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Appellate court upholds HB40 process

Monday, Sep 17, 2018

* From November of 2017

Today, the Thomas More Society filed a taxpayer lawsuit against State of Illinois officials in a counterattack against House Bill 40, which requires public funding of tens of thousands of elective abortions. […]

The complaint levels two challenges against HB 40. First, the General Assembly has not set aside funds to pay for HB 40’s tens of thousands of elective abortions, and there’s no money available to pay for those abortions and still be within the Balanced Budget requirements of the Illinois Constitution. Second, despite efforts to make HB 40 effective January 1, 2018, it cannot come into effect until June 1, because it did not pass out of the Senate until September 25, 2017. The Illinois Constitution imposes a May 31 cut-off date for General Assembly action for bills to go into effect faster.

* January of 2018

A new law allowing public funding of abortion in Illinois will take effect as scheduled on January 1. That’s after a judge on Thursday ruled against anti-abortion groups who’d sued to block it.

* 4th District Appellate Court today

The appellate court affirmed, concluding (1) the circuit court lacked jurisdiction under the political-question doctrine, to determine whether the General Assembly failed to appropriate funds and adopt a revenue estimate to cover the cost of services under HB 40; and (2) the implementation of HB 40 on January 1, 2018, was not improper because the bill passed both houses of the General Assembly by May 10, 2017.

Go read the whole thing if you’re interested. But this was a longshot case from the beginning.

First, medical procedures covered by Medicaid and state employee insurance aren’t individually appropriated.

Second, notice how the court declined to weigh in on the need for an official revenue estimate - an issue that’s been pushed hard by the Illinois Policy Institute….

Before we turn to the political-question doctrine, we note a problem in the way plaintiffs couch their arguments before this court. Plaintiffs assert they simply want to know if the General Assembly complied with the revenue-estimate and appropriations requirements of the constitution. However, absent from the constitution is any language imposing an obligation on the General Assembly to develop a revenue estimate. Plaintiffs argue the language of the COGFA Act, read in conjunction with the constitution, imposes such a duty. However, the constitution and the COGFA Act are separate. We are reluctant to read the language of the COGFA Act into the constitution. […]

By its plain terms, the constitution requires only that the General Assembly refrain from appropriating funds in excess of the amount estimated by the General Assembly. Here, the constitution fails to provide discoverable and manageable standards illustrating how a court is to go about determining whether the General Assembly did in fact refrain from appropriating funds in excess of funds estimated by the General Assembly. Ill. Const. 1970, art. VIII, § 2(b). Plaintiffs also fail to point to any such standards. […]

When resolving the mandatory or directory question, a statute is mandatory where the legislature imposes specific consequences in the event of noncompliance. Id. at 514. On the other hand, a statute is directory where “no particular consequence flows from non[]compliance.” […]

Section 4(a) of the COGFA Act does not contain any consequences for the General Assembly’s failure to adopt a revenue estimate by joint resolution.

* And third, the bill passed way before the May 31st deadline. A parliamentary hold was placed on the legislation until it was withdrawn in September. The governor signed it a few days later. The courts here are loathe to adjudicate legislative rules and the appellate justices upheld that tradition today.

…Adding… From the attorney general’s office…

We are pleased the court rejected the plaintiffs’ attempts to prevent some women from accessing health care services, including reproductive health care services.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** The Seth McMillan campaign is kind of a hot mess

Monday, Sep 17, 2018

* A since deleted tweet of outrage…

* Wanna know why it was deleted? Guess who else often uses the word “Downstate”? Seth McMillan, of course…

Click here for many more. That advanced Twitter search tool is awesome.

Also, check out McMillan’s campaign announcement video. At about the :50 mark he says “I think people feel like Downstate has been forgotten for a long time.”. And then click here for a McMillan press release, which uses the word “Downstate” three times.

* I put this post together, but decided to let it slide. He deleted the tweet, after all. And then I saw Bernie’s story about this McMillan tweet…

* Bernie

The problem here is that Manar said much more at that interview, making the same point he made in his own ad.

Manar made clear to the editorial board that he does not support term limits for all legislators. […]

He also said that he supported and pushed the “appropriate step” of limiting terms of Senate leaders. Manar was a chief sponsor of a Senate resolution passed unanimously on Jan. 11, 2017 — when the current General Assembly was sworn in — to limit terms, going forward, of 10 years for the Senate president and minority leader.

