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Friday, Sep 22, 2017

* EmiSunshine will play us out. The kid can really sing

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Rauner vetoes DHFS managed care performance audit bill as part of another big Friday dump

Friday, Sep 22, 2017

* Here’s the Friday dump, except for the veto message for HB 3449, which is below

Veto Message for HB 2977

To the Honorable Members of
The Illinois House of Representatives
100th General Assembly:

Today I veto House Bill 2977 from the 100th General Assembly, which requires all Illinois elementary schools include a unit of cursive in their curriculum before students complete 5th grade.

This legislation constitutes yet another unfunded mandate for school districts that will not protect the health or safety of Illinois students. If the General Assembly believes that cursive writing instruction should be required in elementary schools because it will improve student outcomes, it should be included in the Illinois State Learning Standards and funded accordingly.

Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of Article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return House Bill 2977, entitled “AN ACT concerning education” with the foregoing objections, vetoed in its entirety.

Sincerely,

Bruce Rauner
GOVERNOR

Signing Statement for HB 3488

To the Honorable Members of
The Illinois House of Representatives
100th General Assembly:

Today I sign House Bill 3488, which provides for responsible and respectful processes surrounding the disposition of remains of low-income decedents by providing better information-sharing with families regarding their options when a loved one passes as well as facilitating assistance of the medical, anatomical, biological and mortuary sciences.

I encourage the sponsor and advocates to continue to work collaboratively with the Department of Public Health to ensure that the goals of this legislation can be implemented in an effective and appropriate manner, even if further legislation is necessary to make sure the process contained is administratively sound.

Sincerely,

Bruce Rauner
GOVERNOR

Veto Message for HB 3745

To the Honorable Members of
The Illinois House of Representatives
100th General Assembly:

Today I veto House Bill 3745 from the 100th General Assembly, which requires school boards to allow community groups to post free after-school program information in a designated space on each school campus.

Although I applaud community groups and organizations who provide high-quality, affordable programming for children, this bill is an unfunded mandate that will not protect the health or safety of students. School personnel should be allowed professional discretion related to information shared by the school. While individual requirements such as this may not create significant costs to schools and districts, the accumulation of layers of unfunded mandates imposed on our schools simultaneously consume scarce resources and constrain schools’ flexibility in determining what is in the best interest of their students.

Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of Article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return House Bill 3745, entitled “AN ACT concerning education” with the foregoing objections, vetoed in its entirety.

Sincerely,

Bruce Rauner
GOVERNOR

Signing Statement for HB 3904

Today I sign House Bill 3904, which represents a nationally significant bipartisan accomplishment toward reforming Illinois’ criminal justice system.

This legislation permanently codifies the existence of a Women’s Division within the Department of Corrections which will allow the Department to better serve the female corrections population with operations that specifically focus on the distinctive needs of the women in its care. This signature is accompanied by a commitment by the House and Senate sponsors to swiftly pass trailer legislation removing the requirement of Senate approval for the individual leading this new division. The appointment of a Chief Administrator for the Women’s Division of the Department of Corrections should lie solely within the discretion of the Director of the Department of Corrections. As the Director is confirmed with the advice and consent of Senate, he or she has been entrusted with leading the Department and should therefore be able to choose a candidate he or she deems fit to oversee the Women’s Division of the Department. I look forward to the General Assembly fulfilling this commitment, and the implementation of this historic program.

The goal of the legislation is both laudable and important to ensure that the corrections system in our state continues to be oriented around rehabilitation and the needs of those it serves. Ultimately, programs like this contribute to future reductions of the prison population and recidivism rates.

Sincerely,

Bruce Rauner
GOVERNOR

Veto Message for SB 321

To the Honorable Members of
The Illinois Senate,
100th General Assembly:

Today I veto Senate Bill 321 from the 100th General Assembly, which provides that the Auditor General initiate a performance audit of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

The audit requirement is specific to certain managed care provisions and can be performed as part of a larger internal or external audit of the Department’s managed care program. The Auditor General has authority to examine the Department and programs such as these every two years. Furthermore, the Department has worked on transparent implementation of the cited programs that has included involvement by the Medicaid Advisory Committee. Through this process the Department continues to diligently work toward compliance with all statutory requirements. Requiring a separate audit is expensive, time consuming, and unnecessary.

Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of Article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return Senate Bill 321, entitled “AN ACT concerning State government,” with the foregoing objections, vetoed in its entirety.

