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House returns to session next week, but gallery will be closed to public during Pritzker’s address

Thursday, Jan 27, 2022

* The governor told reporters earlier today he plans to deliver his address in-person…

Speaker Welch announced on Thursday that House members will return to Springfield for legislative session next week.

“With the decline of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we are ready to get back to Springfield while remaining cautious and vigilant in this pandemic,” said House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch. “Our goal is to be productive while also keeping everyone safe, so masking and social distancing policies will still be in place. I want to encourage everyone to get their vaccine and booster, and take advantage of the SHIELD testing opportunity on the Capitol complex.”

Session is scheduled for Tuesday, February 1st until Thursday, February 3rd.

The House is also happy to welcome Governor JB Pritzker to deliver his annual State of the State and Budget Address on Wednesday, February 2nd. As part of the ongoing effort to ensure the safety of those in attendance, there will be capacity limits within the chamber and the gallery will remain closed to the public. Guidelines for members of the media will be forthcoming.

- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      

Question of the day

Thursday, Jan 27, 2022

* “Gov. J.B. Pritzker, left, joins Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin at an event to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations at Cathedral of Grace St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church in Aurora in March 2021″

* The Question: Your caption?

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Campaign notebook

Thursday, Jan 27, 2022

* Dave Dahl talked with Republican state treasurer candidate Rep. Tom Demmer

Demmer is part of a “slate” headed by Aurora mayor Richard Irvin and funded by Chicago hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin. The candidates have been unavailable to reporters until now, but Demmer dismissed a question about that, saying it will be a long campaign for all of the candidates to talk about all kinds of things.

Demmer said Irvin has won the mayor’s race twice and is a proven leader.


With news this week of an effort to save taxpayer money and eliminate redundancies in state government by consolidating the state Treasurer and Comptroller’s offices, we thought it would be helpful to explore all the different positions Treasurer Mike Frerichs has taken on the issue.

Frerichs confusing consolidation history:

FOR: In 2011, Frerichs voted to consolidate the office as a state senator in the 97th General Assembly. Good job Mike!

AGAINST: In 2014 during his first campaign for Treasurer, he flip-flopped and criticized a plan to consolidate offices. Mike, what happened?

FOR: Immediately following the above referenced flip-flop, Frerichs restated his previous support for office consolidation. The State Journal-Register noted the change saying, “Frerichs again supports combining state’s fiscal offices.” Mike, now it’s time to follow through!

AGAINST?: After finally landing on the right position of support for office consolidation, Frerichs hasn’t lifted a finger to make it happen since being sworn-in as Treasurer in January, 2015. Treasurer Frerichs has not supported any of the legislative efforts to consolidate the offices of Treasurer and Comptroller even though his party has held majorities in the General Assembly his entire time in office. You’ve let us down, Mike.

“The only thing Mike Frerichs stands tall for are tax hikes and the status quo of bloated and wasteful state government,” said ILGOP Spokesman Joe Hackler. “Frerichs aggressively supported Governor Pritzker’s 2020 tax hike amendment, spoke positively of the possibility of taxing retirement income, and has done nothing to save taxpayer dollars by consolidating offices, despite ample opportunity.”

* Red meat…


The Illinois Republican Party calls on JB Pritzker to end his silence on his Madigan corruption.

Will Pritzker release all communications between the Office of the Speaker of the House and the Governor’s office, the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, and/or the Illinois Department of Transportation?

Will Pritzker release all communications between the Governor’s Office and both the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Transportation regarding Rebuild Illinois projects?

Will Pritzker release the full Madigan project list?

The governor did a press conference today, but not a single question was asked on this topic. Reporters might be reading the releases, but they don’t care enough to ask about them.


Hi there –

The DCCC added seven new names to its list of vulnerable members today, bringing the total number to 32.

Among the new additions: Bill Foster.

NRCC Comment: “It’s no surprise that Bill Foster is one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the country. At every turn, he continues to support Nancy Pelosi’s toxic socialist agenda that has led to skyrocketing inflation and rising crime.” –NRCC Spokeswoman Courtney Parella

Courtney Parella
Regional Press Secretary

* Press release…

When Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau announced his candidacy on November 22nd, it was already more than halfway through the fourth quarter of the campaign fundraising calendar. Yet in the span of only six weeks, Pekau’s campaign raised $130,000. This impressive fundraising haul reiterates Pekau’s frontrunner status in the GOP primary for Illinois’ 6th Congressional District.

