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Hastings circulating petitions for SoS and AG as Ald. Burnett declares he’s not circulating

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017

* Michael Hastings is a Democratic state Senator from Tinley Park. I’ve altered the image to take out his address, but a buddy sent this to me today and it’s already going around…

“I have a lot of petitions out,” Hastings said today, confirming that he’s also passing petitions for attorney general.

“I don’t intend to run against Jesse White, I’ll tell you that right now,” he said, adding that he’s only circulating petitions because he’s heard the same rumors we talked about yesterday, that secretary of state petitions are being circulated for Ald. Walter Burnett, who is Secretary White’s guy, and that White would drop out late in the game and Burnett would be ready to go. Secretary White’s office flatly denied those rumors.

* So, I got ahold of Ald. Burnett. “I’m not passing petitions,” he said.

“Mr. White is not playing no games. He’s running. I’m not,” Burnett said. “Mr. White is running and I’m supporting him and if somebody is trying to do that they’re trying to manipulate something.”

“I haven’t seen the petition,” he continued. “I don’t even know if there really are petitions. The ‘alleged petitions,’ I have nothing to do with them.”

* Anyway, back to Sen. Hastings. He’s an attorney and complained today that “We don’t have any suburban representation,” on the statewide slate. He sounded very interested in running for AG.

…Adding… There’s some speculation that because White isn’t on the party slate’s petitions that this somehow means he isn’t actually running. Lisa Madigan also opted out of the slate petitions (when all incumbent candidates appear on the same petition), and people are putting two and two together and coming up with five. But the White people claim they always do their own petitions. Also, White hired Rocco Claps as his new political director a couple weeks ago or so. Everyone probably needs to take a breath here. And while I can understand Hastings not wanting to take any chances, I don’t think the secretary is amused, from what I’ve been hearing.

- Posted by Rich Miller   39 Comments      

Backlogged bills hit a new high this week

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017

* A new record…

The next really good month for revenues is December, according to the comptroller’s office. So, without a bonding plan, expect that backlog number to remain pretty high.

* Reuters

But on Monday, the governor told reporters that the bonds do not solve any problem because lawmakers failed to set aside money to make principal and interest payments over the 12 years the debt would be outstanding.

“We need to come up with roughly half a billion (dollars) of cuts just to be able to service a bond offering,” he said, adding that he planned to meet with legislative leaders for discussion.

Pallasch said school aid and pension payments this week will lower the bill backlog into the $15 billion range as the Dec. 31 deadline for issuing the bonds looms.

“The ball’s in their court now and we are working with them to make this happen,” he said.

* Meanwhile

Gov. Bruce Rauner doesn’t want to negotiate in the media about what actions the Legislature should take next, but he said the state budget is not balanced and there needs to be a construction bill. […]

“I don’t like to borrow to fund deficits,” Rauner said. “Borrowing for long term capital projects is actually good management. It’s actually the prudent financial thing to do. But we can get the debt service covered if we can shrink some of the spending on other things and then debt service to fund construction projects.”

Rauner announced a plan earlier this month to borrow $6 billion dollars to pay down some of the $16 billion bill backlog with debt service to be half a billion dollars each year for the next 12 years.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

Question of the day

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017

* WalletHub

People determine their own happiness. But how content we are with life is not only and always a matter of perspective. And it’s certainly not about beauty, power or wealth — at least, not beyond an annual income of $75,000. Where we choose to live can also influence our level of happiness.

In this study, WalletHub’s analysts drew upon the findings of “happiness” research to determine which environmental factors are linked to a person’s overall well-being and satisfaction with life. Previous studies have found that good economic, emotional, physical and social health are all key to a well-balanced and fulfilled life.

To determine where Americans exhibit the best combination of these factors, we examined the 50 states across 28 key metrics, ranging from depression rate to sports participation rate to income growth.

Illinois ranked 20th happiest. Wisconsin took the 9 spot, Michigan was 29th happiest and Indiana placed 34th.

The least happy people were in West Virginia, and the happiest were in Minnesota.

* The Question: Do you consider yourself “happy”? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      

“The overall news is good” about Asia trade trip

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017

* Greg Hinz interviews Intersect Illinois’ Mark Peterson about the governor’s recent Asian trade trip

In an interview, Peterson said he couldn’t break confidence and reveal great detail on exactly what to expect after meetings in Tokyo and Nagoya, Japan, and Shanghai and Beijing. Some deals are close, others are in the early stages and some are strictly conceptual.

But the overall news is good, he said, involving everything from a Chinese sovereign wealth unit to a Michigan Avenue retailer and investments in the state’s growing biotech business. The trip “absolutely” will pay dividends within the next year, he said. “My guess, it will be in the hundreds, if not thousands of new jobs” in Illinois.

Potentially the most significant was a Beijing meeting between the Illinois delegation and Chinese Investment Corp.—which is looking to invest $200 billion somewhere—and officials from 60 companies affiliated with that group.

“We had some very significant discussions with those companies,” which are involved in industries ranging from food processing and clean energy to pharmaceuticals. […]

The group also met with senior executives of Toyota, which, with Mazda, has been kicking the tires in the Rochelle area in west central Illinois, considering building a plant there—or elsewhere in the country. Notably, in that session, were the executive director of the DeKalb County Economic Development Corp. and Rochelle’s economic development director.

