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How Jason Van Dyke’s projected 96-year sentence wound up being 81 months

Friday, Jan 18, 2019

* The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin just reposted an October 10, 2018 op-ed by Cook County assistant public defender David C. Holland claiming that Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke could wind up serving as many as 96 years in prison due to a “quirk” in Illinois statutes and case law.

We’ll get to the column after this news report from ABC 7

Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago police officer convicted of murdering 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, was sentenced to 81 months, or 6 years and 9 months, in prison and two years mandatory supervised release. […]

Van Dyke was found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery.

Judge Vincent Gaughan said he considered the most serious charge to be the second degree murder charge, not the 16 aggravated battery charges, and made his sentencing decision on that murder charge.

The special prosecutor argued that aggravated battery with firearm was the more serious of the crimes of which Van Dyke is convicted and should be sentenced consecutively on those charges instead of the second degree murder charge, which carries a lesser sentence.

* According to Holland’s October op-ed, the special prosecutor was right

Second-degree murder, on the other hand, is punishable anywhere from probation to 20 years in prison with possible release after 10 years. Moreover, committing second-degree murder with a firearm does not require an extra sentence of 25 years to natural life as a first-degree murder does. […]

By a quirk of Illinois law, Van Dyke may face a mandatory minimum sentence as high as 96 years.

This is because the prosecution charged each gunshot as a separate offense of aggravated battery with a firearm, and each shot holds a minimum sentence of six years in prison.

Illinois’ sentencing statute, however, requires that the sentence for any Class X felony (such as aggravated battery with a firearm) that causes “severe bodily injury” be served one after the next (consecutively).

Thus, if Judge Gaughan finds that each shot caused severe bodily injury, he would be required to sentence Van Dyke to a minimum of 96 years in prison (16 multiplied by six). If the judge finds that only 10 of the 16 shots severely injured McDonald, the minimum sentence would be 60 years, and so forth.

Moreover, even though the shooting and the murder are the same physical act, Illinois case law requires Judge Gaughan to sentence Van Dyke on the aggravated battery charges, not the second-degree murder, on the counterinstinctual holding that aggravated battery with a firearm is more “serious” than second-degree murder (even when murder is the ultimate result of the gunshot wounds).

Judge Gaughan, instead, didn’t even sentence Van Dyke on the aggravated battery with a firearm charges, rolling them into the 2nd degree murder charge.

* Here’s the case law that Holland pointed to. From the Illinois Supreme Court’s 2004 opinion in People v. Lee

It is common sense that the legislature would provide greater punishment for crimes it deems more serious. Here, the legislature has classified aggravated battery with a firearm as a Class X felony with a possible sentence of 6 to 30 years. Second degree murder is a Class 1 felony with a possible sentence of 4 to 20 years. Therefore, in line with Duszkewycz, the second degree murder conviction, as the less serious offense, should have been vacated. […]

In sum, the appellate court erred in concluding that the more serious offense in this case was second degree murder simply because the court opted to impose a greater prison sentence on that count. Instead, aggravated battery with a firearm is the more serious offense, and defendant’s conviction for second degree murder must be vacated.

* Judge Gaughan apparently agreed with the dissent in that case from Justice Rita Garman

Given this reality, it is simply impossible to say categorically, as the majority does, that all aggravated batteries are more serious than all second degree murders as a matter of law. Indeed, had the legislature felt this way, it would have created mutually exclusive sentencing ranges, with the maximum sentence for second degree murder falling somewhere below the minimum limit for aggravated battery with a firearm. But this is not what the legislature did. On the contrary, it created broad and largely overlapping sentencing ranges, leaving it to the trial court’s discretion to evaluate and ascertain the seriousness of these and other offenses on a case-by-case basis. Accordingly, I would look to the sentences actually imposed in a given case when identifying the most serious offense. […]

The bottom line is that, in this case, the trial court clearly believed that this particular second degree murder was more serious than this particular aggravated battery with a firearm. The legislature specifically allowed for this result, and I see no compelling reason to set it aside. I therefore dissent on this point.