Sincerely,

Bruce Rauner
GOVERNOR

Veto Message for SB 419

To the Honorable Members of
The Illinois Senate,
100th General Assembly:

Today I veto Senate Bill 419 from the 100th General Assembly. This legislation proposes two changes, both of which will likely increase the unfunded liabilities of the respective pension funds they impact. First, it allows a downstate firefighter to buy into a pension fund’s Tier 1 benefit system. Second, the legislation provides for a retrospective cost of living adjustment payment.

Illinois’ pension systems are in crisis. Decades of poor funding decisions and generous benefits have pushed many downstate pension funds to dangerously low funding ratios. Furthermore, the Firemen’s Annuity and Pension Fund of Chicago, which is at issue in this legislation, is only 21% funded. This makes it one of the worst-funded large pension systems in America. We owe it to taxpayers and pension beneficiaries to focus on legislation to bring stability to the pension funds to reduce pension debt.

This bill attempts to retroactively institute service credits in a downstate pension fund under a benefit system that the State closed off due to its unsustainability. These service credits are instituted without a full and accurate accounting of their cost. Furthermore, this bill requires the Chicago firemen’s pension fund to pay a retrospective cost of living increase on top of benefits already paid. This will increase costs for the fund, decrease its dangerously low funding levels, and ultimately drive still higher property taxes on Chicago taxpayers. Given the dire state of Illinois’ pension systems, any legislation that risks increasing pension debt levels ought to be heavily scrutinized for the long-term benefit of both taxpayers and pension beneficiaries.

Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of Article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return Senate Bill 419, entitled “AN ACT concerning local government”, with the foregoing objections, vetoed in its entirety.

Sincerely,

Bruce Rauner
GOVERNOR

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Rauner vetoes Geolocation Privacy Protection Act

Friday, Sep 22, 2017

* Press release…

This afternoon Governor Rauner vetoted House Bill 3449, the Geolocation Privacy Protection Act. The legislation requires apps and services clearly and conspicuously inform you and receive your consent before collecting your geolocation information. The legislation was supported by Digital Privacy Alliance, American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, Center for Democracy & Technology, Illinois PIRG, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, Promoting Awareness | Victim Empowerment, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, DataMade, SpiderOak, Social Change, Consumer Watchdog, and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

In response to Govern Rauner’s action, Illinois PIRG Director Abe Scarr made the following statement:

The Equifax breach has brought much needed attention to what can go wrong when vast amounts of private personal information is collected, stored and shared and sold in the big-data economy.

Signing HB3449 into law would have been a clear demonstration that Illinois is a leader in the technology industry and is forward thinking. Unfortunately, the Governor chose big business over protecting of Illinois citizens.

Many consumers understand some apps, especially when location-based like ride-sharing or maps, collect location data about them, but would be surprised to know that some collect it constantly or that the location information is then shared or sold. Very few know that more apps, including children’s game apps, also collect geolocation information.

Consumers deserve clear and conspicous iniformation about when and how their location may be tracked and the opportunity to provide informed consent or to opt out.

* There is no veto message online as I write this and no press release from the governor, but this is from a Public Radio story

But some in the state’s business community see this as an added burden. They say it would divert focus from the actual protection of consumer data.

“And that’s where the money and the focus and the time should be going,” says Tanya Trishe, vice president and general counsel for the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. She explains companies need to “ensure that they’re spending all of their really valuable resources ensuring that the private information of consumers that they have is not being attacked.” […]

Trishe–from the Illinois Retail Merchants Association–says talks with the governor’s office have been positive and they remain hopeful he will veto the measure.

* From the Chicagoland Chamber…

“The Chicagoland Chamber applauds the Governor for vetoing HB 3449 and for subsequently protecting the jobs of Illinoisans across the technology, retail and small business communities of our state. Protecting consumer privacy is important, but not when that legislation is designed to open up businesses of all sizes to litigation. This bill would have directly contradicted the FTC’s call for short, in-context disclosures, which are more effective and easier for consumers to understand. We hope to continue dialogue around this topic in the future in order to achieve protections in a real and meaningful manner, and not to enrich trial attorneys,” said Michael Reever, acting president & CEO, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

…Adding… IRMA…

“This geolocation bill would have diverted resources and focus away from the actual protection of consumer data. Today’s business owners are on the front-lines of international cyber-warfare and are working tirelessly to ensure that their customer’s important private information is appropriately protected. Anyone who utilizes data needs cooperation, not additional requirements, that diverts focus and resources from the core mission. We applaud Governor Rauner for recognizing where the focus, and the resources, should be.”