PATRICK PFINGSTEN, consultant to McMillan, said it is “bogus” to claim Manar was taken out of context in the McMillan video.

Sheesh. Do better.

* Meanwhile…

The typo is in an A-1 that claims the RSSCC paid a McMillan campaign staffer $1.2 million in salary. I’m not certain if McMillan or the RSSCC made the error, but it’s quite something.

Not including the $1.2 million for the staffer, McMillan has reported raising a whopping $14,915.20 this quarter.

Over a third of that - $5,000 - is from Richard Uihlein, which opens McMillan up to the unfortunately ubiquitous charge that he accepted money from somebody who supported an accused molester.

He also received $1,000 from the chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board and his spouse.

President Trump won this district by 17 big points. But Manar started spending TV money in June and it seems to have rattled McMillan to the bone.

*** UPDATE *** Looks like he’s gonna have to refund Chairman Don Tracy’s contribution. From state statute

Sec. 5. Gaming Board. […]

No member of the Board shall engage in any political activity. For the purposes of this Section, “political” means any activity in support of or in connection with any campaign for federal, State, or local elective office or any political organization […]

Any member of the Board may be removed by the Governor for neglect of duty, misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance in office or for engaging in any political activity.


- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      

Daley hoping for Chicago pension help from a Gov. Pritzker

Monday, Sep 17, 2018

* Greg Hinz talks to Bill Daley about his plans if elected mayor

For instance, Daley said he’s going to count hard on J.B. Pritkzer—”I have no doubt he’s going to be our next governor”—to help the city deal with its huge pension debt, which already has forced up local taxes roughly $1 billion a year and could force another increase of that size by 2023, when the city is supposed to be at the actuarial funding level.

“If the city can’t address its pension plans and bring them to balance, the future of the state is 10 times bleaker,” Daley said. “I think (Pritzker) will work with the mayor to address the issue.”

Yet, he added, “It can’t all be on the taxpayers. Everyone has to have some skin in the game.” Included in is view is labor, despite an Illinois Supreme Court ruling that overruled a pain-sharing deal outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel bargained. Daley said he’d start by getting all parties together, and said a negotiated constitutional amendment like one Arizona used to weaken a pension clause similar to the one Illinois has is “always is a possibility.”

Similarly, balancing the city’s budget requires at least considering things such as a commuter tax and head tax, two idea pushed hard by political progressives. “I’m not putting anything off the table now.”

Pritzker has already piled up his spending plans so high that they already top $10 billion by my rough guesstimate. If Daley’s solution is a state bailout, it’s magic beans.

The Arizona model is not a bad idea, though. I even advocated for it over the weekend on Twitter. But it’s dangerous to get too far out in front of any talks with unilateral public demands.

…Adding… This…

* Related…

* Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle to announce run for Chicago mayor this week

* Bill Daley on bid to replace Emanuel: ‘To be mayor, that would be the greatest’: “And you know, at this stage of my life, this is what I’d like to do for maybe the next four to maybe eight years. If people don’t accept it, I think I’ve had a great life. I’m lucky. But to be mayor, that would be the greatest,” he said.

* ‘I’m not going to change my name’: Bill Daley on why he’s seeking to become family’s third Chicago mayor: “The state of Illinois is great. They had a lot of problems, and I thought I might be able to bring something there, but this is home. This is where I live, this is where I’ve lived and this is where I’ll die,” Daley said. “That’s the difference. I’ve seen my father and brother try to lead this city, the difficulties of it, but the joy they got of trying to make a difference and help people. And the people of Chicago have been extremely good and kind to our family.

* Bill Daley ‘Excited’ for Mayoral Run He Calls Opportunity of a Lifetime: Some political experts have pointed to the Daley legacy as either a strength or a hindrance to his candidacy, but the freshly minted candidate is hopeful that voters will give him a chance to prove that he is just as capable of running the city as his famous family members.

* With Bill Daley running for mayor, it’s good to remember what happened the last time we turned Chicago over to the Daleys: Rahm made about $6.5 million as an investment banker in 2001, the year he helped broker that deal. As for Rauner, his company sold SecurityLink for about $1 billion, roughly six months after it was acquired for about $500 million. So Rauner owes a portion of his fortune to a couple of Democrats named Emanuel and Daley—something to remember the next time you hear Rauner raging against the machine.