Some thought should be given to appealing Van Dyke’s sentence.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Pritzker campaign official pushes back hard against latest lawsuit

Friday, Jan 18, 2019

* Press release…

A former field organizer has filed a federal lawsuit against the campaign of JB Pritzker for Governor in Illinois for her firing on the basis of sex in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Ms. Emma Todd worked in the Springfield, Illinois office of the campaign from August of 2017 to the end of March, 2018. She is represented by the New York City-based Law Office of Jillian T. Weiss and Oak Park, IL attorney Joanie Rae Wimmer.

Ms.Todd’s job performance came under heightened scrutiny after she was assigned a new supervisor in February of 2018. The supervisor did not issue feedback or warnings for poor conduct. Co-workers witnessed the supervisor making comments indicating that she viewed transgender identity in a prurient manner and said that Ms. Todd was “the reason people don’t like transgender people.” She told other employees that she was going to fire Ms. Todd and they have indicated they believe Ms. Todd was terminated because of her sex and gender.

“Ms. Todd’s improper termination has caused her to suffer a loss of wages and out-of-pocket medical and insurance payments, as well as loss of reputation,” said her attorney, Jillian T. Weiss. “The state of Illinois prohibits sex and gender identity discrimination and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and federal courts in the state have ruled that discrimination against a transgender person based on their sex is a violation of law. No one should ever be fired on the basis of sex. The JB Pritzker for Governor campaign must be held accountable for this workplace bias.”

“I worked hard on this campaign and loved my job,” said Ms. Todd. “I was blindsided by my termination. I wholeheartedly supported and voted for Governor JB Pritzker and Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton to end Bruce Rauner’s heartless administration. JB and Juliana will bring economic stability after more than two years without a state budget under Rauner. They will also protect services for underserved communities that Rauner has hurt. This lawsuit does not change my support for these highly qualified people. I am bringing this lawsuit because transgender people, like all Americans, deserve the same chance to earn a living, free from discrimination.”

This case is Emma Todd v. JB for Governor Campaign. It was filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

The lawsuit is here.

* A Pritzker campaign spokesperson told me Todd was “fired for cause” because of several “performance issues.”

For instance, Todd treated campaign volunteers “poorly,” and used profanity with volunteers, the spokesperson alleged. Todd also posted “sexually explicit images” at her workplace and refused to take them down when asked, the spokesperson said.

Todd was allegedly let go after the primary when the campaign “downsized.” Her last paycheck was issued on March 30th.

And, the Pritzker spokesperson claimed, the campaign wasn’t even aware of Todd’s sexual orientation or her sexual identity when she was let go.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Reader comments closed for the holiday weekend

Friday, Jan 18, 2019

* Before I go, I want to thank you so very much for your overwhelming generosity to our commenter “HangingOn.” You contributed over $5,500 to help her get some dignity back in her life.

I truly do have the best commenters anywhere. You’ve helped make this more than just a blog. It’s a real community, and I love you all for that.

* From Citizen Action Illinois…

It’s with sadness that we share news that Lynda DeLaforgue, who served as the Co-Director of Citizen Action/Illinois (CA/IL) died on Saturday, January 12th after battling cancer for nearly five years. For two decades, Lynda served as the “Chief-Strategist” of CA/IL, leading campaigns to curtail predatory lenders, protect our food sources, beat back Social Security privatizers, win marriage equality, and secure quality, affordable healthcare for all. Whatever the fight, Lynda was a staunch and unstoppable crusader for our issues, for our candidates, and most importantly, for our progressive values. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Lynda, to her strength and her vision – as do millions of Illinoisans and other citizens, and citizens to-be, of this country. Rest in power, Lynda!

I knew Lynda for decades. She was one of those people who could be so kind and sweet and fun, yet totally no-nonsense when it came to the business of getting things done. She truly stomped on the terra and made a difference in this world.

And she was also very cool…

* Take care

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Question of the day

Friday, Jan 18, 2019

* I got busy with other things today and forgot about a question. And now it’s late Friday afternoon.

