMV to the driver: The Illinois secretary of state’s office unveiled its first unit Wednesday in Daley Plaza. The aim is to offer more flexibility for busy people who might not have time to drive to an office, stand in line and wait to be served. “Since taking office, it’s been our mission to make it easier and more convenient for Illinois residents to access government services without having to wait or travel to a DMV facility,” Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias said. “Our DMV on Wheels program will build on the success of our digital programs, saving time by offering efficient ways to do things like renew your driver’s license or get a vehicle sticker without leaving their communities.”

*** Chicago ***

* ABC Chicago | City Council passes quiet zone ordinance for West Loop abortion clinic, defers vote on youth curfew: Anti-abortion members of the council on May 23 had stalled the second attempt in six months by 34th Ward Ald. Bill Conway to establish a “quiet zone” around the abortion clinic operated by Family Planning Associates at 659 W. Washington Blvd. The ordinance was taken up again today, and while it passed overwhelmingly, the vote was preceded by impassioned speeches on both sides of the debate that pitted women’s rights to access a health care facility against First Amendment rights of demonstrators.

* Tribune | Alderman after retaliatory vote stall: ‘If you hit me with a bat, I’m going to shoot you with a gun’: La Spata used the tactic in April to prevent a vote on an ordinance sponsored by Moore that sought to give City Council control over the ShotSpotter gunshot detection system’s future. After the delay, the ordinance finally passed with broad council support in May, despite opposition from Mayor Brandon Johnson. “This was clearly payback,” Moore told the Tribune. “My thing is: Leave David Moore alone,”

* Block Club | How Migrant Kids Struggle In Segregated Chicago Schools: 5 Takeaways From Our Investigation: From a lack of language support and long commutes to being unaware of their rights and options, migrant students and their families face many challenges in CPS schools.

* Tribune | Chicago begins evicting entire migrant families from city shelters: Friday was the last day of school and family evictions began this past Monday. Four individuals exited the shelter system on Tuesday, the day after evictions started, according to a spokesperson at the city’s Department of Family & Support Services. About 40 people are expected to leave in the next week. Following a Chicago City Council meeting Wednesday, when asked how migrant children’s education might be disrupted by evictions, Johnson, a former CPS teacher, didn’t directly answer the question and instead said his ultimate goal was to help migrant families find houses of their own.

* Crain’s | Chicago’s fastest-growing companies for 2024: This year’s winners saw five-year median revenue growth of an impressive 505% and an average revenue increase of 2,375%, driven by the enormous growers topping our list. Logistics, construction and consumer service sectors lead the way, with six companies apiece. For the past two years, the Fast 50 ranking has been dominated by startup logistics companies, and this year is no different, proving Chicago remains a significant industry hub. The logistics firms on the list generated $3.3 billion in revenue last year and averaged a 645% increase in revenue over the past five years

*** Downstate ***

* Daily Herald | 3 deputies shot while responding to northern Illinois home, suspect also wounded, official says: Three sheriff’s deputies were shot Wednesday while responding at a northern Illinois home, and the suspect was also wounded, authorities told reporters. Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle says the deputies were shot while responding to a report that someone inside the home was threatening to kill themself or others. He said the suspect also was shot.

* Rockford Register Star | Sheriff: Three deputies, suspect shot in Ogle County, Illinois, standoff: Unable to talk to the individual, deputies tried to enter the home shortly before noon, which is when three deputies were shot, VanVickle said. The deputies returned gunfire and struck the individual with the gun. […] During a news conference Wednesday afternoon, VanVickle said neither the deputies nor the suspect were seriously injured. The names of the deputies and the suspect were not released.

* Rock River Current | ‘The Wait Is Over’: Hard Rock Casino Has Announced Its Opening Date In Rockford: The casino will include nearly 1,300 slot machines, 50 live table games including a poker room, a sportsbook, six restaurants and a Rock Shop with Hard Rock merchandise and other gifts. Hard Rock said at this time a year ago that its goal would be to open by Labor Day weekend 2024. The opening will happen the Thursday leading into that weekend.

* News-Gazette | Board president calls to censure Holder: Tensions between members of the Champaign School Board hit a boiling point early Tuesday morning, as board President Gianina Baker called for a censure of member Betsy Holder for “misconduct unbecoming a board member.” “There is enough evidence that (Superintendent) Dr. (Shelia) Boozer could pursue litigation of member Holder and ultimately the board for creating a hostile work environment,” Baker said. […] Holder said that she’s being attacked for her attempts to shed light on issues within the district and for her disagreements with Baker.

