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Vaccinate your kids!

Wednesday, Dec 5, 2018

* The Patch

The Will County Health Department has confirmed an outbreak of mumps, a contagious disease caused by a virus, on Lewis University’s Romeoville campus. According to university, one case has been confirmed and seven more probable cases have been reported among students. As a result of the outbreak, starting Dec. 10, all students, faculty and staff who cannot provide evidence of immunity are barred from the campus by Illinois Health Department mandate.

Lewis announced the outbreak on Tuesday and canceled several events scheduled on campus.

News of Lewis’ mumps outbreak comes as health officials nationwide are confirming the resurgence of measles in 27 states, including Illinois. […]

“The best defense from the mumps is MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination, which is available at many healthcare facilities, including major pharmacies, clinics, doctor’s offices, immediate care facilities or local health departments,” Lewis said in a press release.

* Also

Measles, a childhood disease that was all but wiped out by 2000 due to widespread vaccination, is making a comeback worldwide, including in Illinois. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week that 220 cases of measles have been confirmed in 26 states and the District of Columbia. […]

The CDC said the rise in measles in the United States can be traced to outbreaks in countries to which Americans often travel — including England, France, Germany, India, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Also, the agency said, measles is spreading in the United States in communities with unvaccinated people. For example: In 2017, 75 people were sickened in a Somali-American community in Minneapolis with poor vaccination coverage. A multi-state measles outbreak in 2015 — 147 cases — was tracked to an amusement park in California and further back to a large measles outbreak in the Philippines in 2014. Unvaccinated Amish communities in Ohio were disproportionately sickened in a 2014 outbreak associated with the outbreak traced to the Philippines.

Measles can be prevented with vaccination. A 1978 goal by the CDC to eliminate measles from the country by 1982 fell short, widespread vaccination programs caused the agency to declare measles eliminated in the United States by 2000.

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

IBHE wants 16.6 percent funding increase

Wednesday, Dec 5, 2018

* Remember, it’s just a request. Press release

The Illinois Board of Higher Education has approved a fiscal year 2020 budget that would include $314 million new dollars, or a 16.6 percent increase in funding, for higher education operations in Illinois. “This next fiscal year is beyond critical for the future of higher education in our state,” said Tom Cross, chairman, IBHE. “The board believes that a $2.208 billion budget request will mean reinvestment in higher education, and a commitment to ending the pattern of outmigration of Illinois students.” The board action was taken Tues, Dec. 4.

“For the public universities, we feel that a ten percent increase, or $110 million in additional revenue, is reasonable and will allow those institutions to start to heal after 16 years of budgets below the benchmark of fiscal year 2002,” explained Cross. “Universities still haven’t come close to recovering from the worst blow, which was the stopgap budget of fiscal 2016.” The chart above shows the appropriations for higher education as adjusted for unfunded mandates and inflation.

In the budget request, IBHE is asking for additional money for grant programs. IBHE Executive Director Dr. Al Bowman said, “If Illinois wants more of its high school graduates to attend Illinois colleges and universities, an important incentive is the availability of grants. This budget request will go a long way toward keeping more students here.”

The new or increased grant lines include:

    • Monetary Award Program (MAP) $100 million
    • AIM HIGH $20 million
    • Veterans and National Guard $26 million
    • Assistance for Nonpublic Institutions $25 million

“It’s important to note that even with a 16.6 percent increase, next year’s budget would still be lower than the $2.417 billion amount approved by lawmakers for fiscal year 2002,” said Cross.

Bowman told the board that there is a clear connection between tuition increases and the woefully inadequate budgets for higher education. “Revenues for public universities used to come primarily from the state budget, at 72 percent of the total in fiscal 2002. That meant that only 28 percent came from tuition and fees. That ratio has flipped, so that students are largely responsible for almost 65 percent of university revenue.”

Click here to see the charts.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      

Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards

Wednesday, Dec 5, 2018

* The 2018 Golden Horseshoe Award for best political bar goes to JP Kelly’s

I recall at one point early in Rauner’s term there were two bottles of Jameson, from Rauner and Cullerton. That’s the kind of crowd it is during session: mixed, but not in a contentious way. As long as you don’t start filming. That’s another good reason it’s my nominee: it produced one of the stranger campaign stories.

* The 2018 Golden Horseshoe Award for best political restaurant goes to Augie’s Front Burner

If you want to eat and talk I pick Augie’s. Great food, nice atmosphere, and a “How YOU doin’” or two.

* The 2018 Golden Horseshoe Award for best Statehouse-area bartender goes to Dennis at the Sangamo Club

Might be one of the only bartenders in town that knows your name, drink and when you need another. Takes great care of those that have bizness to do.