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      

Rauner’s Trump policy ties

Monday, Sep 17, 2018

* From January of 2017

In one of his strongest public shows of support for Donald Trump, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner joined 19 other Republican governors to support the president-elect’s controversial nominee for secretary of education.

Billionaire philanthropist Betsy DeVos is an “inspired choice,” Republican governors from 18 states and two U.S. territories wrote, saying she “will fight to streamline the federal education bureaucracy” and also is a “passionate supporter . . . of harnessing the power of competition to drive improvement in all K-12 schools, whether they be public, private or virtual.”

* AP weekend report

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was campaigning against states regulating student-loan companies when she called her friend, Gov. Bruce Rauner, in August 2017.

Two weeks later, the Republican governor vetoed legislation creating protections for students taking out federal loans . In language that echoes President Donald Trump’s education chief in her continuing crusade against state intervention, Rauner, who’s considered one of the nation’s more vulnerable incumbents in November, declared in his veto message that the measure “encroaches on the federal government’s responsibilities.”

The Aug. 10, 2017, phone call, which appears on both officials’ appointment calendars reviewed by The Associated Press, underscores the interaction the first-term governor has with Trump while publicly trying to distance himself from a president who is hugely unpopular in Democratic Illinois.

Lawmakers reversed Rauner’s veto, with wide GOP support in the House on a pro-student education bill. The “Student Loan Bill of Rights,” which takes effect at the end of this year, requires companies that administer the programs to properly process payments, tell borrowers about debt forgiveness because of disability or problems with the schools they attended, and to provide experts to explain all repayment options. DeVos continues to oppose involvement from outside the federal government.

* From the Democratic Party of Illinois…

The AP wrote the call “underscores the interaction the first-term governor has with Trump while publicly trying to distance himself from a president who is hugely unpopular in Democratic Illinois.” And the call was not the only instance of cooperation - Rauner recently praised Trump’s selection of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and vetoed a bill “to the dismay of health care advocates” that would have regulated short-term health insurance plans, among other actions detailed by the AP.

“Instead of looking out for Illinois families, Bruce Rauner is taking marching orders from the Trump White House and Betsy DeVos,” said DPI Executive Director Christian Mitchell. “Bruce Rauner already failed Illinois families by gutting higher education and making college more unaffordable. Now we know Rauner sided with Betsy DeVos and her special interest allies over hard working Illinois families struggling to pay down student loan debt. Illinoisans wanted Bruce Rauner to stand up to Donald Trump, not do his bidding.”

* Coincidentally or not, the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law issued a report last week entitled “Illinois Governor Rauner’s Vetoes Advance the Trump Administration’s Main Policy Goals”

Unfortunately, this year Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner used his veto power to block bipartisan, negotiated bills that would have advanced justice for Illinois’s most vulnerable residents. In doing so, the governor advanced some of the main policy goals of the Trump Administration — undermining the foundations of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), denying immigrants basic legal protections, and curtailing voting rights of people of color. […]

Advancing the Trump Administration’s major goal of undoing the ACA, Governor Rauner struck down HB 2624, a bipartisan measure that would have limited the use of short-term health insurance policies to six months and made these plans non-renewable. Short-term health plans circumvent the ACA’s basic protections, including the requirement that insurance plans cover preexisting conditions. Oftentimes, people are duped into purchasing these plans and only realize their healthcare is not covered once they get sick or become injured. The Trump Administration has promoted the unrestricted use of these junk policies. HB 2624 would have also given the Illinois Department of Insurance authority to regulate short-term plans and would have required insurance companies to use easily understood language in promotional materials.