* IL Chamber…

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce supports Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of HB 3449, the Geolocation Privacy Protection Act, which would have placed significant burden on businesses and consumers throughout Illinois.

HB 3449 would have stifled innovation in Illinois’ tech industry, burdened app users, and given Illinois a bad reputation in comparison to other states for enacting more regulations on job creators.

“It comes down to what message we want to send our innovators looking to invest in Illinois. With the governor’s veto, the message is clear Illinois is pro-business and welcomes companies of all sizes to invest here. The governor vetoing this bill is positive news for Illinois’ emerging tech industry and developing economy,” Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch said.

Illinois tech startups and businesses would have been substantially burdened by the bill’s complicated requirements. HB 3449 would have duplicated existing requirements already in place by the Federal Trade Commission, put businesses of all sizes at risk of frivolous lawsuits, and made the app experience for consumers less user friendly.

“There’s a misconception that this bill came from consumers looking for more privacy protection. In reality, special interest groups who would directly benefit from the bill’s increased compliance burden were the ones pushing for its enactment. Engineering liability that targets job creators does not put Illinois on a path to prosperity,” Illinois Chamber of Commerce Director of Legislative Relations Tyler Diers said.

Startups and small businesses play a huge part in Illinois’ economy and would have been directly affected by this legislation.

“This bill places an undue burden on many startups and small businesses, which will greatly affect their ability to operate in the state of Illinois,” Maisch said. “Killing this legislation is one step in the fight to protect our job creators from bad policies.”

* IL Data Security Alliance…

“Vetoing this legislation is a step in the right direction for the tech industry, as well as businesses of all sizes throughout the entire state,” said Todd Maisch, President and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. “At the Illinois Chamber, we want to find ways to encourage development in the tech industry, and we feel today’s action by the Governor does just that. Without this veto, some of Illinois’ fastest growing businesses would be forced into complying with unnecessary and redundant hurdles that could have unfortunate consequences on our state’s economy. For these reasons, we fully support the Governor’s decision to veto House Bill 3449.”

House Bill 3449 was brought about as a disclosure law on the use of geolocation information. However, online companies are already subject to robust privacy oversight by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, who has actively enforced privacy and data security protections for over two decades.

While ensuring the online privacy of Illinois consumers is of the utmost importance, the language in the proposed legislation did not provide additional protections in any way. For this reason, no state has enacted a law similar to HB 3449.

…Adding More… Here’s the veto message…

Veto Message for HB 3449

To the Honorable Members of
The Illinois House of Representatives,
100th General Assembly:

Today I veto House Bill 3449 from the 100th General Assembly, which would add an unnecessary and byzantine layer of state regulation to the use of most electronic devices by mandating additional prohibitions and penalties.

Protection of consumer privacy is an important goal that I fully support, but this legislation only serves to make things unnecessarily complicated where federal privacy regulations are the proper format for uniform and consistent consumer protections across the country.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) already has the broad powers granted to it in Federal Statute 15 U.S.C. §§46 (a) to protect various aspects of consumer privacy in a uniform manner across the United States, and the commerce clause in the Constitution assigns the power to regulate interstate commerce to the U.S. Congress. If further privacy legislation is required, it should be enacted by the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. In addition to federal legal protections, consumers already have full control of geolocation data capture in their device settings through most operating systems, or by limiting access within specific applications they choose to utilize on their devices. Consumers also have the freedom to demand software products with more protective terms and End User License Agreements.

To the degree that there is company abuse of these laws and policies, such as tracking people without their consent or hiding collection and disclosure practices, the solution is not yet another layer of state government rules and bureaucracy, but instead the enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission of existing laws or enforcement of existing policies by creators and distributors of digital applications.

This bill would result in job loss across the state without materially improving privacy protections for Illinoisans or making devices and their apps safer for children. The addition of this policy to Illinois’ existing burden of red tape will hurt Illinois’ growing reputation as a destination for innovation-based job creation.

Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of Article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return House Bill 3449 entitled “AN ACT concerning business”, with the foregoing objections, vetoed in its entirety.

Sincerely,

Bruce Rauner
GOVERNOR

* And from the Digital Privacy Alliance…

The private online information of Illinoisans took a major hit today after Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner rejected House Bill 3449, the Geolocation Privacy Protection Act. Had it been signed into law, this historic piece of legislation would have provided transparency by requiring corporations that collect, use or sell Illinoisans’ geolocation information from their mobile devices to obtain their consent before tracking them.

