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Question of the day

Thursday, Oct 21, 2021

* The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute has published an “exit essay” by our old pal Steve Brown

How does a three-month contract become a 38-year communications project? The ultimate gig economy job?

It was May 1983. Congressman Harold Washington won the Chicago mayoral general election. My then-boss, Mayor Jane M. Byrne, lost. Just days after the inaugural, my resignation was sought and accepted. No ill will. I expressed an offer to help the City Hall administration. It was not needed.

Included photo…

Pretty certain that was an overtime session day, hence the casual attire.

* The Question: Caption?

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      


Today’s must-read: The Good Part About ‘Waning’ Immunity

Thursday, Oct 21, 2021

* Katherine J. Wu at The Atlantic

In early March, Deepta Bhattacharya, an immunologist at the University of Arizona, celebrated a milestone: hitting the point of full vaccination, two weeks after getting his second Pfizer shot. Since then, he’s been watching the number of coronavirus antibodies in his blood slowly but surely decline.

The drop hasn’t been precipitous, but it’s definitely happening—regular checkups have shown his antibody levels, also known as titers, ticking down, down, down, from spring through summer, now into fall. The slump fits the narrative that countless reports have been sounding the alarm on for a while now: In the months after vaccination, our antibodies peace out, a trend that’s often been described as a “waning” of immunity, and evidence that we’re all in dire need of boosters to shore our defenses back up.

It all sounds, quite frankly, like a tragedy. But as Bhattacharya and others assured me, it’s really, really not. “All we hear about is titers,” says Stephanie Langel, an immunologist at Duke University. That fixation “misses an entire nuance.” Antibodies are supposed to peter out; that’s why they always do. Still, even as our antibodies are dwindling in absolute quantity, these scrappy molecules are enhancing their quality, continuing to replace themselves with new versions that keep improving their ability to bring the virus to heel. Months after vaccination, the average antibody found in the blood simply has higher defensive oomph. “That’s why I hate the word waning,” Jennifer Gommerman, an immunologist at the University of Toronto, told me. “Antibody levels are declining, but something good is happening too: The immune response is evolving.”

The focus on antibody counts alone actually does a disservice to our understanding of immunity, experts told me. Like a block of wood being hewn into a sharper blade, vaccinated immune systems can hone their skills over time. Part of waning certainly does mean fewer. But it can also mean better. […]

All this means that a slowdown in antibody production could, in a way, be seen as comforting. It’s a sign of an immune system that’s allocating its resources wisely, rather than working itself into a constant panic. Bhattacharya, for one, hasn’t been at all fazed by what’s happening to his antibodies, which, nearly eight months out, still look pretty freaking good, despite the numerical drops—because they still seem to be walloping the virus when he tests them in his lab. Langel says that’s standard. When she sees antibodies “waning,” she shrugs. “I say, ‘Look,’” she told me, “‘that’s the immune system, doing what it does.’”

Go read it all.

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      


Illinois unemployment rate 2 points higher than national rate

Thursday, Oct 21, 2021

* Press release…

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate fell -0.2 percentage point to 6.8 percent, while nonfarm payrolls increased by +9,300, in September, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The August monthly change in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report, from +2,500 to +7,400 jobs. The August unemployment rate was unchanged from the preliminary report, remaining at 7.0 percent.

The September payroll jobs estimate and unemployment rate reflects activity for the week including the 12th. The BLS has published FAQs for the September payroll jobs and the unemployment rate.

In September, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were: Leisure and Hospitality (+5,500), Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+3,700) and Construction (+2,500). The industry sectors that reported the largest monthly payroll declines were: Manufacturing (-2,800), Financial Activities (-1,100) and Professional and Business Services (-200).

“As we continue to work through the recovery period of the pandemic, IDES is committed to helping Illinoisans find their next job opportunity,” said Deputy Governor Andy Manar. “IDES encourages employers looking for jobseekers, and those looking to reenter the workforce, to take advantage of IllinoisJobLink.com and search for available jobs and jobseekers in their area.”

“As seen throughout the year, Illinois continues to make progress in bringing residents back to work, and stabilizing industries which have been severely impacted by the ongoing effects of the pandemic,” said DCEO Acting Director Sylvia Garcia. “While we are proud of the progress we’ve made to increase employment levels from last year, we can’t take anything for granted. That is why, in addition to continued proactive health measures to beat the virus, our administration remains focused on investments that will support impacted businesses, expand workforce training and deploy capital investment to help gradually and safely restore our economy to pre-pandemic levels.”

The state’s unemployment rate was +2.0 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for September, which was 4.8 percent, down -0.4 percentage point from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was down -3.6 percentage points from a year ago when it was at 10.4 percent.

Compared to a year ago, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +157,900 jobs, with gains across nearly all major industries. The industry groups with the largest jobs increases were: Leisure and Hospitality (+54,400), Professional and Business Services (+45,000), and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+26,200). Financial Activities (-7,900) was the only industry group that reported jobs losses. In September, total nonfarm payrolls were up +2.8 percent over-the-year in Illinois and +4.0 percent the nation.

The number of unemployed workers was down from the prior month, a -3.3 percent decrease to 421,700, and was down -36.2 percent over the same month for one year ago. The labor force was up +0.1 percent over-the-month and was down -2.2 percent over-the-year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and seeking employment. An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.

* AP

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to a new low point since the pandemic erupted, evidence that layoffs are declining as companies hold onto workers.

Unemployment claims dropped 6,000 to 290,000 last week, the third straight drop, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s the fewest people to apply for benefits since March 14, 2020, when the pandemic intensified. Applications for jobless aid, which generally track the pace of layoffs, have fallen steadily from about 900,000 in January.