So, discuss amongst yourselves, but please keep it Illinois-centric and be nice to each other. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      


Pritzker orders “comprehensive review” of problems, opportunities at state veterans’ homes

Friday, Jan 18, 2019

* Press release…

After touring the Manteno Veterans’ Home, where a case of Legionnaires’ disease was found earlier this month, Governor JB Pritzker signed an executive order to do more to ensure the health, safety and security of residents and workers at all of Illinois Veterans’ Homes.

During his tour, Governor Pritzker also listened to residents and workers about their experiences and reaffirmed his commitment to protecting Illinois veterans.

“The state of Illinois must provide a safe, healthy environment where veterans and their spouses receive quality care,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “This executive order will hold state agencies accountable to the people and ensure the state is delivering quality care to our nation’s heroes – and take action where the state has fallen short in the past. Veterans served us. Now it’s our turn to serve them.”

Gov. Pritzker signed an executive order that calls for a complete audit of the health, safety, and security process and procedures at the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.

Within 120 days, IDVA will deliver a report to the governor containing a comprehensive review of weaknesses, strengths, and opportunities for improvement at Illinois Veterans’ Homes. That includes policies, protocols and procedures related to:

    Identification and remediation of health and safety issues;
    Communication between state, federal and local agencies;
    Communication with residents, family members and the public;
    Facility maintenance schedules that protect the health and safety of residents and workers.

To complete this report, IDVA will work with the Illinois Department of Public Health and consult state and national experts, residents and their family members and employees involved in providing critical care to residents.

After the gross mismanagement of the past that cost veterans their lives, Governor Pritzker is determined to ensure that services don’t fall short of the high standard veterans deserve.

“I was proud to co-chair the governor’s veterans committee during the transition, and I’m even prouder that Gov. Pritzker is on the ground in Manteno today, taking action to keep our veterans safe,” said Secretary of State Jesse White. “After what happened under the previous administration, I’m heartened that Gov. Pritzker is acting quickly to uncover and remediate the state’s failure to honor our veterans and provide them with the quality care they deserve.”

“We have to do all we can to prevent a repeat of what happened in Quincy at the Manteno Veterans’ Home,” said Sen. Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-17th). “These men and women have sacrificed so much for the people of this great state and country. We have an obligation to protect our heroes as they have protected us and this means collecting as much information as possible so we can be transparent with them, their families and the public and take all necessary precautions to protect them from any harm, particularly Legionnaires’ disease.”

“Gov. Pritzker touring the Manteno Veterans’ Home just days after taking office shows his commitment to our veterans is second to none,” said Rep. Nick Smith (D-34th). “The executive action the governor took today will ensure our veterans live safe and healthy lives and begin to repair the damage done by the previous administration.”

“Our veterans and their families have sacrificed so much for our state and country,” said Rep. Stephanie Kifowit (D-84th ). “It’s our duty to protect our veterans’ health and wellbeing, especially while in state care, and I applaud Gov. Pritzker for taking strong action today to do just that.”

“The men and women that have served our country deserve nothing but the best from the state of Illinois, and as a veteran myself, I’m glad that Gov. Pritzker’s executive order will ensure the state lives up to its commitment to our veterans,” said former Adjutant General of Illinois, Major General David Harris, the governor’s pick to lead the Department of Revenue. “There’s much work to do, and Gov. Pritzker is already getting started. The audit of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs is sorely needed to restore the trust of Illinois veterans and their families.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - This just in…

Friday, Jan 18, 2019

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


It’s just a bill

Friday, Jan 18, 2019

* West Virginia must have some real issues with lobsters

A BILL to amend and reenact §6B-3-2, §6B-3-7, and §6B-3-9 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §6B-3-3d, all relating to regulation of lobbyists; requiring registered lobbyists to purchase and wear body-mounted cameras at the Capitol and in certain other circumstances; requiring certain certifications be made by registered lobbyists; prohibiting lobbyists from making certain campaign donations; prohibiting lobbyists from loitering in the Capitol with certain exceptions; prohibiting lobbyists from making certain expenditures to benefit legislators; making body-mounted camera video and audio recordings subject to inspection by the Ethics Commission and subject to the provisions of the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act; authorizing random inspections of lobbyist body-mounted cameras; setting certain compliance requirements for lobbyists; creating a misdemeanor offense for failure to comply with certain requests for video and audio from body-mounted cameras; and creating penalties relating to access to the Capitol complex by lobbyists for violation of certain prohibited conduct.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      


“Trooper’s trooper” laid to rest

Friday, Jan 18, 2019

* ABC 7

Hundreds of mourners packed into Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington to pay their respects to Illinois State Police Trooper Christopher Lambert Friday.