Instead, the Governor’s veto is a betrayal of consumer trust and total failure to people who value their personal privacy. The Governor’s action is a clear message that he values his Silicon Valley friends more than the people and small businesses in Illinois. Moreover, the Governor’s veto is a direct contradiction to his public commitment to protect Illinois citizens’ online safety, exemplified by his recently touted $1 billion dollar cybersecurity initiative.

“You can throw all the money in the world at a problem, but we can’t actually protect ourselves if we aren’t aware that our geolocation information is being collected, used, and sold in the first place. By vetoing this legislation Governor Rauner signals to all Illinoisans that their privacy rights aren’t as important as big business profits,” said Digital Privacy Alliance Board of Director Peter Hanna.

House Bill 3449 is a common sense consumer protection measure that simply requires a person or corporation to get consent before tracking someone through his or her mobile device. Current law does not require a corporation to be transparent about when and why they are tracking you and your personal data, which has led to the erosion of consumer trust in technology. Such corporate disregard for consumers’ privacy was recently highlighted by a report exposing the mobile app AccuWeather for continuing to collect and share location information even though a user previously denied the apps request for access to that information.

The industry’s lack of transparency is a public safety concern of the highest order. Just this past July, the FBI warned parents that the collection of personal information from connected devices posed privacy and physical safety threats to children. A national study conducted by the National Network to End Domestic Violence found that 72 percent of victim services programs across the country had seen victims who were tracked through a stalking app installed on a mobile phone or a stand-alone GPS device, and the Washington Post revealed that half of the 2,500 children’s apps it tested failed to protect their data.

The dozens of tech startups, enterprise software companies, and web development shops around the state that have stepped up in support of the Geolocation Privacy Protection Act believe it is necessary for the protection of citizens’ privacy rights and critical for ensuring consumer trust in their industry.

“Consumer trust is eroding in today’s digitally dominated world. As an industry, if we don’t start building up that trust, we will lose customers willing to use our services or download our apps. Illinois could be at the forefront of this movement and this act is a good move to start regaining that trust,” said Derek Eder, partner at DataMade, co-founder of Open City, and leader of Chi Hack Night.

The diverse advocacy groups that have rallied behind the bill include the Digital Privacy Alliance, American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, Center for Democracy & Technology, Illinois PIRG, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, Promoting Awareness | Victim Empowerment, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Social Change, Consumer Watchdog, and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

“Signing this bill into law would have been a clear demonstration that Illinois is a progressive leader in the technology industry and is forward thinking. Unfortunately, the Governor chose big business over the protection of Illinois citizens,” said Director of Illinois PIRG Abe Scarr.
The Digital Privacy Alliance and its partners appreciate the leadership of Representative Ann Williams and Senator Tom Cullerton for putting this bill forward as we work to override the Governor’s veto.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Rauner plans three bond sales

Friday, Sep 22, 2017

* Press release…

The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget announced today that it has selected the financing team for an upcoming $4.5 billion sale of general obligation bonds by the State of Illinois.

The $4.5 billion in bonds will be a negotiated sale and is part of the $6 billion in bonds authorized by the General Assembly earlier this year. In addition to the $4.5 billion sale, the state plans to competitively bid $1.5 billion in general obligation bonds. Both series are expected to go to market in October and close in mid-November. Proceeds of the bonds will be used to pay down a portion of the State’s bills.

Governor Rauner agreed to sell the bonds to provide relief to vendors with unpaid bills, some of whom have carried the state’s debt for over two years. Nearly two-thirds of the bill backlog is accruing late payment interest at the annual statutory rate of up to 12%. The bonds will enable the state to finance the state’s obligations at a more favorable rate.

The following firms will assist with the $4.5 billion negotiated bond sale: joint senior managers: Barclays Capital, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup Global Markets, J.P. Morgan Securities, Loop Capital Markets, and Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co. The co-senior managers are RBC Capital Markets, Piper Jaffray & Co., PNC Capital Markets, Ramirez & Co., and Stifel, Nicolaus & Company. The co-managers are Academy Securities, Backstrom McCarley Berry & Co., Blaylock Van, Cabrera Capital Markets, Estrada Hinojosa & Company, George K. Baum & Company, IFS Securities, Mesirow Financial, Mischler Financial Group, Raymond James & Associates, Rice Financial, Stern Brothers, and U.S. Bancorp.