Unemployment claims are increasingly returning to normal, but many other aspects of the job market haven’t yet done so. Hiring has slowed in the past two months, even as companies and other employers have posted a near-record number of open jobs. Officials such as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell had hoped more people would find work in September as schools reopened, easing child care constraints, and enhanced unemployment aid ended nationwide.

6,999 new claims were filed in Illinois last week, up 97 from the previous week.

* Illinois was featured in a recent CBS News story about childcare

It’s one approach meant to solve a critical problem made worse by the coronavirus: Helping parents find affordable child care while helping the centers attract and keep quality workers.

“You’ve got to pay the workers properly in order to keep this industry going and it already was in crisis, now worse so, it’s hobbling the economic recovery that most of the people, many of the people that are looking for work can’t find child care,” Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker told CBS News.

Pritzker has given child care workers $1,000 bonuses and offered three months of free care to parents looking for work.

“If we’re not investing in our young children, we’re creating a terrible future for ourselves,” Pritzker said. “We have to stop thinking about things in one-year increments. Investing in young children means that you’re gonna get a 20, 30, 40-year return.”

* People criticized IDES for not having enough login security, but the state warned that adding security layers would make it more difficult for some people to access their accounts because they wouldn’t be able to figure it out. Well, guess what happened

Imagine logging on to get your unemployment money, and getting an error message that keeps you locked out.

A new additional security system designed to prevent unemployment fraud is causing new problems for many claimants.

If the problem was on the state end, you gotta figure there’d be lots more complaints. I suppose we’ll see.

* More…

* Seasonal hiring runs into tight labor market: The latest federal data show job openings are already plentiful, allowing job seekers to be pickier about where they work. There were 10.4 million job openings in the U.S. at the end of August and 11.1 million openings the month before, the highest on record since at least December 2000, when the government started recording that figure. At the same time, the Labor Department said that the number of people quitting their jobs jumped to 4.3 million in August, up from 4 million in July.

* Illinois Department Of Employment Security Promised Money Back To Unemployment Recipients After Overpayment Waivers, So Where Are The Refunds?

* ‘If temperatures keep rising, it’s going to be hard to grow pumpkins in southern Illinois.’ Researcher on quest for a hybrid pumpkin.

* CTA set to slash fares in bid to boost ridership

* Editorial: One Central’s transit hub needs billions from taxpayers. Do taxpayers need One Central?

* What the feds can do to give Illinois an edge in the EV race. Dick Durbin writes: We are standing at the starting line of an electric vehicle revolution. If the federal government can complement Pritzker’s commitment, Illinois is poised to win.

* Uber opens new office in Old Post Office, making Chicago the center of growth plans for its surging freight business

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      


Remap roundup

Thursday, Oct 21, 2021

* Top Democrats have been saying this publicly since the moment the new maps were released

Illinois Democratic legislative leaders said privately Wednesday that revisions can be expected in their proposed map of the state’s congressional districts amid concerns within the party that some districts as drawn up now could flip to Republicans.

Press release last Friday

“This proposal is an excellent first draft that amplifies diverse voices and gives every person in our state a say in government,” said Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez, D-Cicero, Chairperson of the House Redistricting Committee. [Emphasis added.]

* This whole exercise has looked to me like a head fake for days now. The map is obviously not the overwhelmingly Democratic monstrosity that so many predicted and continue to claim it is. Instead of 14-3, it’s more like 11-3 with maybe three potential tossups (Lauren Underwood, Sean Casten, the vacant 17th and then there’s the Newman-Kinzinger pairing)…


* And this pining for Madigan and Mapes among the old-timers in the delegation really needs to stop. Their day is done

The explanation we’ve heard that makes the most sense is that Assembly leaders, in particular new House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch and the almost as new Senate president, Don Harmon, just weren’t ready for this one. After all, it’s been 10 years since the last remap, COVID has created turmoil everywhere, and delayed results from the 2020 Census forced some awkward last-minute juggling.

Put a different way, the ruling party no longer had an old pro on hand like the deposed speaker, Mike Madigan, who has been through the remap process numerous times. If nothing else, Madigan always knew how to ram a bill through and get it to stick while making most of the players—at least in his own camp—marginally happy. Though Welch and Harmon have done a pretty good job overall lately, Madigan’s absence on the remap may well have been felt.

In any event, this proposed map likely can be fixed without too much difficulty. Some other Democrats will have to sacrifice friendly territory to shore up Underwood and Newman. It all depends on people being reasonable—and on Welch and Harmon getting them to agree.

That last paragraph is absolutely spot-on. Delegation members are going to have to agree to give up some turf to help each other out and this thing gets wrapped up pretty quickly. Newman and Garcia, for instance, should finally acquiesce to a second Latino district, which will mean some sacrifices by both members, and likely by others in the delegation as well.

As I’ve been saying since the beginning, this remap proposal can be seen as a message to the delegation and to various other players. And one of those messages is the delegation needs to start cooperating with Springfield so they can help each other.

* Politico

The biggest concerns are that Rep. Marie Newman (3rd) and Rep. Lauren Underwood (14th) will remain in districts that are more conservative than they’d like. “Do they really want to spend $5 million every two years?” one source asked rhetorically.

Meh. That ain’t much of a bluff. They obviously both want to be in Congress. They’ll raise the money.

* And this nifty little list will give you an idea of how sparse Downstate is compared to Chicagoland…

Also, props to the SJ-R for correcting its story’s many mistakes. Politico offered no correction today.

* Related…

* Public speaks out on proposed congressional maps

* General Assembly holds congressional redistricting hearings

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      


Support Regulated Pet Stores And Defeat Puppy Mills

Thursday, Oct 21, 2021

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Illinois families will soon be losing their opportunity to purchase dogs and cats from safe, highly-regulated local pet retailers, such as Petland, who offer their customers the choice of a pet that best fits their needs and provide health warranties. This change is coming because the state’s Animal Welfare Act has been updated through HB 1711 which bans the retail sales of dogs and cats obtained from licensed and regulated professional breeders.

