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*** UPDATED x1 *** State Board of Education working to find some more money for early childhood learning grants

Thursday, Jul 12, 2018

* Remember this story from the other day?

Dozens of school districts around the state are scrambling to keep preschool programs intact — or to lay off staff — after learning their preschool funding was reduced or zeroed out.

Illinois lawmakers approved $50 million in additional money for preschool this year, so it was a shock to many of the programs to learn their funding was slashed.

* Mark Maxwell looked at some other schools yesterday…

The State Board of Education said they simply ran out of money.

* ISBE press release…

Fiscal year 2019 was the first statewide open competition for the Early Childhood Block Grant in a number of years. The process provided funding for 5,000 additional children. However, due to the large number of applicants, the appropriation could not fully meet the need statewide, and not all qualified programs received funding.

The State Board of Education is collaborating with the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development and the Department of Human Services on a solution to fund additional high quality Prevention Initiative and Preschool for All Expansion programs. The agreement will fund programs that met standards (scored 60 or above) and did not initially receive funding for FY 2019 due to the limited funds in the State Board’s appropriation. These programs will receive funding at the same per child cost as other funded programs. The State Board is deeply appreciative of the collaboration to further expand access to high-quality early childhood services.

I’m not sure, though, that the board can find enough. They told Maxwell that they’d need $170 million to make everyone whole. I’m hearing they’re only looking to come up with a fraction of that. We’ll see.

*** UPDATE *** From the Board…

$170 million is the amount we are short for all requests. The $20 million identified will fund all of the eligible programs (those that scored above a 60) at the per child amount - not full requests. So it will put the 60+ programs that qualified for funding at the same level as those that were funded.

- Posted by Rich Miller   6 Comments      

Question of the day

Thursday, Jul 12, 2018

* The AP takes a look at bills awaiting gubernatorial action. Here’s one

Lawmakers also sent Rauner a proposal to raise the limit on damages from $100,000 to $2 million for those who sue the state, a measure that has been billed by Democrats as a way to provide justice for family members of veterans who died of Legionnaires’ in recent years. Republicans, meanwhile, have said the proposed changes are overly broad and would harm taxpayers.

* From the bill’s synopsis

Increases the maximum award for certain claims sounding in tort filed on or after July 1, 2015 from $100,000 to $2,000,000. Provides that the court shall annually adjust the maximum awards to reflect the increase, if any, in the Consumer Price Index For All Urban Consumers for the previous calendar year, as determined by the United States Department of Labor.

The Rauner administration filed witness slips against the bill.

The legislation passed the House 79-33-2 and cleared the Senate 42-7. Both are veto-proof majorities.

* The Question: Should the governor sign this bill? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

online surveys

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      

A story pitch goes horribly wrong

Thursday, Jul 12, 2018

* Oh, man, was this ever a big mistake by Lori Lightfoot’s comms director. From Think Progress

It was a Tuesday in late June when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez turned the world upside down. The New York machine shuddered to an unexpected halt. A 28-year-old socialist had taken on the King of Queens in the state’s 14th congressional district and won.

Some 800 miles west, in Chicago, mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot was hoping to replicate that victory. A little more than seven months out from the city’s election, Lightfoot and her campaign have tried to paint her as the next insurgent progressive to knock out a more moderate, white, establishment incumbent in the wake of Ocasio-Cortez’s victory.

Lightfoot, however, is more hesitant to take on the same ultra-progressive stances Ocasio-Cortez made central to her campaign. And, at least at this juncture, Lightfoot hasn’t yet managed to inspire the same activist energy that propelled Ocasio-Cortez to victory — energy crucial to Lightfoot’s bid against incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the field of nine other challengers.

Two days after Ocasio-Cortez’s primary win, Lightfoot’s communications director reached out to me over email. She noted that I had written about Ocasio-Cortez, New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, and several other women candidates in the past, pitching Lightfoot as the next progressive sensation.

What follows is an evisceration of Lightfoot on just about every possible left-wing purity test level. Not pretty.

For you kids out there, don’t do this.

* Related…

* Emanuel-allied group hires away potential rival’s fund-raiser: Going to work for Progress Chicago, a group backed by Emanuel confidant Michael Sacks and other mayoral associates, is Katelynd Duncan, a fast-rising fund-raiser whose clients have included Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza, Illinois Democratic Party Acting Executive Director Christian Mitchell, Chicago Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), and—until recently— [Bridget] Gainer, who insiders say will announce against Emanuel within the next two weeks.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      

Rauner announces George Will to receive the Order of Lincoln

Thursday, Jul 12, 2018

* Columnist George Will essentially endorsed Bruce Rauner for governor in 2014

Illinois voters can choose Rauner and term limits, or the acceleration of stagnation and the end of the pleasure of complaining.