The 34-year-old was killed while responding to a crash on the Tri-State Tollway last week.

“We lost a family member,” said Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz. “We lost a friend. He was a troopers’ trooper.”

Lambert, 34, was headed home to Highland Park last Saturday when he stopped to investigate a three-vehicle crash on the northbound lanes of I-294 near Willow Road in Northbrook. He stopped to position his vehicle on the left-hand lane to protect those involved in the crash. He was standing outside of his vehicle when he was struck by an oncoming motorist.

“Our job is to protect the lives of people,” said Director Schmitz. “My trooper had to trade his life to protect the people. I’m so proud of him he is a hero.”

* Tribune

Newly sworn-in Gov. J.B. Pritzker also attended, and from the pulpit reflected upon the grief he felt as a child when his father died.

“Let me try, however inadvertently and inadequately, to ease a small part of this burden for you,” he told Lambert’s wife and daughter. “There will come a day when the memory of Chris will be like a cool breeze in summer, comforting and gentle. … You will always mourn his death, but this agony fades. What is left are the most perfect memories — the best parts of the person that you loved.”

Lambert, a native of Dayton, Ohio, was an Army veteran who served in Iraq and Haiti. He had been with Illinois State Police since 2013 and worked in the criminal patrol division.

…Adding… The full video is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   5 Comments      


RNUG: Vallas’ plan “appears to make Chicago’s pension problem manageable”

Friday, Jan 18, 2019

* Paul Vallas announced his pension plan yesterday. It’s long, but worth a read

While there is much talk of a “grand compromise” to be reached with labor, state and local governments and the business community to amend the Constitution to address the City’s pension funding needs, it is unlikely to happen even if Governor-elect Pritzker had not voiced his opposition to such an amendment. As for the talk of changing the benefits for new employees who would not be protected by the Constitution, that has already been done. Employees hired after 2010 became Tier 2 pension participants at far lower benefits. Tier 2 employees contribute much more than what it takes to pay their own benefits and are, in fact, subsidizing Tier 1 retirees. This, in itself, could create future legal problems. It is highly unlikely there would be support for a further diminishing of new employee future pension benefits. I oppose any changes to new and old employee benefits.

The underlying pension funding problem is in large part the result of inequities in State funding which discriminated against Chicago Teachers and the City’s irresponsible decision to secure, through State legislation, a “Pension Holiday,” that allowed it to skip payments to all City-funded pension systems. The Police, Fire, Municipal Employees, and Laborers were all victimized by the pension holiday. The City also secured a pension holiday for the Chicago Teachers Retirement System. It is ironic that the leadership of a number of unions’ leadership has orchestrated the endorsements of candidates who supported the underfunding of the systems. […]

The plan includes supporting a legislative agenda that protects the statutory local government share of any increase in the State Income Tax that Governor Pritzker and the legislature enact, restores the illegal diversion of Corporate Personal Property Tax revenues that occurred during the previous administration, and phases in, over ten years, full State funding equity for the Chicago Teachers Retirement System. The first two items are things every municipality and county will be supporting and could be phased in over the next four years during the pension ramp-up. […]

I have identified a number of specific budget areas where I believe the growth in City non-pension spending could be reduced over the next five years to provide the balance of what is needed to meet the City’s pension obligations. These areas include overtime, contractual services, worker’s compensation, healthcare, and more. Just a five percent reduction in base spending over the next five years would enable the City to meet the balance of the pension funding ramp up. By 2023, the State mandated annual increases in pension contributions will be much more moderate and financially manageable - not only as a result of the almost doubling of contributions, but because of the increasing numbers of Tier 2 employees in the system.