Keith Pekau offered the following statement on his fundraising announcement: “This is just the beginning in our fight to put people over politics. From the moment I announced my candidacy, it was clear that Marie Newman, Sean Casten, and Nancy Pelosi were seriously threatened by our campaign. On both sides of the aisle, I am the only candidate in the 6th District that has a proven record of making our neighborhoods safe, improving the economy, and lowering taxes. People throughout the district agree our mainstream values aren’t represented by the far-left and it’s time to put the needs of our families over politics.”

Pekau’s fundraising momentum continues into 2022, with major fundraisers being hosted throughout the district by respected local leaders. Pekau’s fundraising news follows the rollout of a massive endorsement slate including state representative Tim Ozinga, former state representatives Jeanne Ives and Margo McDermed, Cook County Commissioner and Cook County Republican Party Chairman Sean Morrison, 10 local mayors, former Orland Park Police Chief and Secret Service Agent Tim McCarthy, and Will County Board Member Mike Fricilone.

As mayor, Pekau has established himself as the suburban bulwark against the frightening increase in crime because of politicians like Kim Foxx and other members of the far-left. Pekau has enacted reforms in Orland Park that brought crime in the village to its lowest rate in a quarter century. He has cut spending, lowered taxes, and grown the local economy, earning him high marks and support not just from his village but the surrounding region.

*** UPDATE *** Press release…

Friends of Mark Curran, the official committee to elect Mark Curran, Jr. to the Illinois Supreme Court, District 2, has announced today, the launch of the official campaign website:

Visitors may donate, volunteer, download the petition to secure Mark’s name on the ballot and read the case for his being the best choice in the primary and the best fit on the court.

Mark Curran has served as the Attorney General’s Gang Crimes Bureau Chief, a senior prosecutor, the longest elected Sheriff of Lake County and most recently, he was the Republican Candidate against Dick Durbin for U.S. Senate.

Lots of 1/6 stuff on his Facebook page.

…Adding… That’s a big local…

Today, U.S. Congressman Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove) announced he has been endorsed by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 881, which represents tens of thousands of workers employed in retail food and drug stores throughout Illinois.

“Rep. Sean Casten is a progressive champion who always stands with working people and has a clear record of bringing people together,” said Steve Powell, President of UFCW Local 881. “We can’t afford to lose his voice in Congress and that’s why we’re proud to endorse him.”

Rep. Casten has previously been endorsed by seven other unions and also received the recommendation for re-election by the DuPage County Build and Construction Trades Council, which is composed of 30 unions throughout the Chicagoland area. Working people and labor unions across the 6th District are strongly backing Rep. Sean Casten and his record of fighting for working families.

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      

Do better, DCFS

Thursday, Jan 27, 2022

* The SJ-R ran a story this week on safety and de-escalation training for DCFS frontline employees, in the wake of the recent murder of a DCFS worker, and presented conflicting claims which were left up in the air...

[American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch] pointed out that training for [DCFS] workers on threat identification and de-escalation had initially been planned. Management developed training with Illinois State Police and trained trainers but didn’t launch staff training, Lynch said. […]

[William McCaffrey, a spokesperson for DCFS] said de-escalation training is included in safety training that all new hires undergo.

All investigators go through a six weeks “foundations” training, which includes safety as part of it, he said. Once an investigator reports to the field, the investigator continues on-the-job training with his or her supervisor, which includes safety modeling.

Within 90 days of their start date, all investigators are required to complete workplace and field safety training, McCaffrey added.

The agency also has safety reboot training that covers the safety for the child and investigator. The training was put in place and mandatory for all staff in July 2019, he said.

* I reached out to Anders Lindall at Council 31 yesterday and he offered this explanation…

The “foundations” training McCaffrey refers to is online due to COVID. It is only for new hires.

The ISP deescalation training was supposed to be in-person and for everyone. It is now also only on video and only for new hires.

Clearly we are talking about in-person safety-specific training in threat assessment and de-escalation for everyone. That doesn’t exist now.