The Governor also vetoed HB 4165, which would have guaranteed members of the Illinois General Assembly — and the constituents they serve — access to a public process if any Illinois governor sought a waiver of federal law to reduce healthcare access and treatment. Governors throughout the country are using such waivers to deny healthcare coverage to patients with low income. Governor Rauner’s veto prevents members of the Illinois General Assembly from providing a necessary check and balance on a governor’s attempts to undermine healthcare. […]

Aligning himself with the dangerous anti-immigrant rhetoric and actions of the Trump Administration, Governor Rauner vetoed the Immigrant Tenant Protection Act, SB 3103. This legislation would have prevented landlords from intimidating, harassing, or retaliating against tenants based on their immigration status. For example, this measure would have prohibited landlords from threatening to disclose a tenant’s immigration status to avoid making needed repairs or otherwise escape their legal responsibilities. […]

Consistent with the Trump Administration’s refusal to enforce the voting rights of all Americans, Governor Rauner vetoed the Let People Vote bill, HB 4469. This bill would have required jails in Illinois to arrange in-person or absentee voting for pretrial detainees. It also would have ensured that corrections officials provide people leaving prison — after having served their sentences — with updated voter registration forms and other information about their right to vote.

…Adding… Tribune

Illinois is getting 78 percent less federal money this year to hire Obamacare workers to help people enroll in health insurance plans, causing some advocates to worry that more Illinois residents will go without coverage.

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is handing two Illinois organizations $389,216 this year, down from nearly $1.8 million distributed to five Illinois groups last year, the agency announced Wednesday. One of the largest groups that got grant money for navigators in the past, the United Way of Metro Chicago, won’t get any money this time around.

Pritzker campaign…

“Donald Trump is once again sabotaging the Affordable Care Act, cutting critical outreach dollars while less and less people get covered, and Bruce Rauner is once again his silent partner,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “Illinoisans deserve a governor who believes healthcare is a right, not a privilege — and JB Pritzker will be that governor and stand up to Trump when he attacks our state.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

New Erika Harold ad quotes Pat Quinn to attack Kwame Raoul

Monday, Sep 17, 2018

* Press release…

Today, Erika Harold’s campaign for Attorney General is launching a new statewide TV ad titled “Anything.”

Kwame Raoul will do or say anything to win. That’s why one former Democratic governor of Illinois called Raoul’s attacks “false” and “desperate.”

Now, Kwame Raoul is lying about Erika Harold’s record because he can’t run on his own record of doing Mike Madigan’s bidding in Springfield for fourteen years.

Kwame Raoul teamed up with Madigan to raise property taxes, supported Madigan’s 67% tax hike, and even allowed disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich to skip billions of dollars in pension payments.

Kwame Raoul squandered his time in Springfield and can’t be trusted to be Attorney General. Fourteen years of failure is enough.

* The spot

* Transcript…

Erika Harold: After spending years raising taxes and opposing reform, Kwame Raoul can’t run on his record – so he’s lying about mine.

Announcer: Even Democrats have called out Raoul for “desperate, false attacks.”

He’ll say anything to win – and do anything for Madigan:

Raoul teamed up with Madigan to raise property taxes.

Voted for his sixty-seven percent income tax hike.

…And let Blagojevich skip pension payments.

Kwame Raoul: “I’m Kwame Raoul, and I’m just getting started.”

Announcer: Stop Kwame Raoul. 14 years of failure is enough.

* The Raoul campaign pointed to this Politifact item from yesterday about an earlier ad

Harold says “Mike Madigan and Kwame Raoul team up to raise property taxes.”

Her statement contains an element of truth in that Raoul and Madigan did sponsor legislation in 2014 that initially contained a proposal from Emanuel for a new property tax levy for several ailing pension funds.

But the tax component was not the primary aim of the bill, which also sought to shore up the funds by cutting city worker retirement benefits and requiring both workers and the city to put more money into them. That tax language didn’t even make it into the final version of the bill.

Yet Harold’s claim spuriously suggests Raoul teamed up with Madigan for the express purpose of hiking taxes, leaving out all mitigating context. We rate it Mostly False.

…Adding… I remember that bill and it was indeed about making legislators let the locals off the hook for the property tax hike. The pushback was strong, which is why the specific language was removed.

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      

“Most normal people practice this ‘wisdom’ in their own lives every day”

Monday, Sep 17, 2018

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s campaign-reset speech last week has been described as “contrite,” a “mea culpa” and even an “apology.”

It most certainly wasn’t an easy speech to deliver for a man who never publicly admits mistakes. I mean, he claimed last month that his administration did an “excellent job” at the state’s Quincy veterans home, where 14 residents died.

But there he was, claiming that after four years he’s learned some valuable lessons.

I actually do believe, as Rauner claimed, that he’s “grown” in office. He had to be dragged kicking and screaming into it, but he’s grown some.

