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*** UPDATED x1 - Brown responds *** Rauner says Madigan “hinted” about working on budget with Rauner’s reforms

Thursday, Apr 27, 2017

* Earlier today, Speaker Madigan issued a press release (click here) saying he’d met with the governor today and urged him “to turn his focus to the budget.”

The governor had a different viewpoint of what went on…

The Rauner Administration has released the following statement regarding the Governor’s meeting with Speaker Michael Madigan. The following is attributable to spokesperson Eleni Demertzis:

“For the first time in more than two years, Speaker Madigan today hinted that he may be willing to enact a truly balanced budget with changes that will help create jobs, properly fund our schools and lower property taxes. It’s too soon to tell if the Speaker will ultimately agree to follow through, but the governor remains optimistic that all sides can work together to enact a balanced budget with changes that fix our broken system and restore balanced budgets for the long-term through strong economic growth. ”

There have been some whispers about this possibility of late, but it couldn’t be confirmed. We’ll see.

*** UPDATE ***  Madigan’s spokesman Steve Brown disputed the notion that the House hadn’t been interested in passing a balanced budget, pointing to the cooperation with the governor on the FY 15 budget fix.

He also noted that the House has already passed a property tax freeze bill and “we’ve talked about things that create jobs,” including moving ahead with one bill today to make workers’ comp more affordable.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      


*** UPDATED x3 - INA, Biss respond - IDOC responds - Manar responds *** Rauner rescinds IDOC nurse layoffs

Thursday, Apr 27, 2017

* From a Statehouse reporter…


* I asked the reporter if he had any more info since the governor’s office wasn’t replying…


The House Republicans just confirmed this to me. Rauner rescinded the layoffs “while they negotiate on the issue of subcontracting,” I was told.

* Background…

* 124 Illinois prison nurses get layoff notices

* Lawmakers to Fight Rauner on Prison Nurse Layoffs

* Rauner Says Using Contract Nurses Will Save $8M

*** UPDATE 1 ***  Sen. Andy Manar…

Prison nurses in communities around the state will get at least a temporary reprieve from Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to privatize their jobs, thanks to attention brought to their plight by two central Illinois senators.

“This whiplash approach to governing is giving a lot of people a headache,” said Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill). “It’s never too late to do the right thing, but this entire situation, all the turmoil and stress for these workers and their families could have been – and should have been – avoided if the Rauner administration simply did a better job at running the state.”

Manar, along with Republican Senator Sam McCann (R-Pleasant View), sponsored bipartisan legislation to halt Gov. Rauner’s plan to lay off 124 unionized nurses currently employed by the state of Illinois in prisons around the state and privatize their jobs with an out-of-state corporation. According to the administration, the laid-off nurses would have an opportunity to reapply for their positions with the corporation, presumably at lower salaries.

The legislation that would have stopped the governor from pursuing his short-sighted plan passed in both houses of the Legislature and made it to the governor’s desk.

The administration intends to reverse its plan to lay off the nurses and continue contract negotiations with them instead, it was announced this morning.

*** UPDATE 2 *** IDOC…

Hey Rich,

We remain committed to working with the INA to avoid the potential layoffs, and believe there is ability to reach common ground on compromise proposals that would allow DOC and INA to come to an agreement. Although we are disappointed that INA is not available until May 8, we are ready to meet whenever and hope they find availability sooner.

…Adding… I’m told that the layoffs have been rescinded until May 22nd.

*** UPDATE 3 *** From the Illinois Nurses Association…

Today, it has been reported that the Illinois Department of Corrections has rescinded the layoffs of 124 nurses who work at a dozen Illinois Correctional Facilities.

This is welcome news if it is true. In their communications with us, the Department links “rescind” to good-faith meetings while at the same time, failing to repudiate their position that they do not have a duty to bargain in good faith with the INA over subcontracting. It remains to be seen what the Department actually intends.

Because of this uncertainty, INA is urging all Illinois legislators to continue working to support Senate Bill 19, which would halt further privatization of Illinois government jobs, including the 124 nursing positions. We believe a legislative remedy provides more assurance that the 124 nurses will be able to retain their positions and provide excellent health care to Illinois prisoners.

* Sen. Daniel Biss…

The Rauner administration’s sudden move to halt its drive to privatize the jobs of 124 unionized prison nurses shouldn’t offer sense of comfort to those whose jobs are on the line, state Senator Daniel Biss said Thursday.

Biss, an Evanston Democrat, noted that Gov. Bruce Rauner reverted to his anti-union rhetoric earlier this month when he said nobody would miss state workers should they choose to go on strike. Previously the governor had expressed support for state workers and ensuring they continue to be paid during the state budget stalemate.