Bond and disclosure counsel is Chapman and Cutler LLP and co-bond counsel are Burke Burns & Pinelli, Ltd. and Charity & Associates, P.C. The state’s financial advisors for the transaction are PFM Financial Advisors LLC and Public Resources Advisory Group.

“The team my office has selected is highly qualified, experienced, diverse, and includes firms in national and regional financial sectors, as well as firms owned by minorities, women and veterans,” said Scott Harry, Director of GOMB.

Additionally the state plans to issue up to $750 million in general obligation bonds in December, 2017 for fiscal year 2018 capital projects through a competitive bidding process.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      


Caption contest!

Friday, Sep 22, 2017

* Sen. Daniel Biss and Joe Walsh…

- Posted by Rich Miller   50 Comments      


Protected: *** UPDATED x1 *** SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - HB40 update

Friday, Sep 22, 2017

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - More candidate announcements

Friday, Sep 22, 2017

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Logrolling?

Friday, Sep 22, 2017

* Tribune

Oakbrook Terrace wanted to put red light cameras at a busy but relatively safe intersection. IDOT must approve cameras on state routes in the suburbs, and it said no: Cameras are for boosting safety, and the intersection’s “low crash rates” did not support a need for cameras.

In just a few months, that no would turn into a yes.

* There may be lots of reasons why IDOT’s denial turned into an approval, and the paper has a long story on it which you should read all the way through. But one aspect is Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Martin Sandoval, the Safespeed red light cam company (which has contributed thousands to Sandoval’s campaign) and a project Gov. Rauner really, really wants built

The emails that were released showed Sandoval contacted [then-IDOT Region One Director John Fortmann], and Fortmann told his peers that Sandoval brought up a Rauner administration proposal to add an extra toll lane to I-55 — known as the I-55 Managed Lanes Project — a proposal that, then and now, awaits legislative approval.

“He indicated that while unrelated he wants to work with the administration on other issues such as I55 Manage lanes (sic) but is not getting the type of cooperation on his issues that he would like to see,” Fortmann wrote to his peers.

In a recent interview, Fortmann told the Tribune that he didn’t recall writing that and, in general, didn’t feel Sandoval was threatening to withhold support of IDOT if it didn’t approve the Oakbrook Terrace camera permit.

That happened in 2015. Safespeed got its red light cam, which the Tribune claims its revenues from violations “could approach $5 million a year just from that intersection.”

Fast-forward to February of 2016, when Sen. Sandoval appeared with Gov. Rauner at a press conference in support of the Managed Lanes Project.

On Wednesday, Rauner even gave Sandoval a shout-out during a press conference, calling him a “good friend of mine,” who, Rauner said “stood with me and said ‘Let’s do a privately financed new lane both ways on I-55′… Everybody wanted it… the leaders in the House wouldn’t approve it.”

* On the bright side, this story may show that Rauner can get involved in the traditional horsetrading of governance. Some, however, may not view this so positively.

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      


Ricketts’ Wrigleyville rooftops benefit from “mom and pop” tax break

Friday, Sep 22, 2017

* Back in 2000, the Cook County Board approved a new law designed to help “mom and pop” business owners who had an apartment or two above their storefronts. The break was for smaller buildings (under 20,000 square feet). Under the new law, the buildings were taxed based on 10 percent of their assessed value (the residential rate) rather than 25 percent (the business rate). That’s turned out to be just swell for some Wrigleyville businesses, including rooftop bars owned by the Ricketts family

The Sun-Times examined the property taxes of 65 buildings with bars, restaurants and other businesses around Wrigley Field. The newspaper found that the assessor has classified 32 of them as residential because they include at least one apartment — which doesn’t even need to be occupied to earn the tax break.

Collectively, those 32 properties paid $1.6 million in taxes this year. That’s about $2 million less than they would have paid if they were taxed as commercial property, the Sun-Times found.

A caveat: Had the law never been passed, it’s unlikely the properties’ owners would have paid that full $2 million, as they’d undoubtedly argue that some parts of their buildings should be taxed as commercial and others as residential. Still, those so-called split assessments would generate more tax revenue from those buildings than are currently paid, experts say.

The properties include 13 apartment buildings along Sheffield and Waveland avenues where fans flock to rooftops to watch the Cubs play. Over the past few years, the Ricketts family has bought 10 of those buildings, paying $872,933 on them in property taxes this year — about $1.3 million less than they would have paid if they were classified as commercial real estate.