A real world example: a few years ago in the Cairo office an employee was attacked by an angry mom with a knife. The employee just happened to have come from previously working in IDOC so she had been trained in self-defense tactics.

She covered her heart with her hand and was stabbed in the hand. She turned off the lights and dropped to the floor to make it more difficult for the attacker to get to her until another employee heard and came to her assistance.

Employees need better training and tools to be safe in the field. We have a comprehensive list of such essential measure that we’re seeking. We d a legislative briefing via Zoom with several DCFS employees and members of relevant committees on them last night in fact.

…Adding… Capitol News Illinois

An emergency housing facility at the center of court case that led to the state’s Department of Children and Family Services director being held in contempt of court was the subject of 161 service calls to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department in 2021.

The 12-bed facility is the Southern Thirty Adolescent Center near Mount Vernon. It is run by Lutheran Children and Family Services, and has a $1.9 million contract to house children in DCFS custody aged 11 to 17.

The facility is designed as a temporary shelter, offering children access to educational, mental health and other appropriate services for up to 30 days.

But DCFS spokesman Bill McCaffrey said the average stay there is 107 days.

It’s the same facility where DCFS placed a 13-year-old boy, identified only as C.R.M. in court documents, in emergency custody for months despite a judge’s order to move him to a more appropriate setting. Earlier this month Cook County Judge Patrick T. Murphy cited DCFS Director Marc Smith for contempt for failing to relocate the boy to a therapeutic foster home.

- Posted by Rich Miller   2 Comments      

It’s just a bill

Thursday, Jan 27, 2022

* All that screaming and moaning over $20 million in a $16.7 billion city budget. That’s 0.12 percent. Crain’s

Last spring, over Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s objections, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill boosting benefits for retired Chicago firefighters.

That bill doubled the cost of living adjustments, or COLAs, for roughly 2,200 firefighters and eliminated a 30% cap on cumulative COLA adjustments. It was sponsored by Rob Martwick in both chambers of the General Assembly, because Martwick—whose Chicago district includes many police and firefighters—moved from the House to the Senate in June of 2019. It had the support of Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2.

Both Lightfoot and fiscal watchdog the Civic Federation railed against the legislation, warning it would cost taxpayers more than $850 million over 35 years.

Now we have a full tally of the price. It’s a bit lower than the city’s dire estimates, but it’s still steep. According to an analysis performed by Segal, the actuary for the Firemen’s Annuity & Benefit Fund of Chicago, the city will have to chip in an additional $702 million in statutory contributions through 2055—an average of $20 million per year—due to the law. […]

Now Martwick says he’s going to pursue a similar bill to codify benefits for police officers in this legislative session. “You can’t calculate (long-term costs) if you’re hiding a benefit. It’s the right thing to do to protect taxpayers now and into the future. I’m going to pursue it.”

* Press release…

Today, One Fair Wage, a national nonprofit that advocates on behalf of restaurant workers, along with State Rep. Camille Lilly, Women Employed, and local restaurant owners and workers announced the One Fair Wage Act (House Bill 5139), which would end the subminimum wage in Illinois.

The legislation is being announced in response to a wage shortage crisis across Illinois; One Fair Wage says raising wages for restaurant workers who work for subminimum wages is critical to helping the industry recover. One Fair Wage has tracked over 200 restaurant owners in IL who have voluntarily raised wages for tipped workers; this bill would create a level playing field for these responsible restaurant owners and help them fully reopen by sending a signal to millions of workers that wage increases will be permanent.

Earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently estimated that 4.5 million people quit their jobs in November - with 1 million of those workers leaving jobs in the restaurant or hotel industries. While overall, 3% of the total workforce quit in November - that rate was double in the restaurant industry - suggesting that rather than a labor shortage, workers have been quitting this sector due largely to low wages.

“Tens of thousands of Illinois tipped workers have left the restaurant industry and are not willing to return until they can earn a full and fair wage—with tips on top. Illinois workers deserve to earn a wage that allows them to support themselves and their families,” said State Rep. Lilly.

