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*** UPDATED x1 *** Republicans want to hear Pritzker’s remap thoughts while Democrats push back against GOP plans

Monday, Apr 12, 2021

* The governor has been quite silent and the Republicans want to hear his thoughts…

Representative Elizabeth Hernandez
Chair, House Redistricting Committee
109 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Senator Omar Aquino
Chair, Senate Redistricting Committee
627 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706

Dear Chairs Hernandez and Aquino:

Comments from Members of the Democratic party during hearings on the 2021 redistricting process lead us to believe that the majority fully plans to enact new maps for both the Legislature and U.S. House of Representatives through a process that includes Governor Pritzker signing legislation by June 30, 2021.

To date, not a single House or Senate hearing has included testimony from the Governor or anyone representing his office.

We request the Governor, or a high-level member of his office, testify at our only scheduled joint House-Senate hearing on Monday, April 19, 2021, 5:00 p.m. in East St. Louis.
In March of 2018, then-candidate JB Pritzker said that without a constitutionally-implemented independent commission, “I would urge Democrats and Republicans to agree to an independent commission to handle creating a new legislative map”.

On January 30, 2020, Governor Pritzker stated “we should have compact, contiguous districts as best we can.” Additionally, the Governor added “I am going to veto any unfair map that gets presented to me.”

On January 5, 2021, the spokesperson for the Governor reiterated the position by saying the Governor “has been clear he will veto a partisan map.”

Given the Governor’s numerous stated positions in favor of fair mapping, as well as a commission process for redistricting, it is vital that both the people of Illinois and our Committees hear directly from the Governor in a public hearing as to his views and plans for redistricting.

We ask that you immediately invite and confirm the Governor’s presence at the April 19 hearing so plans can be made accordingly.


Senator Jason Barickman
Spokesman, Senate Redistricting Committee

Representative Tim Butler
Spokesman, House Redistricting Committee

Frankly, I wouldn’t mind seeing that, either. I’ve asked Pritzker’s office for comment.

*** UPDATE *** Jordan Abudayyeh…

As the Governor has said, he believes legislative maps should reflect Illinois’ gender, racial, and geographic diversity, along with preserving the Voting Rights Act decisions that help ensure racial and language minorities are fully represented in the electoral process.

* Meanwhile, I went over this topic with subscribers earlier today…

The statement below can be attributed to Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, Chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee, and Sen. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago, Vice Chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee:

“As Republicans nationwide seek to silence Black and Brown communities, Democrats in Illinois remain committed to the creation of a fair map that reflects the great diversity of our state. We have invited communities of interest across Illinois to participate in this process, including establishing an online portal that allows anyone to draw and submit their own proposed maps. Meanwhile, Republicans are presenting the public with a false choice by promoting legislation that is legally unsound. They know a bill cannot supersede the Illinois Constitution, which requires the General Assembly to undertake the redistricting process every ten years. Democrats are focused on inclusion, not legally questionable distractions.”

* Related…

* Tom Kacich: Will Illinois Democrats opt for inferior data in map-making?

* Aurora hearing gives residents chance to speak out on redistricting

* Who Draws The Line? - Northern Illinois Residents Discuss Redistricting During Recent Hearing

* Elected officials, witnesses debate best ways to redraw legislative districts at CLC hearing

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

An unintended, but likely forseeable consequence of over-cautious policies

Monday, Apr 12, 2021

* Chicago never opted in to legalized video gaming, so those gray-market sweepstakes games have popped up all over. The same sort of thing is now happening with the slow rollout of cannabis dispensaries and on-site consumption

A growing number of Chicago businesses are now exploiting a loophole in federal law that appears to allow the unfettered sale of a trendy hemp byproduct called Delta-8-THC, which has commonly been described as “marijuana-lite” or “diet weed.”

Retailers across the city have started selling a variety of Delta-8 products in settings that resemble licensed cannabis dispensaries but aren’t subject to the same stiff regulations. Many sell everything from edibles to vaping cartridges, as well as smokable hemp flower sprayed with Delta-8 extract.