While some have advocated for the earmark of revenues from a City Casino or a tax on cannabis to fund pensions, I would be cautious about making pension funding contingent on uncertain and unproven revenue sources that would at very best provide barely a fourth of what would be needed to meet the City’s pension funding obligations. Furthermore, we have been waiting for casinos for years and, even if finally approved, the full the revenue impact would be uncertain and not immediate. Funding for pensions should not be tied to unreliable revenue sources. Pension funding should be in the form of a “direct intercept” in the budget of the actuarial determined annual amount needed to ensure the system’s pension funds are on a 30-year full funding schedule.

As a contingency against delays or partial success in implementing the Springfield agenda and a hedge against unanticipated expenditure increases the City could consider issuing a Pension Obligation Bond financed through the revenue windfall from expiring TIFs. This would protect the City’s existing revenue base from further securitization, while providing a substantial increase in the amount invested in the retirement systems, thereby significantly reducing the increase in the annual contribution.

A Citywide TIF would be created to capture the revenue from expiring TIFs, the revenues of which could be dedicated to pension funding. The City would have the flexibility of using the revenues to immediately finance the POB to immediately improve the health of the system the unfunded [MG1] Even if the TIF was not used to finance a POB, the dedication of future TIF revenues would have a positive impact in the calculation of the long-term unfunded liability. Given the City’s direct funding of the Chicago Teachers Retirement System, the Pension TIF could earmark all but the County’s share of the revenue from expiring TIF’s.

Resolving the pension funding issue must also include reforming pension fund investment practices. This involves creating a Pension Investment Board of local investment professionals and taking the pay-to-play politics out of investment decisions. Often politicized and all too often lacking in real investment expertise, pension fund investments have historically produced disappointing returns and have sometimes been scandalous. There should be a consolation of pension investments for cost efficiencies and to ensure the highest rate of return.

Although data from the pension funds are hard to compare because returns vary across time periods, it is not unreasonable to think that if all the big pension funds in Illinois paid fees and produced investment returns that were achieved by the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), which is 90% funded, the additional earnings would approach $1 billion statewide. If you had a board of Chicago’s most accomplished local investment professionals making investment decisions, do you think that Robert Vanecko and his investment strategy would have been the recipient of tens of millions of dollars in substandard investment strategy that cost the police pension $54 million?

With the City’s pension funding issue addressed and the City’s commitment to its public employees met, the City’s “non-pension” expenditure obligations needed to fund City services could be secured through natural revenue growth allowing property taxes to be permanently capped for homeowners, landlords and businesses, at no more than 5% or the rate of inflation whichever is less. F could be frozen, and fines reduced to no more than the cost of the license or dedicated to neighborhood infrastructure improvements, and services and ees ticket. Additional revenues from a casino, sports betting and video poker could be proceeds from the tax on cannabis could be dedicated to rebuilding the critically needed social service infrastructure in poor communities like mental health and wellness, health care, legal aid, family counseling, drug and opioid addiction.

* I asked our resident pension expert (and 2018 Golden Horseshoe Award winner) RNUG to take a look at it…

Some interesting items in it.

First observation is he’s counting on significant State money, about half of all the money needed. Admittedly not in the form of a direct bailout so much as trying to regain various revenue sharing the State previously clawed back. The political calculation of doing this for the entire state is smart.

Not sure what he means by Full State Equity for Chicago Teacher’s Retirement System unless he means either trying to undo the former deal giving Chicago control over it or looking for the State to take over those pension payments or just looking to get the State to kick in more money with Chicago still having control over it. Not sure about the politics, so it will depend on if Vallas can round up the votes in the GA. Think this is a harder challenge than increasing revenue sharing.

Interesting approach to grabbing expired TIF funds and either using them directly or as a payment stream for Pension Obligation Bonds. Was definitely looking for unused / dormant sources of cash.

And the 5% operating cut seems reasonable; you can usually find that amount of waste / fraud / abuse.

