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Not a fake headline: Chicago FOP President describes working collaboratively with Chicago’s mayor, legislature on pension legislation

Friday, May 26, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Chicago FOP Lodge 7 President John Catanzara speaking to his members moments ago

For the last three years, we have been working very hard and intentionally to right a wrong from 2020 and get the 3% COLA passed and have parity with the fire department for the bare minimum compared to other pensions in this state. That was Senate Bill 1956. It passed the Senate. It was waiting to be called in the House.

Reality is, here’s where we’re at right now. Last week, the city reached out to us and made a request for the bill to be carried over into the veto session in the fall. The request was based on the fact that there was not a chief financial officer in place and they needed to wrap their head around the numbers, the commitments and everything else to present it properly in the fall budget.

We wanted to press forward. We worked very hard to get to where we’re at. The city realized that we had overwhelming support in both chambers, from both parties, actually, which was pretty unique, and that the bill was pretty much going to pass if it was called.

So that triggered some talks, and those talks developed into something even I think a little better in the long term here.

Not only do we have a pledge that Senate Bill 1956 is alive and well being will be called in the veto session. in week one for the 3 percent COLA.

There’ll be a second bill out of the House, 4098. That will include language for fixes for tier two, a DROP program and some other things encompassing a much broader repair to the pension issues that we’re facing here.

So we’re not going to keep piece-mealing these bills together, Assembly after Assembly. We’re going to try and get it all done in the veto session and have some at least pension clarity for the future, not only for our sake, but for the new administration.

So that’s where we’re at. The Speaker has pledged to call the bill. The supporters on both sides of the aisle have assurances that the bill will be called the first week in the veto session. And that that House bill, there will be a committee put together with police and fire to address the issues, and kind of work them all out together in one big piece of legislation and have that one also pass in the veto session.

Am I happy? I’m not gonna lie. No. We worked really hard to get where we’re at. But bigger picture is we have the ability to affect much broader potential legislation with much longer reaching consequences in the fall veto session.

If something happens between now and then, and those promises aren’t kept, well, we’re going to be having a very different conversation come November, I can assure you of that. Because we certainly expect people to hold their obligations.

The DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Plan) program is explained here.

Nobody’s ever completely happy with compromises. But, if you’d told most people right before the election that FOP Lodge 7, the Johnson administration and both legislative chambers could all calmly pledge to work together to come up with some pension ideas, they might’ve thought you were nuts.

…Adding… Mayor Brandon Johnson…

Mayor Brandon Johnson today announced the formation of a working group to address Chicago’s municipal pension systems.

“As Mayor of Chicago, I am committed to protecting both the retirement security of working people, as well as the financial stability of our government so we can achieve our goal of investing in people and strengthening communities in every corner of the city,” said Mayor Johnson. “Together, with our state legislative partners in Springfield, I am establishing a working group to collaborate on finding a sustainable path forward to addressing existing gaps in the city’s four municipal pension systems (Firefighters, Police, Municipal, and Laborers). The working group’s mission is to find workable solutions with sustainable funding sources to ensure retirement security and taxpayer relief in the long term in time for the fall veto session.”

The working group will include state legislators, the city’s Budget Director, the city’s Chief Financial Officer, and representatives from the city’s various labor unions, including both the police and fire unions.


Anti-abortion activist to be brought before federal judge over allegedly attempting to destroy building that will be used as a Danville abortion clinic

Tuesday, May 23, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* US Attorney’s Office…

A Prophetstown, Illinois, man, Philip J. Buyno, 73, has been arrested and charged by federal criminal complaint with attempting to use fire to damage a building used in interstate commerce. Danville, Illinois, police officers arrested Buyno on Saturday, May 20th, and he is scheduled to appear in federal court in Urbana today at 1:15 pm before U.S. Magistrate Judge Eric I. Long. At that time, Judge Long will address whether Buyno will be released on conditions of bond or held in custody pending further proceedings.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the complaint, Danville police officers responded to an alarm at 600 N. Logan Avenue in Danville around 4:30 a.m. early Saturday morning. They found Buyno stuck inside a maroon Volkswagen Passat that he had backed into the entrance of the building, which is being renovated for use as a reproductive health clinic. According to the affidavit, Buyno brought several containers filled with gasoline with him.

If convicted of attempted arson, Buyno faces a minimum penalty of five years up to twenty years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and three years of supervised release.

The charges are the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Field Office, and the Danville Police Department. Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene L. Miller is representing the government in the prosecution.

Members of the public are reminded that a complaint is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.


“Let’s focus and call it what it is. This is an act of terrorism, and this is a fight against women’s rights,” said Caylynne Dobbles, President of VC Pride Coalition. […]

WAND reached out to Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. who said that he did not have a comment due to this being an open investigation.

“The community should know that not everyone on either side is like this. Not everyone is out to hurt people or harm buildings. And that the VC Pride Coalition is here,” said Dobbles.