* And Will was ecstatic about Rauner’s inauguration in February of 2015

The most portentous election of 2014, which gave the worst-governed state its first Republican governor in 12 years, has initiated this century’s most intriguing political experiment. Illinois has favored Democratic presidential candidates by an average of 16 points in the last six elections. But by electing businessman Bruce Rauner, it initiated a process that might dismantle a form of governance that afflicts many states and municipalities.

* And when the impasse was really hitting home in August of 2016, Will stuck up for his guy

Seated in his office in Chicago, wearing neither a necktie nor a frown, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is remarkably relaxed for someone at the epicenter of a crisis now in its second year and with no end in sight. But, then, stress is pointless when the situation is hopeless. Besides, if you can ignore the fact that self-government is failing in the nation’s fifth-most populous state, you can see real artistry in the self-dealing by the Democrats who, with veto-proof majorities in the state Legislature, have reduced this state they control to insolvency.

* And then Will framed Rauner’s reelection in November of 2017

“I love a fight,” says an ebullient Rauner, whose rhetoric cannot get much more pugnacious. He calls Madigan “the worst elected official in the country” and Madigan’s machine “evil.” The nation has a huge stake in this brawl because the “blue model” is bankrupting cities and states from Connecticut to California, so its demolition here, where it has done the most damage, would be a wondrous story enhancing the nation’s glory.

Maseng Communications, which is run by Will’s wife, Mari Maseng Will, was given a contract by the Rauner campaign this past spring.

* June 27, 2018…

* George Will column on July 5, 2018

The Supreme Court is especially admirable when correcting especially deplorable prior decisions, as with the 1954 school desegregation decision rejecting a 1896 decision’s “separate but equal” doctrine. It did so again June 27, overturning a 41-year-old precedent inimical to the First Amendment.

* Gov. Rauner press release today…

Gov. Bruce Rauner today announced the 2019 recipients of the Order of Lincoln, which is the state’s highest honor for professional achievement and public service.

“These distinguished individuals make us proud to be Illinoisans,” Rauner said. “They have honored us with their achievements in medicine, business, the arts, the law and sports, so it is only fitting and proper to bestow upon them the state’s highest honor.” […]

“While the recipients’ work spans many fields, all have the traits of Abraham Lincoln in common,” Rauner said. “They possess tremendous talent. They are great leaders, great community servants and great lovers of Illinois.” […]

George F. Will is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post who also is a regular contributor to NBC News and MSNBC. Will is also a prolific writer of books about national and international relations, politics, government, and the sport of baseball. Titles include “The Pursuit of Happiness and Other Sobering Thoughts,” “Statecraft as Soulcraft,” and “One Man’s America: The Pleasures and Provocations of Our Singular Nation.” Will was named Best Writer by the Washington Journalism Review in 1985 and one of the 25 most influential Washington journalists by the National Journal in 1997. He grew up in Champaign.

…Adding… I changed the headline because the governor has no direct role in naming these awards. From the governor’s office…

The Lincoln Academy of Illinois is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan, and self-perpetuating organization established in 1964 to recognize the outstanding contributions made by living Illinois citizens, whether by birth or by residence.

The laureates are selected at a called meeting of the Regents and General Trustees, a group of no more than sixty distinguished Illinoisans in attendance, from the nominees submitted. There is a vote to determine those most deserving to honor as Laureates of the Academy, thereby conferring upon them the Order of Lincoln.

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

Open thread

Thursday, Jul 12, 2018

* My annual medical checkup is this morning. I’ll be back after lunch. Keep it Illinois-centric and be nice to each other, please.

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      

Can’t anyone play this game?

Thursday, Jul 12, 2018

* Umm…

* But if you read the actual SEC report, you’ll see this…

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

Fire Madigan 3.0

Thursday, Jul 12, 2018

* From the summer of 2012

Illinois Republicans gathered in Tampa for the Republican National Convention, and they’ve designated House Speaker Mike Madigan as their punching bag, launching the website dedicated to paraphernalia with the logo seen at right. A Madigan spokesman laughed the Republicans’ gumption off, saying, “Not much success then. No reason to think their luck will change.”

“We need to make a change, people recognize that,” said Illinois GOP Chair Pat Brady. “We’re just going to create awareness about the damage Mike Madigan’s policies — or lack of policies — have done to the state of Illinois. That’s a message that’s really resonating (with voters.)”

* Not everyone was fully on board

Former governor Jim Edgar says the “fire Madigan” campaign is a gimmick.

That’s not necessarily bad — campaigns need gimmicks, he says … but Edgar says Republicans ought to be focusing on winning more elections.