And he isn’t counting on the State actions by having a plan to cover at least half of what is needed. Smart and flexible planning.

Got to give Vallas (or his advisors) credit for some serious thought and creative out of the box thinking. His proposed plan appears to make Chicago’s pension problem manageable.

I don’t really follow Chicago politics per se, but I’m going to guess he may, if mayor, be able to get 75% of what he wants … and that would be huge.

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      


Because… Chicago!

Friday, Jan 18, 2019

* Belleville News Democrat

“A gas tax, you might as well just change the name of it from a gas tax to a downstate tax,” said state Sen. Jason Plummer, R-Edwardsville. “The fact of the matter is, Mayor Emanuel is not going to hesitate to push something like that. A lot of folks that he represents in Chicago, they’re taking public transportation, taking the Metra, they have trains, they have all these things in Chicago that folks in Southern Illinois don’t have. … A gas tax is a tax on Southern Illinois because we are more rural, more spread out. We travel further for school, we travel further for work, we travel further to visit family.” […]

[Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville] said he fears increases in the gas tax could be used to pay for upgrades to the Chicago-area’s commuter train system, Metra.

“I don’t want to pay for Metra upgrades,” Meier said. “We have to drive to work here in Southern Illinois. We’re the ones paying that gas tax.”

* But

A deal hammered out by the state’s top politicians in the 1980s means that 45 percent of all transportation revenues go to the Chicago metropolitan area and 55 percent is allocated to downstate Illinois.

IDOT’s District 1 contains the counties of Cook, Lake, McHenry, Kane, Dupage and Will. That’s 65 percent of the state’s population getting 45 percent of the transportation revenues. The rest of the state has 35 percent of the population, but they receive 55 percent of the money.

By the way, District 1 motorists drove 35 billion miles in 2017, according to IDOT. The rest of the state’s motorists drove 26 billion miles that year.

* Also from IDOT, here’s the 2017 Average Daily Vehicle Miles of Travel by county

* Madison (Plummer): 8,105,659
* Washington (Meier): 1,165,736
* Cook: 87,784,902

So, yeah, individuals do appear to drive longer distances every day in those two Downstate counties. Madison County has 5 percent of the population of Cook, but its daily vehicle miles traveled is 9 percent of Cook’s, for instance.

But they’re also getting lots more money back from the state than Cook is getting per capita.

* And that’s not even to mention this Paul Simon Public Policy Institute study of state revenues versus state spending

The research shows the south region receives $2.81 in state funds for every $1 generated. The central Illinois region of 50 counties receives $1.87 back for every $1.00 sent to Springfield. All of the downstate regions receive more from the state budget than they pay in taxes. By comparison, Cook County receives 90 cents for every $1, and the suburban counties only 53 cents for every $1 generated.

* Back to the BND story

Pritzker said he hasn’t decided on where he would stand on an increase in the gas tax.

“I don’t know, I don’t like regressive taxes much, that’s why I proposed a fair tax system for the state,” Pritzker said. “I don’t want to rely too much on regressive taxes, that’s why I’m looking for all the opportunities to piece together the revenue that would be required for an infrastructure bill. “

Everybody needs to just take a chill pill.

- Posted by Rich Miller   45 Comments      


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Friday, Jan 18, 2019

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What’s up with this lawsuit threat?

Friday, Jan 18, 2019

* Every news outlet mentioned the threat by the Illinois State Rifle Association to file suit against the new gun dealer licensing law. But Jonah Meadows at Patch explained what the group was actually threatening to do

The Illinois State Rifle Association has opposed the bill. Executive Director Richard Pearson said the group is considering a court challenge to the new law. He said it discriminates against small business owners and is aimed at reducing the total number of legal guns in the state by raising their cost and making it harder for law-abiding firearm owners to purchase them.

“We think that it’s totally unfair, and laws do have to be fair, in spite of what the legislature thinks,” Pearson said, suggesting the bill would do little to reduce gun trafficking and instead function mainly to drive gun dealers out of business and owners and their business out of state. “I assume that Gov. Pritzker is trying to get the economic development award from Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin and Kentucky.”