But HB 1711 needs fixing, because while singularly blocking retail pet sales, it fails to strengthen any animal standards or protections at unregulated puppy mills across the state. Consumers looking for particular breeds will have no choice but to purchase dogs from unregulated breeders or dog auctions – thus perpetuating puppy mills. Responsible breeders and retailers will be heavily penalized while HB 1711 does nothing to address the issue of substandard breeders across the state.

Petland is dedicated to improving animal welfare and we have publicly demonstrated this commitment; in fact, we support the Humane Society’s petition effort to improve standards of care. Petland’s breeder pledge is a commitment to provide more space, more exercise, and more socialization for their pets plus numerous other improvements to standards of care.

Home - Protect Our Pets Illinois

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


*** UPDATED x2 - Governor protected by “absolute privilege” of executive immunity - DeVore threatens lawsuit *** Pritzker calls DeVore a “grifter”

Thursday, Oct 21, 2021

* Background is here if you need it. Gov. Pritzker was asked today about attorney Tom DeVore’s handling of a lawsuit against 145 school districts over the mask mandate

Well, you know, he’s a grifter who is taking money from parents who are being taken advantage of. This is, we are trying to keep kids and parents and grandparents and teachers and everybody that’s in the community of the school safe. That’s my job as governor, that’s our job as elected officials.

And I have to say that, you know that going around and suing school districts and the governor and the Attorney General and everybody else in order to keep people less safe, that makes zero sense to me. So we’re gonna push back as hard as we can, certainly we’ll be in court.

The Attorney General, I just want to praise him and his staff. He has done an amazing job. You don’t want to spend all your time doing this, there are an awful lot of things that the Attorney General’s Office does to protect consumers out there. But the more you have to send lawyers out to fight these ridiculous lawsuits that are frankly making people less safe, that are harming our children, then you know, the less you can do to really lift up the entire state.

So I hope that the, you know, the reign of grifting and terror that he is trying to bring about in the school districts will come to and end.

*** UPDATE *** You knew this would happen

After Pritzker’s “grifter” comments, DeVore said Thursday afternoon he’s hired an attorney and will sue the governor for defamation for being called a thief.

“That’s an insult to each and every one of my clients that are trying to protect their children,” DeVore said in an interview. “Not only is it defamation against my character and my profession, it is an insult against every one of those parents who are trying to protect their children.”

Illinois Supreme Court, Blair v. Walker, 1976

We hold that the Governor is protected from actions for civil defamation by an absolute privilege when issuing statements which are legitimately related to matters committed to his responsibility. […]

We emphasize that today’s decision is not an endorsement of either the tenor or the content of the defendant’s statements concerning the plaintiffs. The Governor’s position could undoubtedly have been expressed to the people with language less calculated to injure the plaintiffs’ personal and professional reputations. While it is unfortunate that the application of executive immunity may occasionally deny relief to a deserving individual, the sacrifice is justified by the public’s need for free and unfettered action by its representatives.

- Posted by Rich Miller   77 Comments      


Illinois Supreme Court shoots down Cook County’s tax on firearms and ammo

Thursday, Oct 21, 2021

* Background

The Illinois Supreme Court this year will decide whether a Cook County tax on firearms and ammunition is unconstitutional on grounds taxes can’t be levied on items that allow people to exercise their “fundamental” rights.

The state’s high court last week heard arguments on a case where Cook County has twice been victorious in lower courts.

In 2012, the Cook County Board of Commissioners passed a $25 tax on firearms, followed a few years later by a per-cartridge tax on centerfire and rimfire ammunition.

The plaintiff in the case, “Guns Save Life”, a non-profit best known for erecting pro-gun signs on the side of highways, argues the intent of the tax was to make it more difficult for Illinoisans to purchase guns and violates their Second Amendment protections.

* The Illinois Supreme Court voted 6-0 to toss it out with Justice Anne Burke not taking part in the decision

The uniformity clause provides that, “[i]n any law classifying the subjects or objects of non-property taxes or fees, the classes shall be reasonable and the subjects and objects within each class shall be taxed uniformly. Exemptions, deductions, credits, refunds and other allowances shall be reasonable.” Ill. Const. 1970, art. IX, § 2.

Generally, to survive scrutiny, a nonproperty tax classification must (1) be based on a real and substantial difference between the people taxed and those not taxed and (2) bear some reasonable relationship to the object of the legislation or to public policy. Arangold Corp. v. Zehnder, 204 Ill. 2d 142, 147 (2003). Before this court, plaintiffs have abandoned their argument based on differences between tax classifications for centerfire and rimfire ammunition, distinctions between in- county and out-of-county purchasers, and any distinction between retail purchasers and those exempt from the tax, including law enforcement. Instead, the inquiry is primarily focused on the second prong, whether the taxing classification at issue— a special tax on the retail purchases of firearms and firearm ammunition—bears some reasonable relationship to the object of the legislation or to public policy.

This second prong is typically a narrow inquiry. While a municipality must “produce a justification” for its classification, we normally uphold a taxing classification as long as “a set of facts ‘can be reasonably conceived that would sustain it.’ ” Empress Casino Joliet Corp. v. Giannoulias, 231 Ill. 2d 62, 73 (2008) (quoting Geja’s Cafe v. Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority, 153 Ill. 2d 239, 248 (1992)). Once the municipality produces a justification, the plaintiff then has the burden to persuade the court that the explanation is insufficient as a matter of law or unsupported by the facts. Arangold, 204 Ill. 2d at 156. […]

Relying primarily on Boynton v. Kusper, 112 Ill. 2d 356 (1986), plaintiffs assert that the ordinances may not single out the exercise of a fundamental right for special taxation to raise revenue for the general welfare. Plaintiffs further argue that the firearm tax merely funds the general revenue fund and that neither the firearm nor the ammunition tax is specifically directed at gun violence prevention measures.