“The Rauner administration did the right thing by putting the brakes on its plan to outsource these prison nurse jobs, but I remain wary of the governor’s motives, particularly given his inconsistent and recently strident anti-union statements. I wouldn’t blame any of these nurses if they aren’t ready to breathe a sigh of relief just yet.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      


It’s just a bill

Thursday, Apr 27, 2017

* AP

Don’t toss the grammar-school composition paper yet.

The Illinois House approved legislation 67-48 Wednesday requiring elementary and high schools to teach cursive writing.

The sponsor is Chicago Democratic Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch. He says it’s important that tech-savvy children to retain cursive writing to read historical documents, write personal notes and sign documents.

Republican Rep. Steven Andersson of Geneva says cursive does not help develop young minds any better than printing. He says a legal document doesn’t need a signature but only a “mark.”

* Public Radio

Members of the Illinois House passed legislation today that would require state agencies to buy American products, even if they’re not the cheapest.

Democratic Representative Jay Hoffman of Swansea is sponsoring the proposal. He says it aligns with President Donald Trump’s focus on American manufacturing.

“I could just reference your president’s executive order regarding ‘Buy American.’ This is saying our state taxpayer dollars should put our people to work and we should use the buying power of our state to create jobs and economic opportunity.”

Republicans voted against the measure. They say it doesn’t make sense given the state’s financial crisis.

* Press release…

A controversial plan before Congress that would permit companies to fine workers who refuse to share their genetic information through workplace wellness programs has prompted Illinois lawmakers to tighten up a state law protecting workers from such repercussions.

“We’re seeing changes proposed at the federal level that are concerning to me and to others,” said Senator Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and sponsor of Senate Bill 318. “The goal here is only to protect the genetic information of individuals when that information might be used against them in the employee-employer relationship.”

The legislation advanced out of the Senate Labor Committee Wednesday. It was prompted by news that Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, a Republican from North Carolina, in March proposed the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (HR1313).

Supporters said the measure would enable employers to have the “legal certainty” to promote good health while lowering health care costs. However, critics said it would allow employers to pressure workers to share their private genetic information by rewarding them with lower health insurance costs, while penalizing those who choose not to disclose such details.

The Winston-Salem Journal, Foxx’s hometown newspaper, called the measure an example of “big government run amok,” in an editorial urging Congress to kill it.

Under Illinois’ Genetic Information Privacy Act, employers must handle genetic testing consistent with the federal laws. It prevents employers from requiring genetic testing as a condition of employment, from changing terms of employment as a result of genetic information, or from classifying employees based on genetic testing. Further, it says testing done in the context of a workplace wellness program is available to employers only in aggregate form, not on an individual basis.

Manar’s proposed update to the law would bar employers from penalizing workers who choose not to disclose their genetic information or do not participate in a program that requires disclosure of their genetic information.

“I think we have a strong law in Illinois, but I don’t think it’s very strong about barring employers from penalizing employees,” he said.

…Adding… IL Public Radio

With support from labor unions, Illinois House Democrats passed legislation Wednesday that would restore certain bargaining rights for Chicago Public Schools teachers — letting them negotiate with the city on things like class size, length of school day, and layoffs.

For the last 22 years, Chicago Public School Teachers have been constrained in collective bargaining — limits that don’t apply to teachers in the rest of the state. The legislation would restore that parity — letting Chicago teachers have a say in private vendor contracts, class schedules and size, and the length of the school day.

Representative Silvana Tabares ,D-Chicago, the proposal’s sponsor, tied the interests of teachers with students. “Teachers will have a voice to have a discussion about these items, and that will improve the quality of education.”

Opponents take a different tack, that what’s good for teachers is not always what’s good for students. Representative Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, says the bargaining limits were established after multiple harmful strikes from CPS teachers in the 1980s.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


*** LIVE *** Session coverage

Thursday, Apr 27, 2017

* Follow everything in real time right here with ScribbleLive


- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      


PREVIOUS POSTS »
* Moody's warns on grants to CPS, General State Aid
* *** UPDATED x1 - Brown responds *** Rauner says Madigan "hinted" about working on budget with Rauner's reforms
* Rauner talks higher ed as SIU prepares reforms
* A good idea that could cost a pretty penny
* Rauner hosts third graders for Facebook Live program
* Madigan says he met with Rauner today, asked him to focus on budget
* Question of the day
* Our two economies
* *** UPDATED x3 - INA, Biss respond - IDOC responds - Manar responds *** Rauner rescinds IDOC nurse layoffs
* It's just a bill
* Goldberg says Rauner would sign a stand-alone K-12 funding bill
* Daiber says he voted for Hardiman
* "As soon as he gets that call, he’s immediately changing his number"
* House advances equal pay bill
* Animal stories
* Oppo dump!
* *** LIVE *** Session coverage
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