“Nine of Illinois’ fifteen lowest paying jobs are tipped occupations and women are the majority in over half of them,” said Women Employed’s President and CEO Cherita Ellens. “This poverty burden falls disproportionately on women, and in particular women of color. We can continue to talk about closing the wealth gap, but we have to be willing to make the hard decisions and change policies that perpetuate long-standing inequities. Women Employed is committed to building the economic power of women in Illinois and is proud to co-lead the Illinois coalition to ensure a full and fair wage for all, and we are thankful to Rep. Camille Lilly for her leadership on this issue.”

“It is no wonder that workers are exiting the leisure and hospitality industry en masse,” said Saru Jayaraman, President of One Fair Wage. “The last two years of this horrendous pandemic have been more than a hard time for restaurant and hospitality workers –– especially tipped workers who have been struggling with subminimum wages. Looking at the data and speaking to workers, the crisis in Illinois’ restaurant industry is clear. If the industry is to survive, the state must raise the wage and pay tipped workers a full livable wage with tips on top.”

Mo Carter, owner of MJB Restaurant Group, stated the following in support of the bill, “Part of the matter of “The Great Resignation” is the right to earn not just a livable wage but a life-sustaining one. Consistent, strong staff are the support beams to ownership and they’re relying on their employers to recognize that worth.”

“Now is the time to end the subminimum wage for tipped workers, by all means necessary,” said Antoinette J. Simmons, One Fair Wage Illinois worker leader.

* Press release…

llinois Senate Republicans are once again pushing for tougher ethics reforms that will hold politicians more accountable and better equip officials to investigate public corruption. On Jan. 27, they outlined several much-needed and long-overdue reforms to help restore Illinoisans’ faith in their state government.

“Year after year, study after study, Illinois continues to rank as one of the most corrupt states in the country by outlets such as Forbes, FiveThirtyEight, and the Washington Post. According to Forbes, Illinois has experienced the second highest number of federal public corruption convictions per capita,” said State Senator Jil Tracy, Chair of the Legislative Ethics Committee. “We must open the blinds in the smoke-filled back rooms, shine more light on politically-motivated activities, and make it easier for prosecutors to go after the bad actors who are out there.”

During the press conference, the Republican senators announced Senate Bill 3636, which they say will help ensure that lawmakers are looking out for their constituents rather than special interests, and give prosecutors and the Attorney General enhanced tools to effectively investigate and prosecute public officials who break the law.

“Our constituents expect us to be held to high ethical standards. They must know that we are adhering to the spirit of the law so that they can be confident that their representatives are representing them, not special interests,” said State Senator Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) “To regain the trust of the people of our state, we must close the loopholes that lawmakers have used and abused over the years.”

“Our legislation will finally implement a change in culture here in Illinois and allow us to have a government that is instilled with trust and integrity,” said State Senator Sally Turner (R-Beason). “Our constituents are tired of waiting. We must act now. It is time for legislators who have promised to combat corruption to keep their word.”

“General Assembly members are charged with representing Illinoisans, NOT serving their own personal interests,” said State Senator Sue Rezin (R-Morris). “State lawmakers must be held to higher standards of ethical behavior. With these reforms, we are working to hold them accountable and, in the process, restore some of the public trust that has been so terribly abused in recent years by politicians who have not served in good faith.”

“We have a real opportunity to finally bring about real, meaningful ethics reform that the state desperately needs,” said State Senator Brian Stewart (R-Freeport). “We cannot allow the progress we accomplished last year to be the end of our push for ethics reform. We must continue to fight for a better and more ethical government that every citizen of our state wants and deserves.”
Senate Bill 3636:

    • Prohibits a General Assembly member, their spouse, or any immediate family member from lobbying as long as the individual is a member of the General Assembly.
    • Prohibits a legislator during their term of office from negotiating employment with a lobbying firm (such as a job after their term of office), if that firm lobbies the General Assembly.
    • Strengthens the revolving door for General Assembly members to prohibit them from lobbying for 12 months after leaving office (currently 6 months).
    • Limits a lobbyist’s political activity so that anyone who is a lobbyist cannot be an officer for a candidate’s political committee or be a candidate supported by a political action committee.
    • Expands the authority of a statewide grand jury to investigate and indict offenses involving the corruption of a public official, to include theft, fraud, extortion, or a violation of the official misconduct and public contracts articles of the criminal code of 2012.
    • Expands Illinois’ R.I.C.O. law to include bribery, official misconduct, solicitation of misconduct, and legislative misconduct.