* Ralph Martire argues for a different sort of state investment

For a real eye-opener look back to fiscal year 2000, when the appropriation for higher education was $2.15 billion — or about $314 million more, in nominal, non-inflation adjusted dollars, than fiscal year 2018. Of course, inflation matters: Over time it drives up the cost of everything, from running a business to educating college kids. After adjusting for inflation, state funding for higher education in 2018 is fully 51.6 percent less than in fiscal year 2000.

This consistent disinvestment has had consequences, none of them good. For instance, many Illinois public universities — like Western, for instance — have had to cut core academic offerings like philosophy, due to underfunding. Meanwhile, crucial student financial supports like the Monetary Assistance Program — which provides low-income kids financial aid in the form of grants they don’t have to repay — aren’t funded anywhere near what’s necessary to meet demographically driven need. In response, potential college students have been voting with their feet: During the last 10 years, enrollment declined at Illinois’ public universities by more than 14,000 students.

Meanwhile, all the evidence indicates Illinois should reverse course, and invest in building a world-class higher education system. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for high school grads is more than twice as high as it is for college grads. Moreover, the wage gap between high school and college grads has doubled since 1979, growing from 23.5 to 47 percent. Want more evidence? From 1979-2012, states with the greatest increases in productivity and highest per capita incomes also had the largest share of adults with a college degree. Not to mention that higher education plays a crucial role in facilitating upward economic mobility for individuals who come from low-income backgrounds.

Despite all that, Illinois continues to lag the nation in making higher education investment a priority — and kids heading off to college have noticed.

* Related…

* New iPhone uses facial data that’s protected under Illinois law: Apple calls their new system Face ID. It projects infra-red lights against the iPhone owner’s face and uses that info to authenticate and unlock the phone. A faceprint is as individual as a thumbprint and is protected by Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, which says a company cannot take and store things like thumbprints, or in this case faceprints, in an offsite location… “Apple is not taking possession of the biometric information and likely wouldn’t apply to [Illinois’] law,” he said. “Keeping it out of a master database is a much better practice than most biometric policies that companies are following today.”

* Emanuel invites Chicago ‘nominations’ for site of Amazon’s HQ2

* Oak Brook to bid for Amazon headquarters at McDonald’s site

* Portions of Wisconsin’s Foxconn law could be unconstitutional, state analysis finds: The Foxconn bill, which passed the Republican-controlled Legislature with bipartisan support, gives Foxconn an unprecedented expedited appeals process and allows the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take certain cases directly from the circuit court, skipping the state appeals court.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

Rate the Sen. Kwame Raoul AG campaign announcement video

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017

* The expected press release…


Brings decades of experience advocating for victims, making justice system work for all

CHICAGO, IL – State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) formally announced his candidacy for Illinois Attorney General today and:

As a prosecutor and a legislator, I’ve spent my career advocating on behalf of victims, speaking up for the voiceless and producing real change in our justice system. I’ve seen the law used to the advantage of large corporations and to the detriment of the middle class and those of lesser means. I’ve worked to shift that balance and make our state’s laws the great equalizer they ought to be.

As an elected official, I have a keen sense of the cynicism many Illinoisans feel toward the government, and I don’t blame them. We’re living in a time when regional, economic, racial and partisan divides have been exploited to give us impasse, not results. My record is one of leveraging the tools of government to level the playing field and promote the common good.

As Attorney General, I’ll put my problem-solving and advocacy experience to work to ensure that justice in Illinois is blind, never discriminating between city, suburban and Downstate, between brown, black and white or between rich and poor. I am running to restore balance so that political gamesmanship is no match for the rule of law, under which all are equal.

Raoul also launched an announcement video and website for his Attorney General bid, highlighting his advocacy for Illinoisans and the principles he will take with him to the Attorney General’s office.

* And here’s his announcement video

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      

Raoul takes “full responsibility” for “bad” Erika Harold comment, Maze Jackson apologizes to listeners

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017

* SJ-R

State Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, who says he will run for attorney general in 2018, on Wednesday apologized for how he referred to Republican candidate Erika Harold when discussing the office last week.

“I’ve seen the reaction to the comment that I made, and I don’t blame anybody for being offended,” Raoul told The State Journal-Register. “If I read them without the full context of our full conversation, I would have the same reaction. … I take full responsibility for the bad characterization.”

Raoul told the newspaper on Friday, after Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced she would not seek another term, that “I think Lisa would have acquitted herself well against Miss America. I don’t know what’s behind the attorney general’s decision … but I doubt seriously it was any fear of Erika Harold.” […]

Raoul was issuing a video Wednesday with the announcement of his 2018 candidacy, he said.

* Meanwhile, Maze Jackson started out his WVON broadcast this morning by saying

So, ladies and gentlemen, yesterday I got a note that came down from the top that suggested that I should apologize to the WVON listeners for bringing the streets to my listeners.

He was referring, of course, to yesterday’s on-air interview of Sen. Raoul which devolved into a street-style argument.

Jackson said he had trouble sleeping last night. “I couldn’t believe the conversation digressed to the level it did,” he said, but admitted to being an “antagonist.”