Under the law, owners of gun shops would need to pay the required $300 (for dealers without a retail location) to a maximum of $1,500 for a license from state police. They would also have to ensure shops have operational locks, surveillance equipment and alarms while keeping an electronic inventory and have employees go through annual training. The owners must provide a copy of a valid federal license to state police, who must accept a dealer’s “safe storage plan” to provide an Illinois license.

Another component of the new law requires state police to publish information about firearms used in crimes and penalize those who do not maintain records of private gun sales.

I’m not really sure how the law discriminates against small businesses or whether that’s even actionable. A little help in comments would be appreciated.

And I think they’d have to prove the law was purposely drafted to make business so difficult for small dealers that they’d go out of business and, as a result, deprive people of their right to own a gun.

These are not small hurdles, but I didn’t think they’d win the concealed carry case, either. So, we’ll see.

* And then there’s the procedural aspect

Lawmakers passed the bill with simple majorities more than six months ago on May 30, the penultimate day of regular session. The state constitution says bills that pass both chambers must be sent to the governor within a month, but Senate President John Cullerton made sure the bill didn’t go to former Gov. Bruce Rauner, who said he planned to veto it.

Cullerton put a procedural hold called a “motion to reconsider” on the bill, which kept it from Rauner’s desk. That hold was lifted Jan. 8 and sent to Pritzker Wednesday.

Using a procedural hold isn’t a new trick. Longtime statehouse observer and University of Illinois Professor Emeritus Kent Redfield said it’s technically possible for lawmakers to hold a bill that passed in one General Assembly and then pass it onto a new governor. He said it’s an ambiguous area that he’s not aware has been fully litigated.

“Particularly if it’s controversial legislation involving something like gun control measures … there certainly would be a court challenge,” Redfield said.

[Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois Executive Director Todd Vandermyde] said his group is looking a number of options, including a legal challenge. The law is set to take effect this summer.

“It just shows the political chicanery that went on with this, that they knew that former Gov. [Bruce] Rauner would veto this bill because of its anti-business, anti-Second Amendment repercussions,” he said.

The courts here have almost always been super reluctant to deal with legislative process issues like this, so I’m thinking probably not, particularly since the state Constitution is totally silent on the matter.

Something else not mentioned much in the coverage was that House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and six of his HGOP colleages voted for the bill (Andersson, Bellock, Breen, McAuliffe, Olsen and Winger), while four Senate Republicans voted “Yes” (Curran, Nybo, Oberweis and Rooney)

* I’ve been a customer of Siddens firing range for years and they also sell guns and conduct pistol and concealed carry training. Great people. Salt of the Earth. I’ve never once had a bad time there and I highly recommend going if you’re into that sort of thing.

I’m sure they’re not happy with this law. Just the opposite. But no business owner in the history of the world ever jumped for joy at new regulations. Again, we’ll just have to see how this all works out.

…Adding… Like I said, businesses don’t like regulations, even when the regulations wouldn’t touch them at all

Supporters of the bill said federal regulators are stretched too thin, but opponents say the new licensing is expensive, and could force small dealers out of business.

The director of operations at On Target gun shop in Crystal Lake said they are already doing what the law will now mandate.

“It’s not just the straw sales that are producing the guns that are killing people, it’s illegal stolen guns from other states that are brought up to Illinois. So why take it out on us?” said Tom Dorsch.

- Posted by Rich Miller   44 Comments      


It’s Time To Put Our Progressive Values Into Action

Friday, Jan 18, 2019

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Money isn’t yet flowing toward Burke’s challengers

Friday, Jan 18, 2019

* There’s just no way on Earth to compete with Ed Burke dollar-for-dollar, but people can still raise enough to get their messages out. And unless they’re taking in lots of small contributions that don’t have to be reported, these are not great disclosure reports…



Congressman Chuy Garcia has endorsed Tanya Patino, but it doesn’t look like that has yet come with any money. Patino’s recent D-2 reported a $35 contribution, so she may be disclosing everything. She also received a $5,000 in-kind contribution from United Working Families to access the NGP VAN.