The announcement of Senate Bill 3636 comes on the heels of the resignation of former Legislative Inspector General, Carol Pope. Currently, that position remains vacant after Democrat members of the Legislative Ethics Commission have failed to accept the recommended candidate brought forward by an independent search committee.

“Democrats want to hand-pick their own watchdog. That is not OK,” said State Senator Don DeWitte (R-St. Charles). “It has been three weeks without a Legislative Inspector General, leaving legislators policing themselves. That is the complete opposite of how we gain back the public’s trust.”
On January 6, following Pope’s resignation, Senate Republicans announced Senate Bill 3030, which would give the Legislative Inspector General more power to investigate potential corruption.

Neither Senate Bill 3030 or Senate Bill 3636 have been released from the Senate’s Assignments Committee.

…Adding… The far right claims another legislative victory…

Good news! HB 4244, the bill that would have created a vaccine data registry by forcing doctors to provide your vaccine records to the Department of Public Health, is dead for this year. It was put into a subcommittee graveyard before it ever got a hearing in the Human Services Committee to which it was assigned.

Thousands filed witness slips and contacted their legislators to oppose the bill. Even those who had already filed witness slips did so again when it appeared that many had been removed. We are still looking into that issue, but may never get to the bottom of it. The fact is, they heard your voices loud and clear!

YOU made this defeat possible when YOU took action! This is exactly how “We the People” should work.

Thank you for partnering with us on this important issue and congratulations!

David E. Smith
Executive Director

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      

Another school district warns of “adaptive pause,” move to remote learning if DeVore wins in court tomorrow

Thursday, Jan 27, 2022

* Fox 2 St. Louis

The Edwardsville District #7 sent a letter home to families yesterday addressing it being named in two lawsuits over masks, exclusions, and COVID mitigation strategies.

The letter from the superintendent says there could be a ruling from a judge later this week and it could possibly end with children doing remote learning. […]

The superintendent says it is possible that the judge will determine that schools cannot enforce the use of masks in school for students and staff members. Masking is one of the district’s current mitigation strategies.

The letter states that even though COVID numbers are trending down in the district Madison County has a a 22% positivity rate.

The superintendent says if the health and safety of our students and staff cannot be guaranteed due to the high number of positive cases, there is the possibility that the district may have to implement a district-wide adaptive pause and move to remote learning.

The superintendent says he hopes this is not the scenario, but it is a possibility.

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      

Jesse Sullivan said he would “absolutely” use the National Guard to hunt down violent criminals, calls pandemic mandates “unAmerican”

Thursday, Jan 27, 2022

* WGN Radio’s John Williams interviewed Republican gubernatorial candidate Jesse Sullivan

John Williams: You, on your website, use the National Guard a lot. You would call them out even to hunt down violent criminals. Is that right?

Jesse Sullivan: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. As someone who, you know, you began with the commercial being on the civilian intelligence side over in Afghanistan, you see the power of our military and their abilities. And you look at the corrupt war zone that we have, a thousand murders in Cook County? That is a crisis that is 750, was the most lives we lost of our soldiers over in Afghanistan was the worst year of the war over there. We have to do something and have urgency. There are real people’s lives behind these stats. And it needs to be an all hands on deck situation, whereas the current governor wants to look the other way and make it a political football and all that. No, you use the resources at your disposal to save people’s lives.

We do have some military police in the Illinois National Guard. I briefly embedded with some in Iraq. But one thing I learned from that experience was that many if not most are also civilian police. So, calling out the National Guard means diminishing police forces in the members’ own communities. And, obviously, guard members who are not from an area would have limited abilities as crime detectives. Not even sure they have any training for that sort of mission.

Also, comparing soldier combat deaths to civilian murder deaths is not even apples to oranges.

* On to mandates

Williams: Do you support the mask mandates and the vaccine mandates?

Sullivan: Absolutely not. On day one, I would end those. I think they’re unAmerican. They’re hurting our children. Firing people who are not willing to get the vaccine, those frontline workers who have been taking on the burden of this crisis, and then you’re going to fire them? And then also the kids in schools and keeping them out of school, they put all the focus and energy on COVID. And these top-down mandates from Governor Pritzker who thinks he knows best. Well, he doesn’t, I would end those on day one.