Go read the whole thing. Sheesh.

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      


It would’ve been a very tough campaign for Lisa Madigan

Friday, Sep 22, 2017

* Scott Reeder claims this

Republican polling found [Lisa Madigan’s] approval rating about 34 percent, hardly a surprise after Gov. Bruce Rauner spent tens of millions of dollars attacking the Madigan name.

I checked around and was told that’s true, but she was leading Erica Harold by 10 points in the head-to-head.

As I’ve already written, she was guaranteed to face a brutal and seriously ugly campaign.

* Meanwhile, from Chicago’s 39th Ward Democratic organization…

*** SPECIAL GUEST THIS SATURDAY ***

Our friend and fellow committeeman Aaron Goldstien has thrown his hat into the ring for Illinois Attorney General. Aaron will join us to share his vision on this important position. Similar to us here in 39, Aaron took on the Machine and won, beating Dick Mell in 2016. He is a Public Defender and champion of social justice. Come this Saturday at 10AM to hear more!

Goldstein is the 33rd Ward Committeeman.

Everybody wants to get into the act.

* Related…

* Potential Lisa Madigan successors scramble to raise campaign cash

* Madigan kicks off whirlwind

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      


Question of the day

Friday, Sep 22, 2017

* Daily Chronicle

State Rep. Bob Pritchard and state Sen. Dave Syverson didn’t pretend to know the answer to a question posed by Laurie Borowicz, president of Kishwaukee College: What happens next year, when it’s time to pass another budget?

“I think that’s the unanswered question,” Pritchard, R-Hinckley, said Thursday during the Unplugged Politics event at the Genoa Veterans Home. “It all comes down to what [Gov. Bruce Rauner] will propose in his budget address, and what the Legislature will craft, and whether those two can come together. Those are unknowns. We’re in an election cycle. Having gone through these first two years, and the reaction we’ve gotten, that could have some impact.

“Politics has gotten too big of a play in Illinois, as well as nationally.”

* WGLT

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz said a looming state election cycle could hold new budget negotiations hostage.

Dietz told the campus community during his State of the University speech on Thursday that possibility is tempering his essential optimism and forcing planners to come up with contingencies in case stopgap budgeting returns.

Dietz says the last two years of deadlock reduced ISU funding by $51 million compared to budgets frozen at 2015 levels.

* The Question:  What do you think will happen with the budget next year?

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      


Legislative move shines light on antiquated law

Friday, Sep 22, 2017

* The new state budget authorized $297 million in transfers out of the Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax Fund, and that is having an impact on some school district which thought they would be held harmless like every other district when the new school funding reform bill was enacted

“We certainly now have huge red numbers, because of the diversion of CPPRT and the estimate of this year compared to last year.” [said Vic Zimmerman, superintendent of Monticello schools] […]

CPPRT was created when local units of government gave up their power to tax businesses in 1979. It basically promises local government units, including schools, the same money they got in corporate and personal taxes from corporations back in the 1970s — even for companies that no longer exist. CPPRT isn’t much of a factor in funding school districts that never had big corporations in their areas. But in areas that had major manufacturing plants in the 1970s, CPPRT is crucial, as Zimmerman can attest.

“I was superintendent at St. Joseph-Ogden before I came here, and we got $30,000 in CPPRT,” he says. “Then I come over here and I see we’re getting, you know, $6.5 million, and I’m like: What’s this?”

In the 1970s, Monticello was home to Americana Healthcare, Illinois Power, and General Cable. During the height of the cable television boom, General Cable company supplied most of the fiber for the nation, Zimmerman says. Like Illinois Power, General Cable is long gone, but the amount of their tax contributions — frozen in CPPRT — added up to 40 percent of Monticello Schools’ budget.

Monticello will lose $900,000.

But, man, we sure have some weird laws in this state.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      


Chicago FOP wants halt to new use of force policy

Friday, Sep 22, 2017

* Sun-Times yesterday

Chicago Police Department leaders on Thursday unveiled a timeline for training officers on the department’s newly redesigned use-of-force policy.

By Oct. 15, when the new policy goes into effect, every sworn member of the department will have completed a four-hour “base course that introduces and familiarizes officers with the policy,” First Deputy Supt. Kevin Navarro said.

In 2018, officers will be required to take an eight-hour “scenario-based instruction that will give officers hands-on experience with the guidelines that they learned in the new policies,” he added.