We agree that the ordinances impose a burden on the exercise of a fundamental right protected by the second amendment. At its core, the second amendment protects the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms for self-defense in the home. District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 635 (2008). In McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742, 778 (2010), the United States Supreme Court stated that “it is clear that the Framers and ratifiers of the Fourteenth Amendment counted the right to keep and bear arms among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty.” See also Johnson v. Department of State Police, 2020 IL 124213, ¶ 37 (“the second amendment right recognized in Heller is a personal liberty guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the fourteenth amendment” (citing McDonald, 561 U.S. at 791)).

While the taxes do not directly burden a law-abiding citizen’s right to use a firearm for self-defense, they do directly burden a law-abiding citizen’s right to acquire a firearm and the necessary ammunition for self-defense. See Illinois Ass’n of Firearm Retailers v. City of Chicago, 961 F. Supp. 2d 928, 938 (2014) (noting that the acquisition of firearms is a fundamental prerequisite to legal gun ownership); Jackson v. City & County of San Francisco, 746 F.3d 953, 967 (9th Cir. 2014) (the right to possess a firearm for self-defense implies a corresponding right to acquire the ammunition necessary to use them for self-defense).

This court has not yet considered the analytical framework for addressing a tax classification that bears on a fundamental right in the context of a uniformity clause challenge. Thus, we look to other contexts for guidance. In Boynton, we struck down a tax imposed upon those who applied for marriage licenses as violative of the due process clause. The statute required that $10 of the fee collected for issuing a marriage license must be directed into the Domestic Violence Shelter and Service Fund (see Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 40, ¶¶ 2403, 2403.1). Boynton, 112 Ill. 2d at 359-60. The plaintiffs challenged that portion of the license fee as an unconstitutional tax violative of due process and the uniformity clause. Id. at 360. […]

Under the plain language of the ordinances, the revenue generated from the firearm tax is not directed to any fund or program specifically related to curbing the cost of gun violence. Additionally, nothing in the ordinance indicates that the proceeds generated from the ammunition tax must be specifically directed to initiatives aimed at reducing gun violence. Thus, we hold the tax ordinances are unconstitutional under the uniformity clause.

Since our holding disposes of this case, we need not address plaintiffs’ additional challenges to the ordinances.

…Adding… Sun-Times

In a statement, a spokesman for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said the county is “disappointed” in the Illinois Supreme Court’s recent decision.

“We intend to meet with our legal counsel and determine any next steps that may be warranted,” the spokesman said. “It is no secret that gun violence continues to be an epidemic in our region. … Addressing societal costs of gun violence in Cook County is substantial and an important governmental objective.

“We continue to maintain that the cost of a bullet should reflect, even if just a little bit, the cost of the violence that ultimately is not possible without the bullet. We are committed to protecting County residents from the plague of gun violence with or without this tax.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      


Open thread

Thursday, Oct 21, 2021

* Have at it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      


*** LIVE COVERAGE ***

Thursday, Oct 21, 2021

* Follow along with ScribbleLive


- Posted by Rich Miller   Comment      


Question of the day

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021

* Photo from Hannah Meisel of Speaker Welch doing a mock press conference with PAR students…

* The Question: Caption?

- Posted by Rich Miller   45 Comments      


DeVore files Macoupin County lawsuit against more than 100 school districts over mask mandate

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021

* Just a warning that I may have missed some stuff because there’s a lot to this so click here and post whatever you find in comments and I’ll update as necessary

NOW COMES, Plaintiffs, individually, and on behalf of their minor children (hereinafter the minor children shall be collectively referred to as the “Students”) by and through their attorneys Thomas G. DeVore, Jeffrey A. Mollet and Erik D. Hyam, and the Silver Lake Group, Ltd., and for their Verified Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief against Defendants […]

Each of the Plaintiffs (other than North Mac Community School District #34 Parents which were already certified as a class), seek to represent a class of other parents or legal guardians who also have children who attend school within their respective School Districts. […]

Whether Students can be required to wear a mask while on the property of the School Districts, or be excluded from school and denied in-person learning without a lawful order of quarantine from the local health department having jurisdiction over such matters as to each particular School District, are two common questions to all putative class plaintiffs within each of the School Districts. […]

As a part of the School Districts’ back-to-school plans, all the Students are being mandated by the School Districts to wear a mask while on school property.

At all times relevant, the Students are involuntarily wearing masks while on the School Districts’ premises.

The Plaintiffs’ minor children will be excluded from the premises of their respective School Districts if he/she refuses to wear a mask.

In alleged conformity with the directives of Pritzker, IDPH and ISBE, the School Districts have adopted a policy which, without having obtained consent of a parent or legal guardian, or having obtained a lawful order of quarantine issued by the court on behalf of a local health department, will exclude the Students from the School Districts’ premises if a Student is deemed to have been in alleged close contact to a positive COVID person.

At all times relevant, the Students are not currently positive for COVID.

At all times relevant, the Students are not exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID.

All of the School Districts have implemented and are illegally enforcing the exclusion directives issued by Pritzker, IDPH and ISBE.

As such, all of the School Districts are currently engaging in the policy of excluding Students from their premises based upon a close contact determination which does not include consent of a parent, or a lawful order of quarantine having issued against the Students by the certified local health department or IDPH.

The lawsuit quotes a Fox News segment that we debunked here. And it makes this claim

The COVID-19 virus has been in existence for over 1 1⁄2 years, and as such the existence of this infectious disease could never be a sufficient basis for which to invoke the emergency rulemaking power of the Illinois Administrative Code.