- Posted by Rich Miller   58 Comments      

Harmon on retail theft proposals, items from a recent budget poll, pandemic laws and the state of American democracy

Thursday, Jan 27, 2022

* Brian Mackey interviewed Senate President Don Harmon this week. Let’s start with crime

Brian Mackey: House Republican Leader Jim Durkin is pushing for a new crime of organized retail theft punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Would you support something like that? Do you support moving back into the realm of enhancing penalties, as they say?

Senate President Don Harmon: I don’t think that penalty enhancements work. I think the real motivator is the swiftness and certainty that there will be some punishment. I know Leader Durkin went to the press room and made a big to-do about his proposal. Meanwhile, we Democrats have been working with the Illinois Retail Merchants Association that represents most of the businesses that are directly affected, and are working on putting together a plan that is sensible, that doesn’t revolve around penalty enhancements, but addresses the problem in a direct and honest way. I think you’ll see a significant proposal coming out of the Democratic caucuses in both the House and the Senate on that topic.

Mackey: Can you say more about what what that will look like if not increasing penalty enhancements, and how that will work?

Harmon: Part of it is trying to make sure we devote the resources to this to make sure that police departments have the personnel to tackle this particular problem. Part of it is trying to shut off the aftermarket. If people can’t sell these things they’ve stolen, easily, they will have much less of an incentive to steal them in the first place. And part of it is looking at how these organized crime rings are actually organized, and seeing if we can’t chip away at their ability to put these conspiracies into place.

Mackey: …There is this tension out there between, on criminal justice, you have progressive activists, who you know favor anything from sort of raising the dollar amount one can be convicted for on retail theft, to abolishing prison altogether. That’s on the one hand. And then on the other hand, you have people in economically distressed black communities that want more and better policing. How do you reconcile those competing demands on your side of the aisle?

Harmon: I think a good dose of common sense goes a long way. I don’t think there’s any reason to treat someone who steals baby formula and diapers the same way as someone who organizes a mass assault on a shopping mall, where 100 people simultaneously smash glass and steal goods. They’re both retail theft, but I think everyone can see the difference. And that’s why we’re trying to be smart on crime, and to draw those sorts of distinctions and actually hold people accountable for the gravity of what they do, not just merely checking the box of a particular crime or not.

* Mackey also asked Harmon about some poll questions I posted the other day about the state budget

Mackey: I’d kind of like to ask if you support or oppose some of these ideas. One would be for as you just mentioned, freezing property taxes statewide for the budget year.

Harmon: Freezing property taxes is something that’s been entertained before. Simple solutions to complicated problems are rarely simple or solutions. It’s maybe something that we could do for a year, but it’s not going to solve the problem. I think if we’re going to tackle property taxes, honestly, we have to do it more holistically. Again, the Fair Tax would have been the precursor, in my view to significant property tax reform. But we’re gonna have to go back to the drawing board based on the results of the referendum on that question.

Mackey: …There’s been a lot of attention on inflation. So this poll also asked about eliminating the scheduled increase to the gas tax, or maybe suspending the grocery tax for a year.

Harmon: We’ve looked at issues like that. The the grocery tax actually is quite nominal. It’s only one and a quarter percent. And it all goes to local governments. The state long ago eliminated the state sales tax on groceries. So we could do it, but we wouldn’t provide a lot of relief for struggling families. The gas tax, we’ve been in the process of reconfiguring that to essentially devote all of the resources to improving our transportation system that has been neglected for decades. There’s a portion that still goes to the general revenue fund. I think we can look at that, but we don’t want to do something that is flashy showbiz but doesn’t provide real relief to people.

Mackey: What about the idea of direct cash payments? This was poll tested: $200 per child for every family earning less than $50,000 a year. And we’ve seen Andrew Yang proposing sort of, I mean, this goes to the universal basic income argument I guess. But, is there any appetite for that? Or is Illinois just maybe not in a fiscal position to even entertain something along those lines?