The cornerstone of the policy, Navarro said, “is the sanctity of life.” […]

Aside from use of force, courses will focus on officers’ and civilians’ mental health, civil and human rights, pursuits of criminal suspects and court testimony, among other topics, according to the department.

* And today, the Sun-Times reports that the police union wants the Illinois Labor Relations Board to stop the change to the new use-of-force policy

The FOP, which represents rank-and-file CPD officers, says implementing the new policy violates its contract because the changes were not negotiated with the union. […]

In a news release, the police union says the changes to the use-of-force policy “would affect, at a minimum, disciplinary investigations, witness statements required to be made by officers, and just cause issues.”

The FOP says its petition, filed Friday, also argues that the city’s implementation of the new policy “is part of a pattern of making unilateral changes” without negotiating them and demands the city cease and desist implementing any changes.

“We oppose this policy and the manner in which the City has attempted to impose it, and so we are immediately filing charges with the state Labor Board. The City is not negotiating in good faith, and, frankly, we are tired of it,” FOP President Kevin Graham said in a statement.

The full press release is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      


GOP turkey shoot event image with Madigan’s visage pulled down

Friday, Sep 22, 2017

* From a reader…

* I forwarded the pic to the ILGOP and asked for a response…

Hi Rich,

From what we can tell, the picture was posted to an event page for the Franklin County GOP. I spoke with the Franklin County Chairman, Jim Kerley, a minute ago and he says the Franklin County GOP has nothing to do with it. Jim has also asked the person responsible for posting the picture to take it down immediately. If you would like to follow up with Jim, his cell number is xxx-xxx-xxxx.

With that said, you can attribute the following quote to me.

“The Illinois Republican Party condemns violence in all forms and we ask anyone involved in creating these shirts to stop immediately.”

Drew Collins
Illinois Republican Party

* So, I called Chairman Kerley. He said he didn’t know about the t-shirt until the state party called him. “I don’t have internet out here where I live,” he said.

Kerley said he called the person responsible and found out the intention was to sell the t-shirt at the event.

“I told him to get it off and squash it,” Kerley said.

“We’re just trying to have a turkey shoot, but stuff like that is gonna hurt us more than it’s gonna gain us.”

The Facebook event page that formerly contained the image is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      


Drury could benefit from contribution cap loophole

Friday, Sep 22, 2017

* The Daily Herald’s Kerry Lester has an interesting piece about Rep. Scott Drury’s rebooted campaign for attorney general. While he was running for governor, Drury raised some contributions above the state caps which apply to his current AG race, but didn’t apply at the time to the governor’s race because Chris Kennedy busted those caps months ago: $5,600 from individuals and $11,100 from corporations

Heiji Black of Chicago gave Drury $5,600 on June 29, and then another $5,000 on June 30. Black also paid for about $1,500 in food and beverages for a Drury event at the Arts Club of Chicago in late May, records show.

Joyce Black of Deerfield gave Drury $250 on June 14, and then another $10,000 on June 29.

So, does he have to give that money back?

* The State Board of Elections doesn’t plan to do anything about it as of now

Ken Menzel, general counsel for the State Board of Elections, said the board doesn’t plan to take any action in Drury’s case but might look at changes to rules or state law to address similar instances in the future.

Kent Redfield, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois Springfield and a leading campaign finance expert, said it’s potentially problematic to have candidates change their minds on which office they’re seeking and be able to use donations intended for other purposes.

Ethically, Redfield said, Drury “would have to segregate the money, and (not use) anything in excess of what the contribution limits are for attorney general.”

Drury didn’t respond to Lester’s inquiry, by the way.

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller   6 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 - ILGOP responds *** Report: Madigan pushing back against pop tax

Friday, Sep 22, 2017

* Greg Hinz

In an usual split between two powerful Chicago politicians who are normally allied, signs are rapidly growing that Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is trying to kill off Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s penny-an-ounce tax on soda pop and other sweetened beverages.

Knowledgeable sources in both Chicago and Springfield say Madigan fears the highly controversial tax, combined with city property tax hikes and a boost in the state income tax and other levies, has created a toxic brew that threatens Democratic House members representing suburban Cook County.

Madigan has two potential routes to success. One is to throw his support to repealing the tax when the Cook County Board meets next month, something some sources say already is in motion. Preckwinkle has vowed to resist a repeal, but at least three key swing votes on the board are undecided, two of them close to Madigan.