Some places are dosing food and drinks with Delta-8 and allowing customers to consume it on site. That flies in the face of a hard-fought provision in the state’s marijuana legalization law that tightly regulates on-site consumption, which isn’t allowed in Chicago yet. […]

Pam Althoff, a former state senator who now serves as the association’s executive director, said Delta-8 sellers are increasingly cropping up in “cannabis deserts,” where licensed pot shops haven’t opened.

* Related…

…Adding… This could turn into whack-a-mole, but we’ll see…

Rich -

Saw your “An unintended…” post. Wanted to flag that my legislation (expecting it to be voted out of the House this week, bipartisan support and supported by the IL Department of Agriculture and IDPH) would provide regulatory authority for the first time to the Illinois Department of Agriculture to oversee and regulate CBD and Delta 8 products.

Happy to provide further explanation/comment as well.

Bob Morgan
IL State Representative (58th Dist.)

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** 2,433 new confirmed and probable cases; 18 additional deaths; 1,998 hospitalized; 418 in the ICU; 4.4 percent average case positivity rate; 4.9 percent average test positivity rate; 132,188 average daily doses

Monday, Apr 12, 2021

* Remember that Sundays generally have lower numbers, particularly deaths, because locals aren’t filling out the forms. Hospitalization numbers are generally accurate, though…

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 2,433 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 18 additional deaths.

    - Cook County: 1 male 20s, 1 male 40s, 1 female 50s, 1 male 50s, 1 female 60s, 2 males 60s, 3 females 70s, 2 males 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 female 90s, 2 males 90s
    - Kane County: 1 female 90s
    - Vermilion County: 1 female 90s

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 1,282,205 cases, including 21,523 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 53,115 specimens for a total of 21,225,122. As of last night, 1,998 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 418 patients were in the ICU and 177 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from April 5-11, 2021 is 4.4%. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from April 5-11, 2021 is 4.9%.

The total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses for Illinois is 9,001,105. A total of 7,243,383 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of last midnight. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 132,188 doses. Yesterday, 64,772 doses were reported administered in Illinois. The Illinois National Guard has administered more than one million doses of COVID-19 vaccines at state-supported vaccination sites around the state.

*All data are provisional and will change. In order to rapidly report COVID-19 information to the public, data are being reported in real-time. Information is constantly being entered into an electronic system and the number of cases and deaths can change as additional information is gathered. For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email

*** UPDATE *** Tribune…

In the 20-county region that stretches from Kendall and Grundy counties to the Quad Cities, the seven-day average of available intensive care beds has dipped below 20% for four straight days beginning Thursday.

The percentage of available staffed ICU beds was one of the bench marks used to trigger tighter restrictions under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s reopening plan. Health officials recently have said they’re reevaluating those criteria, which were developed before vaccines were available.

The test positivity rate is also rising in the region, home to Peoria and Bloomington-Normal, reaching a seven-day average of 7.2% as of Friday, up from 6.5% a week earlier.

Under the rules that were enforced during the fall surge, a rolling test positivity rate of 8% or higher for three consecutive days triggered tighter restrictions.

In suburban Cook County, where officials have been warning since last week that stricter rules could be coming if trends don’t reverse, the seven-day average for ICU bed availability was 20% Sunday for the second straight day.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** State Board of Elections calls special meeting to discuss Sandvoss situation

Monday, Apr 12, 2021

* Let’s start with this surprise press release on April 5…

On Monday, the eight members of the Illinois State Board of Elections voted unanimously to place Executive Director Steve Sandvoss on administrative leave after he reported being the victim of an online extortion attempt last week. Director Sandvoss reported the attempt to the Illinois State Police, which has begun an investigation.

Based on Director Sandvoss’ description, the attempted extortion scheme appeared typical of many such online scams.