Harmon: I’m certainly in a position to entertain it. Republicans have done something like that in the past. It smacks of electoral politics, frankly. Now, that being said, the the federal program that provided a child tax credit was enormously successful and popular, a nice confluence of policy and politics working out. But that’s not going to be extended. So, certainly, I think that’s something we would look at, if it’s something that Illinois could afford. But I come back to that basic principle, a responsible and durable state budget is the foundation on which all these other opportunities has to be built.

* Pandemic

Mackey: Republicans have been making the point for, it’s going on two years now, that the General Assembly ought to be more engaged in the policy response, particularly when it comes to things like the mask mandates, test or vaccinate rules, business closures. The governor has been handling most of that through the executive department. Has the General Assembly ceded too much authority to the governor in terms of the pandemic response?

Harmon: A prior General Assembly sometime ago had the foresight to pass a law that said in times of pestilence the governor has certain extraordinary authorities to deal with that issue. And the governor has used that, I think, responsibly and effectively. The General Assembly remains a check on accesses. And we have been partners with the governor in passing budgets the last two years to make sure we’re devoting resources to small businesses and to families struggling in the in the wake of the pandemic. It’s a partnership. It’s a check, it’s a balance. But I think the governor is following the law enacted by a prior General Assembly that had never heard of COVID.

Mackey: Why not make the mask rules more codified though, for example? You could be triggers based on, you know, certain case rates or something like that in state law?

Harmon: By design, the legislative process is a bit slow. And these sorts of responses need to be nimble. If we put in some sort of a mandate, it would be difficult to withdraw it without essentially ceding control to the governor to lift it, for instance. I’m not entirely sure what the difference is. We could pass a law giving the governor the same powers that he has to react in real time, but essentially, that’s the framework we already have.

* On that Quinnipac poll we covered here

Mackey: …There was a recent Quinnipiac University poll that asked a sample of Americans whether they think the nation’s democracy is in danger of collapse. ‘Yes’ was the answer from 56% of Democrats, 57% of independents and 62% of Republicans. I guess that’s a rare example of bipartisan agreement, although sort of a horrifying one. Do you think American democracy is in danger of collapse?

Harmon: I don’t, but I’m glad we’re all worried about it, if that makes sense. Our democracy is a very fragile thing. I have great faith in its resilience. The longer I serve in this role, the more faith I have in the system, which sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true. But it won’t be resilient if we’re all not mindful of those risks. Democracy exists only so long as we all believe in it and work for it. So it’s troubling that so many of us are concerned about it. But in the end, that might be what saves it.

There’s more, so click here for the whole thing.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      

Small Shift, Big Impact. A Better World With Biodiesel.

Thursday, Jan 27, 2022

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Irvin hit on his National Guard claims, his 2018 Rauner endorsement and for touting support from a 1/6 conspiracy theorist

Thursday, Jan 27, 2022

* Heather Cherone at WTTW

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin’s opening argument in his bid to win the Republican nomination for Illinois governor touts his response to the protests and unrest triggered by the police murder of George Floyd in June 2020 as evidence of his tried and tested law-and-order first approach to crime and violence.

But the first salvo by Irvin in what promises to be a fiercely contested gubernatorial election erroneously claims he deserves credit for “calling out” the Illinois National Guard once the protests turned violent on June 1 and falsely claims that Chicago officials “did nothing to stop looting.”

Illinois law gives only the governor the authority to deploy the Illinois National Guard and set members’ mission and the rules that govern them, officials said. Pritzker acted in response to requests for help sent to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency by local leaders, officials said. […]

Irvin announced he would run for governor on Jan. 17 with the launch of a campaign website which also asserted that he had “called in the National Guard” as part of his claim to be “tough on crime and criminals.”

Irvin contrasts that approach with what he said happened in Chicago, where he said officials “did nothing to stop looting.”

However, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked Pritzker on May 31 to deploy 375 members of the National Guard to Chicago. Pritzker agreed, and said the troops would be tasked with closing down streets.

* Democratic Party of Illinois…

As Richard Irvin hits Day 10 of hiding from reporters and voters, let’s take a moment to remember what happened the last time a Republican held power in Illinois. From 2015 to 2017, Bruce Rauner’s budget impasse gutted human services, dropped our credit status to near junk, wasted billions in taxpayer money, and caused widespread crisis that we are still recovering from today. Just this week we were reminded of damage done when a new study from Northwestern University demonstrated the Rauner budget impasse triggered a spike in youth homicides.