* They also claim this

Quite simply, the Defendants are infringing upon the lawful right of the Students, and of their parents or guardians, to be free to choose for themselves whether mask wearing as a treatment, or type of modified quarantine, for the purpose of limiting the spread of an infectious disease, is, absent a court order, appropriate, especially where the Defendants have used, as a sword, direct and unabashed threats to the Students; right to an education if they refuse to comply.

* Among other things, they’ve asked the court to do this

Declaring, absent consent of the parents or guardians, the Defendants must have in their possession a lawful order of quarantine issued on behalf of the certified local health department before the Students can be compelled to utilize a mask, which use is purported to limit the spread of an infectious disease, while on school property. […]

Declaring under 20 ILCS 2305(c), the parents, guardians, children, and Students have a due process right to refuse a modified quarantine which is alleged to limit the spread of an infectious disease; […]

Declaring the Revised Guidance does not have the effect of Rule as it was not adopted following the procedures of the Illinois Administrative Procedures Act; […]

Declaring Executive Order 2021-24 and 2021-25 are invalid to the extent they seek to expand power of the School Districts, ISBE, or IDPH to exclude children or Students from the premises of the School Districts due to have been deemed an alleged close contact, absent consent of the parent, guardian or a lawful order issued pursuant to 20 ILCS 2305 […]

Enter an injunction permanently enjoining the School Districts from compelling the Students, as well as all other children similarly situated, to utilize a mask, alleged to prevent the spread of an infectious disease, unless the parent or legal guardian consents or a lawful order has issued in favor of the certified local health department pursuant to 20 ILCS 2305

…Adding… I saw this as well. From comments…

Devore was soliciting $5,000 + filing fees per district to be part of lawsuit

…Adding… An example of the fundraising…

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      


ISP honors its past with Trooper 262 Project

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021

* From the ISP…

When Illinois State Police Trooper William Boyd Lindsay was commissioned by the Illinois State Police (ISP) on July 23, 1941, it’s likely he was unaware that history was being made when badge #262 was pinned to his chest. On that day, Lindsay was sworn in as the first African American Trooper in the nation.

As a means of recognizing and celebrating Trooper Lindsay’s pivotal role and the Centennial of the Illinois State Police, current and former ISP Troopers initiated the Trooper 262 Project in his honor. Their research has yielded an ever-expanding roll of exemplary figures who forged extraordinary paths in their own right and who are worthy of recognition as well.

The Trooper 262 Project proudly showcases the professional accomplishments of courageous individuals who demonstrated Integrity, Service, and Pride while also breaking down barriers. We honor their indelible contributions to our agency and the path they forged for those who have followed.

This week the Illinois State Police selected a few of the ISP Trooper 262 Project panels to display in the rotunda of the Illinois State Capitol. Please take a moment to visit, explore, photograph this extraordinary exhibit of ISP’s history.

* I meant to get to this earlier and forgot. Sorry! But if you’re still at the Statehouse, go take a look…

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      


Illinois: Tell Congress To Count All Copays

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Many patients in Illinois rely on copay assistance to access and afford their prescription medications, often in instances when no generic option exists. Recognizing the important role copay assistance plays for patients, Illinois took legislative action to prohibit health plans from instituting “copay accumulator” policies that don’t apply copay assistance towards patient out-of-pocket costs.

Illinois stood with patients then – and must do so again.

Illinois can show leadership by ensuring patients are protected from these policies and have the guarantee that their copay assistance will count. At a time when Illinoisans are struggling financially from COVID-19, the state should protect the broadest set of patients to help them access critical medications for conditions like cancer and HIV.

Patient advocates are calling for our leaders in Springfield to stand with patients. We hope they answer that call. Tell Congress to count all copays. Stand with patients and support HR 516.

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Your government “at work”

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021

* Kaiser Health News

This year, the Illinois Legislature was considering measures to expand oral health treatment in a state where millions live in dental care deserts.

But when the Illinois State Dental Society met virtually with key lawmakers for its annual lobbying day last spring, the proposals to allow dental hygienists to clean the teeth of certain underprivileged patients without a dentist seemed doomed.

State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, the Senate Republican leader, warned against the bills even if they sounded minor.

“It’s just getting the camel’s nose under the tent,” Syverson said in an audio recording of the meeting obtained by KHN. “We’ll have, before long, hygienists doing the work that, if they wanted to do, they should have gone to dental school for.”

The senator also said he missed “the reception and the dinners that you guys host” and the “nice softball questions that I usually get” from the dental society’s past president, who happens to be his first cousin.

The bills never made it out of committee.

The situation in Illinois is indicative of the types of legislative dynamics that play out when lower-level healthcare providers such as dental hygienists, nurse practitioners and optometrists try to gain greater autonomy and access to patients. And the fate of the Illinois legislation illustrates the power that lobbying groups such as the Illinois dental society have in shaping policies on where health professionals can practice and who keeps the profits.

* Tribune

State gaming regulators voted Wednesday to eliminate casino bids from Calumet City and Lynwood for consideration, with two other applications still in contention.

The Illinois Gaming Board voted 4-0 to not consider bids by Southland Live, which proposed using a portion of the River Oaks shopping center in Calumet City for a casino, and also rejected a bid from the Ho-Chunk Nation to develop land the tribe owns in Lynwood for a gaming destination.

That leaves Homewood/East Hazel Crest and Matteson as the only two contenders.

* Meanwhile

The Illinois Supreme Court ordered the consolidation of lawsuits filed by cannabis dispensary license applicants in an attempt to resolve multiple claims challenging the fairness of the licensing process.

At the request of the Illinois attorney general’s office, the court ordered that several cases be heard together, which could help decide the fate of all 185 new recreational marijuana retail licenses.

The awarding of those licenses have been held up indefinitely by Cook County Judge Moshe Jacobius while he decides a case involving two applicants, WAH Group LLC and HAAAYY LLC vs. Bret Bender, deputy director of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), which awards the licenses.