However, because this attempt targeted a top official at the Illinois State Board of Elections, and out of an abundance of caution, the board has taken the cautionary step of placing Director Sandvoss on administrative leave. The board authorized Assistant Executive Director Bernadette Matthews to assume directorship at this time.

The board also authorized the agency’s Chief Information Security Officer, Jeremy Owens, to cooperate fully with the law enforcement investigation, as well as conduct an internal assessment of all SBE devices to which Director Sandvoss had access and ensure the security of the Board’s systems.

At this time, there is no reason to believe that any election data or information has been compromised. All further questions regarding the investigation should be addressed to the Illinois State Police at

If you read the release closely, it looks like the board doesn’t believe that Sandvoss’ problems were state-related. But the probe is in the hands of the Illinois State Police, so the board isn’t 100 percent certain of what exactly happened. I-Team

However, what prompted the alleged extortion attempt they will not disclose, nor will they discuss the nature of the communication, what was being demanded of the state election director, whether it was made on a state computer or Sandvoss’s personal device, or what they are referring to by describing the attempted extortion as typical of many such online scams.

The Illinois State Police are investigating to determine who was behind this alleged extortion attempt, and how and why Sandvoss apparently became targeted.

State police officials told the I-Team that their investigation of the reported extortion “remains open and ongoing.”

* Anyway, the board has called a special meeting for this afternoon at 3 o’clock. Their only agenda item is an executive session. By law, the board has to summarize what went on during the executive session, so we’ll likely know more later today.

Somebody’s personal business is their own personal business, but Russian hackers targeted the board in 2016 and Sandvoss apparently has a security clearance, so he’s held to a much higher standard than if a low-level state worker got catfished, or whatever. Hopefully, the board clears this up today.

Sandvoss has been with the board since 2004.

*** UPDATE *** I was logged on to the Zoom meeting just in time to hear them adjourn. I asked Matt Dietrich what happened…

The board took no action today. So Steve remains on administrative leave.

What you got in the Zoom conference is exactly what I got.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Big teachers union wins prompt grumbling

Monday, Apr 12, 2021

* Thread…

That Chatham race was quite something. Tiffani Saunders, Andrea Rediger and Ann Strahle all won seats on the board and campaigned on progressive platforms.

* Daily Herald

Numerous incumbents in DuPage County’s most contentious school board races appeared to hold onto their seats Tuesday, fending off a flood of opposition candidates in an election largely seen as a referendum on COVID-19 restrictions and the pace of reopening classrooms.

Unofficial results indicated voters seemed to favor experience over new blood as many districts shifted to return to in-person learning after spring break while navigating a possible pandemic resurgence in DuPage.

From Naperville to Glen Ellyn, sitting board members fought off challengers who focused their campaigns on expediting school reopenings.

The debate sparked protests across the suburbs as frustrated parents called for their children to return to classrooms while school leaders said they were following the advice of health experts. It also made for clear fault lines in large fields of candidate

Lots more in there.

* More Daily Herald

Janice Krinsky, school board president in Elk Grove Township Elementary District 59, appears to have been ousted by the political strength of widespread teacher opposition.

Krinsky, of Arlington Heights. had lost the backing of the faculty because of her previous support for departing Superintendent Art Fessler, the subject of controversy among teachers partly because of how he introduced a new currciulum.

Teachers instead backed the other four candidates in the race: longtime incumbent Mardell Schumacher of Elk Grove Village, incumbent Roberto Mancilla Jr. of Arlington Heights and challengers Daisy Espino of Mount Prospect and Joseph Sagerer of Elk Grove Village.

* Jeanne Ives…

When only 15% of voters show up to vote, expect more tax hikes, more indoctrination at your school with less learning, more public debt, overly generous public employee contracts, and more wokeness from your school boards.

The teachers union - who has kept your schools closed and property taxes high - cleaned up in the suburbs because many people didn’t care to vote.

For those of you who did show up - THANK YOU!