He also acknowledged the bad blood between the two going into the interview, and said his public comments have caused issues in his business, among his friends and even within his own family. Jackson is well known for calling out black politicians on a daily basis, and they and their supporters are just not accustomed to those sorts of attacks coming from WVON.

After he appeared to read from a long statement, Jackson said “I apologize to every listener that I offended with yesterday’s exchange.”

“I enjoy what I do, I love what I do every day,” he went on to say, “But sometimes maybe I’ve gone too far, and my sincerest apologies, especially to the intelligentsia that I’ve offended, to the people who took time to write letters that were outraged by what happened yesterday.”

And then he acknowledged that the show wasn’t supposed to be his “personal vendetta.” Instead, he said, “This is the mic of WVON.”

* He did not apologize to Sen. Raoul.

Jackson, you’ll recall, pointedly asked Raoul to respond clearly to a question. Raoul obviously took offense and it very quickly devolved into a verbal sparring match.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Durkin says he doesn’t think Illinois “needs to give away the store” to snag Amazon

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017

* Tribune

House Republican leader Jim Durkin on Tuesday said Illinois should pursue Amazon’s second headquarters, but he doesn’t “think we need to give away the store like Wisconsin just did” for Foxconn.

Durkin was asked about Illinois’ efforts to land the giant company during an appearance before the City Club of Chicago. He said he plans to meet with Gov. Bruce Rauner in the coming days and that “we need to be competitive” in pursuing the company. […]

“We’ll do whatever we can,” Durkin said. “I do know that the competition is very heavy, and any time you start talking about incentives it brings out some of the worst in people down in Springfield.”

He said other states might overpromise incentives on which they can’t deliver. And in the end, he said, it’s lawmakers who have to approve any incentives.

The governor was asked about Durkin’s comments today and he chuckled and said he didn’t know what “giving away the store” means exactly. But he also said that he would work on a package that provides “every possible resource we can” to present the company with a “very attractive, very competitive option.”

*** UPDATE ***  Ameya Pawar…

“It’s one thing to attract corporations like Amazon to Illinois because of our transportation infrastructure, our access to fresh water, because we have great colleges and universities, and because of the wealth of art and culture our state has to offer. But it’s another thing entirely to give away billions of dollars in tax incentives while places like Cairo and East St. Louis are fighting to keep their communities from closing.

“When was the last time you saw Governor Rauner lead a delegation to Cairo to assess the potential for economic development there? It’s embarrassing that we are willing to sit by while Cairo is on the verge of closure, when all they’re asking for is investments to save their community.

“If state and local leaders have the political will to offer Amazon special incentives to open a second headquarters here, where is the political will to bring investments to the many communities across our state who are struggling to survive? I propose that we match every incentive dollar we offer to Amazon with a new dollar dedicated to infrastructure and economic development, to public education, or to affordable housing in underserved communities.

If we have the money to give away billions of dollars in tax revenue to Amazon, then why don’t we have the money to invest in communities to save them from closing? And finally, we ask small businesses to pay their fair share in taxes even as they risk closure from the impacts of online retailers like Amazon, who are leading in job automation. Yet when small businesses ask for help, we tell them we live in a capitalist society.

“We cannot allow politicians to continue to put the profits of major corporations over the well-being of working class families and small businesses in our state, who have been forgotten and ignored for too long. It’s time we take our state back from the wealthy and corporate interests who care more about their own self-interest than improving the lives of people struggling to get ahead. It’s time we invest in communities that need it most to keep our communities from closing.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      

Biss tries to explain the Ramirez-Rosa matter

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017

* Sen. Daniel Biss held a Facebook Live event last night

ATTENDEE: People are asking if you would please comment a little bit on the situation involving your first running mate if you can do that and there’s a follow up question but I’ll only ask it if it’s necessary.

BISS: So, Illinois only in the last two election cycles governor/lieutenant governor candidates run as a team in the primary and then get nominated together and run together in the general election. And I actually think it’s a really good reform because what it means is you can run as a partnership, and that partnership can be carried into the office of governor and lt. governor and that’s really the only circumstance in which certain lieutenant governor’s position makes a lot of sense.

And so, I spent part of the summer thinking about who I wanted to run with and interviewing a series of people and one of the options of who was on my short list was an alderman from the Northwest Side of the city from the 35th Ward by the name of Carlos Ramirez-Rosa. And I can talk more about his strengths of which there are plenty, and I can talk some about his weaknesses, everybody has some. But it was an exciting partnership in certain respects, but there were some things that I wanted to check out.

One thing that some people told me I should look out for was he’s a member of the Democratic Socialist of America. And my attitude was ‘I don’t believe in guilt by association, I’m not going to participate in calling someone out because they’re a socialist.’ I disagree with that. I think we should welcome people who are from active progressive groups, but I also wanted to make sure that I was comfortable with the positions taken by the organization or at least if not, feel free to talk about them.

So, I read the organization’s platform and there’s an awful lot there that I promptly agree with and there’s things that I have modest disagreements with, but could easily see both sides.

But there was one set of issues that because of my personal family background, where I come from as a grandson of a Holocaust survivor was important to me personally. Candidly speaking, not one of the most important issues facing the state government, but it’s an issue that is important to me personally and that’s what’s called the BDS or Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement regarding the relationship between Israel and Palestine.