* BND | Owner of O’Fallon, Alton restaurants kept servers’ tips, didn’t pay full wages, feds say: The owner of two IHOP franchises in O’Fallon and Alton allegedly violated federal wage regulations, including keeping servers’ tips and failing to pay overtime, a U.S. Department of Labor investigation found. The labor department is now suing the owner, Khalid Ramadan, for approximately $367,890 in compensation and damages for 179 IHOP workers. It also sanctioned him with a civil money penalty of $199,577.

* SJ-R | Illinois State Police trooper injured after crashing into highway median near Springfield: An Illinois State Police trooper suffered injuries in a motorcycle wreck in Sangamon County Wednesday morning. The single-vehicle crash happened on Interstate 55 northbound near Sherman north of Springfield just after 7 a.m. […] A preliminary investigation by ISP indicated that “for unknown reasons,” the trooper’s motorcycle left the roadway striking the center median.

* The Pantagraph | Heartland approves file request for state funds, hears tentative FY25 budget: Heartland Community College plans to ask the state for $110 million for new health science, science and vocational training facilities, but joining the state’s list of higher education capital projects is no guarantee when or if it will get the money. Heartland’s trustees heard on Tuesday about the college’s submissions for the state’s Resource Allocation and Management Program through the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

* Pantagraph | Besides Illinois, where do the most ISU alumni live?: In terms of Illinois State University and where its alumni live now, Illinois naturally is the leader. There are 143,134 ISU alumni still in state, according to ISU statistics. But can you name the next most popular locales of ISU alums to live? (Hint: It’s not either neighboring Indiana, Missouri, Wisconsin or Kentucky.) Florida is the next best place to live for ISU alums. There are 5,689 ISU alums there. Next: Texas (4,787), California (4,136), Indiana (3,543) and Arizona (3,336).

*** National ***

* NYT | Democrats Plan to Turn Statehouses Blue by Dishing Out Green: The States Project, a Democratic-aligned group, is set to announce a plan to spend $70 million in legislative battles in nine states, according to a memo I obtained, one of the largest investments in such races by a single outside Democratic-leaning group in recent history. They plan to send the funds directly to candidates and groups on the ground, who can decide how best to use it. […] The States Project, which has emerged as a crucial weapon for Democrats focused solely on state legislatures, is targeting competitive races in Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, while also hoping to build a Democratic supermajority in Nevada. The organization is also aiming to break up Republican supermajorities in North Carolina and Kansas, arguing that it can often take just a seat or two to have a major impact on state policy.


  1. - Amalia - Thursday, Jun 13, 24 @ 9:04 am:

    want to see some brave women talk about their abortions and a brave man detail why a quiet ordinance for a clinic is necessary? also a couple of out there men on why free speech should not be curtailed one place unless it is curtailed in more places? Watch the Chicago City Council video from the meeting Wed on Ald Conway’s clinic sound ordinance. Some really interesting speeches. And Conway is a very very smart and detailed thinker. He is great in this office but would be fantastic in higher office.

  2. - supplied_demand - Thursday, Jun 13, 24 @ 9:29 am:

    ==And Conway is a very very smart and detailed thinker. He is great in this office but would be fantastic in higher office.==

    He seems to be positioning himself well for a future Mayoral run. Maybe as soon as 2027?

  3. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Jun 13, 24 @ 9:37 am:

    Wait, Ald. Conway is aiming for higher office?

    I hope the supercomputer idea works for the former US Steel site for the sake of the neighborhood’s residents, but there have been so many ideas for the property over the years. No one should hold their breath for this one to work out.

  4. - Back to the Future - Thursday, Jun 13, 24 @ 10:18 am:

    Agree with Amalia.
    Alderman Conway makes a very nice impression thinking through and working on issues.

  5. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 13, 24 @ 10:57 am:

    ===but there have been so many ideas for the property over the years===

    I don’t think that’s true.

  6. - ChicagoBars - Thursday, Jun 13, 24 @ 11:02 am:

    I helped somebody kick the tires on the US Steel site for a temporary music festival site a few years ago and we didn’t go deep but just for that low intensity use there was a lot of concern about contaminated soil and remediating that was going to cost a ton. I don’t know how many jobs a supercomputer site will add but would at least have the $ to clean up the site that other potential uses might not.

  7. - supplied_demand - Thursday, Jun 13, 24 @ 11:12 am:

    ==just for that low intensity use there was a lot of concern about contaminated soil and remediating that was going to cost a ton.==

    There was a 3-day music festival called Dave Matthews Band Caravan there in 2011.

  8. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Jun 13, 24 @ 11:14 am:

    ===I don’t think that’s true.===

  9. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 13, 24 @ 11:25 am:

    TDC, those links don’t make me change my mind.

  10. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Jun 13, 24 @ 3:17 pm:

    Good on MBJ for focusing on attracting quantum technology, creating an incentives package. The mayor should look to mainstream Democrats like Pritzker who are all about attracting businesses, and not DSA anti-corporate types and others on the far left.

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