* Ives is not alone, however

The Illinois Education Association’s local union chapters vetted and endorsed candidates in 38 school board and college trustee races statewide. Of 132 union-backed candidates, 107 were elected, according to unofficial results.

Additional union-endorsed candidates could prevail once all votes are counted, including provisional ballots and late-arriving mail votes, IEA President Kathi Griffin said Friday.

“Some of the races are quite close,” Griffin said. “Basically, we have about 81% (of candidates) currently successful, as of yesterday.” […]

Political groups trying to influence local school board elections is cause for concern, say leaders of the nonpartisan League of Women Voters.

“It changes the game,” said Heidi Graham, president of the League of Women Voters of Arlington Heights, Mount Prospect, Buffalo Grove and surrounding areas. Graham said the league supports getting special interest money and influence out of local nonpartisan elections.

While Graham opposes political parties in local elections, teachers unions also should get out of the business of endorsing candidates, she said.

Or, they could move these elections to presidential/governor years.

* Related…

* Slowik: Integrity squeezed as politics creeps further into south suburban public higher education

*** UPDATE *** John Kass on March 12

Suburban parents are rightfully angry. They pay among the highest residential property taxes in the nation and most of it goes to the public schools.

And they’ve agonized as parochial and private schools have been mostly open through the pandemic while their public schools have been closed and their children waste away on remote learning. […]

Elizabeth Bauer is a writer for Forbes and a suburban mom running for the District 214 board in the northwest suburbs. The district includes John Hersey High School and schools in Mount Prospect, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Rolling Meadows and Wheeling. Bauer knows how to read a budget. She’s well-known on Twitter as @JanetheActuary. I respect her.

The other day Bauer wrote a superb op-ed in the Tribune asking parents to run for school board seats. The headline: “Want to reopen schools and hold them accountable? Run for office.” […]

“I suppose this is a test, in my own small way, to determine if Illinois is broken at all levels,” Bauer said. “I guess we’ll find out.”

Bauer finished in 5th place. She has questions about why she lost

if I hadn’t lost a weekend of door-knocking due to the emotional hit of the board-meeting blindside?

if the Daily Herald editorial board hadn’t endorsed the incumbent slate despite their admission that they operate behind the scenes?

if the union hadn’t sent out its postcard using the D214 logo to imply endorsement, and the Superintendent hadn’t refused to comment?

if the Superintendent hadn’t timed the full reopening to coincide with the election?

if an unrelated personal matter hadn’t taken much of my time and energy in an unplanned way?

if I hadn’t been navigating the strategy and trying to work out, from scratch, how to best get my message out, and if I hadn’t been learning as I went along, about what my key concerns were, as I watched the academic year play out and researched the board’s actions?

- Posted by Rich Miller   51 Comments      

Protected: *** UPDATED x1 *** SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition

Monday, Apr 12, 2021

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Monday, Apr 12, 2021

* Today’s post is sponsored by Climate Jobs Illinois. Follow along with ScribbleLive

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* *** UPDATED x1 *** Republicans want to hear Pritzker's remap thoughts while Democrats push back against GOP plans
* An unintended, but likely forseeable consequence of over-cautious policies
* COVID-19 roundup: Lawsuit filed over LaSalle Veterans’ Home death; IDOC resuming in-person visitation; Hotel revenues plunged 80 percent
* Question of the day
* Legislator pay ruling should not be a surprise
* *** UPDATED x1 *** 2,433 new confirmed and probable cases; 18 additional deaths; 1,998 hospitalized; 418 in the ICU; 4.4 percent average case positivity rate; 4.9 percent average test positivity rate; 132,188 average daily doses
* More like this, please
* *** UPDATED x1 *** State Board of Elections calls special meeting to discuss Sandvoss situation
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraising event list
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Big teachers union wins prompt grumbling
* Center Square network gets grant to offer "an alternate perspective to legacy media’s unfair coverage of individuals who disagree with state shutdowns"
* Moody's: New Chicago firefighter pension law is "credit negative"
* Open thread
* *** UPDATED x1 *** SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

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