The other route is to pass legislation in Springfield overturning the tax. A bill to do so has been introduced, and several endangered Democrats from suburban Cook are co-sponsoring it, something that almost certainly would not happen without the speaker’s blessing and maybe direction. […]

According to my sources, Madigan and Preckwinkle talked some weeks ago and the speaker flatly asked Preckwinkle to drop the tax amid signs that the measure was increasingly unpopular with tax-weary voters. She refused.

Go read the whole thing.

One of those “swing votes” mentioned above is Ed Moody, one of Madigan’s top field guys. And the treasurer of the PAC that’ll be funding anti-pop tax candidates is Mike Kasper, who is Madigan’s chief outside counsel.

*** UPDATE ***  ILGOP…

Madigan Opposes Pop Tax, Creates Divide Among Chicago Democrats
Now that it’s clear Mike Madigan opposes the Pop Tax, it remains to be seen if his designated choice for governor, J.B. Pritzker, will take action

While Toni Preckwinkle kicks the can down the road, pushing off a Pop Tax repeal plan until after a committee hearing next month, her political patron Mike Madigan is trying to kill it.

With his opposition, Chicago Democrats find themselves in a bind. If they take action on the Pop Tax now, it’s clear they are Madigan cronies simply following the leader. If they continue to bury their head in the sand, they ignore the 87% of Cook county residents who oppose the bill.

From the Chicago Tribune:

    So tell us again, Cook County commissioners, that the beverage tax will make residents healthier. Tell us how adding more than a third to the price of a sugar-free sports drink protects our children. Tell us why that candy bar is OK.

    Or tell us the truth, which is that you didn’t set out to reduce obesity, diabetes and heart disease — you set out to make $200 million a year without raising property taxes. That health shtick is a pretense plainly contradicted by that untaxed Reese’s sugar-and-fat bomb. Do you think taxpayers are stupid?

    Think again.

So, if Democratic commissioners flip-flop on the pop tax they are “Madigan cronies.” Hmm.

- Posted by Rich Miller   59 Comments      


Poshard backs Pritzker

Friday, Sep 22, 2017

* Press release…

Today, Glenn Poshard announced his endorsement of JB Pritzker for governor. Poshard has spent over three decades in public service in Southern Illinois, serving as a member of the State Senate, Congress, founder of the Poshard Foundation for Abused Children, and President of Southern Illinois University.

“I am so proud to have the endorsement of a distinguished leader like Glenn Poshard,” said JB Pritzker. “He has served his community in so many different ways and changed the state for the better with his commitment to public service. As an elected official, an advocate for children, and an educator, Glenn Poshard has always fought for what’s right. I’m humbled to have him as a partner in this campaign and as we continue building our grassroots, statewide movement.”

“I was really impressed with JB Pritzker. Not only his background and experience in job creation himself, but what he would like to do with the state of Illinois and how he would like to do it,” said Glenn Poshard. “He stands up for working men and women. That’s one of his greatest attributes. Union wages and benefits built the middle class of America, and that’s what JB Pritzker understands more than anybody else in this race. He embraces the great principles of our party including equalizing educational opportunities for all of our children and protecting the most vulnerable among us and that’s important to me. He has both the head and the heart of a really good leader in government.”

* The video

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      


Rep. Reggie Phillips is the latest to retire

Friday, Sep 22, 2017

* Not unexpected

State Rep. Reggie Phillips, R-Charleston, will not be running for a third term.

Phillips said he will be sticking to his two terms as he said he would despite interest later on to go for a third. The 64-year-old representative is ready to put more time and energy into his family, he said Thursday.

Chris Miller, an Oakland farmer, is currently the only person still interested in taking up the mantle for the 110th State District. Republican candidate Jeremy Yost of Charleston ended his campaign to run last week.

I think it may have been his vote for the tax hike that surprised me the most. I mean, the guy just didn’t fit the profile. But he just went ahead and did it and then he voted for the veto override despite enormous pressure.

* More

Phillips denied that his decision had anything to do with the recent vote on the state budget that led to a controversial tax hike. He is confident he would’ve gotten a third term had he run.

Phillips still stands firmly behind his vote. He said he believes he has explained his reasoning to those in the 110th District and that most understand, even if they don’t agree.

“It was a ridiculous fight,” Phillips said, looking back on the budget stalemate. “It was just detrimental (voting against the budget measures).”

It is time to wrap up his work in Springfield, Phillips stated.

“I think I should get on my horse and ride off into the sunset,” he said.

* Related…

* Oakland man to seek Republican nod for state House seat

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      


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