“I’d like to see more Republicans in the legislature, and yeah, I’d like to see Tom Cross as Speaker. I’m not so — [I don’t] think we ought to just concentrate on telling the Democrats they ought to get rid of Mike Madigan. That’s their decision.”

* The state party was also hawking “Fire Madigan” tchotchkes and clothing back then

After coverage of our FIRE MADIGAN signs at Republican Day at this year’s Illinois State Fair, we’ve had many people asking for FIRE MADIGAN materials so we’ve created this online FIRE MADIGAN store.

If you think after over 40 years in Springfield and Illinois being ranked as one of the worst states financially that it’s time to Fire Illinois House Speaker/Illinois Democratic Party Chairman/Father of the Illinois Attorney General Mike Madigan, you can have a little fun helping spread the word with any of these FIRE MADIGAN products, including t-shirts, hats, bumper stickers, buttons, and signs. Check back often as more designs and products will be added in the weeks ahead!

* The items still appear to be still for sale

The party’s website from back in the day is no longer active and the Wayback Machine and Google don’t have cached archives.

* Fast-forward four years to 2016

“When we started this, it was less about building unfavorables and more about letting people know who he is and how Springfield actually works,” said Pat Brady, former chairman of the Illinois Republican Party who launched a “Fire Madigan” campaign four years ago. “Now they are trying to take that and win seats with it, and I think they are going to have success.”

“It’s ‘Fire Madigan’ on steroids because they have the resources and the funding and a lot of very smart people running these campaigns. It’s a lot more well thought out and a stronger strategy than we’ve ever had,” Brady said. “We are in a state that has been dysfunctional for so long that they are looking for someone to blame, and the speaker is an easy target. If we can get across the point that a vote for an individual Democrat is a vote for Madigan, I think that’s very effective.”

Others are less convinced.

“We’ve made Madigan an issue for years. I mean, when I was running for governor re-election, I had quadruple bypass surgery. I credited one of the bypasses to Mike Madigan,” former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar quipped to a Springfield audience last month before raising doubts about the strategy targeting Madigan.

* And now today

Together, the people of Illinois can hold their state representatives accountable by asking them to sign The People’s Pledge, putting the people back in charge of state government and ending Mike Madigan’s grip on power once and for all.

Visit to learn more about The People’s Pledge and get involved.

* From the brand spanking new website

Illinois politics is rotten at its core. Dominated for decades by one man: Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan.

He’s amassed power at all costs, even as Illinois has suffered under his rule. Madigan will do anything to keep his grip on power, even as scandal engulfs his reign.

Enough is enough.

THE PEOPLE’S PLEDGE requires members of the Illinois House of Representative to promise to oppose Mike Madigan as House Speaker no matter what.

Even if Madigan refuses to resign, our state representatives can still take his power away by removing the Speaker’s gavel from Madigan’s grip.

The People’s Pledge also makes sure a Madigan-like politician can never rise again by placing term limits on legislators and statewide officeholders. The People’s Pledge puts the people back in charge of state government.


- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

*** UPDATED x2 - McCann, Pritzker respond *** Rauner criticized, praised for officiating gay marriage

Thursday, Jul 12, 2018

* Illinois Review

An Instagram post of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner appearing to officiate at the wedding of Equality Illinois board member Mark Cozzi and James Koeke on July 1st has been stirring interest for the past few days.

The photo is on newlywed Mark Cozzi’s Instagram account, along with photos of him and his new husband on their honeymoon in Italy. While the governor’s part in the ceremony as the photo indicates has not been clarified, it’s obvious that Rauner is no longer hopeful of attracting social conservatives to help re-elect him in November.

“It’s clear that the governor has learned nothing from his near-loss in the Republican primary this year,” Illinois Family Institute’s executive director David E. Smith told Illinois Review. “He’s not interested in attracting social conservatives to get out and vote Republican this fall.” […]

The governor has chosen to snub the Illinois Republican Party social conservative base despite being faced with near-mutiny when he almost lost the 2018 Republican Primary to conservative State Rep. Jeanne Ives in March.

* Sun-Times

Others applauded the governor’s role in the wedding. Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, said it shows “love is love and that people are recognizing that.”

“I don’t really know all the politics of it. I’m going to guess some of it. But the truth is, it’s just a public official respecting and honoring the fact that love is just love,” Yohnka said. “I thought they [the Illinois Family Institute], my friend David, is supposed to be about families and this is a family and it’s a wonderful thing.”

Equality Illinois — the state’s civil rights organization for LGBTQ people — too, applauded Rauner’s role in the wedding.