I just have a personal discomfort with that which I’m getting to if you guys will find interesting, but my guess is it’s not you want to talk about tonight. And so, because of that, I asked him his position and he said he shares my position, and Bernie Sanders’ position was not in support of that movement, and then during the course of the first few days of the campaign as we got a lot of questions about it I think he did a lot of thinking and came to a different conclusion and obviously I respect his right to change his mind and I respect his potion but it was a division that I just didn’t feel was going to be workable for the ticket and so I regrettably had to part ways and then move forward with another person who is under active consideration and is a good friend and a close ally, her name is Litesa Wallace.

She is a state representative from Rockford whom I fought with on a variety of issues we fought on LGBT issues, we recently passed a bill into law that even Bruce Rauner signed advancing LGBTQ justice that she was the House sponsor that I was the Senate sponsor. We fought side by side especially on access to child care, she’s someone who I know well and trust, we share a commonality on values and so we had to make a change and moving forward full speed ahead and ya know it was obviously a difficult situation and an uncomfortable situation, but I would say that Carlos is a strong progressive we share a lot of values he’s a good person and a good ally on important issues and obviously someone I think has a very, very bright future in politics.”

Lots of words. The full video is here. The snippet above is here.

* What really happened between the two men is still in dispute

Ramirez-Rosa denies the claim that he flip-flopped. He told the Reader he has opposed BDS at the state and local level because city and state governments shouldn’t engage in foreign policy—but he supports it at the federal level.

“What I said in June 2016 at the People’s Summit is that we need to have a conversation about the best way that the U.S. federal government exerts pressure on the state of Israel to bring about a two-state solution,” Ramirez-Rosa said. “I recognize Israel’s right to exist. I want to see an end to the occupation of Palestine and we need to have a constructive dialogue about what the U.S. government does in relation to the money it sends Israel to put pressure to create that two-state solution. I have made those positions clear in numerous public forums and it’s unfortunate that Senator Biss did not understand those facts.”

How much did [Congressman Brad Schneider] withdrawing his endorsement play into the understanding of those facts?

“We had many conversations on this matter before and after Congressman Schneider pulled his endorsement, but I want to respect the conversations that I had with Senator Biss and the campaign and keep them private,” Ramirez-Rosa said. “Unfortunately it became clear that after numerous days of conversations, we would not be able to continue together as a ticket. Ultimately, it’s his ticket and I respect his decision.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      

Protected: *** UPDATED x1 *** SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Legislative candidate announcements

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

An argument against assisting the St. Louis Amazon bid

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017

* Joe Cahill is furious that Gov. Rauner is also giving some support to St. Louis’ Amazon HQ2 bid

Any material assistance to Missouri would be a stunning betrayal, undermining Illinois’ only realistic contender for one of the biggest economic development prizes in a generation. […]

Rauner is kidding himself if he thinks Missouri would let Illinois share the bounty of an Amazon base in St. Louis. Sure, some Illinois residents would land jobs across the Mississippi River. But don’t expect Amazon to open offices in East St. Louis or Alton. Missouri lawmakers shelling out tax subsidies to Amazon would want every last dollar invested in their state.

Most important, Rauner would weaken Chicago’s bid if he strengthens St. Louis.’ Chicago has Amazon’s wish list pretty well covered, but so do other cities. To win against tough competition, Illinois needs to speak with one voice on behalf of Chicago.

What will Amazon’s decision-makers think if Illinois officials stumping for Chicago simultaneously talk up St. Louis? Most likely, they’ll start to doubt Chicago’s sales pitch.

Suburban St. Louis is built out so far west that lots of people have decided to go east to Illinois. We’d definitely benefit. I just think a backup plan is always a good option.

* And then he tosses in this

Perhaps Rauner is so invested in his Illinois-as-basketcase narrative—and his personal animosity toward Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and House Speaker Michael Madigan—that an economic coup for Chicago would feel like a defeat. Maybe he worries that an Amazon move to Chicago would undercut his argument that Illinois has become so unattractive to business that only deep reforms will save the state’s economy.

I just cannot make myself believe that.

- Posted by Rich Miller   73 Comments      

Why did Lisa Madigan retire?

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017

* Zorn on Lisa Madigan’s retirement

Maybe, however — and I know how crazy this sounds but stay with me — maybe she’s not sufficiently consumed with ambition to devote the rest of her life to the pursuit of political advancement.

Maybe most of us were wrong in 2002, when she first ran for Illinois attorney general, to assume that she was as obsessed with yanking the levers of power as her father, veteran Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, and to assume that, like so many who occupy lower constitutional offices, she would reach for the next rung of the ladder as soon as she could.

Maybe the idea of subjecting herself to the brutal indignities of running for Illinois governor or mayor of Chicago, then becoming ringmaster of the circus that is Illinois or Chicago doesn’t appeal to her.

Maybe Friday’s announcement that she’ll step down as attorney general at the end of her current term in early 2019 was simply a move toward reinvention. […]

Maybe the reason she’s passed on many opportunities to seek advancement — including a run for governor in 2014 that looked certain until she bowed out — and now plans to leave politics, is that, at heart, she’s more of a normal person than we, and perhaps she, once thought.