A neighbor, who doesn’t want to be identified, says she heard banging that sounded like someone was messing with her car, but instead, she says it was someone ramming their own car into the clinic building. She says shortly after she saw a man trying to get away. […]

The neighbor says police used to sit in the parking lot to keep an eye on the building. But since these no-trespassing posts went up, she says she hasn’t seen them. While she doesn’t agree with the clinic opening, she says that doesn’t give people the right to destroy it.

* Chicago Tribune

The alleged attack follows recent heated, high-profile demonstrations in support of and against abortion access in this community of about 30,000.

Earlier this month, the Danville City Council narrowly passed a controversial ban on the mailing and shipping of abortion pills, a measure Attorney General Kwame Raoul and civil rights experts have warned is illegal in Illinois. […]

The attack in Danville occurred just a few months after another man was accused of setting fire to a Planned Parenthood Health Center roughly a hundred miles away in Peoria.

Tyler W. Massengill, 32, of Chillicothe in February pleaded guilty to setting the fire; when he was arrested in January, he told authorities that an ex-girlfriend had an abortion several years ago in Peoria, which upset him. The blaze was set a few days after Illinois passed expansive reproductive rights legislation that included protections for abortion providers and out-of-state patients as well as an expansion of the pool of clinicians that can perform abortions.

Buyno is a decades-long activist. Click here for video of him being arrested outside a clinic in Milwaukee back in 1991. And click here to see him talk about being arrested in Peoria a few years ago.


ISP’s Decatur Forensic Science Lab receives final accreditation

Tuesday, May 23, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The state’s turnaround times are still too long, but at least the trend is finally moving in the right direction…

Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Brendan F. Kelly today announced ISP has received final accreditation for the new ISP Decatur Forensic Science Laboratory and it is now officially open for business. The new four-story facility located along U.S. Route 51 on the south side of Decatur houses12,200-square feet of laboratory space and will serve law enforcement agencies across the state.

“This top-tier facility will increase capacity to significantly reduce turnaround time for DNA testing, produce rapid results, and further reduce the case backlog,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Since day one, my administration has been committed to delivering justice for every Illinoisan, and this new Decatur lab will ensure we can accomplish that.”

The new lab will focus on high-throughput DNA testing, which comprises about 20% of all ISP forensic cases in the laboratory system. Forensic scientists at the laboratory will examine evidence collected from crime scenes and analyze biological material to identify DNA profiles from suspects.

“The Decatur facility is equipped with the latest state-of-the-art technology and will be staffed with highly trained individuals who are critical to providing DNA analysis for the citizens of Illinois,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “The new lab will further reduce backlogs and allow us to solve crimes faster and bring justice to all involved.”

The new high-throughput DNA laboratory utilizes robotics, which will increase ISP’s testing capacity. These robots can process case samples with minimal hands on from the forensic scientist. The technology will be crucial in providing a short turn around for cases such as property crimes, homicides, and criminal sexual assaults requiring DNA analysis.

The Decatur facility houses ISP’s seventh forensic laboratory, as well as Crime Scene Services. The new facility brings new jobs to the area and has space for approximately 27 employees, including 12 forensic scientists, five evidence technicians, five administrative staff, and five crime scene investigators. Approximately $5.4 million was awarded for staffing and equipment at the new laboratory for the first year.

The ISP forensic science laboratory system has been recognized as one of the largest crime laboratory systems in the world providing forensic science analytical services to more than 1,200 state, county, and local criminal justice agencies. The ISP laboratory system, currently comprised of seven operational laboratories and a training and application laboratory, processes evidence from criminal cases in seven disciplines: drug chemistry, trace chemistry, toxicology, biology/DNA, latent prints, firearms/toolmarks, and footwear/tire tracks.

The average turn-around-time for a DNA case to be completed is 3.6 months. At the end of March 2023, 37% of the assignments for DNA analyses were completed in 60 days or less. Backlogs in testing for trace chemistry, drug chemistry, latent prints, firearms, toxicology, and footwear have all decreased by approximately 37% since 2021.

In June 2022, ISP announced that after decades of extensive sexual assault forensic backlogs, the number of pending sexual assault forensic assignments older than 180 days reached zero. This was the first time since the General Assembly passed the Illinois Sexual Assault Evidence Submission Act in 2010 that the State of Illinois was in compliance with the statute.

It’s just ridiculous how the state let the rape kit problem so horribly deteriorate. I mean, it was so bad they had to pass a law, and it still took a dozen years to reach what is really a not optimal result of 6 months.

Anyway, click here for some videos of the new lab.


* Afternoon roundup
* ISBE: "CPS continues to defy its legal obligations"
* An idea whose time has come
* Fun with numbers
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraiser list
* Question of the day
* It’s almost a law
* Today's quotable
* Uber And ASU Are Expanding Access To Higher Education In Illinois
* The new state budget could be a tight squeeze
* *** UPDATED x1 *** SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* Live coverage
* End of session coverage roundup
* Yesterday's stories

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