The Supreme Court Monday ordered that a suit by Magic Sparks LLC, against the IDFPR, be transferred from DuPage County to Cook County. There it would be combined with the WAH case, as well as suits by High Haven Dispensary LLC, Green Equity Ventures 1 and Hempathy LLC, under the heading of High Haven.

* Other governments…

* Suburban police were asked to help Chicago during vaccine reporting stalemate if needed, but Kane, DuPage and Kendall county sheriffs say no

* Calumet City mayor bristles during confrontation over library reopening: “Don’t you ever ask a question like that again,” Jones told me.

* City official should be fired, 2 others punished for coal plant implosion debacle in Little Village, watchdog says

* Internal investigation of police raid on Anjanette Young’shome stymied by mayor’s parallel probe

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      


Campaign roundup: Delegation grumbles about remap; Burn rates; Supreme race; Wildest 2022 primary?

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021

* There’s obviously more to this Lynn Sweet piece, so go read the whole thing

Democratic Illinois [US] House members huddled Tuesday at the headquarters of the House political operation [in a session organized by Rep. Robin Kelly, also the chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois] to air grievances against the draft congressional remap drawn by Senate President Don Harmon and Speaker Chris Welch and figure out what to do next, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned. […]

· The Harmon/Welch draft map was released Friday with the 14D-3R lines considered weak because, under the right circumstances — if 2022 is a GOP year — Reps. Marie Newman and Lauren Underwood could find their own Democrats drew them what, in reality, could turn out to be swing districts. Two other downstate districts also did not maximize Democratic strength. […]

· The DCCC is trying to keep its fingerprints off of a 15D-2R draft map it is promoting, parts of which have been shown to members. Since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi controls the House by only three votes, the Illinois remap — by Democratic mapmakers — now has enormous national significance for 2022.

· There is no consensus among House incumbents — or state Democratic powerbrokers — over 15-2 or 14-3. […]

Keep this in mind. Illinois Democrats in Congress have NO power over mapmaking. It is entirely in the hands of the state House and state Senate and Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who must sign the new map.

The only real power the congressional delegation has over the remap is if they can pull off any friendly/allied state legislators. The House Democrats have 73 members. If the delegation can yank three members off, they can defeat a map they hate. But playing that game can have consequences.

* Check out the burn rates of these folks

Kinzinger is weighing whether to run for another term, and if he does, he will need the cash for an inevitable GOP primary with the strongest challenger so far — super Trump loyalist Catalina Lauf. Leveraging anti-Kinzinger sentiment among Trumpers, she raised $809,652 and has a $216,804 balance after spending $592,847. […]

As of Sept. 30, [Mary] Miller raised $616,921, spent $303,853 and has a balance of $413,769. […]

LaHood collected $1,502,419 so far this cycle, spent $658,086 and has a balance of $3,934,903. […]

No substantial GOP opponent has surfaced yet to take on Democrat Underwood, who won reelection by a point in 2020. She has a strong fundraising operation, hauling in $2,470,574 to date this cycle. After spending $1,243,422, Underwood has a balance of $1,765,060. […]

Freshman Democrat Marie Newman, who is blasting the Democrat draft map because it throws her into a potential swing district — with Kinzinger in it to boot — raised $690,255 to date, spent $355,223 and has a balance of $437,873.

Raja Krishnamoorthi, on the other hand, has raised $3.3 million with operating overhead of $733K, or 22 percent. He really knows how to do it. Lauf’s overhead was 73 percent. These DC-invention candidates are all about the overhead.

* Press release…

The Hon. Elizabeth M. Rochford, a sitting judge in Lake County’s Nineteenth Judicial Circuit and candidate for the Democratic nomination to Illinois’ Second Supreme Court District, reported raising over $149,000 in the third quarter of 2021 – eleven times as much as her closest opponent. Judge Rochford’s support came from a diverse coalition of legal professionals, organized labor, elected officials, and small dollar individual donors.

“I’m humbled by the enthusiasm my colleagues, friends and fellow Illinoisans have shown my campaign for the Illinois Supreme Court,” said Judge Rochford. “I’ve traveled across the district these last few months hearing from community members and sharing my story, and in every county I meet wonderful people who expect the highest quality from their court system. I am very grateful for their support.”

Former State Senator Susan Garrett said, “Judge Rochford’s early momentum and fundraising success make her a clear frontrunner in the open seat for Illinois’ newly redrawn Second Supreme Court District. Experience does matter and these contributions prove that people respond to Judge Rochford’s qualifications and her unique combination of experience, service, and commitment to equitable justice.”

Rochford announced her campaign on July 15th, 2021. The Second District of the Illinois Supreme Court is comprised of DeKalb, Kendall, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties.

Judge Rochford is a sitting judge and former assistant state’s attorney and full-time solo practitioner. She has served on the Illinois Judges Association Board of Directors since 2015 and is currently its Secretary, in addition to chairing literacy and access to justice initiatives.

* This is gonna be one weird primary race

Fifth District Appellate Court Justice Barry Vaughan formally announced his candidacy to retain his seat on the Court, vowing to “keep liberal Chicago politics out of our courtrooms.”

Vaughan will compete in the Republican primary set for next June with Greenvllle attorney Tom DeVore and Fourth Judicial Circuit Judge Michael McHaney.

“All of us have seen how divisive political agendas have started to creep into every facet of our lives,” Vaughan said in his announcement last week outside the Fifth District Court in Mt. Vernon. “That cannot be allowed to happen to the justice system.”

“Keeping liberal and activist agendas out of the courtroom and making sure that our system is fair for everyone—not just elites—is one of my core principles. I believe that everyone who sets foot in my courtroom should have their voice heard and get a fair shake.”

The candidates are vying for the permanent seat vacated by Justice David Overstreet, who was elected to the Illinois Supreme Court last year.