* And, in case you missed this, it looks like Burke won’t be indicted before the election

Federal prosecutors on Tuesday won a three-month extension on indicting Chicago Ald. Edward Burke on bombshell charges he shook down two businessmen seeking to renovate a Burger King restaurant in his ward.

In a one-page order allowing the delay, U.S. District Chief Judge Ruben Castillo wrote that “the ends of justice served by the extension outweigh the best interests of the public and the defendant for a speedy trial.”

Prosecutors now face a May 3 deadline to seek an indictment from a grand jury, making it likely Burke won’t need to return to federal court until well after his Feb. 26 bid for re-election to an unprecedented 13th full term on the City Council.

In their motion for an extension on Monday, prosecutors said they needed more time because of the “complex nature” of the public corruption case against Burke “and the fact that the investigation is ongoing.”

The request was filed hours after Burke waived his right to a preliminary hearing to determine whether there was probable cause for the criminal complaint unveiled against him Jan. 3. The procedural move canceled a hearing that had been set for Friday and means there is no current court date for Burke’s case.

* Other stuff…

* Ald. Edward Burke dumped as tax lawyer by developers of Lincoln Yards, ‘The 78’: For 10 years, Sterling Bay, one of Chicago’s biggest developers, used Ald. Edward M. Burke’s law firm Klafter & Burke to seek property tax cuts. But not anymore. The firm behind the massive Lincoln Yards development proposed for the North Side has cut ties with Burke now that the alderman faces a corruption charge that threatens to send him to prison and end the reign of Chicago’s longest-tenured and most powerful City Council member.

* Alderman Ed Burke corruption case continues to cloud Chicago mayors race

* Who Is Alderman Ed Burke?

* Can Ed Burke scandal become a #MeToo-like moment in fight against corruption?

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      


Lock up your guns and vaccinate your kids!

Friday, Jan 18, 2019

* Yesterday

Youth suicides rates are higher in states with high gun ownership rates, a team at Boston University School of Public Health found.

“Household gun ownership was the single biggest predictor of youth suicide rate in a state,” Dr. Michael Siegel, a public health specialist at BU, told NBC News.

Siegel has been studying the relationships between gun ownership and homicide, suicide and other factors. It’s well known that people with access to a gun are far more likely to complete suicide. And some data had suggested that gun ownership in general was associated with higher suicide rates. […]

“For each 10 percentage-point increase in household gun ownership, the youth suicide rate increased by 26.9 percent,” they wrote in their report, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

“The only other factors that were associated with overall youth suicide rates were the suicide attempt rate and the percentage of youth who were Native American,” they added.

“Together, the model explained 92 percent of the variation in overall youth suicide rates across the 47 states.”

Remember that old saying about how freedom comes with responsibilities? Lock up your guns, people. The full report is here.

* Meanwhile

A report released by [Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Julie Morita] and her department and Lurie Children’s Hospital showed Chicago parents have doubts about the flu vaccine.

“In fact, 14 percent overall refused vaccines, and 83 percent of parents refused flu vaccine, in particular,” Dr Matthew Davis of Lurie Children’s Hospital said. “It was the most commonly refused vaccine overall.”

“It’s a really serious infection,” Morita said. “For most people they will recover, but for some people, young children, people with chronic underlying health disease, such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease, those kinds of individuals can get very, very sick and end up in the hospital.”

More than 1000 parents representing all 77 neighborhoods in the city were surveyed. Two-thirds cited worry about short and long-term adverse side effects. About one-third believed the flu vaccine simply isn’t necessary. […]

The CDC recommends that all children 6 months and older receive the flu vaccine. And if you don’t have insurance, you can call 311 and the city will direct you to a healthcare provider where you can obtain a free flu shot.

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      


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Friday, Jan 18, 2019

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Friday, Jan 18, 2019

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PREVIOUS POSTS »
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* Because... Chicago!
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Update to this morning's edition
* What's up with this lawsuit threat?
* It's Time To Put Our Progressive Values Into Action
* Money isn't yet flowing toward Burke's challengers
* Lock up your guns and vaccinate your kids!
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