There are undoubtedly lots of reasons. But she’s never been the cartoon caricature that so many have tried to make her out to be.

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

Currency exchanges say they want higher fees to boost lagging profits

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017


State financial regulators are recommending an increase in the fees that currency exchanges charge for cashing checks. Opponents say it will hurt Illinois’ poorest residents.

Currency exchanges petitioned the state for the higher rate — which could be up to 3 percent, depending on the amount of the check.

They say the move to direct deposit and pre-paid cards has cut into profits — putting the industry into decline. […]

The plan still has to get through a special legislative committee that evaluates proposed regulations.

* From Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago)…

The IDFPR’s proposal, which is now in the midst of the rule-making process would change the service fees associated with cashing checks at businesses like Currency Exchanges as follows:

Collins, who chairs the Senate’s Financial Institutions Committee, said these proposed increases further squeeze the working poor and the underbanked – people who can least afford it. She spoke alongside representatives of advocacy groups – Woodstock Institute and Community Organizing and Family Issues, among others.

“I refuse to stand by and allow the currency exchange industry to increase profits on the backs of the most financially vulnerable,” Collins said. “If IDFPR refuses to appropriately modify its proposal, I plan to explore all legislative options to address this misguided and dangerous plan.”


- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

DGA tour coverage roundup

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017


Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner hasn’t announced his intention to run again, but most of his opponents expect it to happen. So a group in Carbondale shared their stories about how Governor Rauner’s time in office has affected them as part of the “Rauners Broken Record Tour.”

“Budget crisis, money problems, loss of jobs, economic uncertainty. The state is failing and the state is failing because its being mishandled,” said Wesley Tartt.

Tartt believes Governor Rauner has done more harm than good. That’s why he joined this group to call attention to reasons, they claim, voters should put Governor Rauner out of office in 2018. […[

“I thought, maybe the one area that he might really excel in, might be managing the money for the state of Illinois. It turned out, that’s the area that he’s absolute worst in,” said [former Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon]. […]

News Three reached out to Governor Rauner’s press team for a response, but they never returned our calls or emails.

Sorry, but they’re too busy trying to figure out yet again how to tell the governor’s “story” to answer a reporter’s question.

* WTAX Radio

The Democratic Governors Association wants to add to its ranks – specifically, in Illinois.

A “Rauner’s Broken Record” tour began in Springfield Tuesday, with other stops scheduled in Carbondale and Peoria, to call attention to what Democrats say are reasons to vote Gov. Bruce Rauner (pictured) out of office in 2018. […]

From a wheelchair, Missy Norman, born with spina bifida, outlined how Rauner’s policies, had all of them been enacted, would have made her ineligible for home health care.

“Make no mistake, any attack on the people who provide these services is an attack on those of us who receive them,” she said.

* WSIU Radio

Jeff Pool is a caregiver in southern Illinois. He says Governor Rauner does not understand the needs and desires of people with disabilities.

“When I go home and sleep at night, that’s wonderful. When I hear my alarm clock go off, I say I wish I could sleep another hour. It’s opposite for them. They’re thinking I wish I could get up. But, they’re stuck in bed. They have to wait. They need somebody to help them.”

Pool cares for Casey Cavinder. The SIU graduate says he doesn’t like the term “special needs.” He says he has human needs.

“When we don’t get those human needs met, it amounts to a human rights violation, whether it’s couched that way or not.”

* The DGA is headed to Peoria today…

WHERE: Peoria Labor Temple, 400 NE Jefferson St, Peoria, IL 61603

WHEN: 2:00 PM Wednesday Sept. 20th

WHO: Sen. Dave Koehler, Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, and grassroots leaders from the area.

- Posted by Rich Miller   5 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Illinois economy “stuck in neutral”

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017

* As I’ve tried to point out over the past several weeks, Illinois’ economy has been sliding downward for months. With all the other stuff going on, I neglected to post this press release the other day…

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate increased +0.2 percentage points to 5.0 percent in August and nonfarm payrolls decreased by -3,700 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. July job growth was revised down to show an increase of +600 jobs rather than the preliminary estimate of +2,100 jobs.

August’s monthly payroll drop kept over-the-year job growth well below the national average. While Illinois job growth has had its ups and downs since the beginning of the year, the 3-month trend shows average monthly gains of 1,100 jobs per month from June to August, while the six-month trend shows a -100 per month average job loss from March to August.

“The Illinois economy is stuck in neutral with hardly any growth over the past several months,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “As a result, this has caused the state to experience a rising unemployment rate over the past three months.”

“Illinois is working tirelessly to highlight our strongest assets – our strategic location and dedicated workforce – to bring more opportunity, competition and good paying jobs to our state,” said Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Sean McCarthy. “We need to couple that with lasting reforms and incentives to attract businesses and quality jobs in Illinois.”

In August, the three industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were: Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+6,600); Education and Health Services (+3,400); and Construction (+2,000). The largest payroll declines were in the following sectors: Leisure and Hospitality (-9,900); Professional and Business Services (-3,300); and Manufacturing (-3,000).