* The 2018 Golden Horseshoe Award for best Statehouse-area wait staffer is Tony at the Sangamo Club

He is retiring at the end of December after 35 years. He knows his customers and always brings me an iced tea when I sit down. Super friendly and all around wonderful person. If all wait staff modeled themselves on Tony they would be successful. Tony! Tony! Tony! I’ll miss him.

Congratulations to everyone.

* OK, let’s move along to today’s categories…

* Best House Secretary/Admin. Assistant/District Office Director

* Best Senate Secretary/Admin. Assistant/District Office Director

I’ve added district office director this year just to see if we get any nominations.

Please explain your nominations. Try to nominate in both categories if you can, but I will understand if you only or mostly deal with just one chamber. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      

Outline begins to emerge of marijuana legalization

Wednesday, Dec 5, 2018

* Pantagraph

Jason Barickman is confident recreational marijuana use will be legal in Illinois in two years — but a lot of details remain undecided.

“It’s rather inevitable that Illinois will (act to) legalize cannabis next year,” said Barickman, a Republican state senator from Bloomington, “and I think it’s incredibly important that, if that be the case, we sit at the table and make sure it’s done in an appropriate way.”

Barickman hopes to let local areas opt out of legalizing marijuana; allow employers to impose zero-tolerance policies for use; direct some sales proceeds to law enforcement; and use revoking driver’s licenses as a deterrent for underage violators under a recreational marijuana law if passed.

The way that local opt-out part is written isn’t what’s actually being discussed, from what I’m told. Local communities will be allowed to opt out of siting dispensaries and grow centers. But if they don’t want those facilities in their areas they won’t qualify for any grants that will come out of legalization. Private use and possession will be legalized throughout the state. You just might have to travel to another town to purchase the products. That’s basically the same route the state took immediately after Prohibition. Those “blue laws” have faded over time.

It’s still somewhat up in the air, but regulated public use ought to be allowed, in my opinion. It should be treated more like alcohol. If you ban it in all public accommodations, people will smoke it in the street and then we’ll have another law enforcement problem. Plus, allowing regulated use in some public accommodations will create more business opportunities and, therefore, more jobs. We need more of both in this state, so let’s not get too nannyish over this.

Also, I have no problem with allowing zero-tolerance rules at places of employment, but the federal courts might have something to say about that.

- Posted by Rich Miller   110 Comments      

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Wednesday, Dec 5, 2018

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A huge reason why property taxes are so high

Wednesday, Dec 5, 2018

* From a Rachel Otwell story

According to the Illinois State Board of Education, in 2017 state funding comprised 24.4 percent of school funding, with 7.5 percent coming from the federal government, and the majority – 68.1 percent – coming from local sources.

- Posted by Rich Miller   94 Comments      

Voter turnout here topped 57 percent

Wednesday, Dec 5, 2018

* Check out those Chicago numbers…

Pretty impressive across the board for an off-year election.

* The Republicans have a very real problem in the collars and 2020 isn’t going to be any better for them…

Also, not to belabor the point, but GOP SoS candidate Jason Helland not only got smoked in the collars, he also lost his home county of Grundy, even though he’s the local state’s attorney. And as a commenter pointed out yesterday, he was the only statewide Republican candidate to lose Grundy. Gov. Rauner, Erika Harold, Darlene Senger and Jim Dodge all carried the county. President Trump won Grundy by 23 points two years ago.

* Related…

* Pritzker won more votes than any gov candidate since ‘Big Jim’ Thompson in 1976

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      

Pritzker should stick to his fair map pledge

Wednesday, Dec 5, 2018

* Zorn

The final vote totals for the Nov. 6 midterm elections released Monday by the Illinois State Board of Elections show that Democrats won 61 percent of the votes cast in U.S. House races in the state, yet they won 72 percent of the seats — 13 out of 18, instead of the 11 out of 18 that would have almost exactly reflected the Democrats’ share of the vote. […]

All 118 seats in the Illinois House of Representatives were up for election this year (as they are every two years) and Democrats won 62 percent of those seats with 59.8 percent of the overall popular vote. […]

In the Wisconsin midterm elections, Republicans won just 46 percent of the overall popular vote for the U.S. House, but 63 percent of the seats — 5 out of 8. The weekly Isthmus newspaper based in Madison reports that Democrats won 54 percent of the popular vote for Wisconsin State Assembly but, due to the Republican-friendly map, only 36 percent of the seats.