“As chief executive of our state, it is appropriate for Gov. Rauner to administer government-sanctioned functions, including marriage,” said Mike Ziri, spokesman for Equality Illinois. “There is no license to discriminate in Illinois, as the Illinois Family Institute seems to falsely believe.”

I’ve asked the Pritzker and McCann campaigns for a response.

*** UPDATE 1 *** The Pritzker campaign pointed me to this tweet…

*** UPDATE 2 *** Sen. Sam McCann…

Out of respect for a private couple I’d reserve my comment to, Bruce Rauner, you’re fired.

- Posted by Rich Miller   65 Comments      

Pritzker ad picked apart by reporters

Thursday, Jul 12, 2018

* Rauner campaign…

Pritzker’s Shameful Ad Facing Wide Criticism

Media from across the state has roundly criticized the latest ad by JB Pritzker for peddling lies. Despite the Rauner campaign’s clear rebuttal of claims made in the ad, the Pritzker team doubled down on their allegations despite clear falsehoods.

Take a look at how media from around the state covered Pritzker’s ad:

Chicago Tribune:
Rauner’s campaign noted that the governor late last month called for an end to Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy that labeled migrants entering the country as a criminal rather than civil matter. He called the policy “wrong” and “heartbreaking” and said while the nation needs to “secure our borders and stop illegal immigration,” a policy of “separating families is not the right answer.”

Pritzker’s ad quotes Rauner, suggesting he hadn’t given “any thought” to the separation policy. But the governor actually responded to a question about a Trump administration desire to deploy state National Guard units to the Mexican border. No such request had been made for the Illinois National Guard.

The ad also asserts Rauner profited from the firm Correct Care Solutions. The firm is being used to provide healthcare at some federal Department of Homeland Security migrant detention centers. Rauner previously was a partner in the equity investment firm GTCR and has said his current investments have been delegated to a power of attorney.

Rauner’s campaign referenced comments by his government spokeswoman Patty Schuh, who said the firm still owns the investment in Correct Care Solutions but it has not shown any profits or losses from it yet.

Rauner left GTCR in 2012, his campaign said, and the equity firm didn’t invest in Correct Care Solutions until 2014.

Rauner campaign spokesman Alex Browning said the Pritzker ad “intentionally misrepresents the facts” in order to “weave a false and deceitful narrative. The Pritzker campaign should immediately take down this dishonest and shameful ad.”

State Journal-Register:
The governor’s campaign notes correctly that when Rauner said he hadn’t given any thought to an issue, it was when he was asked if the state would send Illinois National Guard troops to the border – and there had been no such request from the federal government. He said at that same appearance that the policy of separating children from parents is “bad policy” and “heartbreaking,” and “not the moral thing to do.”

“We need to secure our borders and stop illegal immigration, but separating families is not the answer. I’m strongly against that and I’ve made my views clear to (the) federal government,” Rauner said at that appearance.

Billionaire J.B. Pritzker, who also knows his way around an investment portfolio, is taking the bluntest approach possible.

His campaign team poured gas on the fire with an ad that took liberties with some of the facts of our story. Rauner’s camp says the ad is wrong about three points:

1. The ad says Rauner is an owner of CCS. He’s not. But the company does sit in the GTCR fund’s portfolio, for which Rauner is an investor and disclosed earnings.

2. The ad claims CCS is helping “keep children separated from their parents.” It’s not. The company provides health-care services at the detention facilities.

3. The ad quotes Rauner out of context, says communications chief Will Allison. When Rauner said “I’m not giving that any thought whatsoever,” he’s referring to whether he’ll send National Guard troops down to the border — not to separate families, Allison said.

Actually, Rauner has called for an end to dividing families, saying, “It’s wrong. It’s heartbreaking. It’s not the moral thing to do.”

Capitol Fax:
Pritzker campaign doubles down on false claim

CBS Chicago:
Fact is, the ad is highly misleading at best.

“The company is in the business of health care. They are not in the business of separating families. So this commercial is untrue on so many levels,” said Illinois Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti.

The company is called Correct Care Solutions. It’s at least partially-owned by Rauner’s former private equity firm GTCR. And it does provide medical care to detainees. [Emphasis in original.]

* Politico has also issued a “clarification”

CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this story said Gov. Bruce Rauner’s economic interest statement reported profits from Correct Care Solutions. The governor’s statement reported profits from GTCR Fund X, a private equity fund that has an ownership stake in Correct Care Solutions.

Except its headline, “Illinois governor profits off ICE detention center contracts,” hasn’t been changed for some odd reason.

- Posted by Rich Miller   57 Comments      


Thursday, Jul 12, 2018

* Follow along with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      

* Rauner vetoes anti-Crosscheck bill
* *** UPDATED x1 *** SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Campaign stuff
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