Over-the-year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +23,600 jobs with the largest gains in these industry sectors in August: Professional and Business Services (+15,300); Financial Activities (+9,100); and Education and Health Services (+9,000). Industry sectors with the largest over-the-year declines include: Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-5,800); Government (-3,100); and Construction (-3,000). The +0.4 percent over-the-year gain in Illinois is about one-fourth as strong as the +1.4 percent gain posted by the nation in August.

The state’s unemployment rate is +0.6 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for August 2017, which increased to 4.4 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.8 percentage points from a year ago when it was 5.8 percent. At 5.0 percent, the Illinois jobless rate stands -0.7 percentage points lower than January 2017.

The number of unemployed workers increased +4.8 percent from the prior month to 323,100, down -14.2 percent over the same month for the prior year. This was the third consecutive over-the-month gain in the number of unemployed persons. The labor force decreased -0.4 percent over-the-month and declined by -1.4 percent in August over the prior year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and are seeking employment. An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.

* Despite the fact that construction is one of the bright spots, a capital bill would still help

IS THERE A CAPITAL BILL IN THE WORKS? Rauner: “I can say, I certainly hope so. I’ve advocated for a capital bill … since day one in office … I’ve encouraged conversations to occur. I believe conversations are occurring.”

What sources tell us: The legislative leaders’ discussion involved talk of a possible $3 billion to $5 billion capital bill that would involve a public-private partnership. We’re still unclear on the funding as parties are denying a gas tax would become part of it. And sources were jittery about whether this thing would even get off the ground.

Subscribers know more.

*** UPDATE ***  This is really weird. Either Natasha and I and others are being told something wrong, or, well, I dunno, but I still believe there’s a plan and there’s been no denial yet of that…

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      

The great exodus

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017

* AP

Illinois residents aren’t the only ones throwing up their hands at the gridlock and increasingly polarized politics that have defined state government in recent years. More and more, fed-up and frustrated Illinois legislators are heading for the exits.

More than two-dozen legislators — about 15 percent of the General Assembly — have either resigned months into the current session or said they won’t seek re-election. They are Democrats and Republicans, rank-and-file moderates and those in leadership posts, including House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, who said last week that she’s ending her nearly 40-year legislative career when her term expires.

It’s an exodus that longtime Statehouse observers say is unusual not just for the high number of lawmakers leaving, but for the reasons many legislators are giving: frustration with not being able to reach compromises, the stress of the two-year budget impasse that only recently ended, year-round campaigning and a public that’s grown more hostile and vocal.

* It may have been lost in the discussion about Dan Proft, but as I told you yesterday Leader Durkin addressed this topic at the City Club

Durkin also claimed “natural attrition” is why many of his members have retired this year. The average age is about 70 of the retirees, he said. And he said other members are relatively new and found out the job just wasn’t for them. “The antagonism, the stress and the anxiety” all combined to convince them to get out.

* The Tribune has a bit more

“I will say that what happened over the past three years and the logjam, I think some of the antagonism and the stress and the anxiety that people have down there, it just wasn’t working for them,” Durkin told members of the City Club of Chicago on Tuesday.

“It’s tough in Washington,” the veteran lawmaker from Western Springs added. “I think we’re seeing it in every area, every state, even local governments. It’s more challenging. But again, challenges are what this is about. And that’s what we need to be focused on.” […]

“Social media and money has had a major impact, and the campaigns are not getting any nicer. And they won’t,” Durkin said after his City Club address. “So your skin’s got to be even tougher than it was two years ago to withstand a contested primary or a general election.”

Fear of facing a contested primary was evident among the ranks of Republican lawmakers who voted against Rauner’s wishes in helping to enact a state budget in July to help end the stalemate. Rauner’s handpicked Illinois GOP chairman, Tim Schneider, put out a statement at the time regarding the income tax hike saying he was “confident voters will hold those politicians accountable for choosing Mike Madigan over the people of Illinois.”

“Social media” may be code for “the Illinois Policy Institute’s Facebook operation.”

* Speaking of the Illinois Policy Institute, here’s a piece from its news service

You might think that 20 percent turnover of the Illinois legislature would be an argument against term limits.

But State Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, said the wave of retirement announcements is actually the case for limiting legislative terms.

Term limits “check the motivation why people serve,” McCarter said. “Do they serve just for their pension? Or do they serve for the good of their constituents to change the trajectory of the state?”

* And a House member/subscriber compiled this yesterday…

Hi Rich (please don’t have to mention you got this from me if you use it)

But I thought you might find it interesting that with the new GA of 2019 (101 GA) there will only be FIVE Democrats with 20+ years in office (LCL is next with 16)

    Michael Madigan Democrat 1971
    Mary Flowers Democrat 1985
    Lou Lang Democrat 1987
    Daniel Burke Democrat 1991
    Sara Feigenholtz Democrat 1995

And here are the Republican 3 (Brady is close at 18 and if you add up David Harris he is at 18 as well)

    Michael McAuliffe Republican 1996
    Jim Durkin (95-03) Republican 2006
    Keith Sommer Republican 1999

So, there are only eight legislators with 20+ years of service left out of 118 legislators - that’s assuming all incumbents declared for re-election win in 2018.

Now that is some serious turnover!!