DeVore you know. McHaney you’ll remember for being the judge who gave Gov. Pritzker his first court loss and was overturned. He also threatened Pritzker with a contempt charge.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 - Senate also cancels *** House cancels Thursday session

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021

* The House Democratic caucus has been notified that the chamber is canceling tomorrow’s session, which is not a big surprise. As I’ve been telling subscribers for a while now, the important stuff will mostly happen in the second week of veto session. HDem members were told today to prepare for a “busy and full week next week.”

I’ve checked with the Senate and will get back to you.

*** UPDATE *** The Senate confirms it has canceled tomorrow as well.

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      


More like this please: Safe2Help Illinois

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021

* This is a really good idea. I hope they can widely publicize this, which is why I’m sharing the press release here. Too many schools just don’t take things like bullying seriously, for instance, and kids (and parents) know it so they don’t report it. This could be a game-changer if it’s actually used…

As part of America’s Safe Schools Week, a week dedicated to raising awareness of school safety, Governor JB Pritzker is announcing the launch of a new statewide school safety initiative called Safe2Help Illinois.

“I directed my administration to launch a statewide school violence prevention help line because our kids are safer when they have a confidential avenue to speak up for the mental health of their peers and themselves,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “By encouraging kids to seek help before harm, we’re making it so school officials, mental health professionals, and area law enforcement are better equipped to help prevent suicides, bullying, school violence or other threats to school and student safety. It’s another way we can bring mental health struggles out of the shadows and ensure our schools are places where students can be nurtured and thrive.”

Safe2Help Illinois is available 24/7, and at no cost to all school districts in the state. In the absence of a trusted adult, students can use a free app, text/phone, or the website (Safe2HelpIL.com) to share school safety issues in a confidential environment. Information obtained by Safe2Help Illinois will remain confidential to ensure student privacy and to protect the integrity of the program. This program is not intended to suspend, expel or punish students; rather, the goal is to encourage students to “Seek Help Before Harm.”

Once vetted, the information will be shared immediately with local school officials, mental health professionals and/or local law enforcement, depending on the nature of the information. The program also will help local officials by connecting them with mental health resources or other appropriate tools to intervene and help students before they harm themselves or others.

Changing the Culture in Illinois Schools

Safe2Help Illinois is more than just an information sharing platform. This is a long-term initiative to change the school culture in Illinois. Safe2Help Illinois also provides free educational resources to schools that can be introduced into their existing curriculum for students in Kindergarten through 12th grade.

“Through the Safe2Help Illinois initiative, our administration is empowering young people to care for themselves while also looking after their community at schools,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “As rates of anxiety, depression and other mental disorders in children continue to increase across the country, it is important we give young people the resources they need to reach emotional wellness. That is a major part of our mission to make Illinois the best state to raise our children.”

“Mental health is even more of a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some students have experienced feelings of isolation, the loss of family income, or the death of a loved one, and I am thankful that Safe2Help Illinois will provide an additional layer of support as students return to in-person learning this fall,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “The program connects students with a trusted and trained adult, and the educational resources help remove the stigma associated with mental health issues and foster kindness among students’ peers.”

“Thanks to the leadership of Governor JB Pritzker, students across the state of Illinois have another resource where safety comes first. Prioritizing the mental health of students is critical,” said Secretary Grace B. Hou, Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services. IDHS’ Division of Mental Health is proud to partner with ISBE and IEMA on this significant initiative for students. At IDHS, we are committed to advancing access to mental health to students and families across the state.”

Safe2Help Illinois is a free, voluntary program offered to public and private schools (grades K-12) in Illinois. Regardless of whether a school district is enrolled in the program, Safe2Help staff will vet all information received and forward to the appropriate local contact whether or not they elect to formally participate in the program. Calls that reference immediate threats would be route to 9-1-1 for immediate assistance.

During the 2020-2021 school year, 19 schools participated in a Safe2Help Illinois pilot program. Of those schools, while serving in different capacities of remote learning and in-person learning, the pilot program saw the following calls for assistance: Suicidal Ideation, Bullying/Harassment, Fighting, Self-Harm, and Sex Assault. To date, more than 31 schools are registered with the program, resulting in more than 130 interactions with the public over the last 11 months. Educators enrolled in the program have credited the program with the successful intervention of potential suicides and sexual assaults.

Behind the Call

During a crisis, the person on the receiving end of the call has the most important job: to remain calm and provide the necessary resources to successfully defuse a situation. The analyst taking the calls for Safe2Help Illinois have experience and education in social service and community stabilization settings. As part of their onboarding process, analysts are required to complete 40-hours of training, plus an additional 20 hours of ongoing training each quarter. This includes handling suicidal or homicidal callers, responding to imminent danger, caring for very young callers, mandated reporter training and more. The Safe2Help call center analyst speak multiple languages and have access to 24-hour immediate translator services in 24 different language.

Expanding School Safety in Illinois

Safe2Help Illinois is a product of a statewide school safety capability assessment, following the 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The Illinois Terrorism Task Force convened a School Safety Working Group made up of state and local law enforcement professionals, representatives from statewide education associations, emergency management and mental health professionals to identify school safety issues and come up with practical recommendations to improve our student safety. The cornerstone of the group’s school safety recommendations is the formation of a statewide resource for students, schools and local officials, called Safe2Help Illinois.

“In almost every case involving a mass school shooting there was someone, usually a fellow student, who had some advance warning or reason to believe that violence was possible,” said Alicia Tate-Nadeau, Director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. “Safe2Help Illinois provides a free and confidential platform for students to share information, 24-hours a day. In the absence of a trusted adult, Safe2Help Illinois aims to help today’s youth seek help before harm.”

Although the origins of the workgroup recommendations intended to address the threat of school violence, the program evolved to provide resources to support a student’s social, behavioral and mental health needs. Prior to COVID-19, similar school safety initiatives throughout the nation found the two most common issues of concern have been threats of suicide and bullying.