In the Ohio midterm elections, Republicans won 52 percent of the overall popular vote for the U.S. House, but 75 percent of the seats — 12 out of 16. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Republicans won 50 percent of the popular vote in state House elections, but 63 percent of the seats.

In the North Carolina midterm elections, Republicans won 50 percent of the overall popular vote for the U.S. House, but 77 percent of the seats — 10 out of 13 — though one apparent Republican victory has yet to be certified due to allegations of fraud. The Washington Post reports that North Carolina Democrats won 51 percent of the popular vote in state House elections, but just 45 percent of the seats.

Keep in mind that the Republicans hold two Illinois congressional seats which were originally drawn for Democrats (Mike Bost and Rodney Davis) and the Democrats picked up two this year in districts that were packed with Republican voters to keep them away from Democratic districts (Peter Roskam and Randy Hultgren).

Zorn’s conclusion is that Gov.-elect Pritzker should abandon his pledge to veto any map that isn’t a “fair” map until the federal government takes some action. I suppose I wouldn’t argue too strenuously about congressional maps because of the national situation, but state legislative maps need to be a lot more fairly drawn.

- Posted by Rich Miller   57 Comments      

Musical interlude: “Welcome to the Machine”

Wednesday, Dec 5, 2018

* Democratic machine politicians had quite a day yesterday

Cook County commissioners voted to appoint former colleague Edward Moody to serve as the recorder of deeds for the next two years before the office is folded into the county clerk’s operation in what’s been billed as a cost-saving measure.

Moody is a longtime political operative for Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. The dissolution of the recorder’s office was spurred by a November 2016 referendum in which voters opted to merge the office with the clerk’s by the end of 2020. Karen Yarbrough was sworn in as clerk Monday after running to succeed David Orr, and Moody was appointed Tuesday to fill her vacancy.

With Moody as the new recorder and Yarbrough as the new clerk, Madigan allies are now in charge of streamlining the two offices and eliminating highly paid but duplicative administrative jobs. Yarbrough once served in the House under Madigan’s leadership and is currently vice chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party that Madigan leads.

The Moody brothers, Ed and Fred, are two of Madigan’s best captains. They could talk a dog out of a meat truck.

* Meanwhile

It didn’t take long for former Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios’ sister and one of his close friends to land new government jobs, though they did have to take a major pay cut.

Carmen Berrios and Victoria LaCalamita started work Monday with the Illinois secretary of state. That office is led by Jesse White, who cut a campaign radio ad for Berrios, the former chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party and an unabashed defender of old-school patronage politics.

The secretary of state’s office, which has around 3,700 jobs, has long been known as a patronage haven under both Democrats and Republicans. The two women will each make $37,992 a year as public service supervisors in the Vehicle Services Department, said Dave Druker, White’s spokesman.

Druker said the two were hired to fill open positions after going through an application process and were “graded based on experience and training.”

Both were making six figures at the assessor’s office, so it wasn’t all great.

* And then there was this

Ed Burke has not yet officially landed on the feds’ “naughty” list, but Santa Claus himself joined over a thousand others bearing gifts Tuesday to support Chicago’s most powerful alderman despite the cloud of a federal investigation.

The St. Nick lookalike rode past the Sheraton Grand atop a firetruck bearing a sign declaring “I’m for Ald. Ed Burke,” as the Friends of Edward M. Burke showed themselves to be friends indeed.

They turned out in mass for Burke’s annual holiday fundraiser supporting one of his political committees, just five days after federal investigators raided the alderman’s City Hall and 14th Ward offices.

Hundreds arrived at the ritzy hotel more than a half hour early to wait in a long receiving line to demonstrate their support for Burke, who already has more than $12 million in the three campaign funds he controls.

* A little video…

* And, finally, if you click here you’ll see a Chicago Teachers’ Union notice that its executive board is recommending 13th Ward Alderman Marty Quinn for a formal endorsement by the union’s House of Delegates, which meets today. That’s Speaker Madigan’s ward and that’s the alderman whose brother is alleged to have sexually harassed a campaign worker in Madigan’s office. Ald. Quinn is known as “The General” in Madiganland.

The CTU’s executive committee is also recommending the endorsement of Toni Preckwinkle for mayor. Preckwinkle, as you know, chairs the Cook County Democratic Party.

* On to the song

It’s alright we told you what to dream

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      

Caption contest!

Wednesday, Dec 5, 2018

* First time for everything…

- Posted by Rich Miller   42 Comments      


Wednesday, Dec 5, 2018

* Follow along with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comment      

* CTBA responds to Fitch Ratings
* Unclear on the concept
* So far, so good for Illinois auto jobs
* Tax credit could help small biz deal with minimum wage hike
* Yesterday's stories

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