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

Rauner signs civil asset forfeiture reform bill

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017

* Tuesday afternoon press release…

Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed HB303, bipartisan legislation aimed at reforming Illinois’ asset forfeiture system. The reforms will increase transparency and shift burdens of proof to protect innocent citizens while maintaining the proper use of asset forfeiture as a tool for law enforcement. Gov. Rauner was joined by Illinois State Police (ISP) officials, ACLU members, legislators, and advocate organizations.

“Illinois residents should be protected from the unfair seizure of their private property,” Gov. Rauner said. “This legislation will enact needed reforms to prevent abuse of the civil asset forfeiture process, while maintaining its importance as a critical tool for law enforcement to make our communities safer.”

When properly applied, asset forfeiture strikes at the economic foundation of criminal activity. The seizure of monetary assets has been utilized as an effective method to disrupt the business activities of drug trafficking organizations and bring down high-level drug distributors.

However, if asset forfeiture is misused, it can have major economic ramifications on Illinoisans who may be innocent of any wrongdoing. The forfeiture of cash, a vehicle, or even a home can also affect their family members and exacerbate financial insecurity.

This important piece of legislation will provide for greater public transparency in Asset Forfeiture proceedings through the collection and publicly accessible reporting of forfeiture data, as well as additional sanction authority for abuse and violations of forfeiture rules by the ISP.

HB 303 also shifts the burden of proving guilt to the government, and increases the burden of proof to mirror that of the federal government in forfeiture cases from probable cause to a preponderance of the evidence, a fair and equitable standard. It also makes a number of other changes such as eliminating restrictive bonding requirements and adjusting the threshold amounts of money subject to forfeiture as well as the levels of cannabis and controlled substance possession that can lead to forfeiture proceedings as a way to thoughtfully limit the use of this system to its intended purposes.

Funds received through the Asset Forfeiture Program support the costs of law enforcement overtime and wire intercepts for major investigations, training, intelligence centers, prevention programs and investigative equipment.

* From Sen. Don Harmon’s statement

The previous law in Illinois was unclear on whether probable cause was a requirement for police to seize property. Additionally, law enforcement agencies were not obligated to return property seized during an investigation, even if the owner was never charged or convicted of a crime.

The new law increases accountability and transparency among law enforcement officials by doing the following:

    • Improves the rights of property owners by placing the burden of proof on the prosecution instead of the property owner and creating an expedited process to have cases adjudicated more quickly.
    • Increases the government’s burden of proof from probable cause to preponderance of the evidence.
    • Requires the government to do more to ensure property owners receive notice of forfeiture proceedings and understand the steps they must take to argue for the return of their property.
    • Eliminates the requirement that property owners must pay a “cost bond” equal to 10 percent of the value of the seized property before their case can be heard by a judge.
    • Exempts small sums of cash from forfeiture and provides that mere possession of a miniscule amount of drugs will no longer serve as a legal basis for forfeiture.
    • Provides for new data collection regarding property seizures and forfeitures. The information will be reported to the Illinois State Police, and the aggregated data will be posted online.

The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2018.

* ACLU of Illinois…

The ACLU of Illinois and legislative sponsors celebrated the signing of House Bill 303 today. The new law passed with bipartisan support in the Illinois legislature and reforms various asset forfeiture statutes to increase fairness to property owners, increase transparency in the forfeiture process, and remove financial incentives that encourage police and prosecutors to seize citizens’ property.

Unlike criminal asset forfeiture, civil forfeiture does not require a criminal conviction before an individual’s property can be taken by the government. Between 2005 and 2015, asset forfeiture resulted in gains of more than $319 million for Illinois police departments, sheriffs, state’s attorneys, and other law enforcement agencies.

* Illinois Policy Institute

Supporters of civil asset forfeiture include various law enforcement groups and police unions, including the National Sheriffs’ Association and the Fraternal Order of Police, which claim the practice helps fight crime.

There’s no question that civil asset forfeiture has proved lucrative for federal, state and local law enforcement across the country, and Illinois is no exception. Since 2005, federal authorities have taken $404 million through asset forfeiture in Illinois, while state and local authorities have seized $319 million worth of property.

But when it comes to civil asset forfeiture, there’s evidence that innocent people often get caught in authorities’ crosshairs. A report from the Institute for Justice shows that 87 percent of asset forfeitures by the Department of Justice between 1997 and 2013 were civil, not criminal, meaning that in most cases authorities took property from people who hadn’t even been convicted of a crime.

There’s also evidence Illinoisans are against civil asset forfeiture. A May 2016 poll of Illinois registered voters commissioned by the Illinois Policy Institute showed 89 percent of respondents opposed property seizures without a criminal conviction.