Call to Action

Safe2Help Illinois is encouraging all Illinois parents to talk to their school-age children about the importance of a trusted adult. Trusted adults are people whose words and actions make you feel safe, and these individuals (parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, etc.) can help you and/or your friends seek help before harm.

Recognizing that not all students may feel safe talking to their parents, teachers, coaches or mentors, now is a great time to introduce them to Safe2Help Illinois. It’s free, confidential, and always available.

- Posted by Rich Miller   2 Comments      


Don’t believe everything you read

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021

* Hey, SJ-R, the court threw out a prior remap law from May, not the new one passed in August

Gov. JB Pritzker and Democrats who control the Illinois General Assembly suffered a major legal setback Tuesday when a federal court threw out the new state legislative district map favoring Democrats.

*Sigh*

As we discussed yesterday, we knew it was a given that the May remap plan wouldn’t pass legal muster because it clearly violated longstanding judicial precedent on population deviation. It’s the main reason why they had to draw a new map. Click here for more info on that.

* More SJ-R

The fact that Democratic lawmakers later tweaked the map based on 2020 data in August and Pritzker signed that amended map into law the following month didn’t negate the legal issues that led to Tuesday’s ruling, the judges said. The amended map had legal “defects,” according to the judges.

The judges said no such thing about the amended map. The only mention of the word “defects” in the opinion is when the court invited plaintiffs to explain what they believe the defects are.

…Adding… The SJ-R has now posted a revised version of the story without explaining what it got wrong to begin with and how that was so important.

…Adding… The revised SJ-R headline is still wrong: “Federal court throws out Democrats’ initial legislative district remap, orders revisions.” The court has not ordered any revisions.

…Adding… Third headline try is a charm: “Federal court throws out Democrats’ initial legislative district remap, will consider revisions”

* On to Politico

A federal court has intervened in the state’s legislative redistricting process and ordered new changes to a map lawmakers unveiled (and scrapped) months ago, creating new procedural hurdles for the 2022 election.

Not true. The court did not “order” changes to the revised redistricting plan. It allowed plaintiffs to submit their proposed changes.

* Politico

A three-judge federal panel ruled Tuesday that the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and Illinois Republicans should be able to offer up their own map — and that Democrats need to do more tweaking.

Nope. The court invited the plaintiffs to offer up their own map along with explanations for how they correct any alleged deficiencies in the revised remap passed in August. And the Democrats can respond, but they haven’t yet been ordered to make any changes to their remap plan.

* Politico

The case now poses an issue for the 2022 election. Remap proposals must be submitted by Nov. 5, and the court said the current map that state lawmakers approved can’t be used for the upcoming election until the case is resolved.

That means candidates can’t circulate their petitions — a process that starts in January — until they know what district they’re running in.

No. Plaintiffs have until November 8 to file their proposed revisions and explanations. The revised map hasn’t yet been stricken. And January is a long ways off.

- Posted by Rich Miller   42 Comments      


The Truth About PNA And Human Trafficking

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

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Appeals court finds that IHSA constitution and by-laws don’t address schools placed on probation

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021

* Context from a story in August

The decision by the IHSA board of directors means that high school athletes will be banned from playing in the postseason for a sport if their school is still on the Illinois State Board of Education’s probation list for non-compliance with the mask mandate on the “seeding” date — the deadline for entering the playoffs — for a fall sport, IHSA officials said in a statement.

* But a Fifth District appellate judge took a look at the IHSA’s legal makeup and found this

(T)he IHSA constitution and by-laws are devoid of any reference to schools that have a probationary classification issued by the ISBE, regardless of the reason for the classification. There is also nothing in the IHSA constitution or by-laws that allows the organization to issue emergency rules on the eligibility of a member school or athlete.

If the school’s state recognition is revoked, that’s another matter.

So, the appeals court overruled a circuit judge’s denial of a TRO against the IHSA in a case involving Hutsonville High School.

* More from the opinion

(T)he issue underlying this case is not the Governor’s mandate or the refusal of petitioners to comply with the Governor’s mask mandate at IHSA’s events. The TRO concerns only respondents’ authority to change a member school’s eligibility to participate in the State Series based on an ISBE’s “on probation” status. Because the executive orders and ISBE did not direct respondents—explicitly or impliedly—to preclude participation based on a school’s “on probation” status, their authority is limited to the IHSA’s constitution and by-laws. Here, petitioners alleged sufficient facts to establish a prima facie case that respondents violated their rights by failing to adhere to its constitution and by-laws.

Under these circumstances, the trial court erred in denying petitioners’ TRO and keeping the status quo until the merits of the arguments could be determined. “Status quo,” for purposes of obtaining a preliminary injunction, means the last actual, peaceable, uncontested status which preceded the pending controvers

My reading of this is that the governor and the ISBE could conceivably amend the orders to include probationary status.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      


Open thread

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021

* What’s on your mind today?

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021

This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


*** LIVE COVERAGE ***

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021

* Follow along with ScribbleLive


- Posted by Rich Miller   Comment      


« NEWER POSTS PREVIOUS POSTS »
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Partisan breakdown of newly proposed congressional map
* *** UPDATED *** Democrats release new congressional map - More Latino strength - Newman, Casten in same district - Kinzinger, LaHood mapped together - Miller, Bost mapped together
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Question of the day
* The debate continues over the labor force participation rate
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Pritzker expands vax/test mandate to workers at licensed day care centers
* COVID-19 roundup
* Despite pleas and even threats, IDOC worker vax rate remains about the same
* Can't somebody at the state step in and help Dixmoor with its water problem?
* Giannoulias hit for accepting campaign money from his brothers, others
* Illinois: Tell Congress To Count All Copays
* Open thread
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Yesterday's stories

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