Now, Bruce Rauner’s moneyman, Ken Griffin, and Rauner’s old campaign team are teaming up to try and re-install a slate of Raunerites to take our state backwards. The centerpiece of the Rauner Reboot is Irvin, a longtime admirer of the failed governor. In early 2018, Richard Irvin endorsed Bruce Rauner for re-election despite Rauner’s pitiful performance. Now, Rauner is calling Irvin a “good guy” who has the “best chance” of winning the GOP primary.

While Irvin continues to duck the media, at some point he will need to answer a basic question: what was it about Bruce Rauner’s disastrous tenure that led Irvin to endorse Rauner’s re-election campaign?

Irvin and the Rauner Reboot have been touting their plans to “Take Illinois Back,” but we all know what that really means: dark days for Illinoisans and an administration that doesn’t work for working families.

The Rauner comments about Irvin were from December, but Irvin wasn’t an official candidate then.

* Meanwhile, Richard Irvin’s new “Law Enforcement Advisory Council” includes Anthony Beckman, a police officer and Norwood Park Township Republican Committeeperson. I received this late yesterday, so you may have missed it…

The following is a statement from Illinois Senate Democrats Executive Director Magen Ryan:

“Richard Irvin might not talk to the press, but he’s making his disrespect for democracy painfully clear.

“How can Richard Irvin stack a “law enforcement advisory council” with someone who dishonored the memory of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick by calling the January 6th insurrectionists “patriots”? A candidate for Governor who embraces people spreading vulgar misinformation about the Presidential Election and the deadly attack on our Capitol police – and follows their guidance – is a threat to the future of our state and our nation’s democracy.

“How does surrounding yourself with people like Anthony Beckman, despite the violence they encourage, protect law enforcement? Add this to the list of questions Richard Irvin should have to answer whenever Ken Griffin allows him to speak.”

* OK, so who is Anthony Beckman? Well, for one, he was very excited about January 6, 2021

* Oops

* Yikes

* There’s lots more, but you get the idea.

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      

Rate Gov. Pritzker’s two new TV ads

Thursday, Jan 27, 2022

* Our Mission

* Transcript…

Anita Andrews-Hutchinson: Our mission? Help kids reach their fullest potential.

Our biggest obstacle? A few years ago, it was to get state government to pay our invoices.

Under Bruce Rauner, we were owed hundreds of thousands of dollars. Everybody’s job was at risk.

But JB Pritzker has helped turn things around.

Now the state pays bills on time.

JB understands that in order for me to do my job, he has to do his job.

I used to spend my time worrying about how we were going to keep our doors open, and now I spend my time thinking about our kids.

* Bill

* Transcript…

Bill Hincks: Our piping and fire protection systems are critical to buildings across the entire state of Illinois.

But under the Rauner administration, it was just constant delays.

The state’s finances were such a mess.

It was kind of a nightmare.

JB Pritzker knew things needed to change.

Now JB’s straightening out the state’s finances, passing balanced budgets, and getting bills paid on time.

He’s keeping us on the job. He’s keeping buildings up to date. In the process he’s saving Illinois money.

With JB, we’ve got a governor that’s working for us.

- Posted by Rich Miller   65 Comments      

Open thread

Thursday, Jan 27, 2022

* All lines are now open!

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      


Thursday, Jan 27, 2022

* Follow along with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comment      

* House returns to session next week, but gallery will be closed to public during Pritzker's address
* Question of the day
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Campaign notebook
* Do better, DCFS
* It's just a bill
* Another school district warns of "adaptive pause," move to remote learning if DeVore wins in court tomorrow
* Jesse Sullivan said he would "absolutely" use the National Guard to hunt down violent criminals, calls pandemic mandates "unAmerican"
* Harmon on retail theft proposals, items from a recent budget poll, pandemic laws and the state of American democracy
* Small Shift, Big Impact. A Better World With Biodiesel.
* Irvin hit on his National Guard claims, his 2018 Rauner endorsement and for touting support from a 1/6 conspiracy theorist
* Rate Gov. Pritzker's two new TV ads
* Open thread
* Yesterday's stories

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