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      

Harold unveils long list of legislator endorsements

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017

* If you thought the Republicans would find someone else to run for attorney general now that Lisa Madigan won’t run again, you really should think again. All the big names say they’re not interested. And check out this press release from Erika Harold’s campaign…

Republican Attorney General candidate Erika Harold released the following list of endorsements from state legislators:

    Senator Jason Barickman
    Senator Dale Righter
    Senator Chapin Rose
    Senator Sue Rezin
    Senator Pam Althoff
    Senator Dave Syverson
    Senator Kyle McCarter
    Senator Dale Fowler
    Senator Jim Oberweis
    Senator Tim Bivens
    Senator Karen McConnaughay
    Senator Jil Tracy
    Senator Chuck Weaver

    Minority Leader Jim Durkin
    Representative Mark Batinick
    Representative Avery Bourne
    Representative Nick Sauer
    Representative Tony McCombie
    Representative Keith Wheeler
    Representative Allen Skillicorn
    Representative Grant Wehrli
    Representative Brad Halbrook
    Representative Margo McDermed
    Representative Jeanne Ives
    Representative Lindsay Parkhurst
    Representative Tom Morrison
    Representative Tim Butler
    Representative Dave Severin
    Representative Norine Hammond
    Representative Randy Frese
    Representative Ryan Spain
    Representative David Reis
    Representative Charles Meier
    Representative Dan Swanson
    Representative Robert Pritchard
    Representative Patricia Bellock
    Representative John Cavaletto
    Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer
    Representative Joe Sosnowski
    Representative Chad Hays
    Representative Tom Bennett
    Representative Steven Reick
    Representative Terri Bryant
    Representative Barbara Wheeler
    Representative Michael McAuliffe

“I am so humbled by the outpouring of support from legislators across the state,” said Erika Harold. “Republican legislators hear from constituents every day about the problems Illinois families face. They have led the fight in Springfield for reforms to put our state back on the right path. It is an honor to have their support and join with them in the fight for reforms that will put the people ahead of the powerful political class.”

* Some quotes…

“Erika Harold had the courage to enter the race before Lisa Madigan withdrew and that is the type of courage needed to challenge the status quo. I am going to do everything I can to make sure she becomes our next Attorney General.” – House Minority Leader Jim Durkin

“I have known and worked with Erika Harold for many years. She is a sharp lawyer and a great a person. She has dedicated her career to advocating for those who oftentimes could not advocate for themselves. Whether it has been in the courtroom, in the prisons through her work in prison fellowship or in the classrooms with her anti-bullying campaigns, Erika has always been a voice for the voiceless. Illinois will be lucky to have her voice fighting for all Illinoisans in the Attorney General’s office.” – Sen. Jason Barickman

“Erika Harold has already demonstrated the tenacity and courage to stand up for our families. She announced her candidacy knowing she would take on the most powerful political family in Illinois. Illinois’ political corruption is legendary, and for as long as I’ve been alive, too many of our elected officials have lacked the courage and values to hold themselves accountable. As a result, Illinois has become steadily more frustrating to live in, harder to do business in, and more expensive to raise a family in. I can’t think of a better choice to break from this past and help usher in a new generation of leadership than this accomplished attorney and political outsider. If you want to change the state’s trajectory, if you want to see Illinois become a beacon of hope and opportunity in the Midwest, if you want elected leaders we can trust to do what is just, what is fair, and what is right; then join me in supporting Erica Harold.” – Rep. Mark Batinick

“I met Erika several years ago and was impressed by her warmth and sincerity. She is an incredibly determined and intelligent person who wants to use her skills to serve the citizens of Illinois as the State’s Top lawyer. She will work fiercely for consumers, crime victims and very importantly against public corruption.” - Sen. Jil Tracy

“I’m happy to support Erika Harold to be Illinois’ next Attorney General. Erika, is a next generation leader, committed to defending Illinois’ best interests, not the special interests. Her strong, determined and dedicated voice, for every Illinoisan and the rule of law, is exactly what we need in the Attorney General’s office once again. She has my vote!” – Rep. Nick Sauer

“The entrenched corruption of Illinois politics hurts every family in the state. Erika Harold will fight against Speaker Madigan and for the working families of our Great State. I proudly stand with Erika Harold for Attorney General!” – Rep. Allen Skillicorn

“I can’t wait for Erika to take office as Illinois’ Attorney General. Then we will once again have a whole AG– one who tackles public corruption plus the feel good consumer protection issues our current AG prefers.” – Rep. Margo McDermed

“I’m proud to endorse Erika Harold for Illinois Attorney General. Erika is a qualified, confident, and talented attorney who puts the needs of Illinoisans first and who will represent them well.“ - Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst

“The people of Southern Illinois deserve an attorney general who will aggressively prosecute public corruption and defend our constitutional rights. That is exactly what Erika Harold will do at the capitol and why I strongly endorse her to be our next attorney general. I will work every day with Erika to put the people above the political class.” – Rep. Dave Severin

- Posted by Rich Miller   81 Comments      

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Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017

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* Intra-party war heats up as Pat Brady calls Illinois Policy Institute "idiots"
* Senate Majority Leader Clayborne to retire
* PAC money starts flowing in pop tax debate
* *** UPDATED x2 - Campaign issues "clarification" - NGP: "Simple case of user error" *** "Awful" Dem software could lead to state fines for campaign
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - More candidate announcements
* Dem groups try to crank up the heat on Rauner over Graham-Cassidy
* Rep. Ives explains why she closed her district office
* Yep. I can relate
* Everybody wants to get in on the HQ2 bid
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* Downstate's Republican shift
* "I don’t like to borrow to fund deficits"
* Kwame Raoul and Maze Jackson bury the hatchet
* Rate the new Pritzker TV ad
* Englehart's debut
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