After losing the budget and tax hike veto battle last year, Rauner eventually found a way to accept a win by signing an historic education funding reform bill. And then he agreed to his very first budget this year, which spent every dime of that 2017 tax hike and more.

Rauner said leaders must be willing to “accept incremental improvements,” and thank goodness he finally mouthed those words. As former President Barack Obama said at his recent Illinois speech: “Better is good… That’s the history of progress in this country. Not perfect. Better.”

The governor said he now finally understands that there are “different points of view, different priorities and approaches, even when we share the same goal of wanting to improve Illinois.”

As former Gov. Jim Edgar said during the impasse, Rauner should look for ways to accomplish his goals in a more “doable” manner. Rauner and the Chicago Tribune editorial board absolutely hated that “doable” talk. For whatever insane reasons they’d convinced themselves that “doable” was an abomination. It was their way or no way. At least one person now at least says that was a mistake.

“I know the budget impasse was painful,” Gov. Rauner admitted. “It kept me up at night worrying about the disruption that many families experienced. All of us elected officials let you down in that struggle.”

While I’m glad he finally confessed that he was at least a part of a group that let the state down, he bragged more than once during the impasse about how “my wife tells me she hasn’t seen me this happy in 20 years,” including right up to late June of 2017 – just days before a bipartisan super-majority in the General Assembly finally put an end to the monstrous impasse despite his vetoes.

Passing a budget with higher taxes over a gubernatorial veto wasn’t easy for most legislators. And while it wasn’t great legislation, it was the best they could do under trying circumstances and Rauner did everything he could to stop them and went on to berate and bully them for months. I’d like to believe that those days are over.

“It takes wisdom to listen to those who disagree with you,” Rauner said, “wisdom that can be gained only through years of tough political fights.”

Sorry, but that simple lesson could’ve been learned without years of unnecessary brutality. Most normal people practice this “wisdom” in their own lives every day.

The governor seemed to use that line to imply that his politically inexperienced opponent hadn’t yet faced a trial by fire like Rauner has and therefore wasn’t yet ready to be governor. But, the truth is most people know this stuff. They don’t burn down their own houses during an argument.

And just a few hours after he delivered his speech, the governor received yet another reminder that Illinois voters understand what Gov. Rauner only now claims to have discerned.

A mere 27 percent of Illinoisans say they’ll vote for the governor come November, according to a poll conducted for the Illinois Broadcasters Association. Just 24 percent said they have a favorable view of Rauner. The governor trails Democrat J.B. Pritzker by 17 points.

This is the third poll since June where the governor scored 30 points or less.

We know from the end of his speech that the governor truly believes his opponent is the worst thing that could possibly happen to the state — which kinda negates a lot of the stuff he said at the beginning about being so open minded.

He could’ve ended on a high note, but chose to drive right back into the ditch. “He might be the only person in Illinois who doesn’t think corruption is a problem,” Rauner said of Pritzker. Oh, c’mon.

But, hey, it’s politics. Both men are going to wage a bitterly negative fight to the end no matter what the polls say or how much one of them promises to change. Strap it down.

* Related…

* ADDED: Eric Zorn: Rauner 2.0 — a little bit of change we can’t quite believe in: But aside from saying that Democratic lawmakers secretly agree with him and can be coaxed into supporting his initiatives over the opposition of their leaders, he still can’t explain why the next four years under him will be any different than the last four years.

* Jim Dey: Rauner’s sorry, so sorry — but do the voters care anymore?

* Doug Finke: Gov. Bruce Rauner has a revelation

* Chuck Sweeny: Rauner says he’ll be reasonable in 2nd term

- Posted by Rich Miller   49 Comments      


Monday, Sep 17, 2018

* Follow along with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comment      

* Outside money starts flowing
* IDES does a good job spinning job numbers
* Two more ads from Pritzker
* We're number one! And second. And fourth.
* Report: Edgar "coaching" Pritzker
* Mendoza releases new report on the damage done during and since the impasse
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition
* Pritzker's Downstate response ad: "Lie. Lie. Lie."
* Mendoza bobs and weaves when asked about running for mayor
* ALPLM won't display Lincoln hat and curator ousted
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* On eve of campaign kick-off, Preckwinkle admits she fired her chief of staff for "inappropriate behavior"
* Yesterday's stories

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